Cleaning Standards

Ok, this may be a Boring Topic for some of you, but for me? Yeah, boring. BUT! Also, interesting. And hopefully helpful. And maybe it will pull me out of my Funk, knowing how the rest of you keep house. Because those of you that are better at it than me? Well, I’ll get some ideas. And if you are more relaxed? Than maybe I’ll chill a little.

So! Here’s how we maintain some level of CLEAN around here.

1) Saturday mornings we spend about 2 hours cleaning. We vacuum, Swiffer the hard floors, clean the bathrooms, take out the recycling, empty the upstairs garbage cans, and (sometimes) dust. The kids help with what they can.

2) Every night, we make sure the dishes are done and the toys are picked up before we go to bed. Waking to a clean kitchen and picked up house helps my Mental Illness, I mean, State a ton.

3) I try to make the beds every day, but if I don’t get to it before noon, then I skip it. This is a GREAT RULE, because it allows me to not feel bad when the beds aren’t made.

4) I do laundry weekly, in one big push. It usually takes me about 2 days, but then I’m done until the next week. This works better for me than doing laundry every day… and I have less incidents of stuff getting moldy in the washer because I forgot about it. I wash our sheets as one of the last loads of laundry, and I wash the kids sheets…. less often….

5) Daily, I spend SO MUCH time making meals and snacks, and cleaning up after meals and snacks, and cleaning up the kids after meals and snacks, and cleaning the floors and high chair after meals and snacks, and on and on and on.

The thing that makes me despondent is that I spend so much time trying to keep ahead of the Health Department, and yet our house is still a DISASTER most of the time. One solution would be to turn our kitchen into a cement room with a drain in the center, and just hose everything down after eating. But other than that? No idea.

Also, this little “system” does not include any of the Extra Duties that we homeowners have. Gardening, or specifically, weeding, lawn care, clutter control (Office! Closets! Basement! Toy shelves!), organizing the kids outgrown/out-of-season clothes, bathing the children, sorting the mail, keeping the cars clean, cleaning out the garage, etc, etc, etc… We are behind on all of this, which makes me feel like I’m sinking.

The whole struggle stems from the fact that my brain emotes Happy! when things are chugging along nicely, and the house is in decent shape, and it emotes Out Of F*cking Control!!!! when things are messy. And the snowball effect of the “Out of Control” state is alarming and completely overwhelming.


So, how do YOU do it?

(A hired cleaning person is not in our current budget. Or it wouldn’t be if David and I HAD a budget…)


12 thoughts on “Cleaning Standards

  1. I have kind of an “I’ll clean when the kids have left home” philosophy. Combined with an “I’ll clean in a red-cheeked fury when things suddenly go from ‘really slovenly’ to ‘unacceptable squalor'” philosophy.I try to keep up with the laundry, doing a load or two a day (often failing to do so, but that’s the goal) because when the piles reach a certain height, I get overwhelmed and give up.I use a dustbuster more than the actual vacuum.I don’t make beds at all.I try to do trash and dishes before bed, or there will be Despair in the morning.

  2. I fall under the “more relaxed; in fact, practically comatose” category.I do hardly any housework on a daily basis, most things (including laundry) are done once a week.I like the whole “if it’s not done by noon: screw it” idea. Also, I just saw a rerun of one of those Duggar Specials, and saw that their new home has that hose thing. There are hookups in every room and they can just wet/dry vac/hose everything down wherever they are. COOL.

  3. No bed making. I vacuum, but only because Calum loves it and it’s an acutal ACTIVITY in our house. I use shortcuts like 1,000 Flushes in the toilets. We also have about a dozen “toy baskets” in the house, and we throw everything child-related into them. That makes things feel clean.Something about having piles of stuff (mail, bills, bags, binkies, etc.) on the kitchen table & counters drives me NUTS. So we each have a bin by the back door, labeled with our names (the dogs have one too), and we throw all loose stuff in there like keys, hats & mittens, leashes, purses & wallets, stuff that needs to go to work, blah blah blah. It’s not a perfect system because the bins get absurdly full and then you can’t find anything, but at least you’re looking for it in the BIN and not through the piles on the kitchen table.Really, I fall under the “more relaxed” category too. My mom used to have a poem hanging in our family room that said, “Quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby, babies don’t keep.” I like that philosophy.

