How We Clean, Sortof


Room Re-Arrangement of the Month Club, January Edition. Just kidding! Just cleaning the wood floors.

I asked for help.Why? Because our mud room looked like this:


And this is 25% of 25% of our main living space. Seventy-five percent of that 25% looks the same or worse:


I asked for help because I need it, because a family member gently encouraged me, because we’ve been living like this for as long as we’ve had this home, because I said I would, because God gave me grace to be humble.An amazing friend named Jo came twice, and we organized the mud room while the kids slept. She casually asked whether I have a cleaning routine. I said something along the lines of “usetacould”, and then got to thinking, “why not now?” So I scribbled down a basic cleaning schedule on a yellow white board on the fridge (you can see it in the first photo), and haven’t looked back since. (I mean, I’ve looked back at what I’ve written in order to remind myself and execute (!), but I haven’t looked back to those dusty cluttered days of guilt, since.)

Now, when I see goopy floors on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or on the weekend, I leave them (!) and instead of feeling guilty and gross, I feel proud, because I leave them knowing that a) I will get to them later, b) I will clean (albeit something else) today. Any cleaning is progress, and c) I’ve gotten past the analysis paralysis of what to do with the 5 minutes I have to clean 167 different things.

For instance, yesterday was dusting and “tops of things” day. Anything that doesn’t sit on the floor is fair game. I decided to tackle as much of the stove as I could. I didn’t get all of the baked-in grime off of all of the drip pans, but I made a dent in the mess. Then, this happened, plus a little. This is the slightly cleaned up version:


Gross. But beautiful, in the sense that I will pick up the major portions of mess today, but today is a floors and “bottoms of things” day. So, today, I am sweeping, vacuuming, and, if there is time, picking things up off the floor and putting them away, etc. Freedom is beautiful.

You may notice that dishes is not on this list. Doing the dishes is one of those unfortunate daily tasks. So for a while, I’ve been trying to do the dishes while the kids eat. The rule is that when they are eating in the kitchen, I am there too (I’ve stopped running away for time to myself), either cleaning or getting my own food. It’s worked out pretty well. Some days, it takes all day to finish unloading the dishwasher. So, like the rest of the house, there’s often cleaning waiting there for me, but this system is enough to keep the cleaning happening without keeping me in the kitchen so much that I miss out on time with the kids. Has anyone else noticed how easy it is to spend all their time in the kitchen? The cleaning, cooking, organizing never ends, unless I walk away from it.

This is more Show and Tell than an article about how anyone else should operate. I totally think a person can clean less, and still be a good mom, and I am completely happy that this mom takes a lot of time to clean, and is still a good mom.

I simply want to give glory to God today that I got some help, and that we are healthy enough to begin to get into work habits!

All the best to you, friends!








6 thoughts on “How We Clean, Sortof

  1. love it! I’m sitting in a very messy house right now, but with a newborn I only pressure myself to keep up with the laundry and feed everyone. Soonish I’ll work on creating a new system that will work with our new situation. I’ll have to think through which chores to do with the baby in the Ergo, and how to get the upstairs cleaned between everyone’s naps, etc. … complicated. But I love, and intend to continue, not stressing about the whole house all at once! Good work MC!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sheila! Hi! I’ve been wanting to call you, so it’s super awesome to hear from you. Sounds like you’re all adjusting very well! I’m glad I’m not the only one in this clean-as-you-can boat. By the way, I forgot to include in the post that I totally skip some days and/or some items on the list, all together. But having the list as a guideline eliminates worry, because I know that if I stick to it, at SOME point, SOME Friday (or other) I WILL get to the bathrooms. I’m going to have to remember to be gentle with ourselves, and give ourselves time to change the routine, when situations change. For me, this is the hardest part of homemaking.

      On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 7:59 AM, Uncommon Motherhood wrote:



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