Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How To Keep a (Sort of) Clean Home

I recently saw this Design Sponge post through a Pinterest pin and I started thinking about the cleanliness of my house (moderate and sometimes dirtier) and what I do daily, weekly, and monthly.  I'm not going to talk hypothetically or about goals, but rather what I actually did in the time just before the baby was born; now, we're still finding our way in Life With Phoebe, so I don't have a normal to talk about yet.  But I find this kind of housekeeping detail interesting and useful, so please add your thoughts and/or routines to the comments.

1. laundry - whether it's folding, washing/hanging up, or ironing (kids fold/put away their own)
2. tidy the house at the end of the day
3. dishes all washed by the end of the day (very rarely put away before bedtime)
4. kitchen counters wiped
5. my bed made (uh, my version is pulling the covers up in a tidy way - not the classic way my mother taught me doing each layer separately and smoothly)

1. household trash out to the trashcan
2. dust and vacuum first floor rooms (by kids)
3. bathroom cleaned (by kids), although I have to do the shower, so this happens maybe monthly and I know that sounds gross - just being frank
4. day of reckoning, usually Friday, where most accumulated piles and debris are sorted and disposed of

The rest of the cleaning is by chance, my mood, and time permitting.  My windows are filthy due to the city air, but I don't see them being cleaned any time soon.  I often take swipes at the microwave, stove, toaster oven, and refrigerator if I'm hanging out in the kitchen listening to a kid story or waiting for a cooking task.  I dust the wood blinds when they look really dusty.  I send the kids up to clean their room when I have energy to keep them on the task (so, not every week).  I probably vacuum the sofas once a year.  I get a kid to wipe down the dining room chairs maybe once every few months.

I think my house is reasonably clean and tidy.  The porch, sidewalks, and yard are not.  I find that distressing, but I have yet to give up any hobbies and pleasant pursuits to whip them into shape and maintain them.

How do you keep a clean house?


Angela said...

I love reading about how others clean their house! I am not very good at it myself- it's a big house and it just gets to be too much to keep a regular schedule-I find that I would have to give up doing so much else in order for a clan house. But I do clean the kitchen- dishes, countertops every day, and pick up the toys,and vacuum main areas weekly probably. I try to keep laundry to one big day a week- though I'll throw in the kitchen laundry more often just to keep up. I love making my bed- but don't do it often- and my shower is probably cleaned the same as you- though I'll sometimes give it a go while I'm in there!

I think in the end my house is pretty clean- and I think it is actually a sort of gift to allow visitors to your home to see how you really live- provided it's still hospitable, there is a line where a messy house is uncomfortable to others, (laundry on furniture, dishes on table sort of messy I think?), and a clean house feels sterile, and doesn't allow guests to see you truly.

Rozy Lass said...

When I was in the midst of raising our five children I had to remind myself frequently, "I can have children, or I can have a clean house. Which is more important in the eternal scheme of things?" Now that four are gone and our baby is a senior in high school, the house does stay cleaner, or less cluttered; and I can have nicer furnishings without fear of four boys inadvertently destroying them. You sound like you are doing the right things and if you're content at this point who cares what others think? You are making happy memories with your precious children that will be of more lasting value than a spotlessly clean house. Believe me, children don't remember what the house looked like, but they do remember that mom played with them, read to them, and loved them unconditionally. Keep up the good work and God bless!

Jennifer Jo said...

My most effective technique: cry, and then disappear while my husband works his cleaning magic.

jenny_o said...

You have just endeared yourself further to a certain (large, I believe) segment of your housekeeping brethren (sisthren?) by telling us about your shower. Certainly to me. We have a large house, depression-era mentalities (it might come in handy don't throw it out), and through the years there always seemed to be a black hole of lack of time, due to jobs/children/chronic illness or surgery.

I started out housekeeping with a set schedule and continued for years to think that it was the only way to get things done. In later years I realized that having less stuff is a huge help and that perfect is the enemy of good. So I have been de-cluttering for the last four years and I try to clean things as I see they need cleaned, rather than clean because it's on the schedule - and also take bits of time to do quick jobs, like you mentioned about kitchen tasks.

Our shower is still lucky to get done once a month; to be honest it has gone much longer at times, as has our kitchen floor. Those are both jobs that require time and a huge amount of energy for me. I have recently decided that I will do part of the floor at each go, because it is a very large floor. And I try to keep the cleaning sponge close to the shower so I can grab it at the end of my shower now and then and do one wall of it. I am also trying to remember that it is easier to do a little, often, than deal with a buildup of clutter or dirt.

And since my daughter with the chronic illness moved away and my dad whom I visited daily in the nursing home passed away, I have had more time and am slowly trying to catch up on things put off too long. It is more difficult than I wish because I am having multiple health issues now. I just keep telling myself: no one ever died thinking, I wish I had cleaned more.

MDiskin said...

I had the kids on such a great schedule of chore-doing over the summer. Now with school and homework and needed alone time for them... my little helper elves have all but vanished, at least as far as a roster of chores is concerned.

