“Dammit! I have to clean the house again? Didn’t I just do this like a week ago, and the week before that? I need to get one of those self-cleaning homes.”
This is the conversation most of us moms are having with ourselves each time we look around at the dirt and mess and realize the house didn’t keep itself clean like we had hoped. For most people, cleaning sucks.
Not for me. I’m one of those rare unicorn crazy wackadoodles that LOVES the clean. This probably works out for the best since I ran a cleaning company for a decade. I’m not sure if I loved to clean before I started it and started to love cleaning because I started the business, but either way, I enjoy the act of cleaning. It makes me feel accomplished. I like when things look, feel and smell clean. Sometimes just the smell of nothing indicates to me that an area is clean (like a bathroom where I don’t have to smell pee anymore from the almost 4 year old boy who can’t see to aim.) But I know that not all moms share my enthusiasm for the act.
The thing is, and this is going to make you say “Girl, you crazy!” cleaning does not have to suck. Cleaning probably sucks because you may be spending our time doing the wrong things. It isn’t your fault. No one handed you a manual when you became an adult entitled “Cleaning and Housework 101” Maybe I should write that. It can be handed out at high school graduations, or in the delivery room.
I did sit down and really consider why I don’t hate cleaning and I discovered that there were some strategies I use that cleaning just plain suck less. Now, I can’t guarantee that you will leave this post and merrily scrub your house top to bottom while humming like a Disney princess, but I can say that using these tips will allow you to clean more effectively and hopefully make the entire process seem less unappealing.
1. Set up a schedule. Nothing says “This sucks.” like an impromptu cleaning session in the middle of a super busy day. Setting up a schedule means that not only will you get to everything, but you know what to expect. For example, if you have dusting the living on the schedule for Wednesday, but you notice how dusty the mantle is on Monday and become overly stressed about the task of having to do it right now, you can put your stress to bed knowing it will get done in a few days. A schedule keeps us accountable and it also breaks up big, daunting tasks (like cleaning an entire house in a day) down into small little, manageable chunks. Set up your cleaning schedule around your regular schedule. If Mondays are just a complete nightmare for your family’s schedule, don’t put any more than the bare minimum on that day. Do the dishes, wipe down the counter and leave the bigger tasks for the days that allow you more time.
2. Delegate the stuff you really hate. I don’t know about you, but I had kids so I would have someone to take the burden off of me in the house. I kid. But really, if there are jobs you just really hate, delegate those to your kids as chores. If you have more than one, allow them to alternate chores every few weeks or months. Even better, hire someone on a semi-regular basis to do those things. Maybe you can keep up with the weekly cleaning, but would love someone to come in each month and give the house a good, thorough cleaning of all the small areas you don’t get to. Or hire a mother’s helper once a week for an hour or two to fold and put away laundry. Find ways to delegate out that things that you really just loathe doing so you can focus on things that don’t make you want to throw a tantrum.
3. Let your cleaning products do their job. I don’t care how much you love cleaning, scrubbing sucks. It is time consuming and takes a lot of energy. A great way to combat this is to let the products do their job. Are you one of those people who sprays your cleaner and then immediately wipes it up with a cloth? Wrong way, sister. Most products, even those that are natural, are meant to sit and penetrate the dirt, grease and grime. It is how they are created and intended. Spray your worst areas down first and let the products do their jobs. You won’t have to put in nearly as much effort to scrub them clean.
4. Do a little bit at a time. As a professional (I feel like I should be wearing glasses and a tie when I say that) I highly recommend doing a little bit at a time versus having a cleaning day. Why? Because unless you have a day in the week that you can completely and happily dedicate to cleaning the entire house, you won’t get it all done and you’ll probably resent it the entire time. Most people hate cleaning because they let it go so long that it becomes an overwhelming thorn in their side. Doing a little bit at a time takes away from that. Find pockets of time to get things done. Even 5 minutes can make a big difference. Cleaning the bathroom while your kids are taking a bath, wash the dishes while the food cooks on the stove, dust the living room while you watch your favorite show at night. Using the cleaning schedule and this method together make the entire act of cleaning much easier. For those that say they don’t have enough time to even get 5 minutes of cleaning done, I say, if you had time to read this post, you have time to clean the kitchen counters. How you like them apples?
5. Make it fun. Come on. We all do it, so do it more often. Turn on the music, or your favorite audiobook or podcast and get to work. Listening to something you love makes the time zoom by.
6. Change your mindset. I am all about positive mindset. You can call it woo if you like, but the truth is, our mindset dictates everything we have and do in our lives, including the chores we do in our house. Rather than seeing cleaning as something you have to do, decide that it is something you get to do. When I look around my house, I am overwhelmed not by the amount of molding I have to dust, but by the fact that I live in such a beautiful home surrounded by beautiful things and beautiful people that fill my life with love and abundance. I look at our new furniture and rather than think “Just another thing to keep clean.” I remember back to the time when having this furniture was so far out of our reach, I would have given anything to have it. I feel grateful to have a house to clean and to have spunky, healthy children who make messes. It may sound Pollyanna, but it’s not. It’s all about seeing it in a different light. You don’t have to walk around all day in a state of naiveté over your chores and obligations, but you can choose to see that you get to do these things versus having to do them.
Even if you are a "Cleaning doesn't suck that bad" kinda mom, keeping a running tally of all the things that need to be cleaned in the house can be a daunting task! Sign up below to receive your free house cleaning master list, broken down by room. Print it out, keep it in a binder, hang it on the wall (it colorful and pretty) and use it to create your cleaning schedule or just as a useful guide for #allthethings that need to be cleaned in our homes.