6/25/15

Keeping Clean: The Cleaning Routine

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Keeping Clean Tip No. 3: Come up with a cleaning routine that works for you. Ignore the rest.

Alternate title: Let's all take a chill pill.

The problem with the cleaning routines I've seen in books and floating around on Pinterest is this: they're rigid and strict and have the power to send people into a panic-- or at the very least, make folks feel guilty about the way they clean. Monday is for bathrooms, Tuesday is for vacuuming, Wednesday is for wiping down the walls (what?) Thursday is for laundry, and so on. It all feels overbearing and stressful, and frankly, a little unrealistic. And it's not the way I like to clean.

That said, I do have my own little daily routine. It's mine, and it's good, and it's less about getting the entire house clean from top to bottom throughout the week, and much, much more about accomplishing a few choice things in order to sit down at the end of the day and say ahhhh

You see, a cleaning routine is a very personal thing.

I like to think back to the time when Ralph was a fresh newborn. I had all sorts of anxieties pulsing through my mushy mom brain, but one of the things I remember worrying about most was how on earth I was ever going to get the dishes done. I wasn't concerned with the laundry, and the groceries could always wait one more day, but, so help me, someone had to do those dishes. Ryan and I learned pretty quickly that the sight of a dirty kitchen at the end of the day stressed me out big time. We started to work harder at cleaning it up right away, so we could spend the rest of the evening taking turns shushing and bouncing a sad baby around the house.

Later on, Ralph became familiar with crunchy Cheerios and playground sand and suddenly I realized that walking on a dirty floor at the end of the day made me feel just as panicky as a dirty sink. We added sweeping and vacuuming to the list of daily chores.

I'm afraid I'm starting to sound like a nitpicky drag who can't relax with her family unless things are in exact order. And to some degree...I won't deny it. But I'm mostly trying to tell you that as I settled into my new role as stay-at-home-mom and chief keeper of the house, I began to realize just how much work needed to be done to keep a home clean-- and just how impossible that was if one wanted to accomplish anything else that day, let alone have a little fun. So, I cheated. I decided to only tackle the things that drove me nuts. And I got pretty good at turning a blind eye to whatever was left.

If, throughout the course of the day, I can manage to make the beds, keep the dishes under control, sweep up a days' worth of dust and dirt and crumbs, and give a once over to the clutter that collects on any flat surface of the house, I can enjoy myself a whole lot more. Because those are the things that, if left alone for too long, tend to make my skin prickle. 

I can also avoid scrubbing the tile in my shower for an embarrassingly long time, because, eh. Unless company is coming, I'm cool with letting it go a while.

That's why I want to laugh when I'm asked how I keep my house looking so clean, because more often than not, it's really not that clean at all. Like most people, I'd rather spend my days watching my little boy splash around in his kiddie pool, and my evenings poking around in the garden or looking for fireflies on the back step with my husband-- not tackling the "chore of the day" on my cleaning schedule printable. 

Now, if you're reading this and thinking that I didn't really provide you with any substantial cleaning tips at all, stay tuned. The way I keep my house clean has a lot to do with a really spectacular deep clean once every few weeks. It might have even more to do with getting rid of junk and trying to live with less (also known as the very trendy "minimalism" or not hoarding.) But both of those things are posts for another day.

Until then, let's all just relax a bit, shall we? Let's take care of the things that help us sleep better at night, and leave the rest for another day. There are cheeks to kiss and fireflies to catch.

57 comments:

  1. I love how you write this! I agree 100%. Tackle what concerns you. I must have my kitchen counter-tops clear and spotless, but I have NEVER (and I mean, never) mop my kitchen floors (and now I have a cleaning lady, and she washes them, but she was a bit appalled when I admitted I never had)

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    Replies
    1. Ha! If it doesn't bug you, why bother? No one will know. :)

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  2. i just found your blog an am loving it. your point of view is great: beautiful and inviting but relaxed and accessible. very post-martha.

    i also want to echo a comment on a previous post about your garden: where did you get the gray linen dress with white embroidery you're wearing in it? it's beautiful and exactly what i've been looking for but can never find (especially since i can't shop much these days with a 3- and a 1-year-old in the house).

