Organization is not my strong suit. I'm not proud of that. In fact, I can't stand it. I am firmly convinced that the perfectionism that has made me successful in my academic and professional lives has crippled me in my domestic life. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Needless to say, I jump at the chance to defy my disorganized side. I was thrilled, then, to be able to review one of the Motivated Moms Ebooks Planners from Motivated Moms.
In a world full of more planners than you could possibly ever explore, there are several things that set the Motivated Moms line apart from the rest.
The hallmark of all of the Motivated Moms chore schedule planners is their simplicity. To begin with, the majority of the chores are scheduled for you. Unlike a zone cleaning system, the Motivated Moms system has you doing a variety of chores in different rooms each day. The idea is that by the end of the week you will have done the work necessary to maintain your home, plus you will have done some chores that you don't think of doing (dusting light bulbs!), but that go a long way to keeping your house cleaner than you would have thought possible.
The Planner I Chose and How I Used ItI had a bit of a hard time choosing from all of the available planners, but I eventually decided to go with the full-page color chore planner. Printed, this planner comes to 55 pages. I know that saving on ink is a major concern for some families, but my printer is excellent and even printing on draft, I get vivid color while hardly using any ink (HP OfficeJet Pro 8600, in case you were wondering!). Hence, I didn't hesitate to buy this planner. I hesitated about the best way to print this planner (all at once and comb-bind? one page (week) at a time? all at once in a binder?). I finally decided that printing one week at a time and putting it on the refrigerator would be the best option for my family. I know myself too well to print the whole thing at once. My history with planners would suggest that I would put it somewhere never to see it again. As it turns out, I know myself well! The one page at a time method seems to be best for making sure that I use the planner.
Having said that, printing this planner one page at a time definitely makes it seem less like a planner and more like a house cleaning schedule, which is perfectly fine. I desperately need one of those! This planner (pictured above) has a section that allows you to check off all of your daily chores each day (beds, dishes, etc.), but it also gives you individualized chores for each day of the week. What makes it very different from a zone cleaning system, the system with which I am most familiar (and at which I have failed spectacularly) is that tasks are broken up within rooms each day. In other words, you clean a small part of the bathroom each day rather than focusing on the entire bathroom on one particular day. I *really* like this method. The primary reason I think I stink at cleaning is that I don't ever feel that I have enough time to do an entire room justice. By only doing a small piece of each room, I feel like I can make some headway so that by the end of the week I actually see improvement. The same chores are not repeated each day every week, as there are some chores that don't *need* to be done weekly (such as cleaning out the refrigerator or doing the mending and ironing - as if I would ever do the mending and ironing ;-) ). Conversely, some chores are, in my opinion, repeated too often - hand towels are changed in the bathrooms every other day. I would never change hand towels that often. Of course, the beauty of a chore system, like the beauty of homeschooling, is that you adapt the system to fit your needs. Thus - I just don't change the towels if I don't need to!
To summarize then - rather than letting this planner dictate my life, I have used it as a wonderful reminder to do things that I wouldn't ordinarily think of doing. Honestly, much of the time the reason things don't get done around my house is, very simply, because I don't think to do them. I am easily distracted and very busy and not that observant. To that end, this planner is ideal for me! Each morning, I look at the planner to see what special chores I am supposed to do during the day and then figure out when I can do them. Although I have the best intentions every day to check off the daily chores section (dishes, beds, etc.), I rarely remember to do so. However, getting the little nudge to do that extra thing that doesn't cross my mind (clean out one kitchen drawer, for instance) has been wonderful. It has made me feel that I am taking extra steps toward becoming more organized and neater.
The Bottom Line
I sometimes feel that all I do is scour Pintrest for planner ideas. It is time consuming and depressing because they never work! It turns out that writing down everything you want to accomplish doesn't actually get it done. Motivated Moms has showed me a new approach, though. By creating a preset group of chores, some which get done every day and others that get done on a rotating basis, Motivated Moms has made the process very simple. It works with my mentality. I do what I can and I take the planner's suggestions as just that - suggestions. For $8, the planner is a great investment. I don't feel beholden to it. Printing it out each week takes seconds, as does checking it each morning. You could make it a much more in-depth tool than I do, but you don't have to to make it work for you. The planner is very flexible. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. If you're the kind of person who can't do without your iPhone, Motivated Moms also has an app for that!