I'm not the world's best housekeeper.
I just have a lot to juggle in life and can't seem to fit deep cleaning days into my week or stay on track with color coded chore charts. Don't judge. I'm not good with coupon clipping either, but that is another topic all in itself.
I'm a pastor's wife in a brand new start up church, I run my own business (The Inspired Room) and I have a busy family. To say I am running in a million different directions every day would be an understatement. I am a busy woman, but I wouldn't trade any one of my responsibilities! God is good and I feel blessed by all he has brought into my life and the opportunities I have to serve Him.
But am I a failure as a homemaker?
In spite of my lack of time to keep an immaculate house, I will admit I am happiest and most productive in other areas when my home is tidy, clean, fairly presentable. That is an interesting dilemma for me. How do I juggle it all?
At some point along the way in my 23 years as a wife and homemaker, I decided since there was no way I was going to be able to spend every waking moment housekeeping, I had to simplify my expectations and figure out how to keep my home looking "clean enough." I needed to find a system that worked for me and let go of the expectation that I could measure up to how someone else might do it.
I eventually settled in to four daily systems that work for me. I know they are not going to win me the Homemaker of the Year award, but I just have to be realistic about what works for me.
1. Morning routines. This routine involves at the very least: some quiet time, making the bed, taking a shower (hanging up my towel when I am done, of course!), putting on very simple makeup and getting dressed right down to my shoes. I usually toss in a load of laundry as I am getting dressed. I find if I start out the day with those few things, I am ready for anything.
2. Clean sinks. I learned the Flylady system back when my son was born. I was taking care of him and my two grade school girls and during the day I was watching my nephew who was born five weeks before my son. All that and working part-time! With four kids taking over my tiny house, I ran into frustration over having too much to handle. Flylady to the rescue! She broke it down for me and I listened: clean and shiny sinks, always.
I follow this principle both in our bathrooms and the kitchen. Something about striving for that shiny sink keeps me from letting dirty dishes pile up in the kitchen and icky stuff like hair and spit greeting me every time I pass through the bathroom.
3. Cleaning frenzies. Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I have utilized what we call "cleaning frenzies" to give our home a quick clean up. A cleaning frenzy might last ten minutes or even up to an hour. Quite often everyone in the family participates, including the kids. We run around picking things up, putting things back, and generally tidying things up.
Sometimes we focus on one room; sometimes it is an entire house frenzy. Sometimes it is a task frenzy, like dusting or cleaning all toilets! It works like a charm to make a big impact in a short period of time. Even one "10-minute cleaning frenzy" a day keeps the frustration away.
4. Nightly kitchen clean up. Every night, almost without fail, we clean the kitchen. We put away dishes, load the final dishwasher load of the day, wipe off counters, and polish up the sink. There is nothing like waking up to a clean kitchen to make your day feel less overwhelming.
If I have my basic systems and routines down, my home stays "clean enough" for me most of the time. My family knows the routine and we all have to pitch in and do what needs to be done. Keeping up on things means I rarely feel overwhelmed by housekeeping. When my home is maintained on a daily basis, it is really easy to add in a few extra tasks now and then to really shine things up or get things organized.
But if I let my daily routines go, my house soon spirals out of control. And when my home is out of control, pretty soon I am spiraling out of control too. It is a crazy cycle.
My house isn't perfect by any means, but I am OK with that. It is CLEAN ENOUGH! And that is good enough for me.
For more simple ideas for your home, come visit me at my blog The Inspired Room.
What are your tried and true homemaking routines?
What is your biggest area of frustration in keeping your house clean?