So, it occurs to me that perhaps I wasn't making myself clear enough with yesterday's cleaning schedule. That is absolutely not an "as is" schedule, it's a "to be". If we were really already doing all of that stuff, I wouldn't need to write it down or track it.
The cleaning schedule was a necessary part of a larger plan (let's call it Operation Awesome Marriage). And I mean it when I say necessary - our house was affecting our marriage. So trust me, no worries or judgement here if you aren't doing some of those things, or if you don't do them as often as I want to. Schedules like this give me hives, I promise! Until the day I can afford to hire a cleaning service, no baseboards are cleaned or surfaces dusted unless someone dumps something on them.
I think the reasons our house has gotten to a state in which we needed to devise a schedule are threefold:
1) We love Lucia to death, but adding a second little person to the house was HARD. I don't think we were quite prepared for the whole two under two thing - someone needed something from us at all times, and just keeping the girls clothed and fed and clean and happy took everything we had. I was on autopilot - work, home, dinner, crash into bed shortly after the girls go to bed. Repeat. Also - I talked about this a little bit over here - Justin was not immediately on board with having a second kid. He was not anywhere near as helpful as he was with Adriana, and I was pretty overwhelmed as a result (understatement of the year). Plus homegirl didn't sleep for 8 months and I was TIRED and something had to give.
2) Mohinder was always SUPER FINICKY about the litterbox (it had to be scrubbed and the litter changed on a daily basis, no scooping, or he'd pee on things), and keeping up with cat laundry on top of real life laundry was a full time job in and of itself. The more clutter in the house, the more things for him to pee on, the more time we had to spend on cat pee cleaning instead of normal cleaning, the more cluttered the house. Endless cycle of cat pee doom.
3) I had to travel a whole bunch for work, including a month where I was only home to see the girls on the weekends. It was the suck.
All of these things lead to a house that was cluttered, disorganized, and even downright GROSS in a few places. It was too messy to pay someone to clean it. It was too messy to have someone come watch the kids so we could clean or (gasp!) go on a date.
This is no way to live.
Now that we are all caught up on sleep, the girls are (slightly) less needy, and we are super motivated to fix all of the things causing marital stress, it really is time to break the cycle.
We started by taking Mohinder back to the no-kill shelter we got him from. It was a REALLY HARD decision. If you took the peeing out of the equation, Momo was the best cat ever. He was friendly, cuddly, sweet, didn't shed, was great with the girls...the list goes on and on. But, when it came down to it, I'd rather lose a cat than a marriage. Every time Momo peed on something, Justin and I would fight. I had been fighting to keep him for years, researching preventative solutions (that all failed), paying for expensive cleansers, spending countless hours cleaning up after him, and I just couldn't do it anymore. I tried to keep him, I really did. And I'm sad that it didn't work out. But I think it was the right choice for our family. (Does anyone want a post on how to get rid of cat pee?)
The next step was implementing Swistle's Drops In the Bucket strategy. This is one of many posts of hers that I still think about, years later. If you've never read it, please do! If you get overwhelmed like I do, it really is a lifesaver. Swistle is so smart.
Once those two things happened, Justin was a lot more motivated to clean on his two kid-free days (the days he works second shift). With the basic picking up handled, I had more time to deal with the clutter and deep cleaning. When the MIL (yet again) informed us with little notice that she was coming to our house to celebrate Thanksgiving, I moved it to the first weekend in December and then went on a CLEANING TEAR. (Admittedly, some of the CLEANING TEAR involved shoving stuff I didn't have time to deal with into Random Crap Bins...I'm not an entirely different person, haha).
Just getting all of the extra junk out of the places where we spend 95% of our awake home time has been HUGE. I don't think I realized how easily affected Justin and I are by our environment. I honestly think that the clutter was making us feel all overwhelmed and helpless and "it's never going to get better so why should I try." Since the CLEANING TEAR, we have both repeatedly said "[This newly decluttered space] is making me so happy every time I look at it!"
So. I think the goal setting and cleaning schedule will help us. I successfully decluttered the dining room in (late) November and the kitchen in December. I plan to just make that a way of life, rotating rooms. Once the big declutters are done, I will probably move it up to 2-3 rooms a month since it won't be as large of a task, and add in a certain number of Random Crap Bins to deal with per month. I will go back to posting them, of course, because who wouldn't want to see a stranger's random crap?