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A Simple Cleaning Routine for Spring (and a free guide).

March 13, 2017

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Keeping a home clean and tidy with two toddlers (or any amount of children of any age!) is not for the faint of heart. I have become frustrated on numerous occasions when I start to feel like a hamster on a wheel – moving from one room to the next cleaning just in time for new messes to spring up. I don’t think housekeeping is less challenging when one parent is home full-time, but my work-from-home schedule means that I have to be very thoughtful about what I am doing when, which has helped me to be disciplined about establishing a cleaning routine.

Our current routine seems to be working for now and has give me a lot of peace of mind. I have certain tasks defined for certain days, but a flow that makes it easy to move chores around if something unexpected arises. Also, if something falls completely through the cracks, I know it will get taken care of soon anyway. 

Spring seems like just the right time to start re-thinking through home systems that may not be working or may need a refresh, so I’ve outlined our home’s systems below to inspire you. I’ve also created a customizable guide for you to use – click here to access it (if you’re already subscribed, it will magically appear in your inbox tomorrow!).

Right now, I have a weekly schedule pinned in my kitchen that includes 3 lists:

  • Daily tasks (basic room maintenance, things like dishes and sweeping that should happen almost every day)
  • Days of the week with cleaning tasks for those days.
  • Monthly (or less frequent) tasks that need to be occasionally tackled, but don’t merit weekly attention.

Daily Tasks

Daily tasks include things like making the beds, doing a quick clean of the main sink/toilet area, cleaning the kitchen after meals, sweeping after dinner, etc. Every day I also make sure that I full wash, dry, and fold at least one load of laundry. Having a list of daily chores helps prevent total chaos from setting in and frees me from constantly wondering whether I should keep cleaningor if things can wait. If there are a couple of loads of laundry to be done, but I’ve already done one and things are busy, I can just mentally check that chore off until the next day, knowing that today and tomorrow I’ll keep working through the dirty.

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Weekly Tasks

I’ve done this system differently through the years. When we first got married, all of our cleaning would happen on one day. When we first moved into this house, I tried to “batch”, by vaccuuming one day, mopping another, tidying another – this system outlined below is the best one I’ve found for right now. I don’t feel like I’m constantly trying to keep up or catch up and if something gets missed, I just take care of it the next day and roll everything forward by one day. In general, following this little schedule has kept our house at my “happy level”* of clean without too much stress. It also takes into account our busy days, days I run certain errands, Mark’s schedule for certain days, etc. 

I separated our main, primarily used areas into Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday cleaning sessions and do all of the cleaning for each area on the designated day. On Monday for instance, I dust, vacuum, and steam** the living room. 

On Tuesdays, I meal-plan and order groceries (if I’m ordering that week) or I go to Costco with the kids in the afternoon.

I designated Wednesday as my paperwork/receipt/bills/whatever day and I pick up groceries if I’ve ordered.

Thursday is our biggest laundry day. I start early and no matter how much laundry is in there, I make sure that the room is empty by the end of the day with everything folded, dry, etc. I also take some time on Thursday to clean the washer and dryer bodies, dump out the trash can, and sweep and steam the laundry room.

On Friday, I change all of our sheets and knock out a few big occasional chores. I also take an opportunity to sweep up any rooms that may be collecting dirt or dust.

Over the weekend, I deep-clean our main bathroom and maybe do an extra sweep of major areas or an additional big monthly chore if there is time.

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Room Cleaning Routine

When I say I “clean” a room, I generally do the following:

  • Pick up and put away clutter
  • Use a cleaning cloth and damp water (or this oil soap on wood furniture) to quickly dust major open surfaces. 
  • I use this feather duster to dust shelves, nooks that have more “stuff” on them, lamps, gallery walls, etc. 
  • I use this duster to dust both sides of blinds, high corners, and floorboards as well as to quickly sweep beneath any furniture. 
  • I use my steamer to clean the floors (sweeping first if there are a lot of dust or dirt partcles).

This sounds like a lot, but all of the steps outlined above except the steaming take me no longer for any given room than 2 or 3 minutes. Steaming takes maybe 5 minutes for our largest room. 

Also, knowing exactly how I clean has allowed me to slim down the cleaning supplies I keep around to just a few basics, which the clutter-buster in me LOVES.

Ready for a guide? Here is  a free customizable planner to help you refresh your home’s cleaning routine.

So now I’d love to know – what is the most challenging part of keeping your home tidy for you? Or do you have a schedule that just magically works? Tell me below!

*This is different for every one and every stage. Some would probably be shocked at things I’ve left off or the infrequency of certain chores, others by how often I do certain things. This is just some encouragement to try systems until you find the one that works for you and your home. 

** For some, this would be mopping and not all rooms necessarily need to be mopped every week. But I absolutely swear by my Bissell Symphony steamer. The heat ensures that the floors are really deep-cleaned and it’s as quick as vacuuming. If a room is particularly dirty, I might sweep before running it. I used to get really frustrated by how long it took me to truly deep clean floors and how dirty they immediately got, but the steamer has changed this completely. It’s paid for itself so many times over – it’s honestly saved me dozens of hours by this point!

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Life

A Word for 2017.

January 6, 2017

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Happy New Year!

January is one of my favorite months of the year – the prospect of the new year holds so much promise and hope and excitement. One tradition that I’ve kept over the past several years is that of picking a word early in the year and reflecting on it as the year moves on.

In 2013, my word was SAVOR. (There are no posts to link to about this, but here’s a somewhat related post about savoring moments.)

In 2015, my word was CREATE.

In 2016, it was FLOURISH.

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It’s been so fun to set goals and a vision for a year around a chose theme and then to look back over the years through the lens of that particular word.

For 2017, my word is STORY.

Part of this is my exhaustion with our sound-bite, tweet-infested, 10-second availability-infused world. We are meant for deeper, richer, longer stories and I want my year to be about the long game, both in stories I consume and tell.

With littles (mostly, a toddler!) this becomes especially apparent. Sometimes the thing that buys me five minutes of peace or my toddler 2 minutes of attention isn’t what’s best for our hearts and homes over the long haul. As a mom, I want to focus on the big picture and do the hard work that writes a bigger story of contentment and peace and simplicity and togetherness rather than just jumping from distraction to distraction and immediate solution to immediate solution.

We’re in our home for the forseeable future, which is eternally longer than we’ve ever been in any home together. We’re generally settled, but I want to focus on truly building the story of our home and our family this year, building the traditions, the rituals, and the memories that will carry us far beyond 2017.

For as long as I can remember, my aspirations and education and career have pivoted on words. And social media, driven by words and images, has been a fun source of inspiration and creativity for me. But at some point last year, it began to feel a little endless, a little cyclical, and little hopeless. I felt, as Cal Newport puts is so succinctly, like I was trying to run “a one-person media operation”, the exact end-game of which was fuzzy at best. I need, I’ve realized, to be creating stories, not just sound-bites, to survive and thrive, and I need some time and space to create and build those stories, time and space that requires stepping away from the onslaught of every other story the internet has to tell.

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I especially want to dedicate time this year to telling our family stories through albums – my children’s baby books, our family albums, the memories Mark and I have of advenures before babies, and a few other projects that I haven’t prioritized – and more regular journaling.

Finally, the word STORY serves as a reminder for me to incoporate more stories and story-time into my children’s play (as opposed to just more books and isolated words and vocabulary). Stories are a crucial part of a young child’s development and intentionally incoporating it into our playtime and conversation is one of my goals for 2017.

Do you pick a word for your year? What is yours? I’d love to know!

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