Photo by Desirea Rodgers
This post was originally published on February 24, 2009.
You may have expected to see a photo of me cleaning. But I thought I'd show you what I'd rather be doing instead.
Before I became a mother, I was quite the cleaning perfectionist. But adding three children to your family in less than three years has a way of mellowing you out (and making you completely insane, but that's for another post).
My current cleaning motto is "work smarter, not longer." I aim to focus on what matters - cleaning for order, peace, and hygiene. Anything else is an unnecessary distraction.
I like cleaning what really needs to be cleaned. If I can see dirt and remove it, I feel I'm helping my family. But if I'm working on something just cleaned a few days ago, it seems a bit pointless.
I clean my whole house in about 1 hr and 15 minutes each week.
Here's my method:
I made a list of the top priority chores that absolutely MUST get done in order to maintain simple order and beauty. Then I listed the number of minutes to devote to each task. That's important, as spending too long diminishes the ROI (return on investment) of my time.
I then compiled my list into a four week rotation system (there's nothing magical about four weeks; that's just how mine worked out).
For example, Week One looks like this:
- Upstairs Bathroom (30 minutes)
- Downstairs Bathroom – quick (10 minutes)
- Sweep Downstairs (15 minutes)
- Mop Kitchen/Dining Room (15 minutes)
- Vacuum Sunroom Rug (5 minutes)
If you take a look at my list, you'll notice what is NOT on it.
Dusting? Nope. Cleaning the refrigerator? Nuh-uh. Wiping baseboards? No way.
How do I handle nonessential cleaning chores?
I wait. Until the grime starts to bug me. Then I make time to sort it out.
So when I notice dust on the fireplace mantel, I'll grab a rag and wipe - the mantel. I won't dust the entire living room because I only noticed the mantel!
The same with the baseboards or fridge. When I think, "Wow, that's gross." Then I do something about it.
I keep my Weekly Cleaning Rotation in my Home Planner--in a plastic page protector. As the week goes by and I tackle an item, I cross off the accomplished task with a dry erase marker.
Want to make your own cleaning rotation?
Here's a blank one for your downloading pleasure. Enjoy!
This cleaning system works for me. My house is usually tidy with everything in its place. And I don't think any visitors would think it unclean (If you know me and disagree, don't tell - let me live in ignorance, please!)
I want my children to remember an uncluttered, beautiful home. One with enough order to live and learn and do lots of loving.
But if they remember a cleaning perfectionist, I think I will have missed the point.
Streamlining cleaning is another way to be an intentional, professional mother.