For almost 13 years, I have been on a quest to improve my house cleaning skills enough that I'm not ashamed when people come over. Also I like to have the house clean because I am happier when things are neat and uncluttered. I feel so peaceful when things are neat and so out of control and cranky when things are messy.
Myths/Lies I told myself:
- If I can just get more organized, the house will be clean.
- If I weren't so lazy, the house would be clean.
- If I would get up at 5 a.m. every morning, the house would be clean.
I've read many books on the subject. These are some of them:
Organizing from the Inside Out- Julie Morgenstern
Time Management from the Inside Out- Julie Morgenstern
The Art of Homemaking- Daryl Hoole
Make Your House do the Housework- Don Aslett
Is there Life After Housework?- Don Aslett
No time to Clean- Don Aslett
How to have a 48 hour day- Don Aslett
Sink Reflections- Marla Cilley
The Ultimate Career- Daryl Hoole
It's all too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff - Peter Walsh
The Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women- Suzy Toronto
I've been to many time management classes. I've made schedules, weekly plan sheets, lists, color coded spread sheets, chore charts, chore binders.
Only one thing has worked. Achieving this one thing has brought not just success, but lasting success.
Want to know the secret?
Here it is:
Reduce the amount of Cleaning.
That's right, the only way to keep up on the sisyphean task of keeping a house clean is to make it so there is less cleaning that has to be done. I still have more reducing to achieve. But I've had some success. Here is my short list for how I have managed it (and how you can too!):
- Get rid of stuff. De-Junk, De-clutter, De-treasure. Re-shuffling piles of stuff around isn't cleaning. I gave away half of the family's clothing and saved myself hours of laundry time every week. None of the kids has had to go naked yet. (Though one of them goes nekkid by choice quite often. And I think we can all agree that there is a difference between naked--as in "Naked came I into the world"--and nekkid--as in "plum stark nekkid.")
- Get traffic mats. Good mats at every door will stop so much dirt from entering your house. Dirt that you don't have to clean up if it isn't there.
- Put things away right the first time. If it is in your hand, put it away right- it will take less time than if you drop it any old place and then have to go back later to put it away. Unless a child is in mortal peril, you have time to put things where they go.
- Clean as you go. Example: Fold clothes as you pull them out of the dryer. It hardly takes more time than pulling them out and mashing them into a laundry basket.
- Set a timer. When you are cleaning, set a timer for 15 minutes and race it. See what you can get done. We've all performed cleaning miracles in the 2 minutes from when we saw an unexpected car pull into our driveway and when the doorbell rang. Have a miracle every day and then have more time for what you really want do do. (Like read a good book!)
- Wait for your toddlers to grow up.
If you need more help with #1, especially if you are really emotionally attached to all your stuff, I recommend It's all too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff - Peter Walsh.
For more ideas like #2, I recommend one of Don Aslett's books; Make Your House do the Housework is my favorite.
For more help with #3 & #4 the best one is Sink Reflections- Marla Cilley
To remind yourself that being a mom is so much more than keeping a house clean, read one of Daryl Hoole's books.
If you are still waiting on #6, sit down with your toddler and read him a book. You'll both feel better.
D&C 42:41 And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.