My husband asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year.
He was fishing for ideas on whether to go for the standard coffeeshop/bookstore combo (which I will always gladly accept) or if he should venture to something a little more adventurous. He wasn’t expecting the answer I shot back in frustration.
“I just want a house that actually cleans itself!”
Insert blank stare.
“I don’t think that will be possible this year but maybe we can find some money for a house cleaning service?”
I wasn’t really expecting a house that cleans itself or even someone to come in to clean my home (although I would also gladly accept that one too!).
I was feeling the same frustrations that many of you feel, our homes are a constant stream of activity which in turns creates a never-ending lists of cleaning and organizing tasks.
I was talking to a friend recently admitting I feel kind of silly running a blog with the title Creative Home Keeper because half of the time I feel like a fraud. Currently, I don’t feel like the best keeper of my home, never mind lacking the creativity part.
Her gentle encouragement reminded me it’s not the title that matters but rather the heart.
Having a heart check right then and there I realized I was placing so many unrealistic expectations on myself in this season of life. When I got right down to it, my “expectations” didn’t necessarily match my priorities.
My marriage, my children, my faith, taking care of myself, creating a haven at home and running a small business are my focused priorities right now.
Having an immaculately clean, organized and beautifully decorated home is nice (and maybe someday will be a reality) but they aren’t the most important things in this season. However, with that being said part of making my home a haven does require some attention to cleaning and organizing, after all with five people living in it, messes are just a given!
I’ve learned a lot over the past several years of being a wife, mom, and homemaker, and it seems with each additional child we add to the mix, I learn more.
The main thing I have learned about homemaking is there are some key things I can do and systems I can put into place to make homemaking MUCH EASIER.
Although I’m still holding out for a self-cleaning home though (hey, if the oven can clean itself, surely technology can catch up too?) 😉
4 Tips For a Home that Cleans Itself
Having Routines in Place is Key
I’m a fan of having morning and evening routines. They add a bit of structure and flexibility to my days but at the same time, they are also flexible. Different seasons require for adaptations, meaning what worked yesterday may not work today.
Having simple routines in place is key.
Currently every morning (either before or after breakfast, depending on the day) I know I will make the bed, gather the laundry, start a load and assist the kids with their own morning routine.
Every night after the dinner dishes are cleaned and the baths have taken place, I set out whatever backpacks or bags we need for the next morning, lay out my exercise clothes, write my to-do list, take out my contacts and wash my face, and give the house a quick sweep through to make sure just about everything is put back into its place.
These are such simple things I do naturally every day that helps our home run more smoothly.
A Little Each Day
My season of life doesn’t allow for one main cleaning day. Back when I was a teacher (pre-kids), I knew every Saturday morning was my cleaning day. These days if I don’t do a little each day, the house will get out of hand very quickly.
I use, and love, my Motivated Moms cleaning checklist because it breaks down the daily cleaning and deep cleaning tasks so you are doing a little each day.
The main components I do each day are laundry, sweep the floor, wipe down the counters, and focus on one area to clean. For example on Mondays I clean the toilets, Tuesday I dust, etc. I have my Motivated Moms chore list customized so I hit every area of my house each day and deep clean at least one area every week.
Getting the Kids On Board
My kids may be young but that doesn’t mean they can’t help around the house.
They know how to clean up their toys when they are done playing with them and where to put them away. They know they are “make” their bed every morning — I use the term “make” very loosely because as long as they have pulled the cover-up, I’m good. They will learn as they get older to make their beds a little more nicely but it’s the discipline that counts.
They also help me gather up their laundry and put it in the washer/dryer. They love it when I give them a Swifter duster and tell them to go to town! My older son is now actually pretty good with a broom and dustpan, so he helps me sweet the floor after breakfast and lunch.
We don’t use a specific chore system but they know it’s important to help pick after themselves and to follow directions if Mommy asks them to do something.
Giving Everything a Home
I can’t stand piles of stuff laying around but I know how easy it is for them accumulate. Five people have lots of stuff and even though I am teaching my kids to put things away after they use them, things can get out of hand pretty quickly.
I do use storage baskets and crates to help me control all the things but I’m also intentional about giving each item we own a place. Along with that mindset, I’m also vigilant about getting rid of the stuff we don’t need or use.
This year as I’ve been decluttering my home one space at a time through the 52-Week Home Project, I’ve been decluttering, deep cleaning and organizing every space. Along the way, I have been getting rid of a lot too.
It’s been a visual reminder of just how quickly stuff can accumulate (especially behind closed doors) so it’s also made me aware of just what we bring into the house in the first place.
Ok so technically my house can’t clean itself (although wouldn’t that be amazing?) but by doing a little each day, getting everyone to chip in and help out, and to intentional about decluttering and giving everything a place, my home does run pretty smoothly.
So tell me, how would you feel if you had a self-cleaning house?