let's talk about cleaning.

March 7, 2017

I know, doesn't sound like a ton of fun, BUT I have had a ton of requests about what I'm doing that is finally working for our house. Okay.... first and foremost, let me say that I do NOT have it all together. This whole schedule thing is very new to me. New, in the fact that it is actually sticking and I'm making it happen, because God only knows how many times I tried to make it work before. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I couldn't handle the mess any longer. Everything was out of place, it was impossible to keep in order and I was starting to resent my time with Solomon and the lack of flow when Peter came home from work. The more unhappy I became as a wife and mom, the more frustrated I would get with myself. I realized something had to be done. So, I then went to YouTube and searched for cleaning schedules. That's when I found the most amazing page ever.... How Jen Does It.

I became obsessed and I wanted to do EVERYTHING like Jen. She is so fun to watch and learn from. She also introduced "Zone Cleaning" to me which was the key to making this really work. I didn't feel overwhelmed or stressed about cleaning anymore, and it was actually fun to keep it tidy and pretty! Like Jen described, having routines for cleaning was a huge help. I followed her model that she shared on her page and came up with several routines for my days and weeks.

probably my favorite print ever thanks to, Love the Nelsons,
but they are sadly taking a break right now.

This first post is going to describe my daily routines. These are things I do every morning and night to keep the flow of my days simple and easy to maintain. Just a warning, these routines seem like a LOT but I can  honestly say, after doing them for a couple of weeks now, it is so much easier to live life happily with them in place! I'm not constantly wondering where the time went and wishing I had more time in the day. Each section of the routines below take about 15-20 minutes, as long as you do them everyday, and don't start to slack. I've also noticed how I enjoy my time with Solomon even more now that things are clean around me. I don't feel guilty for getting the cleaning done because it doesn't take long to do, and most of the hard cleaning takes place during his nap.

Here are my set routines, starting with my night routine, since it helps set up for my morning one.
1) Evening:
  • clean kitchen after dinner - cleaning as you cook helps with the after dinner cleaning, so I try my best to stay on top of it while I prepare dinner.
  • load all the dishes - it is also key to keep the sink clean and the dishwasher loaded throughout the day so you don't have a ton to clean at the end of the night. Loading it and running it every night makes it much easier to wake up with clean dishes every morning. For us, one wash a day is perfect.
  • pick up living room - most of our night is spent in the living room, and teaching Solomon to clean up his toys at night before we start our bedtime routine, is very important to us. After we are finished for the night and are ready to go up for his bath, we make sure that all his toys are clean and put away.
  • bathtime cleanup - while he is having a bath, I take this time to clean the bathroom, (wipe down the counter & sink, sweep the floor, swish the toilet and collect the diapers in the diaper genie) this really helps keep the guest bath clean and ready for any unexpected guests.
  • bedtime cleanup - after bathtime we go to Solomon's room and get ready for bed. Once we are done with books and toys we make sure to clean up his room also, that way he can wake up in a clean room.
Peter: while I am doing the bedtime routine upstairs, Peter helps out with some cleaning downstairs. This is definitely a new routine for us but it makes things so much easier after Solomon is asleep. I can also tell a huge difference when he is away for work and he's not around to help with these things.
  • vacuum - during the day a lot of mess is collected in the kitchen and hallways and living room. Having Peter vacuum every night really makes a difference with the amount of dirt that collects. I won't lie to you, before we started this routine, there would be a week go by before I made time to vacuum. It makes me happy to walk downstairs after Solomon is snoozing and seeing the clean and pretty floors.
  • take out trash & compost
  • sort mail - this is another huge help. Before it was part of the daily routine the mail would collect and sit in piles in the kitchen. It's so nice to have it tossed out or put away.

2) After Solomon's Asleep:
  • laundry - anything that I didn't have a chance to fold and put away during naptime is much easier to do at night without little hands trying to help. I also take this time to collect the load of laundry for the next day.
  • pick out clothes - this isn't needed every night but if I know I have to get out of the house quickly the next morning, I always pick out my clothes and Solomon's clothes (while he is playing before bedtime in his room) so I won't be frazzled to get out the door.
  • straighten up bedroom/bathroom - after putting away any laundry, washing my face and putting on pjs, I make sure to do a quick clean up around our bedroom and bathroom. It helps keep everthing in order and keeps the clutter from happening. (This part is still a work in process since our room isn't in perfect order yet. I'm still working through cleaning and organizing when I have a chance until it is clean. Then I will keep up with it with this daily chore at night)
  • tomorrow's to-do list - this is probably the biggest help for me. I've always been a list person, and while I was working full-time in the banking world, I was a list fanatic. I don't know why I didn't carry that habit over into my stay at home mom life??? It is also a full-time job and if it helped me in an office setting, I should have realized it would help me in this motherhood season! I make sure to do the list in chronological order (also a Jen Tip!) so I can mentally prepare for my day. I don't have to do it in that order, but at least I can have an idea for what the next day will hold. I've also noticed that it helps me fall asleep easier since I already had a big brain dump on paper and I can rest easier.

Once I wake up in the morning I grab my list from the night before and I start my morning routine! Each of these things take about 5-10 minutes and I have the spaced out in my morning so it doesn't seem like I'm spending all morning cleaning, which is nice!
3) Morning:
  • laundry - with the three of us, it is so helpful to do one load of laundry a day. The night before when I collect the laundry for the next day, I make sure it is already in the basket downstairs in the laundry room so I don't even have to think about it. I go down for the morning and throw it in, then once it's done I put it in the dryer and try my best to fold it during nap time that day. If not I can finish it up after Solomon is asleep that night.
  • clean out dishwasher - this is typically my breakfast chore. I have my coffee and we play in the living room for a bit if we don't have plans to leave in the morning, then Solomon starts to get hungry so I put him in his highchair and give him his breakfast (normally yogurt and fruit). While he is eating I put away the dishes and clean up the kitchen after preparing breakfast and coffee. Once that is done I will normally sit with him and eat also.
  • wipe down 1/2 bath - the 1/2 bath is the one that any guest would use downstairs and I can't tell you how many times I have said, "sorry, its a mess, I need to clean it!" when someone asked to use the bathroom and I wasn't prepared for a visitor. In the past it would be full of laundry and a dirty sink/toilet. Now, while I'm doing the laundry duties for the morning, I quickly wipe down the surfaces/mirror, sweep up the floor & swish the toilet. It's so easy to keep it clean when it is a habit!

It really does help to keep things tidy and picked up every day so you don't have to spend one day a week cleaning up all the mess and clutter. Another tip I learned from some random YouTube cleaning schedule (not the amazing Jen) was the one minute rule:
"If it takes you less than sixty-seconds to do it, then do it!"
This is definitely a lot of work for me and Peter. We are the type of people to just leave things around and not take the extra step to put it away, so when you have TWO people living in a busy home, and not living by that rule, it can become very messy. It's still a work in progress to not just sit the can opener to the side instead of putting it away in the drawer, or leave the shoes by the door instead of taking them upstairs to the closet... but that little step makes a world of a difference day to day.

Next, I will share my Weekly Cleaning schedule and also explain the Zone Cleaning. Both steps that also take 15-20 minutes a day and can be broken up into sections so you aren't cleaning constantly, or you can squeeze it in to a lump 40ish minutes of cleaning. I really love how these schedules from How Jen Does It are so adaptable for your lifestyle. Who knew I would be excited to talk about cleaning.... I definitely did not. And I also bet my mom has passed out by her computer after reading this, I should probably check on her.

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