I use the Motivated Moms checklist (it's around $8 for a page-per-day printout) and love it because I can farm off the smaller chores to the kids. When I'm overwhelmed or can't seem to stick to the list, I have a "5 minutes in every room, every day" rule. Even if all you do is pick up for 5 minutes straight for the first few days, by the next ones you'll be cleaning and wiping surfaces and by the end of the week you'll be poking into corners and cleaning those out as well.

I don't need a housecleaner -- but I do need someone to cart stuff to Goodwill on a regular basis. I think getting rid of things is super important for pre-cleaning, especially in a smallish house.

Alica said... :) I used to...before kids and before I got "old" and tired...clean every Thursday. Thoroughly. The whole house. And it's a big farm house. But now...I've slacked off considerably. I used to mop my kitchen floor religiously every week, but now I'm not really supposed to mop (or vacuum), so it gets done when I have a "feel good" streak. My windows are so dirty. I get depressed when I remember how it used to be, but now I realize that reality is what it is. I did just wash all my dishes and the counters are clean here before bedtime! I wish I could justify a house cleaner!

Lisa said...

Oh, you had me laughing at your not giving up any pleasant pursuits to do more housework. :) But I feel better, because you are a woman of sense, and I admire you for it. I have no children, but I am at work three full days every week, and our house is over fifty years old, and with too much stuff in it. I've devised a two-week plan for (supposedly) getting the house cleaned. But I also want to sew, and do some knitting, and there's the baking, making bread, applesauce from our overflowing tree, and yogurt that I just finally learned how to make, the inside of the front door I want to paint, yet more "stuff" I want to purge, the gardening I try to do in summer (but have a hard time getting out of the house), etc. What I mean is, I really try to keep myself to this housework schedule, but any and all extra things are hard to fit in. I every now and then realize that these extra things should probably come first, and I have this back and forth tension all the time. So, the plan looks good on paper, but I often don't complete the cleaning and I'm often in a state of frustration. Or, I do the cleaning and this other stuff doesn't happen. If I move faster, I get wound up, and who needs that? (this is why my blog is called Searching for a Balance) :D But I always want to hear how others do it.

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elena bosi linares said...

Hi! I follow your blog regularly, but today I really enjoyed reading this post, I appreciate your honesty so much! Your cleaning/tyding routine is very similar to my own. I'm a freelancer working from home, with two kids and a husband (an architect like yours) who is often away for work, and even if I'm not satisfied with the way my home looks most of the time, I don't want to sacrifice my crafting/reading/playing with the kids in favor of a cleener, tidier house... maybe I'll find a better balance someday. Thank you for blogging :-) Elena

Becky said...

I despair of getting my windows clean, but I never thought of it as being due to 'city air' but that's exactly what it is - we live in the city, on the bus line AND on a corner, so those windows are hopeless. And because I hate to keep windows closed, the interior dust is a constant battle. And word on the shower - mine gets cleaned when it starts to smell or just starts looking so gross I can't stand it. But the kitchen is always clean. Laundry gets done when either A) I run out of something necessary, B)the laundry chute no longer accepts deposits and I realize it's backed up to the first floor of the house or C)a family member needs something and I realize I might as well be a little proactive on the laundry thing and run a load or two. It's usually A, although sometimes B.

Judy said...

I think the biggest key to keeping things clean is being consistent. I make sure that things are at least picked up every day, and that the kitchen is tidy. In addition to that, I've come up with a weekly schedule of stuff that has to be done, and barring a crisis of some sort, I stick to it. It really only comes down to about 30 minutes total work every day. My kids also have a chore schedule, and between us all, the house stays decent.

Finally, rather than doing a massive "spring clean", which is overwhelming, I have one major chore every month, and have arranged them so that our busiest months (May and December) have the least time-consuming ones.

Christy said...

Dear Margo,

You inspired me to clean out my refrigerator and deep freeze - all in one night. Thanks for your tips on cleaning the deep freeze from your blog. You communicated that it was easy and manageable - which it was!

Thank you!!


Lana said...

The inside of our house stays pretty clean with only two adults here but the windows are gross and require ladder work to clean the outsides. The yard is terrible this year and I am just waiting for the first hard frost to kill all the weeds and make everything look better.

Laurie L. said...

One small thing that has helped us with kid involvement is rotating their chores on a monthly basis instead of changing weekly. We waste less time checking whose turn it is to do what and get into more of a rhythm. (3-kid complexity alert- Margo :) I know that is a little off topic, but getting the whole family involved is an important aspect to me.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

I think you are doing a great job..With 3 kids, it is difficult to keep everything going ..
My kids are grown and gone, so my house is easier to upkeep now.. However, I seem a lot slower cleaning now.old age, ha. One hint that I try to keep up with is..ALWAYS... Do a 10-15 minute pick up /clean up before going to bed. This makes the house presentable, in case of an early morning visitor.. I "try' to always sweep the kitchen an living room before going to bed too..This doesn't always happen though.
Enjoyed this post.

German Zollinger said...

Like a lot of people cringe when the word "cleaning" is brought up, but I have found that sticking to some kind of cleaning routine really lowers my overall stress and anxiety levels. What works for me is washing the dishes first thing in the morning. When I'm finished I find that I am willing to clean up other areas.

German Zollinger @ Total Clean Equip

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