As promised, today's post will be breaking down my short, simple, evening cleaning routine. If you're new to SORTED, what you should know is that the main goal of my cleaning routines is to keep my house continually clean and under control, so that chores can be fast and easy.
I complete my evening cleaning routine every night before I go to bed, and it almost always takes me less than 30 minutes. If you've read about my morning cleaning routine then you'll know that also only takes me around 30 minutes, or even less. And that is all the housework I do each day. One hour or less and my house stays pretty much perfectly clean all the time.
My Evening Chore Routine
But anyway, let's get into the details! Keep reading to find out exactly what I do each evening.
1) Load the Dishwasher
After we are finished eating dinner each evening, it's time to load the dishwasher with that day's dishes. I've often already loaded a couple throughout the day, but even if I haven't, it's only one day of dishes, so it only takes a few minutes.
Lately, I've really been enjoying that my two year old is actually helping me do the dishes. He's loved to play at it for quite a while, but it wasn't really helpful until just recently. Now he'll stand at the sink on his chair and rinse each of the dishes, then hand them to me one by one to load into the dishwasher. Not only is this super cute, but he loves it and it really does save a few minutes. If I'm doing the dishes by myself, it generally takes 10 - 15 minutes, but when he helps it's only about half of that.
Once the dishwasher is loaded, if it's at least half full then I'll run it. Otherwise we'll leave it for a second day. We end up running it 4 - 5 nights out of the week.
So, this step certainly isn't "housecleaning" but it is a chore that I do each evening, so I thought I should include it. Basically, all this entails is spending about five minutes keeping our personal books up to date. We use Mint (a free bookkeeping service run by the company that also owns Quickbooks and Turbotax) for our personal books, so I just record any receipts that we got during the day, and check for any suspicious activity.
We're not exactly big spenders, so there's not normally very much to record. But, a few minutes spent each evening to record the couple receipts we did collect and just give things a little financial "check up" really goes a long way towards keeping things continuously under control.
3) Tidying Up
The final chore of the evening is certainly the most substantial, but even this only takes less than 15 minutes. To tidy up the entire house, I simply walk through each room and replace anything that is out of place. If you've read SORTED, then you know that part of the process is to find a home for every item that you own. This makes the tidying up process so much easier! There's not normally very much out, because we try to put things away as soon as we're done with them.
It generally takes me just about five minutes to tidy up the whole house and then most of ten minutes just to tidy up my son's room. Now, technically, he's tidying his room, but since he's only two, he definitely appreciate mom or dad's support (i.e. help picking up toys) in the process. Fortunately for all of us, he's quite good about keeping most of his toys in his room. I used to store half of them in the living room and half in his room, but that made the house turn into a disaster by mid-morning. Now they are all in his room, but he's allowed to take them out (to any other room) if he wants to. Generally he doesn't want to though. If there are any toys in the rest of the house, then I gather them up as I walk through each room on my way to his.
Total Evening Chore Time
In sum, the evening chores take up less than half half hour. The only time they really ever take more than that is if we've had company. And even in that case, it's only about ten additional minutes spent dealing with a few more dishes and perhaps slightly more out of place items.
Sometimes, when I have a really long, busy day, I come home and the last thing that I DON'T want to do is chores. Especially the dishes. Even though they only take 5 - 10 minutes, I just feel like skipping. I used to skip sometimes. Finally though, I sat myself down and gave myself a good talking to. "Gillian," I said, "5 - 10 minutes more of sleep won't make much of any difference tomorrow. But, you know what will make a difference? Waking up and walking into a clean kitchen. That will be much more refreshing and invigorating than a few more minutes of sleep." So now, I never skip. If I really need some extra motivation, I might set a timer for 10 minutes so that it seems less overwhelming, or turn on a Netflix show while I work to make it more enjoyable. But truly, there's nothing more refreshing than waking up to a clean kitchen.