Clean Your Home: Everyday or All At Once?

     Do you clean your home?  I am assuming most of you do.  So the next question is:  when?  Are you a spend-time-on-it-everyday person, or a clean-it-all-at-once person?  Or have you ever even thought about it?

     There is no wrong answer to this question, but knowing yours helps focus your Clean House mission. It may also be helpful to note that the answer to “Clean Your Home:  Every day or all at once?” can change as your life changes.  The All-At-Once way was no longer working for me, so I made the plan and the decision to change to Every Day.

     My goal for today’s blog is not to persuade you to choose one method or the other, but to suggest:

  1. There is always more than one way to complete a work project;
  2. Before jumping into action, give your situation some thought, and determine how best to attack that project; 
  3. Be flexible and open to other ideas, and find solutions that work for you; and
  4. Even something as mundane as cleaning your house becomes more meaningful if you set your terms for getting it done.   

    I started my current experiment in May, here are my notes from that day:

  • May 15th.  I love my house.  I love my family.  But I don’t love losing my weekends to housecleaning.  My schedule used to allow one full day dedicated to my home, but as the kids and business have grown, I can’t spare a whole day for cleaning.
  • Friday was Cleaning Day, which worked great even when we traveled, because I could clean and pack as I went.  
  • However, I still have to get Back To Ready on Mondays (or if we are traveling, whenever we got back), and maintain during the week, too.  And often, Cleaning Day gets pushed to Saturday, Sunday or even Monday before I finish. 
  • I feel like I am cleaning all the time, but I don’t feel it is getting done well, and I stress with the tension between doing it all / cleaning when I have time / making time to clean. 
  • I am embarking on a new house cleaning / maintenance schedule.  I will spend a House Hour every day on cleaning and maintenance instead of the All At Once approach.  The little-bits every day approach chafes against my perfectionist tendency of wanting everything DONE at least for a moment, but I am optimistic.
  • To Sum up, Challenges:
    • There is work to do, lots of effort goes into maintaining a home. 
    • I do most of the work alone most weeks.  I don’t know how to ask for help.
    • Am I really teaching my kids any life skills if I am the only person who cleans the house, and I do it while they are at school?
    • Will I have those children that go to college not knowing how to clean a bathroom or do their laundry? 
    • Am I demonstrating that only women do house work?  All of this has to change!
    • I can clean all day one day a week, and still need to maintain every day, too.  If I have to maintain every day anyway, could I just do that for a longer block of time instead of All At Once AND Daily Maintenance?
  • July 25th:  Outcomes of my experiment.
    • Click here to see my house cleaning spreadsheet.  It hangs on my refrigerator in a plastic page protector so I can assign chores to different people, and cross things off as we complete them.  Make your own, and add whatever you want!
    • We have done pretty well.  The house is consistently tidy.  In the All At Once approach, I would give up maintenance a day or 2 before my scheduled Cleaning Day, which became a growing problem if Cleaning Day got pushed later and later!
    • I love the daily approach.  There are some days our House Hour does not happen, because we are exceptionally busy or out playing (it is summer, after all!), but then I dedicate more time the next day, and catch up.
    • As we’ve gotten better at this House Hour idea, I have learned some days are easier than others, and I can spend more of the Hour on the easy days on organizing or projects.  This week, we look at school clothes  and supplies, and clean out my little guy’s toy box. 
    • The kids are learning the different tasks and skills that go into maintaining a clean home, how a household works and how they are a part of it.      
    • I am still working on the Asking For Help part, and probably will be for life.  A finite list of things of tasks for each day is less intimidating for all of us.  Once their tasks are done, they can go play. 
    • A personal challenge for me is to accept “different” as “just as good as my way”.  This is tough for me, but I am learning.  My wonderful hubby did the bulk of our vacation laundry, God bless him.  And his way is just as good as mine, though dissimilar.  It made me momentarily crabby, then I smacked (metaphorically) my self upside the head and reminded myself that the laundry was clean and folded, and I did not have to do it.  Woo hoo!
    • I was pleasantly surprised today.   We just got home back from a week’s vacation, and I am often overwhelmed when reality rushes back in after a week away.  But things look fine today, and I can pick back up my House Hour tomorrow. 

     So if you have ever felt the tension of when / how / what to clean, give your timing some thought and see what works best for you.  Try something new for a month or 2 – you’re a smart person and you can change – and see how it goes!

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