In my last post, I shared about my struggle and some strategies to keep a clean-enough home. While I’m not yet where I eventually want to be in housekeeping, I’m definitely at a better place than I have been! And I continue to remind myself that perfection isn’t the goal but progress. To add to my previous list, here are a few more tried-and-true tips and resources I’ve found to be extremely helpful along my journey as a recovering slob. 🙂
- Adopt a weekly cleaning schedule that works for you. By schedule, I’m meaning a simple list that identifies one task/area for each day of the week. I’ve
failed attried several different cleaning schedules over the past few years, but I finally found one that works for me (at least when I actually stick to it!) – Clean Mama. I initially found her on Instagram through another person’s post, and I love that her approach is simple, realistic, and easy to follow. An added bonus is that seeing her daily Instagram posts reminds me of each daily task and often inspires me to (at least partially) do it. She claims that this system has worked for her as both a working and stay-at-home mom, and love that she uses and makes natural, non-toxic cleaning products.
- Use the one-minute rule. A couple of years ago, I read The Happiness Project (a great read!), and Rubin shared about how she created a policy for herself that anything that could be done in a minute or less should be done immediately, and she raved about the results of this simple rule in getting things done and reducing clutter in her home. While I don’t use it as much as I probably should, when I do I see big results!
- Cut the clutter. Speaking of clutter, the most impact any cleaning tip I’ve ever tried has brought is hands-down this one. It makes so much sense that the less stuff you have, the less time is necessary to clean and organize it. This summer, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and while I don’t agree with all of the book’s content (that inanimate things have feelings, etc.), I must say, getting rid of large amounts of clutter truly is freeing. While I still haven’t decluttered my entire house (because it does take some time to go through things), I have gone through several areas with awesome results. I really liked this article about applying the method with kids.
- Involve your kids. It’s so much easier to just clean up after our kids than teaching them to help… but it’s such an important life lesson to learn to clean up after ourselves – plus, they need to learn that families work together to help one another, and they have an important part to play. When I was an elementary teacher, it was obvious which parents took time to teach habits of responsibility to their kids, and I want to equip my girls to be responsible and take initiative. This summer, when we were all home all day together, I had success in getting my five year old to do a short list of simple “chores” by working them into our routine in a fun way. Now that the school year has started, I’ve totally dropped the ball on this, but it’s on my list of goals to make a simple checklist inside a page protector on a clipboard to reminder her of her morning tasks without me having to remind her four times.
- Make it fun! I think one of the main reasons I don’t like to clean is the feeling that there’s always something more important or fun to do. I got the idea from Inspired to Action to put headphones in and listen to podcasts while cleaning, and it’s my favorite tip ever! My dishwasher broke for a few weeks in February, and I didn’t even mind (too much) thanks to podcasts. I also love listening to praise music either with headphones or out loud – It really helps to reset my attitude to thankful vs. complaining.
- Keep it real. So, this is #11 in a list of 10, but it’s too important not to include! So many times, I clean up before friends or family come over more than for my husband and kids, but I sometimes wonder why. What am I trying to prove? In this day and time, anyone can create any image they want to portray through social media and blogs. I’ve heard it said that it’s dangerous to compare your “behind the scenes” with someone else’s “front and center,” and it is… because you have no idea about the pile of toys located ten inches to the left of a blogger’s picture perfect fall mantel display or the fight that occurred five minutes before the Pinterest-worthy kids’ craft chronicled on Instagram. Maybe the best gift we can give one another as working moms – and moms in general – is honesty that we don’t have it all together all the time. There’s great strength and support in that kind of transparency; it points us away from our own pride and self-sufficiency and back to our constant need for Jesus.
In the middle of the mess, it’s easy to get overwhelmed… and stay there. Trust me, I know! I think it really helps to have an end goal to work toward. I want my home to be place where my family feels safe and peaceful and where fellowship and ministry can take place… and while most guests are forgiving of an imperfect house, tons of clutter and dirt don’t exactly scream “calm and inviting.” Take a couple of minutes, jot down your dreams for your home, and then take baby steps to work toward that vision one at a time. Anyone reading this who knows me in real life is probably laughing at the irony in my giving cleaning advice, but I’m just humbly passing along what I’ve learned along the way from others that have helped me to make small but significant positive changes. If someone as naturally disorganized as me can improve in this area, so can you!