keeping the home fires burning-week two


Happy Thursday everyone.  Not only is it week two of our Home Comforts Series but it's also day four in my anniversary give away week.  There is lots to talk about so let's get started.

Today's subject is routines....daily, weekly and seasonally scheduled cleaning tasks, to be specific.

"Living in your home constantly uses up your good things-food, clean clothes, linens, shiny floor.  Housekeeping routines provide for their continual renewal. The best way to begin keeping house is by setting up your routines and schedules...With systematic housekeeping, most of the time you live comfortably; supplies are not exhausted; dirt and laundry do not over accumulate; plans and resources for at home occupations and entertainments are in place.  In nonsystematic housekeeping, chores are tended to only when the resources of one the household's systems are exhausted; when there are no clean clothes or linens and there is school in the morning and stale beds tonight; when it is the dinner hour and the cabinet is bare; when dirt and disorder are beyond tolerating."  C. Mendelson, Home Comforts

I decided when I started this series that I would be candid with sugar coating or spinning of what my house hold is really like.  I am embarrassed to admit that most of my married life has been lived like the latter nonsystematic house.  I always thought that if I didn't have to work outside the home I would be more orgainized.  Now that I am retired, things have not changed much. In fact, my lack of a schedule in our home is the number one source of grief and arguing between hubby and me.

That makes me think that it might not just be a time issue but a learned behavior issue as well.  I really do want to have a home run on a schedule, (not with military precision) one that is prepared for my family and company at any time.  I am not talking about a having a house that does not feel lived in with toys or books in use but a house without dust bunnies, cobwebs and grease and grime on the kitchen blinds (just keeping it real).

Does this weekly schedule sound familiar to any of you? 

Monday - Washing
Tuesday - Ironing
Wednesday - Sewing
Thursday - Marketing
Friday - Cleaning
Saturday - Baking
Sunday - Rest

Most of us recognize these tasks as part of a cute vintage set of dishtowels but at one time this was how a household was run.  Obviously, some of these jobs are no longer necessary but the need for systematic cleaning is still very relevant.  C. Mendelson has tweeked this schedule for a more modern household to look like this.

Monday- Washing and ironing (if any)
Tuesday - Marketing
Wednesday - Mini cleaning
Thursday - Odd jobs
Friday - open
Saturday morning - housecleaning

This schedule seems completely doable to me.  I can see where combining this with daily strategic "neatening" (making beds, doing dishes, picking up clothes and putting away clutter) would make for less chaos and provide a more enjoyable home.  The author provides a great list for seasonal cleaning, too.  Those jobs that need to be done monthly, twice a year or annually.

If you are still with me, here are today's questions.  Do you have a systematic cleaing schedule in place or do you just wing it (like me) and do what needs to be done as things run out?  What has worked best for you?  Who was your biggest cleaning influence?

Remember to leave a comment if you would like to win this pretty retro inspired apron and dish towel.

xo, Patty

***contest closed


  1. I wish I was like my Grandmother, it was a ritual to do some thing on a certain day and she had things written inside her cabinets about schedule for cleaning rooms, cabinets etc.
    My work days seem to be 15hrs these days so when i am off I get up I am exhausted, finally get going and it is time to cook and go to bed for a 4am wake up call.
    I do not have a system :(
    wish I did, would love to rest on Sunday, my husbands only day off.

  2. My biggest influence in home keeping has been my mom. She always worked a full-time job, cleaned, cooked and took time to treat us many wonderful things in life.

  3. I don't keep much of a schedule, but Mondays are my laundry and ironing day. Everything else is not on a schedule, but it does get done on a weekly basis. Right now, Rick is doing most everything while I deal with some healing time. I'm so ready to get back to 'normal'. Meanwhile I'm enjoying puttering around with the potted plants on the deck and doing what I can. Take care.

