I’ll let you in on a little secret… I hate cleaning. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But, it needs to be done. Keeping my house clean is important. So I do it. Begrudgingly.
When I first became a stay at home mom, I was sure I was going to be like Bree Hodges from the TV show Desperate Housewives. My house was going to be immaculate, my children were going to be well behaved, my dinners were going to be gourmet, and I was going to look like I’d just stepped out of Vogue magazine.
Boy was I wrong.
For the first two years, my house was a disaster. If someone mentioned they were going to stop by, panic started, and I’d run around pick up kid’s toys, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping floors, and dusting, trying to make it seems as though my house was always clean. I don’t think anybody was fooled.
I knew there had to be an easier way. Millions of other people managed to have kids and clean homes – why couldn’t I? Then I stumbled upon a website that I was sure was going to have the answer. I signed up to receive daily e-mails with a routine I needed to follow and a list of other things to do each day. Though the e-mails insisted that I should just jump right it, and that I was never behind, I always felt as though I was. The morning routine made me anxious because I had a toddler and mornings were always so unpredictable. I felt like a failure, and so most days, knowing I’d never be able to do everything on my list, I did nothing.
Then it occurred to me: Everyone and every home is different. The things that work for one person, don’t necessarily work for me. I wasn’t a terrible housekeeper because I couldn’t hop out of bed and immediately start cleaning. I was a terrible housekeeper because I didn’t know what things needed to be done in my home.
Right now my house isn’t spotless. With a kindergartener living here, it never will be. My main objective is to just keep my house clean enough that if the ambulance needed to come and revive me, their feet won’t stick to the floor. I do this by keeping a simple cleaning schedule.
Each Day, I try to do the following:
- * Make the beds
* Wipe down the bathroom sink and toilet (little boys have terrible aim) and give the toilet a quick scrub
* Wash a load of laundry
* Empty the dishwasher
* Spend 15 – 20 minutes picking up and putting away the piles of “stuff” that I find laying around
* Give the stove and kitchen counters a quick wipe down at the end of the day, and try to make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink. It just takes a couple minutes and it really makes mornings a little easier
* Sweep (or vacuum if you have carpet) the high traffic areas in your home
One day a week (for me, it’s usually Wednesday) I spend a bit more time tackling some of the most dreaded tasks, including:
- * Thoroughly sweep the whole house and vacuuming the carpets
* Clean the glass on all doors and mirrors
* Dust the whole house (including hanging pictures, window frames and door frames)
* Mop the kitchen and bathroom floors
There are other things that I need to do like watering plants, ironing, taking out garbage, etc, but these are just the basics.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a pen and a notebook, sit down in your comfiest chair, and make a list of the chores that you really need to do. Then just do one thing on your list. If you’re feeling energetic, do two, or three. Remember, the first step is always the hardest.