I dislike cleaning. Scratch that. I REALLY dislike cleaning.
And I’m a fairly neat and tidy person. A clean house is just a joy to be in and when the house is dirty and cluttered, I feel stressed and guilty. Neither of those are enjoyable emotions.
So, every Monday I would wake up with grim determination and begin cleaning the house from top to bottom. With almost as much tenacity, Thing 1 and Thing 2 would seem to follow behind me undoing everything in my wake. If I was busy vacuuming the carpets, they’d be in the bathroom washing dirty rocks in the freshly cleaned sinks.
Have you ever seen a bathroom counter after 2 little boys have washed rocks??
It’s not pretty and neither is my soaring blood pressure. It also seemed inevitable that the one time a week that a glass of milk would get knocked over onto the carpet was on a Monday about 20 minutes after I’d finished spot cleaning it.
Although I felt very satisfied in the hard work I’d put in each Monday, I didn’t like the impatient and grumpy Mommy that I turned into every week. I began feeling burned out and would put forth little effort the rest of the week knowing that the one day that I dreaded was looming near.
Obviously, this system just wasn’t working for me.
Earlier this summer, I came across a cleaning schedule that didn’t seem too overwhelming. The good thing about it? You just do ONE little chore a day! The negative? You do a chore EVERY day. Almost. I like that the Sabbath is observed and there isn’t anything scheduled for Sunday which we like to keep free for church and family time.
I did some minor personalized changes and here’s what the end result looks like:
It’s been about 3 months since I first tried implementing this. Tried, being the operative word. I was a little surprised how challenging it was to switch my habits and mindset to this new way of doing things. We humans tend to stay in our ruts, don’t we?
The verdict: I love it.
Now that I’ve gotten used to not saving all my chores for Mondays, I feel much more free. I don’t feel dread. I don’t get unnecessarily worked up over life’s (boy’s) hourly messes. And it has helped me to instill some daily chore time for my young children. Instead of just Mommy doing her morning chores, we all have morning chores! The boys get dressed, brush teeth, make their beds and do a quick pick up to start our day. (I find it amazing how many toys they can play with before breakfast!) They fought me at first and I still need to help #2 with part of the bed-making but within a couple of weeks, they became quite willing and cheerful about it. Kids are so adaptable.
Keep in mind, with this schedule, my house will never be clean all at the same time. But let’s get real, did that ever truly happen anyways? In my case, the “clean” lasted for an hour or two – tops – before life happened and toys exploded everywhere. By doing one thing a day, I ensure that I don’t sink into the pig-sty that’s just waiting to take over. On any given day, the floors may need to be mopped but my bathrooms are sparkling. Or if my toilets need to be scrubbed, at least the carpet looks great! Overall, my house feels cleaner. I’m happier and (hopefully) I’m a little nicer wife and mother.
As I’ve been trying this small change in my life, I wonder about what other people do to keep their lives organized and houses in order. Do you have any strategies or tips that have worked for you? How do you control the chaos?