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Emily! So sweet of you.

      I bought that dress on Etsy from a shop called "chokthai." It's a great summer dress and I'm trying to wear it as much as I can before the baby comes, because it's not the easiest to nurse in. Hope you can find it!

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    2. thanks! and i hope all goes well for you and the baby!

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  3. Gosh Amelia, I am so happy you are back to fill these empty spaces up with your wonderful post's and loving this series! I am at a lost with blogging but love keeping up with my favorite's when I can. I completely relate to this and have a love for keeping things tidy. A clean kitchen was always a rule of thumb from my grandma and I take great pride into just that very same feeling. It make's laying down to sleep at night a tad easier. (something about knowing you wake up to start fresh!) Love keeping up on IG and here and looking forward to more! X

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  4. love it. hey, wondering ... my wooden scrub brushes are black - mold? - and everyone else's look clean and new. do you know how to clean them? soak them in bleach maybe?

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  5. I can't even put into words how much I love this! I have recently had to come to terms with the same realization. I'm pregnant with my second baby, my first came 7 weeks early, so although I'm not on "bed rest" I've been advised that relaxation and doing the minimal is the name of the game. So even though I have a laundry room full of well meaning but unrequested hand me down baby clothes and toys that is making my OCD go crazy, and my kitchen floor pretty much has only gotten spot cleaned with the Swifer since I got pregnant, I just have to keep telling myself that this little baby is worth all the mess and disorganization in the world. : ) Good luck with the end of your pregnancy and with your little bundle : )

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  6. Love this! I have scoped out cleaning routines in the past, but none of them seem to fit. Having those few things done that make me feel calm is where it is at. Clean kitchen, semi-clean floors, and toys picked up each day go along way for my personal sanity. Throwing in other cleaning chores when they need to be done works just fine, as some of them just don't need to be done as regularly as others. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on living with less. We are currently cleaning out, and it certainly makes keeping the house straight all the easier.

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  7. I needed this so much. More often than not I feel incredibly guilty for not sticking to some intense routine and I too let my shower tile go for wayyyy longer than I'd like to admit. Thank you for being candid and honest!

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  9. keeping clean is a must and this will keep us healthy. we should use proper materials to clean our house

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  10. I love reading your cleaning posts (okay and just all your posts) - thanks for sharing.

    Hoping you can post about your every few week deep cleaning & getting rid of junk soon! I really want to know :)

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  11. Once I saw that title, I thought let me see what's new here, and somehow it just dawned on me that it has been right before my eyes and I never seemed to figure it out. The best thing about cleaning is doing it your way and sticking to that discipline lest you go out there for a few tips only to learn they don't work on you.

    German Zollinger @ Total Clean Equipment

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  12. Great ! Very nice blog and excellent things exist in your blog content. thanks for sharing..
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  13. Your daily routine demonstrates how you can have a quality life with your child, as well as a hobby or two, and not live in any sort of filth. After deep cleaning the home, it appears the key to always looking tidy is maintenance. A well cleaned, uncluttered home does not require full time maintenance. Instead, deep cleaning your home means freedom to live the life you choose.

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  14. I do have a cleaning routine but I do not stick to it exactly every single time. Every day I make sure that the dishes are washed and the counters are cleaned first thing. Other chores I rotate as needed. Some get done less than others since some are more important to me. Vacuuming is one thing that gets ignored a lot, unless there is some major spill that needs to be taken care of. I simply triage what needs to be done first and do it.

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  15. Camelia Brown: Great ! Very nice blog and excellent things exist in your articles. I usually pick a good house cleaning tool so that I can save a lot of time and effort. thanks for sharing..

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