The benefits of a clean and organized home are far beyond the aesthetics; reaching to improvements physically, mentally and emotionally. With a little planning, you can consistently keep a clean and organized home, while maximizing your family time. Using a regular cleaning schedule, empowers women to effectively balance their time VERSUS the overloading and overwhelming effects of nonstop multi-tasking. Put yourself back in control of your time!
DISCLAIMER: This article may not be for everyone 🙂 This is aimed at the bogged down woman, attempting to keep some sort of organization to the chaos! If you have an in-home cleaning service, you may not gain a lot from this article. Speaking of, I have sought a cleaning service to take over these duties and provide me with even more time with my family. I was extremely hesitant to spend the funds but decided the time back would be worth it. News flash, no one travels deep into the country to clean homes! Ha, the joke was on me! Also, my husband travels a lot for work. Therefore, the full weight of keeping a clean household is on me. Are you the one juggling ‘keep house clean’ amongst your other duties? If so, this is for you!
The risks of the chaos.
Studies have shown messy homes and messy schedules mess with our mental state and stress levels. Both are major culprits of a less healthy and less engaged household.
A study done by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) discovered a correlation between depression and clutter when they explored in real-time the relationship between 32 California families and the objects in their homes. Some take aways from this study are below. See if any of these sound familiar!
- There is a link between high cortisol levels in female home owners with a high density of household objects
- Women associate tidy homes with happy and successful families
Another study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, summarizes that it’s not necessarily the time constraints but the way people organize their time that causes the stress. Pause on this. It’s not the time constraints, it’s the use of our time that stresses us out. The study determines the ultimate culprit of the stress is a lack of strategy to address conflicting schedules. For example,
How can you be present, with those you love, when you’re constantly working through a to-do list in your head?
Do you feel like you’re multi-tasking every moment but still behind? Or are you constantly torn between spending time with family or friends versus cleaning? As women, we often brag about how much better we are at multi-tasking than men, but multi-tasking nonstop isn’t the most effective way. The saying, “jack of all trades” comes to mind. When you’re doing a million things, you’re not really doing a great job at anything. Not to mention, the burden that comes with never feeling like you’re doing enough. This is where the ever-essential skill of keeping your home on a regular cleaning schedule comes into play. This is what enables me to spend undistracted time with my family, while enjoying the benefits of a well-organized and clean home.
How to start a regular cleaning schedule for your household AND maximize your family time.
What if I told you that I spend 30 minutes or less each night cleaning AND doing next day prep? What if I also told you that my house is always clean. ALWAYS clean. Not always picked up but within 30 minutes I can turn my household from toddler town into guest-ready. When a home has a pattern to it, things just flow better! But, let’s be real, never mistake my effort for perfection. Every day is different but if you aim high, it ensures that you’ll land a lot closer to your target than if you didn’t aim at all!
My strategy? I spend 30 minutes each night picking up and doing “quick touches”. This includes rotating laundry and dishwasher duties, when needed, reassembling the kitchen after dinner, bath time towels picked up and all toys back in their place. I also include my next day prep, which is packing lunches, setting coffee pot and organizing any bills/paperwork that are needed for the following day.
This method ensures that you start fresh with a clean house the next day. These quick touches make it really easy to keep everything ‘household’ at bay and not overwhelm you. The bonus is that when it’s family time, I keep it 100% family time. I’m able to do this because I know I will get to the house when it’s time. I don’t mix the two. Or, at least, I try not to. Then, once per week, I do a full clean of the house. This lasts 1.5 to 2 hours and includes all of the deep cleaning. Doing this allows me to keep my week night cleaning to a minimum. Hence, getting away with 30 minutes or less per night!
Step 1: purge
Does anyone else get so excited about freeing up the space around them? Here’s the deal, when you have less stuff, you have less clutter physically and mentally (they are connected), you will have less things to clean in, on, or around, and you get yourself into the mindset of spending less money on home décor/trinkets/toys/etc. These are wins in multiple areas!
To start, this doesn’t necessarily mean deep clean each room, cabinet and closet. In fact, I would highly recommend against that. You want to set yourself up for success so taking smaller, bite-size pieces would be best.
Recommendation: build a small amount of time into your schedule over the next week and purge what you can see.
Don’t bother opening cabinets or drawers. Focus on the surface areas for now (counter tops, shelves, etc.). You might even consider some pieces of furniture. For example, each small table you have, you have to dust. Are there any pieces of furniture that aren’t for a functional reason that could be moved out? Opening up space and removing clutter will give you a wild sense of rejuvenation. Purging will serve as a reset to your household.
Step 2: create a cleaning schedule that works for YOUR household.
For ease, I’ve attached the schedule I use, which is in checklist form. You can put this in a plastic sleeve or print a new one for each week. There are a million versions of cleaning lists available. I could never find one that I didn’t feel took too much time out of my day. For example, some would rotate cleaning tasks for each week day (bathrooms on Monday, dusting Tuesday, floors Wednesday, etc.). I did try this but never felt like I successfully kept up and spreading out the tasks seemed to spread out the time, which was the opposite of what I was looking for! But that’s just me. Pinterest has a deep sea of examples if you would like more to reference. Again, with my list, I have my daily items that I do as needed, then I have my weekly deep clean list, followed by a swing list of tasks. For the swing tasks, I choose one per week.
Get a copy of my cleaning checklist here:
Step 3: create a household binder
A household binder is invaluable to keeping a clean house AND keeping your family time #1. The reason being is, you need to be organized mentally and physically. The major benefit I find to maintaining a household binder is that it causes me to pause, reflect and plan. I pause by working through something with paper and pen. Phones can easily lead to random distractions (and kitten videos!). Reflection on the previous and upcoming week allows me to tweak my game plan to better reach my goals. Or, for some people, just having some time to write out their goals is a first! Lastly, this is time to plan and set yourself up for success. Meal plans, errands, to do’s, school work, and so on. A household binder is a command center for your home. Below are some of the different uses for a binder. For more information on the how to’s and benefits of a binder, check out this post.
There is nothing groundbreaking here, but what this article provides is some context as to why you’re always feeling behind or distracted when you desire to be present. When you migrate to a regular cleaning schedule, you are able to stay much more organized physically and mentally. Cleaning becomes one less area to juggle. When it’s a part of your daily routine, you take all of the guess work out of it. This is a true gift in my household. When I’m with my family, I am focused on my family. Present and at peace. This doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional ‘off’ day but they really are limited and it’s all because my housework is in a maintenance status versus in a daily fire-fighting mode. Do yourself a favor and invest some of your time back into keeping yourself and your home organized. Your household and family will benefit greatly from having a happy and present momma/wife 🙂 As always, remember, YOU are a lady well-loved.