Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Cleaning Routine

   
     Cleanliness standards for a home vary from person to person. Great debates arguments are held on this topic. People seem to get really upset while defending their personal preference. Add the matter of caring for children as well and it's a real messy mix. 

     Caring for the home and children seems to be presented repeatedly as an either/or situation- either I keep a clean house and pay less attention to my children or I permit a mess and focus all my attention on my children instead. When I became a mother, I felt as thought this either/or situation was reality but was not satisfied with this situation. I asked and read quite a few sources of how to successfully manage caring for child(ren) and the home. The majority of responses were dismaying. I received advice to accept a mess for myself and my home. If the child(ren) had basic needs met, even if that meant fast food meals, then consider the day a success. Of course, there was also the support for focusing almost entirely on relationship and playing with one's children and leaving the cooking and cleaning. Honestly, I wasn't at all satisfied with any of these answers. I also didn't care for the insinuation that maintaining a clean home must mean that you're not attentive to your children or that they are not your priority. 

      I couldn't, and still don't, understand why managing the home and children must be an either/or situation. Only one person encouraged me to have a high standard for managing both my home and children. There is balance, and both the home and children can be very well taken care of without detracting from either entity. I fully believe this perspective. It's a matter of being very proactive and having a plan in the day for when there will be work and when there will be play. There is time for both. 

     The following is just a few benefits I see in maintaining order within our home. 

     Orderliness...

  • allows us to easily find whatever we're needing, and thus saving us time and energy
  • demonstrates responsibility for our messes (ie we aren't leaving them for someone else to clean up)
  • demonstrates value in our possessions 
  • demonstrates respect for others who must share the space within the home
  • teaches children that there is time for work and time for play (I want my child(ren) to witness work taking place and then later participate in that work rather than be in free play all the time)
  • protects safety within the home. (We can't be tripping over stuff just to move around within our home, especially when carrying a baby). 
  • encourages the home to be a place of peacefulness and rest (there's enough chaos in life)
     Strategies...

  • I offer Tennyson a "table activity" (any activity that he can play with independently at the table) after each meal. He's required to remain seated and play at the table for 10 minutes while I clean up the meal mess. He needs to witness that we clean up our messes and I need him to not be running around unsupervised when I need to focus on the task).
  • Always go to bed with the dishes washed. In the morning, put away those clean dishes so that you're starting the day with an empty dishwasher and clean drying counter ready for that day's dishes.
  • Always complete one load of laundry per day. Laundry piles up quickly. One basket of clean laundry requires less energy and time than several baskets. 
  • The greatest help- pick up after yourself. This is a habit that even David and I are still working on as adults! It's so easy to simply leave things laying instead of immediately putting them where they belong. It's a constant work in progress.
  • Own less stuff! I'm a minimalist. Clutter produces a stress response in me, whereas organization makes me giddy. (I'm very much a type a personality). Extra stuff means extra time, energy and perhaps even finances to maintain it. I view excess as a complete waste of all my resources. I'd rather spend less to maintain less. Less stuff, less to clean. {Note: My husband is the opposite. He inherited the tendency to .. uh hem.. "collect" and be rather disorganized. I certainly don't want to be a wife that tells her husband what he can or can't do or have, and so I try my best to not say anything about messes. (But I'll admit that sometimes I do fuss). I focus, instead, on any excess I may have personally or any excess we may have as a family. In general, the interior of our home is for me to manage and he respects that I need a certain standard of tidy to do so successfully. Anyways, just a little note on this area for potential nagging and disrespect). 
  •  Organization, organization, organization! I've sometimes found it hard to invest in organizational tools because I don't know if that item will be helpful in our next home (we move frequently). However, when things become left out repeatedly, it could be because they don't have a proper home. For instance, we used to just store our shoes around the perimeter of our bed. Eventually, shoes were scattered all underneath the bed and on the floor. We 1) needed less shoes and 2) needed an under-the-bed shoe organizer. 
  • Include cleaning in your daily routine/schedule. This is essential to creating balance in the day. A schedule allows for there to be time for work (ie cleaning) and time for play (ie relationship building with the child(ren). Plan for what the child(ren) will be preoccupied with while a household task is completed. Once the task is completed, then my attention may be directed entirely on my child(ren). There is time for both in the day! Again, it's a matter of being proactive and planning!
     Below is a copy of my current cleaning routine. I've modified it several times to find a plan that is achievable on a daily basis. I've determined that some tasks aren't entirely necessary to complete every single week. Instead, I do them every other week. I've also decided that tidying every room every day can be exhausting. Instead, I spread out all the rooms across the week and tidy two rooms per day. All rooms aren't spotless all the time, but they are all accomplished each week and are well maintained. In sum, my daily cleaning routine includes tidying two rooms and a deep cleaning task. It takes me all of thirty minutes at most to complete each day and is often completed during the first part of Tennyson's afternoon nap. Everyone will have a plan that works best for her. Like I said, mine has been through a few phases and this is currently the one I've had the most success at accomplishing each day. 
Click image to view larger
Edits:
 *Tuesdays of 2nd & 4th week: "Mop kitchen, downstairs bathroom and upstairs bathroom floors"
*"Tennyson's room/office" will soon become "kids room" and the office items moved to a different area
     Caring for both the child(ren) and the home simultaneously can be done, and done well! Set a high standard, and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

1 comment:

  1. Very well presented. I truly believe we do our children a disservice when we make them believe that they are the center of the universe, and such, that we exist only to entertain them. Children need to feel that they are a part of the family, not the center of the family. I believe part of making them feel a part of the family is by incorporating them into the work, not trying to accomplish all of it between entertaining them. As you said, there is a time for work and a time for play. You are a great mom and I really like your schedule. I may try it myself for a month just to see how much better it works than my current schedule.

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