  4. Do you know Ms. Red? She wrote about this same book/schedule on Facebook. Now I have to explore if you two know each other.
    I can really relate to what you wrote. When I was teaching, I was lucky to get the laundry done. Now that I'm retired, that seems to still be all I get done - that's useful, that is. hehehe

  5. I am afraid that like you, I don't keep much of a schedule. I do try tokeep things picked up and vacuumend, but the deeper cleaning tends tobe put on hold while I, *ahem*, sew. I had a friend who used to tease me about the dust. All in all, I try to keep things reasonable, and when I want to really get things clean, I invite someone over. That lights a fire! lol

  6. I must admit that I have no routine for cleaning..I should but I don't. I do laundry most everyday though and have the normal routine of cooking meals and cleaning up. I clean rooms as needed (or badly needed sometimes). - My biggest influence was an elderly friend who was good at everything homemaking.

    I'm having a giveaway too and would love for you come by and check it out.

    Have a great weekend! xo

  7. I have the book from the library after hearing you talk about it - this week I have attempted a schedule like this:
    S - cleaned part of kitchen (mine was as bad as yours, being real :)
    M - Laundry (4 loads)
    T - Clean entire upstairs (2 more loads of laundry :)
    W - Marketing (1 more load...)
    Thu - Clean entire downstairs (1 more load ...)
    F - sleep all day - haha, but really I think I'll need to rest.
    I have lots of help from my 16-y-o homeschooled daughter, we split the work and got it done in good time, but still kinda rough on a 59-y-o like me - but I agree with what C Mendelsohn says - after you have completed one of these tasks, there is such a feeling of repose. And that has been the deciding factor for me to continue on this schedule. Thanks for pointing me to the book, and I enjoy your weekly (very real) posts about it.

  8. I had a schedule until I moved (6) years ago and have never gone back. I would like to and maybe sooner than later will. My mom is my greatest influence!

  9. I feel like a bird; I "wing it" way too much :-/ I know I'd feel less scattered if I had a routine (and followed it ;-) My Mom was my greatest influence; the house could always pass the white glove test!

  10. I am a procrastinator and let things get a little too alone it is quite easy to do this....also since I retired in Sept. 2009, I have tossed time management to the wind. Not good! I am going to look for this book. xo

  11. When I was working full time and had kids at home, I had a schedule. Now, I wing it and that is DEFINITELY NOT WORKING! My mom kept a clean but messy house and I loved going to my Aunt Kay's were everything was picture perfect. ~ Maureen

  12. I do not have a schedule, but rather, I clean every day, keeping my house kept up as best I can. However, I must say, that since having care of my grandson who is now 5, I have had to relax quite a bit on the routines I normally keep. It's all good though. It all seems to get done eventually!!
    I know that my Nana, kept to the dish towel cleaning routine!!! As did most women of her generation.

  13. I am a "wing it" kinda girl, but if I won THAT apron, even I might set up a cleaning schedule!!! That is so cute. Your giveaways are fabulous Patty! xoxo Debbie

  14. I'm definitely a "wing it" kind of gal...but I wish so much that I wasn't. I keep hoping that when I'm retired it will be different. I don't hold out much hope for that to happen...but who knows!

    Tha apron and towel are so sweet...I have a sheet of scrapbook paper that is the same retro print.

  15. Oh, I've been around and around with this one! I've read all the books and tried a variety of different strategies.
    I want my cleaning to resemble worship, so I often wait for the mood to strike. I cleaned houses before I became a teacher and now I know how fast I can go, but I rarely push myself to go that fast! Ha ha!

  16. I must say that a routine is an absolute necessity with me; however, I do not have that routine set in stone, so that leaves lots of room for flexibility.:) One thing that I am sure to do is set the newspapers in the recycle bin each day, so there is no stack of papers accumulating. I like to be on a Wednesday routine for laundry. Grocery shopping is not a dreaded chore, so it is difficult to keep me from my favorite market more than once a week.:) My "strength" in keeping the "home fires burning" has been in the kitchen where I have always had meals prepared on time, even before I retired and while the girls were all still home. It is that "other" cleaning that gets pushed off the list easily - rather like exercise.:)

  17. I have no routine...growing up, it was always chores. Yuck to the max. I clean as I go and do laundry in one day mostly. I just don't worry about everything as much as I used to. Smiles, Susie

  18. Well, I used to be more organized when I was working because time was limited. Now I'm more haphazard. I tend to do a load of laundry every couple of days instead of a marathon of laundry and housecleaning on the weekend. My "irregular" jobs are the same - ie. all the windows get cleaned spring and fall. My cleaning, cooking, homestyle inspiration was Martha Stewart. I had one of those mothers that did all the cooking, most of the cleaning except the odd task or two we were assigned each week and all the laundry until we were teenagers. Therefore I didn't have all the skills I probably should have had when I went into my first apartment but I learned them pretty quickly from Martha!

