Thursday, September 16, 2010

To Clean, or Not To Clean...

I have always been a neat freak. Anally so. Just ask my college roommates. I was crazy.

After I got married I realized that 2 people really truly can have totally different standards of clean. It honestly isn't that they are lazy. I would get frustrated if a few days passed and I hadn't had any help with the cleaning. Everything. Was. Spotless. According to my husband, a dish or two in the sink and crumbs on the floor did not justify a deep clean of the kitchen. Me, that was great validation that the house was dirty. He didn't see "dirty" the same way.

Then came kids. When I was pregnant I always heard "let the cleaning go, the cleaning can wait, etc." I didn't believe it. Even after I had my first son I felt this strong urge to keep the house clean. Granted, my level of clean went down. A day or two of dirt didn't bother me, I could handle that.

However, once I had my second son...It. All. Went. Downhill. And I can only imagine what adding more kids would do.

(Let's talk about being transparent...yes, this is actually a picture of my laundry pile. Yes, I really did take a picture of it)

These days I'm lucky to have the kitchen with only a sink full of dishes and the laundry actually put in baskets instead of heaps in front of the washing machine. There are usually mounds of clothes waiting to be folded...Don't get me wrong, as you saw in my previous post (here) I really do love folding the boy's laundry. But sometimes I don't even need to fold them because by the time I get a chance we've already gone through all the clothes and they're in the dirty heaps in front of the washing machine. Start. Cycle. Over. And the kitchen counters? Those are usually hiding beneath the dirty dishes, stacks of magazines and mail. Our saving grace? Our house is only 1100 sq ft. It gets dirty fast, but it cleans fast too.


But, truth be told, a dirty house raises my stress level. I can predict my evening when I come home to a dirty house. I'm not as patient, I feel anxious. But a clean house (ahhh, longing sigh--love you honey and thank you for the times you clean the house!), I feel like I can relax, like I have time to play with my kids. BUT, I also hate that cleaning takes away time I get to spend with my kids.

So, I've devised a quick clean up plan that helps me both de-stress and allows guilt-free time for me to play with my kids. My new plan? When time allows I set the timer for 20 minutes (setting the timer makes it feel manageable). And then I do as much as I can in 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off, I put the antibacterial spray down (if I've even made it that far!) and go play! Granted, there are times your whole house needs a deep clean. Schedule a play date with grandma and get to it :)

If you only have a couple of minutes? Put all your dishes in the sink, start a load of laundry, and light a good smelling candle. No one will ever know :)

What do you do for a quick clean? How do you manage staying on top of chores so things don't get out of hand, yet spending time with your family?


  1. So true. Great blog.

  2. Grets, oh yes... I am anally clean... I think I have lots to learn. :)

  3. I hear you on this one...big time...I really can't function if my house is a mess so before kids awake, I am already putting clothes in dryer and while they eat breakfast, I am folding them and straightening up as fast as possible. I also have a "spot" for everything and I am committed every time I walk in the door to put it in it's spot, go through the diaper bag, unload it, and my dishwasher runs at least once a day since a cup on my counter = stress:) My pile of mail goes in my office so it is out of site and I try during afternoon nap to touch some of it keeping the pile empty as much as possible. I also try to get the house just right before bed so I wake up to a fresh day of clean before the madness begins all over again. It is a full time deal for me to keep the house in tollerable shape and once a week I do the deep clean and usually allow for cartoon mania but it usually doesn't take long since I follow my kids around the house all day with a mop and vacuum:) And yes, I am the crazy mom who picks up their toys 250 times a day. I am not bragging, this is not something I am proud of, but it sure makes me a much better mom and wife...a happy one, and I find some sort of enjoyment in cleaning. Love your new blog:)

  4. As a former neat freak I understand, although it is a bit different being home most of the day. I usually fill one side of the kitchen sink with soapy water to throw all the dishes from the day into, that way the pile doesn't get too bad. Otherwise, I leave all the cleaning for after Isak goes to bed (that is when I'm not going in to work). This way I can start each day with a somewhat tidy house. Right now Cory gets about one hour a day when he is not studying so he will take 30 minutes to play with Isak while I run around and transfer laundry, take out trash, work on dinner, ect. The other 30 min we save for time together. Sometimes I will also throw Isak in the baby pack and vacuum or fold laundry...which I imagine will only work until number two come along.

    Nice blog. I've enjoyed reading.