Today I read an enlightening article and it is so potentially life-changing that I must share it. The article was posted by Apartment Therapy and was shared by another site called Wife On the Go, which titled it:
7 Things You Do That Keep You From Having a Clean and Tidy House
You see, all this time I thought that my messy and untidy house had something to do with the extra human beings I've accumulated throughout the years. They have grown accustomed to calling me titles like Mom and Wife, which, when combined into one person, means "nanny", "housekeeper", "maid" and "slave".
Unfortunately for us all, this Mom/Wife has never gotten the hang of these job roles. When that fact becomes glaringly obvious (i.e., a house guest that makes it very clear that my cleaning standards are substandard), I hastily open my Pinterest app and attempt to learn by osmosis the magic of having a lovely, tidy and well-arranged home. However, the magic and wonder ends as soon as I close the app. My home is not a haven, it is not Pinterest-worthy and the little Jiminy voice inside me tells me that it's OK to be myself. But every so often, I come across an article or even a person whose opinion makes me stop and wonder if Jiminy Cricket is leading me astray.
Fortunately, there is hope. According to this article, there are 7 things I have been doing wrong. If only I knew about this yesterday! Needless to say, I shall be looking into practical ways to apply them. Let's tackle them together, shall we?
#1 - You're not cleaning as you go!
Well, I've got to say, this is too true. There are times that one of the kids, or the dog, knocks over a cup of juice and I reach for a towel, throw it on top and step on it a few times, pick it up and throw it into the hopefully-empty washer and call it a day. That is definitely a no-no. It also mentions re-hanging clothes in the closet. I can see how that would be a good idea, yes. But rifling through the pile of clothes can be productive, too! Just think of all those long-lost toys you've discovered in piles like these! Win-win, I say.
#2 - You're spreading your mess by not limiting activities to their appropriate rooms.
I totally needed to be reminded that food should be eaten in the kitchen and/or dining room only. Not in the living room, where Dinosaur Train is playing. And definitely not in the toy box or under the bed, because that would really be unhygienic. That almost never happens in my home....ahem. Moving on.
#3 - You're letting all the dirt in!
This is something completely and utterly 100% preventable. By keeping your house free of literal dirt, you are cutting down on the mess and clutter. It's a fact! So, since floors need to be sterile and clean enough to eat off of at all times, shoes off! Put a sign on your door, harass your guests, do whatever it takes to ensure that dirt does not invade your house. In fact, the article mentions keeping your windows closed in case there is construction going on in your neighborhood. Just to be safe, I will be doing a 12-mile perimeter check of my city and keeping an eye out for any new construction sites daily. Of course, don't forget that human skin sheds dead cells daily, at very alarming rates. To be safe, avoid scratching skin as much as possible. Dead skin = dust, ladies and gents, and that is dirty. No one likes to see your bookshelf covered in dead skin. One word: lotion. Hand a bottle to your guests as they walk in. After they've removed their shoes, of course.
#4 - Have the right tools and supplies on hand.
The article mentions having sturdy, well-made tools, and I have to admit that I feel ashamed that I have no idea what this means. Maybe I need to spend more time in the cleaning aisle. Oh, if only I could know the wonders of the cleaning aisle. Instead, I am obliged to do a mad rush down the aisle, running for my life as my eyes tear up and beg for mercy as the host of smells peel the layer of my corneas off just as effectively as it promises to clean the film of grime from your shower faucet. I grab sponges and dish soap blindly, hoping that they didn't change the colors of the labels or move their location next to the display of sturdy, well-made tools that I can never seem to get a good look at.
#5 - You're not efficient!
There. They said it. The article says to do one room at a time, keeping your tote of supplies (I guess one of those sturdy tools mentioned in #4 is a tote) with you at all times, and take a garbage bag with you. I'm thinking I might need one of those janitorial carts that maids use for hotels. This could work. The only problem is, the article doesn't tell me where the kids are while I'm cleaning room to room, from the back of the house to the front, back of the room to the front, top to bottom. The advice is: "Don't switch tasks, get distracted and start something else or repeat yourself." I don't know about you, but kids are pretty distracting. Especially when they want to "help" me clean. Oy vey. And further, it says nothing of how long my kids are expected to leave it untouched. All of this would need to be repeated almost constantly in a full circle in order to keep it neat and perfect, which sounds exhausting. Of course, there is also no mention of the dog or husband, which we all know is comparable to 7 more children.
#6 - You're not scheduling.
This is where I just hold out my hands and let you lead me off to the dungeon. There will probably never be another human alive who is worse than me at scheduling things. My lack of scheduling my life and the lives of the people (and dog) in this house is severely affecting the tidiness, according to Apartment Therapy. Their advice? "Schedule it like you would an appointment or job responsibility — something in your calendar you have to keep." Well now, that would work a lot better if I owned a calendar. Maybe I should find a nice little puppy calendar. Then I could stick it to the side of my fridge and forget about it, and it would be January all year long.
#7 - You don't make it fun!
So wait...what you're telling me is....cleaning is supposed to be.....fun? Mind.blown. The article mentions putting on some Madonna, or listen to some educational podcasts to get smarter while I vacuum. Wow, if I were that easily entertained, you're right, Apartment Therapy; cleaning WOULD be fun!
At the end of the day, I look around and see a kitchen table piled high with crafts, walls proudly decorated with crayons and markers, juice stains dotting the carpet to make our very own version of the Twister game board, and piles of laundry that hide treasures and wrappers. I see kids who remember to take their dishes to the sink, but then drag out every toy they own into the living room and could find a permanent marker and a stick of gum in my purse blindfolded, whereas I'm digging in my purse for the keys a full 10 minutes before finding them in the pocket of the jacket I wore the day before.
In the end, I see kids who are allowed to jump on beds and I hear their giggles as I pin articles and photos of beautiful houses with clean baseboards and vacuumed corners. And, instead of getting up to attach the hose to my vacuum and find an appropriate Madonna song to listen to, I join them in their ninja jumping tumbling game.
Because I'm a mom.
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Hi! My name is Astrid and I am an unschooling, working mama of 3 with an intense need to design, craft and create. Follow me for ideas, tutorials, DIY projects, homeschooling resources and more.