So this one time, when I was feeling extra
dramatic stressed out, I opened the door to my room at the end of the day and saw my cat sleeping in a pile of still-wet laundry and trash on my floor.
(To be fair, she had knocked the trash can over herself, and I REALLY DID THINK THE LAUNDRY WAS DRY, OKAY?)
Ginnie looked up at me with a face that I can only imagine meant that she was thinking “Geez, mom. I could have stayed on the streets if I wanted to live in a dump.” So I proceeded to lay on the floor for 15 minutes to feel sorry for myself, and reflect on my general inadequacies as an adult, a woman, and a human being.
Then, I remembered that I had three people coming over to my house in less than an hour, and my cat was asleep in a pile of trash and (presumably) mildew. The bathroom wasn’t clean and my sink was full of dishes.
I’m sure you can imagine what the next 45 minutes of my life were like.
Anyway, we’ve all done this, right? We all know what this is like.
But the thing about me is, I think more clearly and feel much happier when things are clean.
I’m not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t function as well in a mess. And not only that, but I love being able to have people over on the fly without having to attack my bathroom with Clorox wipes before I can let them through the door. What I needed was a way to have my place be essentially clean, all the time.
That’s cute and all, but I am really busy. And so are you.
I’m teaching about 50 hours a week, I run this blog, write books, and attempt to have a social life. So I had to figure out a way to make this happen in a way that would fit within my wild schedule and not require me to become OCD about it.
So I created a system, and with a little tweaking, found a way to keep my home clean all the time, while only spending two hours a week or less “cleaning”.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose a day that you can stick to fairly consistently. Think of a time when you’re normally home, not in a rush, and don’t have things going on. Mine is Tuesday night. When’s yours?
- Choose 4-5 tasks that need to happen every week, so you can maintain order. I recommend that you do the following, once a week: Vacuum your floors, clean your bathroom, do your last week’s laundry, and put away any clutter. These are the essentials.
- Choose 4-5 tasks that need to happen every month, so you don’t let anything slide for too long. I dust, clean out my car, mop my kitchen and tile floors, change my sheets, and throw out any old food in my kitchen.
- Choose 4-5 tasks that need to happen every SIX months, because you’re awesome. Since I have a cat, I do a more serious vacuum and dust of my place with the little hose on my vacuum, so I can nab any litter that collects there over time. I also clean out my closet, swap out my clothes for spring or fall, depending, and clean out my bathroom drawers and cabinets.
- You also need a list of every day tasks, but keep it short! Dishes in the dishwasher, no food laying out, wipe off your counter tops, and take out the trash.
And, I can manage this even with my crazy, busy life! I made a printable version of this system for you to download, if you’d like! It’s free of course. I’m just trying to spread the cleaning love.
Having a system and a plan makes all the difference, but I’m not perfect at this.
I don’t want to give the impression that my home is perfectly clean all the time, because it’s not. There are weeks that I don’t get to this at all. But having a schedule makes it so that things can’t slide too far out of whack, if I don’t get to them right away.
Most importantly? I feel so much better when I don’t come home to a mess. So. Much. Better.