Messy House, Messy Mind
The other day, while scrolling through my Facebook memories, I found a post that I had made at the peak of my time as a little kid mom. It said something along the lines of, “I know that people say one day I will miss the mess, but today I think they’re lying.” There was definitely a time that between being a full time working mom and having two little kids at home, I was barely surviving in the clean house department. It wasn’t that my house was dirty, but it was messy. There were toys all over my living room, papers on the kitchen island, a diaper bag thrown on the kitchen chairs, and the laundry was endless. I remember being overwhelmed and feeling unsettled, and by the end of the day, the last thing I wanted to do was pick up, especially knowing that the next morning it would all start again. I knew that for my own sanity, I had to come up with some sort of routine to keep my house and, in turn, my mind uncluttered.
When my kids were little, my cleaning schedule had to be broken up, a few minutes here and there with set days for certain chores. There was no way I could spend the morning only focusing on cleaning. I love a list, any kind of list. Checking off a task is satisfying to me, so that is where I started. I made a list of what needed to be done, and when I had a few minutes here and there, I would do the task. I had set days for certain things: Wednesdays were for bathrooms, Sundays were for washing and changing the bedding, and Saturdays were for laundry. I would load and unload dishes while my kids were eating breakfast. The smaller tasks were much easier for me to accomplish as opposed to trying to do everything at once and feeling like I was getting no where. Now that my kids are older and in school all day, and there aren’t toys to clean up and toddlers to pull everything out again, I can do most of my cleaning in one day. Daily cleaning and picking up is much easier now, but Thursdays are my big cleaning day. I do laundry, floors, bathrooms, kitchen and anything else that needs my attention.
Organization is Key
One thing that I learned is when everything has a place, things are more likely to end up in their places at the end of the day. Thank you to that big purple dinosaur and his clean up song that has spanned the decades. Every evening before bath and bedtime, I would turn on some music and make the daily clean up fun. Now as my kids are older, they still will pick up their spaces before settling in for the night. When they were little, I bought storage ottomans for the living room with lots of places to hide their toys. Despite having a very large bonus room, kids and toys always seemed to migrate to the living room, which is fine as long as when I poured my wine and turned on Bravo at the end of the day, it was all out of sight and seemingly out of mind. There are so many excellent organization ideas and cleaning tips all over social media, some of my favorites are Go Clean Co, The Home Edit, of course, if you search “cleantok” or any variation of that on Tik Tok there are some amazing tips and hacks.
Everybody Clean Up
I have always tried to involve my kids in cleaning. I would tell them that you should take pride in your home, and it should be kept in a way that if someone you really admire and want to impress showed up at the door, you would welcome them in knowing your house was ready for company. Ok, reality is that isn’t always possible. Sometimes when I work a long stretch, I come home and think that I truly do live with animals (and not just the three Weimaraners). I don’t pay my kids to do chores, because nobody pays me to keep the house clean. I do it because it makes me feel good to have a clean space. When they were little, I would make cleaning a game: lets race the Swiffers on the baseboard and see who can get to the end and back the fastest. Can we clean up the toys and put them in their place before the time goes off? Who can match the most socks? You get the idea. Once they started doing these easy tasks, it became part of their routines. Now as they’re older and having friends come over to the house, they want it to be clean for them and for their space to be welcoming.
My cleaning routines are still far from perfect, I would love to have someone come every once and awhile and clean my fans, my blinds, and maybe a deep clean once a year. I do love a clean house. There is satisfaction in looking around and seeing the instant results of your labor, and I do find that the cleaner and more organized my home is, the more at ease my mind is and that is absolutely worth it.