  4. I’m like Erin, I keep toy bins EVERYWHERE. Every room has a toy basket or box. (or more). And you’re SO right — Gardening?? Outgrown/out-of-season clothes?? HAHAHAHA. That is a laugh. Our yard is kept mowed because my husband is dedicated (anal) about it, but the flower beds and bushes (before kids, my area) are a total disaster.We vacuum about every 2 weeks, dustbuster the dog-hair bunnies, do laundry on weekends, and I am adopting your make-beds-before-noon rule, or not at all. I love reading people’s strategies on this. Was just thinking this morning: “I should clean toilets on THURSDAYS.” I don’t know why.

  5. No bed making for me is the biggest one. My girls still take naps, so I figure I would make it twice a day if I made them at all. NO WAY. I take a different approach to cleaning. Unfortunately, my husband isn’t on a set schedule, so I clean a different room (or rooms)each day. I am only spending about 20 minutes a day cleaning (minus the everday dishes and general clean up). Although my house isn’t entirely clean at the same time, I feel like it is pretty clean becuase it was cleaned less than a week before. Also, it leaves the weekend to work on the extra stuff (closets, paper filing, etc.) I can do each day cleaning while they are sleeping or eating and I am not taking too much away from the kids.If you do it, you have to save the multiple room days for the easy rooms (ex. the powder room takes five minutes and the formal living room. The bigger cleaning, kitchen have one one day by itself. i have schedule posted as a reminder. I also try and get it to three days and the laundry is on the fourth day.)

  6. We don’t have kids, so a once-a-week cleaning is usually all we need, but I find that when things get busy/bad, I feel a lot better if we just vacuum and do the dishes. And clean the bathroom sink. For some reason those things get to me a ton.

  7. Ohh, well, I am feeling so much better- thanks everyone for your HOTT Cleaning TIPZ!Swistle- “really slovenly to unacceptable squalor”! These were the words I was looking for! And boy do I know Morning Despair. That’s why we have the toys/dishes rule.Tessie- “more relaxed…practically comatose”- cracked me up! I like the once a week thing. And there’s a new Duggers episode out? I must watch. Thanks!Erin- Love shortcuts- Swiffer, clorox (sp??) wipes, they are my friends. Not the Greenest choices, but my friends, none-the-less. And we have bins EVERYWHERE too. I agree, this does help. I love the Labeled w/ Everyone’s name idea. Will implement that soon.El-e-e- Clean the toilets on THURSDAY! MUST! BE! THURSDAY! I have these kinds of thoughts too. =)Tracy- I’ve tried the clean one room a day every day of the week strategy. I know people that this works for. BUT! I get totally high or some shit off of a TOTALLY clean house, so that’s why we do it all at once. High. Like Crack.Kris- HA!! You found me! And you can understand my woes, here in Tiny Town! Now you need to start blogging!

  8. Black Sheeped- I know! It’s strange how just having a clean kitchen sink makes me feel like my world is happier. When did I become so domisticated?? (Ok, well, in truth, I was like that in college too. Always trying to keep the place clean. And I often had WAYYYYY to many roommates and my efforts were futile. *Sigh* I guess I may as well recognize that I’ve always been a bit… nerdy?… in this respect.)

  9. Though I don’t have any kids, I have a pretty hectic schedule as a graduate student finishing up doctoral studies. Somewhere along the process of this academic program, I just sunk into a routine of library, library, and desk. Cleaning, cooking, eating, and even maintaining any semblance of order became impossible. I noticed that my mood worsened as my mess worsened. Clothes piled up all over the couch in my studio, I gave up on dishes and started using paper ones or take-out containers, and sweeping only happened once in a blue moon. One day, I just snapped out of it and got so sick of being able to find anything that I started cleaning and reorganizing everything. These days, I think of my apartment as a series of sections on a grid and each time I leave one section for the day, I have to tidy it up. When I wake, I make my bed, as I leave the kitchen at night, I straighten up what’s in it, the living room gets a once over before bedtime. The bathroom and kitchen scrubbing gets done about once every two weeks, as does the cleaning out of the fridge and cupboards, though I hope to get around to managing once a week after finishing exams. The best thing about thinking of things in terms of sections or rooms is that if I’m overwhelmed by one, I can retreat to another until I’ve gathered the energy to clean it up. Feeling particularly overwhelmed this evening by the prospect of unpacking after a long trip, I decided to seek out cleaning tips and stumbled across your blog. I think it’s great that you’re blogging about a topic that so many of us don’t bother to sit down and think about, even when we all think about it… (severina)

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