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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Find Your Cleaning Routine

I love a clean house, immaculate counters, tubs and showers, spotless floors, order and inventory ... but the truth is that I love my children and having a life more!  So I've learned what is clean *enough* for me and I try not to get behind.  But when I do inevitably get behind, I don't let it get me down because when I think of my childhood, I don't think of the spotless kitchen floors but I remember the many times we had fun in the kitchen.  I want to live my life, not be distracted or engaged in less than important activities.  There is a general level of hygiene demanded, but my home doesn't need to be ready for a photoshoot at all times.

So I've learned to embrace the idea of "Clean Enough" which I first learned about at The Inspired Room.  For me, the must-clean areas are the kitchen counters & stove, bathroom counters and fixtures, orderly beds and general clutter control. This is what I need to feel peace and function well inour space.  In light of these needs, this is my daily cleaning routine:

Morning Routine: Make beds, wipe counters after brushing teeth and getting ready, empty clean dishes from the dishwasher which makes room for the daily dishes.  My family members are on board with me to hang wet towels and make their own beds (with help).

Afternoon:  Before nap/rest time and again before dinner we pickup the floors, straighten the sofa pillows and try to get back to a 'clean slate.'  This state does not last long!

Evening: one more clean-up, make sure art desk is trash-free (lots of cutting takes place here), dishes are taken from the table to the counter and chairs are pushed in.  After the children are in bed, I ot the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, wipe down the kitchen counters and stove then wipe down the children's toilet with a flushable wipe (necessary with two young boys), and I wash & fold one load of laundry just to keep up.  I often spot-vacum out of necessity.

Weekly: In-depth toilet scrub, change bedding, whole house vacum and sweet wood floors.

What gets left out: Mopping - my least favorite household task...this only gets done in extreme cases, otherwise I generally wipe problem areas as needed.  Dusting - again, I let this go until it demands attention.  Stressing - I find if I keep up with the basics, my house is clean enough to be functional and presentable for guests.  It works for us, especially in this season.  I want me children to remember me, enjoying their space, not a rigid home where they can't relax and let down.

Here are some other great resources and inspiring finds:

Simple Mom
Emilie's Creative Home Organizer (oh, to be this organized!)
The Nesting Place
The Creative Mom

Today, decide what you need in order to function and have peace at home, then let go of the rest.  Think about what works and what doesn't and the expectations we place on ourselves.  Enjoy your space and your life by intentionally letting go of what doesn't really matter.  And please, share if you have any ideas or great resources, and what must be done in your home daily?