Posted in Friday Rambles

Cleaning House on Auto-Pilot

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)
  • Dust
  • 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.

messy-1459688_640

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?

Warm wishes,

Lisa