Monday, August 25, 2008

Using iCal to Help Homemaking

I know this is so very basic, but I thought I'd share. Years ago I came across a book called Sidetracked Home Executives. The concepts in this book really changed my thinking about housework, for the better. As in, I started thinking about house work. It does not come naturally to me. Sidetracked...advocates the use of a 3x5 card file with a chore per card, divvied up in daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual chores. Then you spread house keeping tasks out so you are never overwhelmed and your home looks great almost all the time.

It really does work to bring things up a notch or two.

Until you spill your box.

Flylady (google her if you don't know about Flylady) is also based on this system, sort of a new evolution of it, actually. This works, too, until you throw a brick at your computer in reaction to all the pink and purple warm fuzzy guilt trips coming at you via your e-mail box.

The Authors of the Sidetracked book also have a web site and lots of goodies they want to sell you, but really, who needs to spend money?

Recently I figured out (OK, so Wes very patiently put up with my screaming at the computer while he taught me...) how to create to-do cards on iCal and so now I have a non-spillable "card file box" with a list of chores that pop up every day.

So, my dailies involve a quick spritz of the bathroom, sweeping the dining room/kitchen floors, and staying on top of meals, cooking and dishes, and laundry. As a for-instance, my weeklies for Monday are to wipe down the outsides of my appliances, and swipe the spilled ickies off the inside of the fridge. Even a half-efforted swipe has ratcheted things up a notch in there. Tomorrow my weekly chore will be mopping. And my occasional chore today? Clean the dining room chairs. You know about the crud that gathers around the base of the posts /slats of the chair? Go look and get grossed out. I'm sure some of that crud lives at your house too if you have kids.

So that job took me all of ten minutes at the MOST to do.

Oh, and the other things, in my come-lately to housekeeping pizzazz: I've also been creating a file card for dinner each night on the day I plan my menus to go grocery shopping. Knowing in advance what to cook has made our meals way yummier and more interesting since I'm not waiting until the last minute when I'm tired to decide what's for dinner.

Tonight is Curried Chicken with vegetables and mandarin oranges, over rice. And yes, the chicken is thawing.


Philippa said...

I am VERY impressed. What is iCal? I may have to check that out.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for posting this. I should try something of the sort!

philologia said...

Congratulations! That's a good idea.

Flylady did leave me feeling rather uncharitable. Glad the other Flybabies were FLYing, not so glad I had to delete 20 emails a day informing me of that.

Veiled Glory said...

Dinner sounds yummy. Tonight is liver & bacon at our house. :-)

I can usually stay on top of dishes (hand wash!) 15 minutes/day for two people. Bathroom, another 15 minutes or 20/week, if the tile needs a good scrubbing. Vacuum & kitchen floor: 15. Laundry, well, hubby does most of that.

The Fly Lady timer principle was nothing new for me. I would do 15 minutes of paper-writing or textbook reading while in college and then go do something fun.

I agree, her e-mails are obnoxious. If I were a sahw, I suppose they would be cute for a week or two.


Alana said...

iCal is a calendar program on the Macintosh. Any calendar with the ability to input recurring appointments would work.

Ruth said...

You know, it's funny - I've been using iCal for about a year now and have found it makes me a lot more organized and efficient. But until reading this post I didn't realize that you could schedule things to recur. I just went through and typed the recurring things in again and again and again. Duh! After reading this I went back and thought, now how do you do that? I sure felt dumb when I saw how easy it was. Thanks for pointing it out.