Welcome to the June edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – Around the House cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what we do to keep the little things from overwhelming us. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.
Part of my responsibility as an adult and mother is to maintain our home. I take great pride in lovingly caring for our home so it is more than just a roof over our heads. It is someplace that we actually want to spend time together in.
I am a little OCD. Seriously. I have to have organization and clean! I would literally go nuts if my house was a disaster zone. That is just part of who I am. I do not fault anyone who does not have the same level of organization and cleanliness as I do. Every family is different and we each have our breaking point as to when enough is enough when it comes to our home.
After becoming a mother, I discovered how critical it was going to be to have a predicable rhythm to my housework. Not only did this give my daughter an anchor point in the day, it also helped her be more accepting of the fact that I was going to attend to a certain chore for a certain period of time. Very rarely has my daughter protested when I begin my daily chores. In fact, she almost always joins in simply because she has always been a part of a predictable pattern of housecleaning and laundry doing.
I am not saying that my methods would work for everyone. In fact, it might very well be a disaster for someone else. However, I think that all of us inherently thrive on predictability and once you get in the groove of a predictable pattern of chores, it becomes second nature, is not nearly as time consuming as it once was, and it is almost (almost) enjoyable.
First, I feel that it is important to always have a chore free day (minus simply putting away things taken out during the day). Sunday is always a free day for me. I like Sundays to be open so we can do things as a family. If that means chores around the house and yard – so be it. But that is rarely the case. Sundays are meant for togetherness, fun, and relaxation!
I have a laundry rotation Monday-Saturday. I do two loads per day, every day. My husband knows that I wash his clothes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If he wants laundry done another day of the week, that is on him. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are Tiny's laundry days. She too knows that I will only wash her clothes on those days and she has learned the hard way that sometimes she cannot her favorite outfit because it has not been washed. I also wash my clothes the same day as Tiny's often times because I can combine our laundry, saving me time. I do a load of towels or family cloth every day and Friday's are reserved for things like bed linens (which I rotate bi-monthly) and cleaning cloths.
Having a laundry rotation is seriously amazing. Before I started it, I was all over the place with my laundry habits. I would get frustrated, I would never have what I wanted to wear, there would be piles all over the place, and we were kind of living out of the clean clothes laundry basket. Sure, it does make it easier to have a laundry rhythm since I am not working outside the home, but even if I were, I feel like it is really important to have set days for certain laundry, that way everyone in the household knows what to expect.
I also have a cleaning rhythm. To keep up with the housework, I do one or two chores per day (except Sundays). Monday is mopping, Tuesday is toilet cleaning and vacuuming, Wednesday is dusting, Thursday is bathroom #1 cleaning and vacuuming, Friday is bathroom #2 cleaning, and Saturday is kitchen cleaning and vacuuming. (Yes, I vacuum a lot but we have a lot of fur-children). It literally only takes me a totally of 30 minutes per day to knock out my chore and then I am done! The house stays clean and by keeping up with the chores, I don't have to spend hours on any one thing because I let it get away from me!
Yes, there are times when life happens and I get behind. I just make it up on another day or *gasp* allow myself the grace to skip a week. I employ a rhythm, not a militant regime.
The most important part of household maintenance is getting a handle on clutter and disorganization! You might need to carve out a couple of weekends to get your house organized but once it is, maintaining organization is as simple as putting things where they go at the end of the day!
I don't have a lot of hard and firm rules in our home. There are of course safety rules and there are certain boundaries, but the one rule I do enforce daily is the “you get it out, you put it away or it goes in the garbage at the end of the day” policy. Rasta Daddy is incredibly messy and disorganized. If I gave him an inch, our house would be a train wreck in five seconds. Seriously. Since I refuse to become the servant of the house, I had to make a hard and fast rule that we ALL comply with.
Tiny of course is still too little to remember to put everything where it goes. I help her a lot and remind her about clean up time. She is becoming more and more helpful and remembering to put her dirty clothes in the hamper (and not in a pile like daddy) and to bring her inside toys back in after they have made their way outside.
I would never throw something of Tiny's away. Not at this stage in her life. But as she gets older, I won't hesitate to pitch whatever mess she neglected to pick up! (And before you jump all over me, I don't literally throw things in the trash. I put them in a big box in the garage and if no one has asked for them or put them back at the end of the week, they get donated.) However, there are some of Rasta Daddy's things that he ignored for days on end that I have actually thrown in the trash. There is NO reason for dirty socks to be left on the dining table! 😉
I am sure that I come off a little over-the-top about cleaning and possibly I am. But to be honest, I only spend about an hour-an hour and half per day doing chores and laundry. And right now, that also includes garden maintenance. I feel that it is important for Tiny to see me take pride in our home and for her to understand HOW to do all the things that make a household run.
I do have a secret to admit to. Last month, I hired a friend from high school who owns her own housekeeping service. Now that Tiny is a bit older and more interested in playing 24-7, I find it hard to tackle some of the “extras” like cleaning ceiling fans, baseboard, blinds, and the link. So Dawn now comes and helps me twice per month and while she is here, she pretty much cleans everything that needs it. But this does not stop me continuing with my daily chores. Again, I am a tad OCD.
Do you think I am nutty? Would you try a rhythm similar to my own? Please share!
Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple ideas around their homes. We hope you will join us next month!
- Embracing the Schedule – Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes about how her family learned to keep on top of household life by creating a family calendar.
- Simply: Car Free – On the one-year anniversary of selling her car, Lyndsay from ourfeministplayschool, reflects on her family's decision to go car-free in urban downtown Toronto.
- The Importance of Finding Your Housecleaning Rhythm – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama outlines how she keeps her housecleaning under control with a daily rhythm. Even her 4 year old gets in on it!
- Keeping It Simple At Home – At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares some tips for keeping the clutter and cleaning at bay.
- Cleaning? – In her post, sustainablemum outlines how keeping clutter to a minimum makes for an easy life when trying to keep her house clean and tidy.
- Simply Downstairs – Jorje of Momma Jorje has found a way to simplify laundry AND bedtime… all with one simple move.
- In Shares, not Chores: Helping your Kids Help You Without Coercion Laura from Authentic Parenting tells us how she gets work done with two little kids and without coercion.