Confession: This is the time of year when I usually am deep into spring cleaning, but this year my spring will not include any deep cleaning. Judging by the snow that keeps getting dumped on us, I am not sure that my year will include any spring either. But I digress…
I do not enjoy housecleaning. I enjoy only the afterglow.
In fact, I have almost resolved to spend as little time housecleaning as possible for the rest of my life. But I do not enjoy a messy house either. In light of these facts, I tried an experiment that I just completed: my first month on a four-week cleaning schedule rotation, where I scrub for a few minutes each morning and that’s it. I found a sample schedule on this website (How to Clean Your House in 20 Minutes a Day for 30 Days – along with some great general cleaning tips), and it guided me in creating my own ongoing Four Week Cleaning Schedule. I am really loving it!
The monthly schedules I saw online were 30-day, and included no rest days. I planned mine as a 28-day schedule to follow a recurring weekly pattern, and I added days of rest on Sunday, because believe me I don’t love cleaning that much.
I had several misconceptions heading into the monthly schedule thing.
First, that cleaning more often would probably be worse than cleaning less often. On the contrary, I find it empowering (and even pleasant – don’t tell) to clean less, more often. I have only one or two focused jobs to do each day, and it’s power-forward cleaning, not deep cleaning. In 15-20 minutes, first thing in the morning, I can get it over with,* and I am freed from the haunting feeling of always more to be done, with a pileup waiting at the end of the week.
*That is, in my ideal world. Some days I achieve it, some days not.
Second, that my house would never be “all clean.” While this is partly true, it is also hiding the flipside of the coin, which is that my house will never be “all dirty.” I live in a big house, and cleaning the whole thing at once is daunting, to say the least. This past month when guests were due, it was easy for me to target the one or two areas that needed touching up.
Third, that my whole house needs to be cleaned every week. My schedule frequently revisits the areas I care most about: scrubbing the bathrooms, sweeping the downstairs floors, and dusting our main living areas. But the rest can be cleaned every two weeks, or even every month, and get by just fine. The schedule aims to catch the worst of the dirt and call it good.
Fourth, that I would feel too much pressure to keep up with a schedule. But I don’t. If something isn’t dirty, I don’t clean it. If my “first thing in the morning” cleaning window gets filled with other things, I clean later. If I don’t get to cleaning at all that day, I catch up on Saturday, or sic my big kids on the task when they get home from school. Hehee. I’m mean that way.
And so, in a nutshell, I’m sold.
If you choose to use a cleaning schedule, you’ll have to adjust it to fit your own house and habits. Mine is included in the link above only as an example.
How do you make cleaning manageable? If you actually like cleaning, can you share your tips?
Special thanks to my friend Renee Shafer for her “Clean first!” advice.