Ah, cleaning. The necessary evil, some might say. I’ve flip-flopped between having a good and bad attitude about it. In the end – one way or another – it needs to get done.
The internet is loaded with housecleaning schedules and lists of all kinds. We’ve all seen them on Pinterest. As a younger mom, I found these schedules fairly helpful. Because quite honestly, I wasn’t sure how often I should be doing all the different tasks.
After a while I made my own schedule, and put it up on the fridge. I followed it pretty well, most of the time. Then I had a second kid, and even the schedule I had made (as basic as it was) became a little too daunting.
These days, I work off of a list of priorities. I knock off the things at the top of the list first, which are the most important (think: basic survival). And then I work my way down, in-amongst the multiple interruptions that may occur throughout the day. The things at the end of the list – truthfully, they don’t often get done. Needless to say, my house is not sparkling clean. But we stay fed, and clothed, and in a basically neat and sanitary space, as often as I can possibly manage.
Here are the things I keep on my mental list, in order of importance:
- Dishes (there are always more)
- Laundry (ditto)
- Food (meal prep)
- Tidy (put
all/most of the things away)
- Clean the bathrooms
- Sweep or vacuum floors
Those 6 things, on a good week, I can keep up with for the most part. When I have the luxury of moving beyond the basics, these are next:
- Mop the floors
- Wipe down kitchen cupboards and appliances
- Organizational tasks (e.g. sorting through clothing)
- Clean doors, windows, and walls
During the years of having a child under 3 at home, it is the exception (and not the rule) that I actually complete those final items on my list. And for those of you who have more than one child under 3, well – bless your heart!
The nice thing is, after being a mom for a whopping 8 years, the list has become pretty automatic. Which is helpful for me, because I do become overwhelmed with a lot of commotion, or when jobs pile up so high that I know I can’t possibly do them all. My tendency, in those situations, would be to circle the house in a distracted and confused way, jumping from one task to the next and then forgetting what I was doing before.
Now, when I get to that overwhelmed place and can’t imagine laying eyes on a cleaning schedule of any sort (like really: just shoot me now), I flick on my auto-pilot.
Dishes, laundry, food.
Everything else will wait.
And once I have a handle on those 3 things, I relax a little. Any step beyond that is icing on the cake. The further I move down the list, the more competent and relaxed I feel.
Sometimes I have a bad week, and I don’t move beyond the first 3. Yikes. This is when I take a deep breath, collect myself, and decide that I will be starting fresh on Monday.
Because, the cleaning will always be there. My children won’t. They’ll grow up, and move out, and the house will probably stay a lot cleaner. But while they’re here, they need to be cared for and nurtured. That takes a lot of time and effort.
So in the meantime, my husband and I put up with the stubbed toes (seriously, those toys are everywhere), sticky floors, and overflowing laundry baskets. And no, it’s not always with a smile on the face.
I think other moms probably keep up with their houses better than I do. But, I’ll keep on tryin’. And besides, when it comes to loving my kids – that’s one job I know I’m best at.
What’s your housecleaning routine? Do you like schedules, or hate them? Any cleaning advice for me?