As you can tell by the title of this post, “cleaning” looks much different for me now. I used to be over-the-top when it came to cleaning our home. Granted our home was a bit smaller back in the day, but because I had the time, I spent a lot of time keeping things “just so.”
Maybe you’ve had those seasons of life too.
My mom raised us well. She taught us to value what we own, to take care of it, keep our rooms clean (though I was probably the worst at that b/c I collected EVERYTHING), but our chores reflected keeping things kept up. I’m sure we complained often of doing our chores, but I look back at that and am so thankful for the way my mom taught me how to clean! We did it diligently every week. That sent the precedence for me and how I raise our Mazy Grace.
Before Mazy was born, I cleaned everything from top to bottom, every week. It didn’t take me long, like maybe an hour (like I said, our house wasn’t huge). But everything was cleaned well and I felt this sense of accomplishment. Then when we moved to Minnesota, I got into this kick of loving to organize. I loved it so much that I started an organizing blog and then became even more “clean” oriented, but also started purging, and purging, and realized that cleaning took much less time because I had less stuff to get in the way. That was a bit eye opening for me! It’s really a simple concept, but one that we often forget:
The less we have, the less time it will take to clean, maintain, and fix things.
It’s really that simple. Have less stuff.
So after I went through a huge purging mode and was content with what I had, I realized it changed my life, but I also found myself less obsessed with cleaning. Is that odd? At that time too, Mazy was born and even though I didn’t leave the house much, I started to not be so obsessed with the cleanliness of our house. And it was a beautiful thing! I always tried to keep our floors relatively clean because Mazy never crawled – she only scooted. So her bum would wipe up any dirt our house had…which encouraged me to keep them clean.
Now being a bit older, having worked through some health issues, having a different home, I find myself having a very different perspective on cleaning. I think it is important to have an orderly life – I’ve read studies that prove some anxiety is caused by disorganization in the home. I say that very loosely – and that does NOT mean that all anxiety is related to this. It’s just that SOME levels of anxiety can be heightened when there is clutter and disorganization. But with that said, we have a 3 year old and her attention span lasts about 3 minutes with what she is playing with at a given time. That means she keeps busy! But that also keeps me thinking about ways to keep our house and clean and tidy. She also wrestles with some anxieties in life, so I want to minimize them the best I can by keeping order in our 4 walls too.
So what does cleaning look like for me now? Depending on the week, I dust about every 2-3 weeks. My test? The piano. If I can see the dust on my finger when I swipe across the piano, I know it’s time! I vacuum every week and also try to clean the bathroom every week. Those are areas of our home that get very dirty. You’d think a bathroom wouldn’t get that dirty or shouldn’t get that dirty if you think about it, since that’s where we get clean and freshen up, but for some reason, bathrooms just get dirty! So, I try to clean ours every week.
We have an upstairs and that, well, doesn’t get cleaned often at all, since Mazy only plays up there occasionally. Our downstairs is unfinished and I don’t even want to talk about that area. Our goal is to work on it this coming winter – last winter with my surgeries, we didn’t get to it like we had hoped, but all things in good time, right?
But one thing I consciously try to do everyday, is pick up our house. Yes, it’s one of those never-ending battles, but I find much peace in waking up in the morning to a picked up home. The biggest key is to ensure that everything has a place. When you tell your child to pick up, do they know where to put the item? Does it have a place? That is the biggest clue as to whether or not everything has a place in your home! Mazy is learning the routine of picking up what you are done with, and it’s been amazing! It was a very hard lesson to learn, (just read about the two toys she refused to pick up), but that whole ordeal sure paid off! She does not hesitate, as of yet!
All that to say, my biggest key to cleaning now, is just picking up and putting everything in it’s place. After Mazy goes to bed, I pick up what I have left behind from the day (since Mazy has picked up her things, which we made part of the bedtime routine). I put the dishes in the dishwasher that didn’t get put away before, clear the counter if I get a chance, and start to set things out for the next day. Believe it or not, it’s a calming and winding down routine for me, and I feel prepared for the next day.
But cleaning has sure evolved over the years for me! As Mazy grows older, we plan to share the chore jobs with her, since we are all part of this family together, and we will take care of this house together, but I want her to value a clean and picked up home to some extent too. To take care of and appreciate what we’ve been given. If my house is a disaster and continues to be from day to day, I start to ask myself: what do I have too much of? Do I own too many things?
Everything in it’s place.
How about you? What is your cleaning routine? How do you keep up your home? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Disclaimer: Don’t get the idea that our home is always picked up! Just the other day, we had a tent in the middle of the living room, mulch and stones in the middle of the floor from Mazy “building a fire,” stickers stuck in the carpet, I found little playdough chunks on the floor from her transporting a project, and marbles were nestled in well into the carpet. Our house is NOT what you think it is, folks! Don’t get the wrong idea! But by the end of the day, it was all picked up. That’s my goal.