  19. Patty, I am like you and I just wing it. My house hasn't been cleaned in awhile and I am having company this weekend. So I am cleaning like mad. I vow to keep up with it better in the future.

  20. Ya just gotta love that adorable apron!

  21. I used to have a schedule when the kids were small. Mondays and Thursdays were wash days and Fridays were cleaning days.When I went back to work Saturdays became all chores day. Thanks for the chance on your giveaways.

  22. I do my housecleaning chores on Friday. Wash whites on Thursday, marketing Mon/Tues.
    I always put things away when I am finished with them.
    I even have dinner cleaned up before we sit down.
    I am very organized and efficient, and I so enjoy my home, that I also enjoy taking wonderful care of it.
    Also, I need to be doing things, and the housekeeping is tangible evidence of having accomplished something each day.

  23. Me have a schedule, ha-ha! I blame it on my Mom. Well maybe a little bit. You see growing up she had a strict schedule like the first one of olden days. It was so strict we couldn't deviate. To the point as a kid and teenager I missed some fun activities for we had to clean, bake, wash or whatever that day held. So my schedule for running a house hold was the dishes will always be there when we get back, we still had clean clothes and we could always pick up a loaf of bread at the store. Lets go have fun as a family. They are all grown now but if a fun activity comes up, yep the dishes will still be there!

    Absolutely love the retro print!

  24. I iron a lot and do it on Monday or Tuesday. I clean floors once a week. I sort of have my own system now that I am retired but since I have two houses I am not locked into set days. I do not keep our old tumble down house very clean I am sad to say. The yellow house I do keep very clean because I can. The old house has defeated me.

  25. I used to be a lot more organized....until I started blogging. Since then, I've been wingining it. However, I am trying to wean myself off of the computer a bit more to get back on a schedule. The household certainly does run smoother when you aren't rushing at the last minute to get things done. Hope you're able to get your house in better order too! Have a great weekend Patty.

  26. I love this series. I am sure with working that was a major stealer of your time and energy.

  27. I do a similiar schedule, but on days I work I have to cut myself a little slack. Housework will ALWAYS exist. My kiddos will grow up! :)

  28. The apron is absolutely adorable..... My weekly schedule pretty much as you say it is. ONly I schedule grandchildren time once a week.
    blessings to you.

  29. My biggest influence was my Mom. I had to do certain chores weekly and that stuck with me. I still do certain things , on certain days of the week-but I don't get too upset if I am busy doing other things.

  30. You are preaching to the choir here. I too thought about how perfect my house would be kept after I retired. I actually got rid of my cleaning lady because I was so sure I could do it all better than she did. I'm finding I'm not getting it done. I was actually on the Fly Lady site yesterday trying to figure out how to get a schedule going. My biggest influence was my Mother and she worked and had a cleaning lady every week until the day she died.

  31. My mother was and still is my biggest infulence. She taught me how to clean and cook and "keep house" I am so grateful to her to this day for her simple yet effective homemaking skills.

    Smiles my friend.


  32. Depending on how many parties I have to do on the weekend, I do like to do the major cleaning on Saturday. However, it is usually on Monday or Wednesday when I don't teach preschool. I do like to deep down clean twice a year...summer after school is out and then around Thanksgiving...
    I have been out of school for 2 days and seem to procrastinate the cleaning! Just trying to figure out the new routine I suppose!

