I love a tidy home, but my zeal for cleaning has to be conjured up. Dug up like my wedding ring fell off in the garden and I wasn’t wearing gloves that day. I mean, prayed ALL THE WAY up from the depths of my soul.
(Perhaps it’s time for a CONFESSION!!!)
TIDY IS (NOT) AS TIDY DOES (NOT)
As a kid, I avoided chores however I could. Not unlike any children I have ever known. *ahem*
How many of you thought washing the dishes meant… just washing dishes???
When my mom said “wash the dishes,” what she REALLY meant was:
- Wash the dishes
- Wipe the counters and table
- Sweep the floor
I started doing my own laundry as a teenager, but I would use the same amount of detergent for a full load as I would for a couple pairs of socks.
And of course I had my reasons–
Sorry, can’t rake the leaves. Allergies.
Sorry, can’t dust. Allergies.
Sorry, can’t vacuum. Allergies.
Sorry, can’t help with the weeding. Spiders.
Even I don’t know what I would have done with me. Sorry, Mom!
THE PLIGHT OF THE CHRONICALLY DISTRACTED HOMEMAKER
The first several years of my marriage brought many tough lessons in learning to live as a functionally healthy human being, with another human being. I don’t think I need to divulge the full extent of my cleaning journey for you to get the picture!
I’m a creative through and through, and while I can be analytical, I am also easily distracted. Add into the mix four bright, energetic children and I have had to pretty much take myself to school to learn how to keep an organized home. Or, at least, organized enough to keep our family of six basically functional, and the Health Department away from my doorstep. (I kid.)
Trust–I am not writing this as someone who has mastered the art of home organization. I am writing as someone who has finally learned how to make it work for me and my family.
If you are also chronically distracted, be it because of ADD/ADHD, anxiety, or just because you want to do all of the things–I know you feel me.
MY JINKIES MOMENT
My secret trick for keeping a tidy home, is that I learned how to make it work for me/us. I quit trying to be super-pinterest-perfect mega-tidy mom and leaned into who I already am. I’m like one of those Spirograph thingies we used to play with in the 90s. Spins furiously round and round in circles, but it gets the job done, and at the end comes up with something pretty amazing. Or maybe I’m like a tube of paint on the floor. Quiet, explodes under pressure, but everyone knows when I show up and make a great big, beautiful mess.
So maybe that’s enough metaphors for one post.
When I became a full time SAHM almost four years ago, I was painfully aware of my quirks, tendencies, and perceived inadequacies, and I was daunted by the task of running our home. However, I knew that I wanted to make the most of this opportunity. So, I did what I normally do when I am feeling less than confident about the task at hand.
I poured myself into learning how to keep a home. I watched YouTube videos, searched other mommy blogs, talked to friends and mentors, and started listening to podcasts. I talked to my husband about expectations in order to make sure we were on the same page. This part is especially important if you are married, people. I didn’t want any miscommunication or resentment about what was or wasn’t being done.
For the last few years, I have tried DIY cleaning products, cleaning schedules, chore charts, and all sorts of things. I tried ALL kinds of chore rotations, routines, and schedules.
3 STEPS TO A SIMPLIFIED CLEANING ROUTINE
Scheduling my cleaning was always the easy part for me. I could go a solid week or two on my schedule, but if anything threw me off, the whole thing would fall apart and I would be left demotivated and ready to give up. Know thyself, y’all.
My new cleaning routine was devised from a simple tweak to an otherwise normal, fixed schedule. Here’s how I developed my room-a-day cleaning routine, and hey–while we’re at it, here’s a sample of my routine.
Just a sample, not the actual routine. Okay, you get it.
List out all of the household chores that need to be done every week. To make this as simple as possible, I simply list all of the rooms that need regular cleaning (i.e. kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, etc). Then I detail the tasks for each room (i.e. wipe counters, dust, empty trash).
Figure out what needs to happen on a daily basis in order for me to feel sane. Personally, I need my kitchen, living room, and bathrooms to be kept tidy each day. I also need to do 1-2 loads of laundry a day for our family of six. That’s a lot of underwear, y’all. For you, it might be something different, but these are my basic tidiness needs.
When you sit down to plan your week (or month, depending on how organized your calendar is), assign a room to every day. I have about 6 spaces to tackle, but I have 4 kids (2.5 on average between my toddler and varying attention spans) to help out, so we spend anywhere from 3-5 days doing the bulk of the housework. NOTE: Save the bulk of it for the least busy days. I would not try to clean my kitchen on a day when I have errands or back-to-back appointments.
It takes time to get into a groove, but the results are worth it. And if it ain’t broke–stay off Pinterest trying to find a new solution!
Let's talk Father's Day tips some more in the comments!