Our Cleaning Routine
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When Emma was 10 months old, my husband changed jobs and started going away for weeks at a time for work. It was so hard to get anything done at all, especially cleaning! I have to admit, not a lot got done the first few months. I was overwhelmed and depressed.
But as Emma got a little older, and I got more practice at getting things done quickly! the atmosphere in my home changed. It’s amazing how a clean space can make us feel better and less stressed. And what’s more amazing is how a good cleaning routine can make that happen with just a little effort every day.
Give Yourself Grace!
Of course, being a stay-at-home mom with my husband away was not easy! And I put way too many expectations on myself to begin with. The feeling of a huge to-do list looming over me, with a screaming baby and never enough sleep, was paralyzing. Just getting a shower was hard enough some days (and still is)! I put the bar too high for myself, so I was always failing.
One day I was reading this book in a rare moment of peace. The author was talking about daily Bible reading, and said not to expect to be able to read every day if you’re home with a baby. That God is full of grace and that extends to new moms. That the Bible will still be here when that baby is a little more grown. If a mom is feeling called to try, of course she can! But we shouldn’t feel like we ‘have to’ every day, even when we’ve been up all hours of the night!
That hit home for me. If God sees me with grace, I can try to see myself with grace. I was exhausted, depressed, and lonely, with a baby. Of course my house wasn’t going to be spotless! It was for my own sake that I wanted it to be comfortable and welcoming, and not another source of stress.
What Do You Need to Do?
I started by writing down all the millions of things I needed to do related to cleaning (or it felt like millions anyway)! Every little thing, whether you have to do it multiple times a day or once a year. Write it down!
Then I separated them into categories: daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal. We lived in an apartment with no yard, but you could add yearly things if that applies to you.
Build Them into Your Daily Routine
Then came the hard part. We didn’t have much of a daily routine except eating and napping, so I built my daily and weekly cleaning tasks around those anchor points. Our cleaning routine has changed as Emma has grown up and dropped naps and feedings and when we’ve moved. But the basics are the same, and having a cleaning routine throughout all these changes has kept our home a haven!
The daily tasks are the ones I look forward to least! It seems like they will never end… and they won’t! But having structured time to get them done every day keeps them from piling up. I do dishes, a load of laundry, wipe down the tables, clean up toys, and do a quick vacuum each day. If I skip a day, it’s not too hard to catch up, but it definitely reminds me why I started a cleaning routine in the first place! All together, daily tasks take me about 30 active minutes spread throughout the day. You can read more about how I structure my days in my morning, afternoon, and bedtime routines.
I choose a weekly task to do each weekday, like washing the sheets or towels, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, and doing a more thorough vacuum of the whole house. This way I don’t have one big ‘cleaning day’ that I can dread and procrastinate! Weekly tasks take up about 20 minutes a day.
Chores like organizing closets, cleaning doors and windows, cleaning out the fridge, and washing our fabric couch, I do once a month or so. I usually do one of these tasks a week, but some days when the weather is nice and the spirit hits me, I’ll have a cleaning spree! I love the effect a just-washed couch or a shiny front door has on my whole day. These monthly tasks add on about 20 minutes a week.
About every three months or so I take some time to tighten furniture screws, use WD 40 on squeaky door hinges, run a descale cycle on appliances, and check the fire alarms. I’ll also do those annoying to-do items like paint over a scratch on the wall or wash a nasty shower curtain! I spread these throughout the season, and they just take a few minutes each. It feels good to know your home is running smoothly!
That’s my cleaning routine! I’m sure it will continue to evolve. Did I miss anything in my cleaning routine? Tell me in the comments!
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