  33. Lovely apron and towel. Things have changed and some have not.

  34. Patty,
    We put a weekly chore list in place when our cildren were born...we haven't changed it a lot since then.
    Monday ~ Ironing
    Tuesday ~ Pick Up Day
    Wednesday ~ Laundry Night
    Thursday ~ Cleaning Bedrooms
    Friday ~ Cleaning Bathrooms
    Saturday ~ Dusting and Vacumming and more Laundry and Grocery Shopping
    Sunday ~ Worship and Visiting Relatives and Nap Day!!!
    Like you, I worked outside of the home so all of these chores listed were done after dinner and dishes in the evening. Add in homework, sports, and church activities and we had a full schedule. Our routine has only changed somewhat in all these years. I'd have to say my Grandmother and my Mother influenced how and when I clean! My MoMa worked in the 1950's we had chore day on Saturday. Laundry and ironing day were on Tuesdays...her one day besides Sunday off. Marketing was on Friday evenings after dinner out! She cooked and baked all the time...I know because I was her dishwasher! Ha! I am truly enjoying this series!

  35. Boy this really has me thinking.
    I too am retired, and after 32 years in teaching I so don't want a schedule.

    I so enjoy my feeling of freedom, but freedom means I am sometimes out exploring when I should be home.

    This is a great subject.
    My mother was a wonderful housekeeper and cook.

    Her motto? Stay home and stay out of stores.

    White Spray Paint

  36. Very cute apron!

    I am a scheduled person and pretty much keep to it unless something comes up but I get right back and catch up. Monday is my biggest cleaning day.

    Thursday is my favorite day because everything is usually clean, tidy and ready for our weekly Wednesday evening Bible study group. If possible I like to keep one day a week for myself.

    Saturday morning and into the day is outside work or bigger projects.

    By Monday, the house is in need of cleaning again :)

  37. I have KIND of a routine...and stick to it most of the time..but having grandkids on a moment's notice sometimes throws me off. I am pretty organized though and I am a LIST maker..and check things off as I do them. Now, and this is sad, when I do something that is NOT on my list- I add it to the list and cross it Just all me crazy! xo Diana

  38. My mom was my role model for cleaning. She took great pride in our home and taught me and my sisters to keep things organized and neat. We cleaned house on the weekend - didn't like it one bit back then, but I can appreciate the example she set now :)

    Beautiful giveaway. Thanks :)

  39. When my children were little, I had a very strict schedule. (to the point, my neighbor and best friend would be afraid to come over and bother me)Not a good thing, but things got done.'
    Now, I pretty much wing it and the one thing I insist on is having things picked up. I would much rather sew and let things go that I would never have as a young mom and wife. Truthfully, it should be the other way around. I wish I would have spent more time with my kids instead of mopping and washing windows. I try for a happy medium now.
    Your apron and towel are so cute and would love to win.

  40. OH MY OH MY, Are we related? BK (before kids) I ran a smooth boat. Then the 3 came. I wanted them to play and I did the house work. I have no method to my madness. Just get it done as needed. My husband is really great at picking up the lose ends for me. In fact he's a better picker upper. But I have to find things after he's done. I too would like a house that company could drop in without me thinking run, pick up your stuff. Anyway I think you know what I'm talking about. Thanks for the chance to win.

  41. Now that I am retired I have found that it is easy to know that it will be there tomorrow so no big hurry . . . then all of a sudden I find myself behind. Just lately I have come up with a plan ... I call it the 12:00 Noon plan. I have a list of what needs to get done each week. So I get up, have my coffee and kick myself into high gear and start doing and check things off as I get each chore done. Each day around noon I stop. The rest of the day is for me. Now because I do have volunteer work that I do two different mornings each month, I have to allow for that, but it helps me work a little harder and faster when I know that I'm off at noon. This gives me 3 and sometimes four hours for sewing, art, music all the things I love. I hope this helps someone. Connie

  42. Sad to admit, but I am much like you. I wing it. When I was growing up, my mom worked outside the home and cleaning day was on Saturday as well as buying groceries. We always had a clean house as she insisted that things be picked up, but then we didn't have alot. My house is in sad disarray moreso now than ever and I blame it on my health. I truly wish I were more organized in everything that I do so I look for tips and ideas to help me out. Thanks for doing this!

  43. I definitely have a routine! Mondays have always been my big clean day after the kids were at school and hubby off to work. That way the weekends were all about family time and I only had to straighten the beds and do the little things. I do try to do laundry daily or it gets out of control quickly.

