Tips For Fitting House Cleaning Into Your Schedule
Do you ever feel like you just can’t fit enough time into your days to clean your home? If so, you aren’t alone. Cleaning your home is just one of many things that compete for your time, attention and energy each day. Sometimes, it can feel like just plain drudgery to do, and it generally can be put off, at least for a while. That makes it a prime candidate for being shoved to the bottom of your priority list.
We, as a society, suffer from the cult of “busy.” I know I myself have fallen into the trap many times of thinking, “I don’t have time to clean that right now, I’ll do it later, because I’m busy.” I also look at certain huge messes or big projects in my home and think, “This is such a big task I’ll wait until I have all day to devote to it.” These feelings can be compounded when we are spouses and parents, and responsible for taking care of our homes, because there genuinely are lots of things to do with the kids, for your home, your spouse, and yourself, and cleaning does take time and energy.
However, everyone has the same 24 hours in every day, and seven days in their week. As much as my mind sometimes seems to think “later” will be less hectic than now, it never turns out that way. Plus, I don’t think in my all my years as a parent I’ve ever had a day I could devote to a single task, without interruption. Heck, even if I did I know I sure wouldn’t want to spend that day cleaning stuff. So, what does a busy mom who wants a clean home do? You have two choices.
The first is to clean your home irregularly, in a big marathon session, when a crisis comes up and it just has to be done. That crisis can be external, such as friends or relatives coming to visit, or internal, such as when you’ve had it with your messy home and just cannot take it one more second. Then, you disrupt your normal schedule, clean your home from top to bottom, exhaust yourself thoroughly, and vow not to clean again for a good long time because you are so sick of it. Sure, right afterwards you enjoy that nice clean home, but it quickly starts to get dirty again. Sound familiar? I know it does to me because I have done marathon cleaning sessions more times in my own home than I can count.
The other option, and the one I strive towards (but still struggle with sometimes) is to clean my home as part of my normal schedule. Instead of disrupting my normal schedule to clean I’ve found that if cleaning is actually part of the schedule I get all the cleaning done more quickly. Plus, the icing on the cake is that most of the time my house actually stays relatively clean, so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor most of the time, not just for a day or two after the marathon cleaning session.
So, how can we all fit house cleaning into our schedules? There are several strategies you can use, but first I want to break cleaning tasks up into two big groups, because there are different approaches for each group.
Group 1: The “Never Ending” Chores
The first group are those tasks that need to be done daily, and never really seem to get “done.” You know, like cleaning up the kitchen from meals and snacks, or tidying up your home from play forts to homework projects. You may finish cleaning the kitchen and emptying the dishwasher, but the next time you walk in someone has eaten a snack, or it is time to prepare the next meal and the cycle starts again. Or, you tidy up the room, but life happens and things get pulled out again by the next time you walk back in there.
Group 2: Cleaning Tasks That Need To Be Done Weekly, Or Even Less Frequently
The other large group of cleaning tasks in your home don’t need to be done everyday, but instead less frequently. For instance, you don’t need to vacuum your carpets daily, generally, but it needs to get done regularly to keep them looking clean most of the time. Other tasks like this include mopping floors, a thorough bathroom cleaning, changing sheets and towels, dusting, and taking the trash to the curb.
There are even more things that should get done in your home even less frequently, like flipping mattresses, carpet shampooing, washing shower curtains, etc.
Taylor Flanery is the mother of three young kids, a former lawyer, and someone who has learned the hard way that cleaning up as you go, and on a regular basis, can make the difference between happiness and housekeeping insanity. She writes at Household Management 101 where she discusses schedules, routines and habits for your home, along with other topics related to her adventures as a mom and household manager. She also writes at Stain Removal 101 where she discusses the how tos and whys of house cleaning, laundry, and stain removal for your home and clothes.