Cleaning starts… tomorrow

I do not enjoy cleaning. My house is sanitary and all, no random roaches or health code violations. But the sink has a pile of dirty dishes, there’s a toddler trail through the house of discarded items and the floor is in desperate need of a scrub.

I’ve never been successful at developing a cleaning schedule for myself, though many people swear that is the only way to keep up. I’m very convinced I will have more time tomorrow for whatever needs to get done. Then tomorrow comes, not so much. And my unwillingness to clean didn’t start when I had a toddler. No, I’ve never been a fan. And Brett doesn’t really seem to care either if I’m behind on dishes or the bathrooms are not exactly sparkling clean. So I don’t care, he doesn’t care, and Hannah hasn’t complained. So what’s the problem?

In an attempt to seek help, I downloaded the e-book “31 Days to Clean – Having a Martha House the Mary Way.” I even spent $4.99 on it. Each day, you read about a heart attitude or a practical reason for keeping up with those chores. Then there is a Mary challenge which is more emotional and introspective, and a Martha challenge which is a systematic, thorough cleaning project. The Martha challenges are more like big “spring cleaning” tasks, not daily upkeep, but they are divided nicely into do-able projects that one could do in the 31 days if desired.

I read the entire book and was thoroughly convicted by the heart attitude inspection. As part of basic hospitality, I should have a house that is comfortable and welcoming at any time. Not necessarily spotless and scrubbed, just free of clutter and ready for unexpected guests or playdates. I had a real-life example of this when one of my neighbors locked herself out of her house a couple weeks ago on a hot day, and I invited her in to hang out until her boyfriend came home with the key. You never know when there will be a guest in your home.

As well, I should be a good steward of the house that God has blessed us with and maintain it to the best of my abilities. It is honoring to God and to my family to have a clean, organized environment. There were many references to the Proverbs 31 woman, and one of my favorites was about v. 15 which makes reference to her servants. We could say, of course this amazing woman can do all this, she has servants! However, the book points out, as 21st century women, we may not have actual human servants, we are blessed with modern appliances which do so much work for us. My “servants” include a washer, dryer, and dishwasher. I just need to get them started!

The Martha challenges were… challenging. Honestly, I did not do a single one. I have good intentions of going through the book again at some point and actually tackling each day’s task. I felt a little overwhelmed taking on her daily projects when right now I can’t even keep up with the day-to-day tasks I should be working into the schedule.

I think I’m going to try doing a cleaning schedule (again) and really committing to sticking to it. We are having several houseguests in September and October, so I’d love to have a successful routine down by then to avoid the panicked pre-guest house attack.

How do you get motivated to clean? Any tips to staying on a schedule?

My little helper loves to vacuum

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2 thoughts on “Cleaning starts… tomorrow

  1. Sigh… I completely relate :) Well, except for the fact that I can’t stand clutter or dirty dishes, but I do hate doing housework. I make a point of always tidying up the toys and books that Finn has left out every evening. Yes, I should probably make him put them away before bed, but we don’t always do that. Joel would probably be happy to step over everything, but it makes me feel like I can better relax at the end of the day not seeing his stuff scattered all over the living room (no play room, so this would be why it needs to be picked up for my sanity). Other clutter I typically can’t tackle myself, because it’s Joel’s stuff and I don’t want to move something or throw something away that he needs (yes, it has happened before). So instead I just ask him if he can take a few minutes to tidy up and find homes for all the papers/mail/etc. I tried to have a cleaning schedule like my mom does – she changes her sheets every Sunday and does laundry every weekend, and once a month cleans the fridge (or at least she used to). I only clean when things start to bother me enough (like when the grime in the bathroom is screaming at me as I’m brushing my teeth). My mom’s tip: spend the extra money for those clorox wipes. That way you can do a quick wipe-down of the counters, faucets, toilet, etc (or the counters, sink, etc in the kitchen)… takes 10 seconds and takes care of the mess enough until you can devote more time to a thorough cleaning. I also like the wipes for the bathroom floor. Apparently I’m too lazy to just grab a paper towel and wet it (actually, I hardly ever have paper towels handy), but the wipes are easy and pre-wet with cleaner. Quick wipe along the floor and all the dust and hair is gone :) I’m not big on disinfecting the house, but it does make for a faster cleaning, and I find I’m more willing to clean when it’s that convenient. Now I just need to find some windex wipes for the mirrors :)

    Maybe we should find a way to motivate each other in our housework – just as we do with our cooking. Wish I had a good idea how to do it… (Yes, I realize this is a long comment, and that I use a lot of parentheses).

  2. FlyLady.com!!! This website is awesome. It also has a 31 day cleaning breakdown, but I’m guessing with much much simpler tasks and projects. Day 1 is “Go shine your sink.” That probably involves doing the dishes inside the sink first, but still, the whole project won’t take more than 10 minutes. It also has a lot of the “It’s ok, you’ll be fine” psychology bits that don’t try to send us all on guilt trips. Here’s the link to Day 1- http://flylady.com/pages/begin_babysteps.asp

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