That post title makes it sound like we have one. We don't. But we need one, so I made one. And I'm hoping that it's the one
. Know what I mean?
Part of my Lenten commitment this year
is to better serve our family. We're blessed to be able to have one parent home full-time, and since that happens to be me, it's kind of sad how much I have avoided the everyday cleaning tasks.
James is such a huge help and pulls more than his fair share in the household chore arena. If he were the one home, I know that he would have this whole maintain-a-decent-house-thing knocked out of the park. Honestly, it's just something I don't like to do. Which is odd because I love having a clean house. Go figure.
I think the main reason I don't like doing it is because when the house is out of control or I have major piles to deal with, the task of getting it back in order is so overwhelming it's hard to even start. I've tried making a cleaning plan before and it was a big fat flop....because I did what I always do - get super motivated to do something, set way too lofty goals that I can never sustain, poop out, and quit.
So, I tried to approach this with simple, easy, and doable in mind. I've always been inspired by Becky's
post on keeping a house clean in just 15-20 min a day
. Now, her cleaning approach works for an already clean house. Uhhh, not there yet.
BUT. Tis the season for spring cleaning and I thought this year I would use our new weekly cleaning chart to guide us through our spring cleaning routine. I'll need to spend more time on each task up front since we're not in maintenance mode yet, but hopefully after that, I should be able to knock out each of these in just 15-30min a day, depending on the task.
Here's how the chores fell (with a download for you too! The Word file can be edited)...
(Download the PDF here
and the Word version here
- I thought I would start off the week with an easy one: dusting. This just involves going around the entire house with a Swifter duster, wiping down every surface. This is a great one for the kids to help with, just watch the fragiles!
- We'll bust out the vacuum and hit all the carpets and area rugs (although there's plenty of little messes to vacuum up throughout the week). Every once in awhile I'll do the vents, window sills, etc. too.
- We have two full bathrooms upstairs. They'll get a full wipe down, the toilets and showers will get scrubbed, and the glass will be cleaned.
- One of my least favorites - mop/clean the hard floors in the kitchen and living areas. Anyone have suggestions on keeping it simple and easy? Swifter Wet Jet? Steam cleaner? Help!
- This is laundry day. We've been trying to figure out the best way to crack the laundry nut for awhile. Here's what I know.....laundry and I are not friends. And when we do a load a day, I feel like there is constantly laundry out on the couch needing to be folded or waiting to be put away. So, doing all our clothes once a week, seems to work best for my sanity and it yeilds the best odds of the clothes actually making it back up to their drawers. I also didn't like having the laundry waiting for me on the weekends, so knocking it out on Fridays means we go into the weekend and following work/school week set up for success.
There's also a half bath right next to the laundry room that I'll wipe down and give a quick cleaning on those laundry days.
- One of the main reasons I wanted to do this weekly cleaning sheet is because I didn't like dedicating our entire weekend to chores. Especially, once the warm weather hits and we have yard work to throw in on top of that. Taking care of the house during the week, means we have the weekends free to take care of any smaller, less frequent chores and to just have fun!
Beds and toy pickup
- This is something that I need to work on with the kids. Picking up smaller messes as we go along and before we move onto something else is just a good habit for all of us. And it helps to avoid those overwhelming messes or the frustration that comes with returning to a crazy house. Or that awkward moment your neighbor unexpectedly knocks on your door.
After dinner kitchen clean up
- We've gotten into the habit of cleaning up the kitchen right after
dinner lately and it's been great. We clear the table, load up the dish washer, hand wash any
big stuff (and dry/put it away) and wipe down the counters before we
move on to family time. This only takes about 15 min and it's so nice to have the
kitchen done and ready for the morning. Because the LAST thing I want to do after the kids go to bed is clean the kitchen. On
days that happens, I usually leave it for the morning...which is not how I love to start the day.
10 min power pickup
- We have a split level home, so once we move upstairs to get the kids ready for bed, that's it. They're not coming back down. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's kids can switch into nutso mode right before bed. That's usually when they're overtired and we've missed the calmy-go-upstairs window. And when that does happen, getting them to stay on task and clean up is a major, drawn out event. We usually just chuck it up as a loss and attempt to get them upstairs, leaving the wreckage behind.
So, having the whole family pitch in to do a quick 10 min power pickup about 30 min before we're ready to head upstairs should help to ease the transition to bedtime and leave the house mostly picked up for the next day.
I'm planning to jump on these tasks as soon as I get home from school drop off.
The boys are with me M/W/F and we usually get back to the house just before 9am. It's so easy for the day to get away from me, so I think making this our very first priority will start the day off on a good note. It won't take long and doing something productive right off the bat, usually puts me in a mood to do more
productive things. Here's hoping anyway!
For the next couple weeks my focus is going to be on purging and spring cleaning the house. We're
mostly unpacked and have been in the house long enough now to know what
things we will and won't use here. We got through that first phase of
unpacking where we set things up, and got things to the right rooms.
Now it's time to deal with all the stuff that we didn't have a place or
I'm not sure if we'll have a garage sale in the spring or just sell a few things on Craigslist and donate the rest. For now, I'm going to move everything to be sold/donated to the garage, so that it's not taking up space and adding more clutter to the house. I'm so ready to have the house in a state where we can actually maintain it!
Over the years we've tried everything from rigid scheduling to totally flying by the seat of our pants. We've learned that our kids do best (from babies to now) with a routine. But I've also learned that we just won't stick to a completely strict schedule. With kids come a lot of variables. Some days we'll be able to get to everything and some days we won't. I'm learning to create schedules that are more realistic and leave margin for those off days. Is it wrong to say I'm lowering my standards?
Perfection and a spotless house are certainly not the goal here...but we do want to take better care of our home. In the end, it will give us more time to spend with each other and help us better enjoy the time we're in it.
How do you approach keeping your house clean? Or getting it clean? Do you have any tricks for an easy and doable routine? If you have kids, how do you get them involved?
Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!