Keeping your house in order is no easy job, and there are no ‘one size fits all’ schedules for cleaning house. We all have different lifestyles, and all have different amounts of time available to us. We also have different sizes of homes, and families.
If you are like me, you probably love a clean home – but don’t really love the process of getting it that way! If that’s you – welcome to a rather large community – the community of women who would rather play with their children, invest in their careers, spend time in their gardens, or with their spouses, or do a million other creative and lovely things other than scrub, dust, and wash.
My schedules for cleaning house have changed over the years. As a working Mom with three youngsters I chose to accept a lower standard of ‘clean’ – there was more dirt and I had less time to deal with it. The few years that I was able to stay home with my children, I could do more, and things were cleaner and more organized. Now I am working, plus volunteering, and I have even less time, but have become more organized – I also have less dirt and mess because the boys are grown and gone.
As we explore schedules for cleaning house – I want to try to help you create a framework that will help you to set priorities and realistic goals so that you can have a home that is clean enough to be healthy, organized enough to be sane, and flexible enough to be happy.
We make time for the things that we value – and if we value a healthy home then we need to find enough time to clean it. Now, I am not talking about magazine-clean! Few people have the time or desire for that (and most that do usually hire it out). For example, I like a clean floor, but I don’t have any little ones around and I am not planning on eating off of it any time soon – so that helps me to decide how often I am going to clean it.
You have probably made schedules for cleaning house for yourself in the past. I can only assume that they might not have worked that well for you, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Rather than me telling you how often you need to clean what, let’s take a different tack – let’s start with setting the standard – your standard.
House-cleaning should result in a healthy and uncluttered home, but it doesn’t have to qualify for the cover of a magazine. So, what do you want to see? When my lifestyle is really busy I still insist on clean bathrooms and a clean kitchen. I also can’t stand getting up in the morning to make breakfast or pack my lunch on a dirty counter. Everything else gets a bit flexible depending on time. What about you – what are the rooms that you can’t stand to see dirty or messy? Any schedules for cleaning house that we develop for you should make these places a priority.
So what standard are you comfortable with? When you go to bed at night, what standard of clean will allow you to sleep without guilt? Will allow you to get up in the morning without discouragement?
Let's start by looking at the a typical list of household chores...
Oh dear – before I go any further I guess I ought to mention ‘the voices’. No, not the kind that might suggest a visit to a medical professional, but the dismembered and disapproving voices of the women, real or imagined who haunt our minds with their unrealistic expectations.
You know the voices I mean – ‘What do you mean you are not going to dust every other day?’ ‘How can you leave the house with dirty dishes in the sink?’ –’those’ voices. A wonderful comedienne, Loretta LaRoche, refers to them as ‘ the committee’. It’s time to fire the committee. Since they’re not real – you have to do it symbolically – whatever works for you; go to the edge of a cliff, or the woods, or a rooftop, or wherever… and shout at the top of your lungs – ‘Committee – you’re fired! I do not answer to you. I am limited, not by your expectations, but by the choices that I make about what I can and cannot accomplish, about my needs for rest and rhythm in the midst of the craziness that is my life today. I will answer only to God and to those who are on my life-team. – BEGONE!’ Of course, that might not stop the commentary, but you have made your personal declaration of independence – and you are free to walk in it.
You should set your schedules for cleaning house according to what fits your life and your family!