In my endeavor to live life more fully, I’m always evaluating things I want to incorporate into my life and what things I DON’T want. I want to have a beautiful and organized home, but there are other things in life that are important to me too. I want my home to be in order so I am free to nurture relationships and enjoy living, but I don’t want to be a slave to my housekeeping routines.
So, how do I balance it all? I keep it simple.
When I was a younger mom, I was forever making up lists and methods to keep track of everything from organization to daily routines. The problem was, once I would get the systems all set up, I would fail miserably at using them. I had made housekeeping more complicated than it needed to be. I felt like I was always behind and my house seemed on the verge of chaos.
Over the years I’ve found four basic housekeeping routines that work for me, and I’m sticking to them. I can add other things, of course, but these are the tried and true basics.
1. Morning routines. I have found that having a regular morning routine works best for me. This involves at the very least: some quiet time, making the bed, taking a shower, putting on very simple makeup and getting dressed right down to my shoes. I always toss in a load of laundry as I am getting dressed. I find if I start out the day with those few things, I am ready for anything.
2. Clean sinks. I learned the Flylady system back when my son was born. I was taking care of him and my two grade school girls and during the day I was watching my nephew who was born five weeks before my son. All that and working part-time! With four kids taking over my tiny house, I ran into frustration over having too much to handle. Flylady to the rescue! She broke it down for me and I listened: clean and shiny sinks, always. I follow this principle both in our bathrooms and the kitchen. Something about striving for that shiny sink keeps me from letting dirty dishes pile up.
3. Cleaning frenzies. Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I have utilized what we call “cleaning frenzies” to give our home a quick clean up. A cleaning frenzy might last ten minutes or even up to a half hour. But everyone participates, including the kids. We run around picking things up, putting things back, and generally tidying things up. Sometimes we focus on one room; sometimes it is an entire house frenzy. It works like a charm to make a big impact in a short period of time. Even one “10-minute cleaning frenzy” a day keeps the frustration away.
4. Nightly kitchen clean up. Every night, almost without fail, we clean the kitchen. We put away dishes, load the final dishwasher load of the day, wipe off counters, and polish up the sink. There is nothing like waking up to a clean kitchen to make your day feel less overwhelming.
If I have my basic routines down, my home stays “clean enough” most of the time. Keeping up on things means I rarely feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done! When my home is maintained on a daily basis, it is really easy to add in a few extra tasks now and then to really shine things up or get things organized.
But if I let my daily routines go, my house soon spirals out of control. My house isn’t perfect by any means, but I am OK with that. I’m sticking to my tried and true basics. No more complicated chore charts for me!
I can do everything through him that gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NIV