Are you a fan of making home to-do lists? You know, the nicely written list of all the things you need to do in your house? I sure am! But writing the same tasks over and over again and seeing little progress can be very discouraging. Especially when it comes to our household! Those lists seem to be never ending and you keep finding spaces in your house that desperately need some attention. You probably have a few to-do lists written in a few separate places and one major one stored in a place where it really shouldn’t be – and that is your head.
Let’s talk about how to create an effective to do list for your home to be more productive and have a cleaner house.
Why is Your To-Do List NOT Effective
We all know that simply writing a to-do list is not effective. That has been my story and maybe you can relate. You write a to-do list for yourself on what you want to clean or organize in your house. You do your weekly planning and daily planning. And sometimes it would work and sometimes you fail miserably because your attention went somewhere else. It might be the fact that your kids needed you or you had some unexpected work assignments you had to get done. So basically life happened.
And then you would go to the next day or week and write down those items on your to-do list again. Or you would forget about them all together.
Another thing that I noticed is that sometimes when I actually have some free time, for me that is usually the weekends, I don’t know what to do. Maybe you also find yourself in a situation where kids are playing nicely and you feel like you want to do something productive. The problem is determining what that should be. Theoretically, I know that there are a million and one things I could do, but at that moment I cannot come up with a good idea. Two or three tasks would pop into my head – but none of them sound appealing or something I can do in the amount of time that I have. So I usually end up doing nothing. Which usually translates to wasting my time on my phone. Does that happen to you as well?
Those two examples highlight two huge problems with creating to-do lists: wrong way of capturing the tasks and not being flexible. Because let’s face it – rewriting the same things over and over again or constantly forgetting what needs to be done was driving me crazy and quite frankly making me feel inadequate.
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The first step to a better home to do list!
So how do you fix it? The very first thing we have to do is do a massive brain dump of all the household tasks that we want to complete. To do that, you will need a piece of paper or a notebook and a pen. Go to every room in your house and open every cabinet. Write down everything that you want to do (or needed to do) in your house. List things that you want to clean and spaces that you want to declutter, organize, decorate, and even remodel.
When I did this exercise, I ended up with a rather long list. BUT it was finally out of my head on a piece of paper! The immediate benefit is that you no longer have to think about what you need to do, because now it is written down.
Categorize Your Home To-Do List
The next thing you need to do is categorize your to-do list. There are two main categories to consider. Category number one is things that you will do only one time. These would be tasks like decluttering your office space, painting your master bedroom, or buying home decor for your living room. And category number two is things that you want to do on a regular basis. Think of cleaning your baseboards or deep cleaning your fridge.
Take your list and go one line at a time. Think about each task and decide which category do they belong to.
Any task that is something that you want to be done on a regular basis I want you to think about how often you need it done. Do you need to do it daily, weekly or quarterly? If it is something that you need to do daily – maybe you have a dog that sheds a lot and you need to vacuum every single day. That task would be something you would incorporate into your morning or evening routine.
Things that you want to do weekly – so dusting your living room, cleaning your bathroom – those would go into your weekly cleaning routine.
And the rest go into the deep cleaning routine. Things that we will clean once a quarter. Things like cleaning the insides of the kitchen cabinets or cleaning under the furniture. And that will be covered in a lot more detail next week.
And things that belong to category number one will go into our home to-do list. Remember, those are things that are ‘once and done’ kinds of tasks.
Creating an effective Home To-Do List
It is finally time to create that home to-do list. And here is the part when effective planning will come into play. Our home to-do list will be very different from what a typical to-do list looks like.
And that is because we will be using sticky notes!
Any tasks that are falling into the second category, so one and done, go on the sticky notes. One task per one sticky note.
Why Sticky Notes?
There are a lot of advantages in using sticky notes for this type of to-do list. The most important one is that you will have a single to do list for your house. There is no need to re-write it. Once you are done with a task, you simple peel it off the page! So the list will never get ‘messy’ or hard to read as you are ‘crossing off’ items or adding to it.
Second, you can organize your list any way you want. You can do it by the type of task. So dividing it up into categories like organize, declutter, house projects, cleaning, home decor, things to research and even things to buy. You can also divide up based on the room, like kitchen and bedroom. Another option is to divide it up by the time it will take. You can have things that take 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 1 hour.
Plenty of options to choose from – for now, I’m trying the categories. Choose whichever option seems most convenient and appealing to you.
Once you organize them into different categories, stick them on a piece of paper and put them in a protective sheet. That will prevent them from peeling off and flying away.
How it works
Once you are done, you simply remove the sticky note! If you like, you can also have a done list – so a list of things you have already completed.
I will tell you that I absolutely love crossing things off my to do list. I am definitely that person who will write something they have already done on a to-do list just to cross if off (anybody else?). But I have never tried a done list – I think simply because I did not want to write another list. But with sticky notes, it is easy. You just move the sticky note from one page to another. And at the end of a month or every few months you can see how many things you were able to accomplish.
And that will be very motivating for you to keep going. You will definitely feel a sense of accomplishment. Because sometimes it is easy to concentrate on things that we did not get to do rather than the things we have completed.
And it is also super easy to add things to the list as you go along.
Getting this created will take some time up front, but then it’s really easy to keep it going. Adding you sticky notes as needed and taking out what has been done will take a couple of seconds.
I have already started implementing this into my days and it has been great. The greatest benefit for me is decluttering my mind and then having a list of things I can do for when I have a moment or two or some spare time.
Have you been struggling with creating an effective home to-do list for your home? What do you think of the sticky notes approach? Let me know in the comments!
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