Managing My Serventless Household

I recently read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it especially if currently live in or grew up in the South.  It is about a young white woman who decides to write a book of stories from the lives of the black maids in her hometown.  To make it even better it is set in the early sixties right at the height of the civil rights movement.

While I got the whole civil rights aspect of the book what really struck me was how well these maids cleaned, cooked and raised the white ladies kids and then went home and did the same thing for their own families.  These women worked hard (I mean they polished silver at least once a week, who does that!) and I kept wondering what it would be like to have my own maid.  Someone I could leave a list of chores for and have them done by the end of the day on top of all the regular cleaning and cooking that had to be done. 

Then it hit me...I'm my own maid!

I consulted Amy Vanderbilt and, while I now know how to address correspondence to the Queen of England without fear of being beheaded, she gave little advice on the proper way to clean and keep a house. 

So I decided to make my own list.

I started by writing down everything that I wanted done during the week from moping and dusting to laundry and dishes.  I went through the list and marked things that needed to be done everyday like wiping down counters and making the beds.  Then I went through the rest of my chores and assigned them to a day of the week.

You may think I'm crazy and that this is extreme OCD but it really has made my housekeeping simpler.  I only spend about an hour a day cleaning, which I try to do in the morning while Claire is glued to her cartoons.  Everything gets done and I feel more productive.  Plus, I have way more free time during the day to play which is always more fun.

I realize that not everyone gets to stay at home and tackle a list everyday but try giving yourself just a few chores in the evening on top of your normal routine.  By the time Saturday comes you'll be glad you don't have to spend all day cleaning.  And with your extra free time might I recommend reading The Help by the pool with a fruity drink in hand.  It's a nice way to spend a day.

~ Andrea


  1. So glad you loved the book! I'm looking forward to the movie - even though they are NEVER as good - but have no idea when it's supposed to come out, only that it's in the works. Great idea for getting the cleaning chores under control. But I still want to hire a maid.

  2. Andrea,
    You might be interested in the lists and household systems at flylady.net. Its a free website and she has it all figured out for people like me who can't seem to come up with our own lists like you.
    Everyone I know but me has read The Help and enjoyed it. Maybe this summer I can also.

  3. I agree; it makes a big difference to have a system. Today I slacked off on mine, and boy did I feel frazzled in the afternoon because of it! xxoo

  4. Kelly - thanks for the website. I checked it out and I must say it was a little overwhelming. That lady is hard core about cleaning a house but she had some good tips.