Simple Cleaning Lessons

>> Thursday, August 9, 2018

My house is tidy. Mostly picked up . . . most of the time. But it's actually quite dirty. Like, stuff-stuck-on-the-floors, soap-scum-residing-in-the-tub-for-months, need-to-scrub-all-the-toilets sort of dirty. I go in waves with my enthusiasm for cleaning. Right now in the third trimester? It's exhausting just thinking about getting on my hands and knees to do the work.

I've read all sorts of articles on embracing the madness. That a messy home is a home full of love. And all that stuff. But I've also hit the nesting stage and it's bothering me -- BIG time. I would like my house clean. At least sort-of, kind-of clean. And I think there's a happy balance to be had.

Nerd alert: I spent a good deal of Eloise's nap looking up cleaning videos on YouTube yesterday afternoon. Yes, I have a writing deadline I should have been working on. Yes, I could have probably better used that time to actually get off my butt and clean. But I'm desperate. I am trying so hard to figure out a better way to keep my house clean, not just picked up.

There are a few things I learned, and I thought I'd share them here. Because I was THISCLOSE to calling a cleaning company, which is a luxury I think to be totally worth it if you have the funds. I cannot allocate money in that direction right now, so figuring out a way to simplify my cleaning practices is key. That said, we may be saving up some dollars and cents to hire occasional cleaning in the first few months after baby comes this time around. Because no new, breastfeeding-constantly-always mama has time (OK. maybe time, but desire!) to scrub with three kids and a husband who's gone six days a week.

// 1: Stop zone cleaning. 

This was interesting to me. Several articles and videos I watched said to stop approaching the house from a "clean the living room" or "clean the bathroom" perspective. Instead, do tasks like dusting throughout the entire house first, then move on to cleaning windows and mirrors, then move on to wiping down surfaces/scrubbing toilets/etc. and then to floors. I've never tried cleaning my house this way, so I am intrigued.

// 2: Prioritize. 

Stephen and I have really different cleaning styles. I get bogged down basically taking a toothbrush to every microscopic area that could be gone over. He goes really fast and glosses over a lot. We need to marry these approaches, at least sort of. Like I could be LESS detailed and he could be MORE detailed. But we need to prioritize the areas we want the cleanest together. Generally things like kitchen surfaces and toilets/tubs are big priorities. Dusting the tops of the kitchen shelves and ceiling fans might not be something that makes it as high up the list.

// 3: Gather together. 

I don't have one of those cleaning buckets or baskets. My cleaning supplies are scattered in different areas by room. Because as I mentioned before, I used to clean by room. But if you do tasks, it makes more sense to gather everything in a basket or cardboard box -- whatever -- and take it to the areas you're cleaning in that moment so you aren't running around the house like a crazy person.

// 4: Enlist your kids.

This is something I have just started doing recently, and I'm seeing how it goes. Ada is old enough now to help with more cleaning tasks. Since my belly has kept me from wanting to bend over, I'm taking full advantage and asking her to do more. For example, after dinner ends up all on the kitchen floor . . . I ask her to go through with our hand vacuum each night and suck it up. No, she doesn't do a perfect job. But I don't have to do it. I have also asked her to start picking up toys (which is easier having gotten rid of so many!) with Eloise. Their top motivator is playing cleanup songs on YouTube. Yes, I could have started that way sooner, but I am a control freak and often figured it would be faster if I just did it.

// 5: Set a timer.

This is my own tip, because otherwise I think I may spend the next year cleaning without any breaks. I am planning to set a timer each day for 15 minutes to dedicate to cleaning. On another day each week, I may set it to 30 minutes or -- alternatively -- 15 minutes, twice that day. And then on the weekend, I may set it to 45 minutes or 15 minutes, THREE times in a day (with the whole family's help that day). I have trouble setting out to clean and having no set start or end time. If I break it into chunks, I think it will feel more manageable. I don't want to spend hours cleaning, but I am hoping by dedicating time each day -- even just 15 minutes -- I'll be able to power through better.

Do you have any cleaning tips to share?

I've seen so many "rhythms" and methods for taking each day to zone clean . . . but none of them have ever worked for me.

And if you're curious, my favorite cleaning YouTuber is Clean My Space. She uses VERY simple DIY cleaners. Mostly baking soda, vinegar, and water with microfiber cloths. No fussy recipes. She also gives tons of tips for fast cleaning and more deep cleaning.

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