Let me just start off by saying I am definitely not the cleanest person in the world. I’m not terribly messy, either. I like to describe my way of living as…organized chaos. My roommates from college could probably vouch for this, and I know my husband definitely can. This way of living worked out just fine when it was just the two of us. To be honest, my husband did a lot of the cleaning because I was working most of the time and by the time I got home, I was too tired to do anything. The minute we had a baby…let me rephrase that, the minute we had a mobile baby on our hands, I knew that my old habits wouldn’t fly anymore.
I really do love the idea of cleaning, and sometimes it is a great stress reliever or a way to exercise control in an otherwise [beautifully] chaotic life. However, I also really love eating ice cream, browsing Pinterest, taking naps and sitting at the computer editing photos. And more often than not, I find myself doing all of those activities and foregoing the cleaning altogether. Again, it’s not like our house is incredibly messy, but I have recently found myself wanting it to be a little less so.
Over the past year or so, I stumbled upon three thoughts (no, these are not my own) that really revitalized my outlook on cleaning and wanted to pass them along:
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. Myquillyn Smith, aka The Nester (http://www.thenester.com/), coined this awesome phrase: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Last year, she published a book with this title (here it is on Amazon) and I snatched it up the minute I knew about it because (a) I’m a sucker for a cute cover and this one takes the cake and (b) this book is all about making the best out of the space you have and not waiting for the perfect home to start decorating (which I’ve totally done/am still doing). While the book is full of gems, the one that really stuck with me is that your house does not have to be perfectly clean to have people over. In fact, she pointed out that sometimes it is comforting for your guests to see a little clutter or mess here and there. It makes you more approachable and seem more real. I don’t know about you, but this was a mind blowing concept for me. Now, of course, everything in moderation right? I’m not telling you to leave piles of dirt on your floor or your dirty laundry thrown everywhere, but what a freeing thought. The fact of the matter is, you live in your house. When you invite someone over, they shouldn’t expect perfection because, well, life isn’t perfect. So if the dishes aren’t done, or if the kid’s toys are still out, it’s okay.
- A little time can go a long way. Anyone else feeling like they’re short on time? Yeah, me too. Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (another book on Amazon) confronts this thought process and points out that even if you take just fifteen minutes a day to tidy up, you will see a big difference overall. Fifteen minutes? I mean, really. I can’t be the only one who has decided to look at Facebook and fifteen minutes later I’m still sitting in the same spot. If I’m finding myself getting frustrated or overwhelmed looking around the house, all I have to do is put my phone down and do something. It could be putting away laundry, doing the dishes, wiping down the counters, sweeping the floors. It’s amazing what can be done in fifteen minutes.
- It helps to have a routine. I recently stumbled upon Clean Mama’s Instagram account (https://instagram.com/cleanmama) and was blown away. She has housecleaning down to a science and yet, it really is simple and completely doable. Her philosophy is one chore a day and it goes like this: Monday’s are for bathrooms, Tuesday’s are for dusting, vacuuming is done on Wednesday’s, floors are on Thursday’s, Friday is a catch-all day and Saturday is for washing sheets and towels. Most of the time, a lot of these daily chores can be done within fifteen minutes (so she claims). I have to say, I really love the idea of this routine but I’ve struggled maintaining it. I was able to do it successfully for one full week and definitely saw a difference. It takes me more than fifteen minutes for most of these, though, and I am still trying out my own variations to see if I can’t come up with something that works for our house. Regardless, having the idea of a routine opened up a whole realm of possibility and I wanted to pass it along.
What are some of your philosophies on cleaning? I would love to hear if you have any routines, tips or tricks that help you keep your house less messy!
Til next time,