  44. There was a time that everything ran on schedule, now admittedly, that is different. Current life situations have made it difficult. Resluting in chaos, meaning more stress. Have been trying to re-establish some routines, but finidng it difficult.

  45. I am a by the seam of my pants kind of gal! I clean when the dirt calls to me. I know that may sound bad or like my house is a wreak, but quite honestly, hubby helps out a lot and I really do not need to do much when I get home from the daily grind.
    Weekends are most likely when I get in my old clothes and break out the scrubbing pads. Through the week, I have way too much going on to even think about mopping or scrubbing something.
    My mother on the other hand, cleaned like a mad women! Everyday...all day. She was a stay at home mom and didn't work until the last couple years of her life. And then it was just part time.
    I suppose if I had the time and were a stay at home mom, like my mother...I'd be a cleaning machine as well.
    P.S. This apron is to die for! I LOVE Michael Miller fabrics!
    -Denise @

  46. Hi Patty,
    My Grandma brought me up. I still live by her time line. We lived on a beautiful farm. Mornings were when the main part of the work was done. up early, beds made, laundry in and on the line, picked up, vacumned, dusted, something in the oven. So to this day, I have everythng under control by about nine every morning. That way as my Grandma used to say, if the Queen should stop by we are in pretty good shape.Then you can play house the rest of the day doing the extra stuff or sitting on the porch.
    Nancy Jo

  47. it's just me in the house now, so i can pretty much wing it just by keeping up with it as it happens. i've always like things neat & clean & have been accused of "cleaning the clean".

    (p.s. i find it sad that C. Mendelson tweaked the schedule to not include sunday.)

    thanks for all your inspiration & beautiful pictures!! i like coming to "visit" you everyday!!!

  48. OH goodness...I would love to win this apron and dishcloth! Hmmm I think I'm more like set schedule other than Monday is washday and Thursday we go into town or the city to buy groceries. Like Nancy Jo my Nana brought me up and that's why Monday washday sticks with me. I really do like that last schedule...that seems like something I could keep up. Thanks for the idea! I hope your day is a good one.
    Maura :)

  49. The apron is really pretty! I have no set schedule and you can tell LOL. I do laundry every couple of days so I don't have to spend all day doing it since I hang it out to dry. I go once a week to the grocery store but no set day. It's hard to get everything done when you work full time.

  50. You're so right. We need some sort of organization to get things done or pretty much nothing will get done. I do the dishes and feed the dog religiously. And I can make a mess on a regular schedule. Sorry, but dust is a four letter word for me. Naw, jk. I have my spurts of cleaning (wing it) which is probably not the right way to do things. Most of the time I need a purpose to clean. Right now I'm mustering up one for the bedroom closet. Did u know that junk actually grows? I've witnessed it first hand.

  51. My grandmother was a big influence on me. Her house was always spotless. But she had nothing but time. I mean, the woman ironed her dish towels. When I was married and had kids at home I had a cleaning lady come in. What a luxury. Now that I live alone things get done on an as I need it basis. I dust the living room, or iron when I'm watching a movie on TV. Grocery shopping gets done when I run out of food. No schedule for me.


  52. I was good until I got ill and now I just don't have the energy I used to have to keep up with it all but I try! I do have a schedule too that I try to stick to. Mornings are daily maintenance and afternoons are weekly and other projects. Sundays I change the sheets, do laundry and iron and then relax.


  54. I do have a system of sorts ... Saturday is laundry, Tuesday is grocery day, Wednesday we go out for breakfast, and Friday we go to the library.

  55. Hi Patty,

    Love this post; it's so real and relevant to our times even more so today I think as life has become rather hectic. Kinda feels like everyone's on automatic pilot sometimes!

    My mother has been the biggest influence on my cleaning style and overall domestic duties. Like others have said, she also used to work 2 jobs and managed to take care of 3 kids!

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for a while now. Love your colours and style as I adore all things nostalgic and charming!I am new to blog land and would love it if you dropped by to say 'hello'. You can find me at

    Have a great week!


  56. I don't have a cleaning schedule, as I work outside the home 3 days/week. Actually, even when I was at home FT I didn't have a schedule - I've always just cleaned on an as-needed basis. And we've always had so much laundry that I do it every day!


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