The stockings hang empty again, the presents have been ripped open and enjoyed by all. You’ve been eating leftovers now for days and know that if you have one more turkey sandwich, you are going to be sick, but hey, if it means you don’t have to cook again, you’ll endure it. Yes for some, the week after Christmas is a relaxing time because they can take a break from the festivities and the to do list is almost not existent. I however am not part of the group. Since the gifts have been opened, they have been scattered throughout the house and everyday, my chest feels a little bit tighter because the clutter is that overwhelming to me.
This past week has reminded me how much I need a cleaning routine. Since moving into the new house, I haven’t set one, because I told myself that I didn’t need one, just clean what gets messy when it happens….Yeah no. that DOESN’T work for me. And this past week has only reinforced that fact. And since I don’t have a cleaning routine in place yet, what better time than the new year to get a new one started?
Maybe you’ve been following other bloggers who are talking about their New year resolutions, goals, or routines. Maybe you’ve completely ignored their posts because you already have a good system set in place. Or maybe you’ve ignored them because you have read post after post about cleaning routines but have no idea where to start or if you even need one. So how can you know if you even need a cleaning routine? Well here are three things I’ve noticed about myself this past week when I’ve been out of my routine.
I’m more irritable.
Studies have been done that link stress to a cluttered and messy space. I don’t need validate the sources in order to believe their findings because they are validated in my own life on a regular basis. When there are puzzles and toys scattered across the house and the sink is full of dishes, I can feel my stress level rise. And when I’m stressed, I’m more irritable mainly because I’m forming a massive to-do list in my head that keeps growing as I scurry around meeting the needs of my family.
I feel overwhelmed.
With the ever growing to-do list flowing through my head, I begin to feel behind and by the time I get through breakfast and my Bible time, I feel like I’m never going to catch up. This leads to even more irritability because as I begin to work on knocking things off my list, my kids keep adding to it or reversing the things I’ve already done. I spend the whole morning cleaning and get no where.
I feel lost.
I so overwhelmed by the things that I needed to get in order that I had NO IDEA where to start. This was especially true after Christmas. The dishes needed to be done. But we are out of dish rags so I should probably start laundry but because the hamper that’s full is in our room and Paul is asleep I can’t do that right now. I also need to vacuum the living room, but that will have to wait too. I noticed how disgusting the bathroom looked this morning, I really need to clean those, and make sure they get swept and mopped too. Which reminds me, I need to sweep and mop the kitchen. I’ll do that after dishes…..but I can’t do that yet…..Do you see where this is going? I get so confused by what should happen first that I have no idea where to even start. So instead I sit down with my phone or a book and lose myself there.
You need a routine
If you experience these feelings on a regular basis, then you probably need a routine. Now I know that when I am overwhelmed I have no brain power to even come up with a routine that works. And reading other’s routines isn’t helpful because they have different priorities so they focus on different things. And when I read about their priorities, I add them to things I think I should be working on as well making it that much more difficult to create a routine that works for me.
Tips to get you started
I won’t tell you what things you should focus on because I’m not you. But I will tell you the things I did to help me craft a cleaning routine that fits my specific needs and priorities.
- Do the dishes. Okay, so I am going to tell you to do one thing. By tackling this task you will most likely have some clarity to get your brain to focus on building a routine.
- Make a list. Whether its a list of rooms you need to clean or the top house keeping chores you need to do regularly, write down no more than 5 cleaning jobs you want to get done on a weekly basis. Once you have your list then assign each chore (or room or category) to a day of the week. Think about what your days look like. What commitments do you have outside the home? Are there days where you aren’t home much? Is there a day where you don’t leave the house? Fit your list into your life.
- Give yourself a catch up day. Life happens. A mom asked to switch carpool days with you because she could make it. You or your kids are sick. Your boss asked you to drive two hours away for a project, or if you’re me, you just don’t feel like cleaning some days. Whatever the case, allow yourself one (or two) catch up days. These are days with no assigned task so you can finish the task from yesterday, or do it all together. Or if you are really on top of things, it can be a day to relax.
- Choose daily tasks. This is what makes the one job a day task method work. By having list of daily tasks and doing them every day, you keep your home under control and keep your sanity. Again, keep it limited to 5 or less. These tasks can be as simple as making your bed every day to wiping down your bathrooms surfaces. Whatever you choose should be there to help maintain some order in your home that way you aren’t getting as overwhelmed by things.
- Do what works for you. When making your lists, think about the things you want to get done. Not the things your read that you feel like you should do. Think about your priorities and what works best for your family. My daily habits are the tasks I want to have done before my boys go to bed so I can enjoy a guilt free evening in a clean space and wake up without already feeling behind. Do what you need to get done so that when you get to the end of the day you can relax and enjoy.
I feel I should mention the website that was most helpful in creating my own cleaning routine: aslobcomesclean.com. Dana White (who also has two books) writes in a way that makes cleaning an organizing understandable for those who don’t like those tasks. Check it out!
I hope this post helps you break free from the paralyzing overwhelm you might be facing when it comes to cleaning your home and helps you find a way to streamline some things so you can enjoy more time with your family.