I don’t enjoy cleaning (who does?), and cleaning with kids in the house is like bailing water out of a sinking ship. I can’t keep up. The problem is part toddlers, part motivation, and part energy issues*. So as much as I love having a neat and tidy home, I rarely get to keep it neat and tidy for long.
That’s not to say we live in a hovel. Overall, I keep our home clean, but not always tidy. Our living room is a playroom and my boys are home most of the day, so the toys are everywhere.
I am moderately organized. I know where everything in our house is except maybe some of our electronics and tools because Damian is handles them. I don’t throw the toys into a toy box and call it a day. I keep similar items together and such. The trains are separated from the cars, the stuffed animals are separated from the little plastic figurines, and the books are separated from the puzzles. The puzzle pieces are a jumble in their drawer because one day mommy got sick and tired of putting kid puzzles together.
I call it an organized mess. It is our home, and we love it just the way it is, especially after I shampoo all this (%*#$) carpet.
So, instead of driving myself insane trying to keep everything clean and neat while maintaining a positive attitude and loving my children, I focus on what is most important to me. I stress to me because above all the priorities we have must be personal. Who wants to live by someone else’s standards? Once the most important cleaning jobs are finished, I fit in the rest as best I can. It is still plenty of work, which helps me be thankful that I live in a smallish space.
My Cleaning Priorities:
- Avoid clutter. This isn’t exactly a cleaning priority, but something I keep in mind to avoid mess. I get rid of things we don’t use, and I’ve made a commitment to only buy necessities. More stuff inevitably means more mess.
- A place for everything. Everything in our house has a specific spot where it belongs. Most of the time, you can find what you need in its spot, sometimes you can’t, but when I want to put it away, I know where to put it. I don’t have to waste time thinking about the best place to store the extra toilet paper.
- No junk or garbage laying about. Not having garbage lying around is a given. No one wants to live amongst crumpled papers or dirty laundry.
- Keep the kitchen clean. This is a must. My kitchen is a tiny and narrow. It is set up well, but there is no getting around the size. If it isn’t clean, I can’t function in the space and if I can’t function in the space, then no one eats.
- Stay on top of the laundry. We struggle with this because our laundry is shared with our building so we can’t just throw a load in and come back to it whenever, but I strive to keep our laundry baskets empty.
- Vacuum frequently. I’m not going to lie. I don’t always vacuum the entire living room, but at least twice a day I do a spot check because our dining area is carpeted (I’d like to know who’s idea that was!) and it is open to our living room. Every other day, I pick up all the toys and vacuum completely.
I’d love to hear how you all do it! How do you prioritize your cleaning? What is most important to you? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who can’t keep up with it all.
A blog post on how to create cleaning priorities is coming soon!!
*For those interested, I struggle with energy levels, joint pain, and headaches due to lingering symptoms from Lyme Disease which I've had twice.