IT PAYS to be organised on occasion, but one mum has taken it to the next level and has planned out an entire year's worth of household chores.
Erna Kesselear, from Australia, decided to snap into gear when her daughter was born and now knows exactly what she'll be doing each day, week, and month until January 2022.
The Australian mum spoke to Kidspot about her super organised plan which she put into place when she returned to full-time work as a dental nurse – just 16 weeks after giving birth.
“Things were so chaotic back then at home,” Erna, 43, told Kidspot.
“I would get to work and everything there was so organised, with a roster for shifts and cleaning all our equipment which made things so easy, so I wanted that at home too.”
So Erna made a list of everything that she and her husband wanted to clean and keep organised for the entire year and laid it out in weekly, monthly and yearly planners.
“I always want to be on top of things,” the mum-of-one said. “I don’t want to go, ‘Oh my goodness, when did I last clean that?’”
Seven years later, Erna’s yearly planner is still in place, with some modifications of course.
Now a stay-at-home-mum, her chores list is far more extensive than when she was juggling full time work and a baby.
Recently moving from the family’s three-bedroom home in Adelaide to a four-bedroom apartment in Singapore, Erna estimates she spends between two and two-and-a-half hours each day cleaning and tidying.
The efficient mum – who happily takes on “90 per cent” of the household chores – has a long list of duties throughout the week that keeps her busy.
I always want to be on top of things. I don’t want to go, ‘Oh my goodness, when did I last clean that?'
Among her jobs are mopping the floor every Tuesday, dusting surfaces and cleaning mirrors every Friday, then once a month she wipes under and inside her kitchen appliances, as well as giving the fridge and freezer a thorough clean out.
She vacuums every day, crediting her Dyson stick vacuum as a time saving measure to do one room at a time.
Laundry is done twice a week, with linens and towels washed once each week. Once a month, Erna also cleans the washing machine and dryer.
“Not a lot of people know that you can do this to your washing machine,” she explained.
“You can take out the detergent drawer and clean it, the instructions can be Googled. Then I do an empty cycle with a product specifically for cleaning the tub and using 90-degree water.”
Twice a year, she organises the bedroom wardrobes and checks for stains on walls. And that’s just a fraction of what she gets done from Monday to Friday each week.
“I clean so much that there’s no scrubbing involved,” Erna said. “It’s just wiping over. The ceiling fan near the kitchen, for example, gets covered in oil but if you do it regularly it’s not a big deal. If it ends up as a thick layer, it’ll take you a lot longer later on.”
Once a year, the organising maven will also do a complete clean of her husband’s office.
“He’s not a messy person but it gets pretty dirty in there,” she said laughing. “I get under all the furniture and do a big declutter.”
Removing unused items from the home, she said, is just as important to her schedule as cleaning.
“So many things sneak into the house – in cupboards and all over the kitchen,” Erna said. “Kids bring in so much stuff too, so I clean out drawers every month and it’s much easier to find things afterwards.”
Her schedule also includes a “banking clean up” which sees Erna check all the bills and direct debits are up to date and use a facility on her banking app to allocate the family’s spending to various categories once a month to keep an eye on their budget.
So many things sneak into the house – in cupboards and all over the kitchen. Kids bring in so much stuff too, so I clean out drawers every month and it’s much easier to find things afterwards.
The chores roster saves the family money in other ways, too.
“When I use a bucket of soapy water, I use it for several things on the one day and don’t waste it,” Erna explained.
“And if I know a big clean is coming up, I’ll look for specials on cleaning products and stock up. Servicing an air conditioning unit once a year will also make it last longer. If you take care of things in general, they last longer.”
Erna said her favourite job is cleaning the bathroom, which she does every Friday.
“I love a clean toilet and basin,” she said enthusiastically.
“It’s not a big job for me because every day after showers we use a squeegee to take the excess water off the glass and something like this that takes less than a minute makes a huge difference.
"When I clean the toilet, I spray it with product and leave it for a while and spray the shower head all over it and let it dry. I only have to scrub the bowl inside.”
Her least favourite jobs are ironing, which she does twice a week, and washing dishes, which are done three times a day.
“My husband works full time from home, so we have three meals a day here and I don’t have a dishwasher, so that takes up quite a bit of time,” Erna said.
“I put on my headphones with an audiobook or a podcast and that helps. And cooking double portions of our dinner also takes care of all our lunches the next day.”
I put on my headphones with an audiobook or a podcast and that helps. And cooking double portions of our dinner also takes care of all our lunches the next day.
While she loves taking care of her family, Erna also makes sure her seven-year-old daughter contributes, too.
“Tuesday is her day to help with the laundry so she folds hers and puts it away. And if she spills something, she will also get the Dyson stick vacuum out and clean it up.”
Erna is so organised that she’s begun to transfer her paper schedule into a digital format using Notion, a free scheduling app, and will upload her own routine to the app when it’s all finished so others can use it as a template.
“My husband uses it at work and it’s so easy. You can put anything in there, it’s like a calendar with reminders and recurring events.”
While she’s a stickler for detail, Erna does give herself some slack now and again.
“Being in a new city it’s important for me to be out and meet people, so if something can’t be done that day, I will just do it the following week and I might do a bigger clean the next time.”
And most surprisingly, she has even implemented a rule that means no cleaning is done in the afternoons after school pick-up as well as on the weekends to give the family more time to spend doing the things they enjoy.
“I don’t cook, clean or do any dishes on the weekend.
“We have lots of places near our apartment to eat for a very cheap price here in Singapore, so because we don’t cook then, my husband will do the odd glass or coffee cup. If my daughter wants a snack, she will make it herself.”
“I want to feel that I have some kind of break, that there is a difference between a weekday and weekend. That gives us quality family time when we are together.”
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