April 14, 2009

Audience participation

When I in junior high/high school, my parents hired someone to clean our house regularly. The ironic thing is that in the back of my head, I secretly thought my mom was lazy because of it. Seriously. She was working a demanding, full time job, had three kids and was working on her Master's degree. And I thought she was lazy for getting someone to clean the house twice a month. The part that was ironic is that I never considered my dad lazy for this . . . just my mom And I can share this here because I've shared it with her and now realize that she was absolutely NOT lazy. I can barely keep up with cleaning with only a job and a toddler.

The thought of hiring someone to clean my house through the summer has entered my head more than once today. I was working on cleaning the kitchen and thinking, "Didn't I just do this?" And I know that Kyle's done it at least once since I did it. It seems like it's impossible to keep anything clean. And during the summer we're gone from 7 AM - 8 PM (well, Kyle's gone from 7 AM - midnight most days) and I have no desire to clean on our 1 1/2 days off.

So, I'm wondering what your housekeeping "philosophies" are. What routine do you have? What time-saving tips work for you? What horror stories can you share? Do you hire someone to help you with cleaning? How often do you clean? No judgment here at all. I'm just wondering. Comment if you'd like, or shoot me an e-mail. Or let me know if you've posted about this on your blog in the past. I don't normally invite audience participation on my blog, but I'm curious . . .

For us, we haven't had a routine since Jack was born . . . so for almost two years now. We used to have a loose schedule of when things would get cleaned, but not so much anymore. We clean things as we have time. Since we both work quite a bit, we take equal responsibility for keeping things clean, though I'll admit that the bathrooms usually only get cleaned when Kyle can't take the filth anymore and does it. My main "horror stories" involve Murphy peeing and Jack spilling vegetable oil on our hideous white carpet . . . which is the reason we're now saving for new flooring throughout our house. The kitchen gets cleaned usually once a week and we probably vaccuum high traffic areas once a week, too. But everything else . . . maybe once a month. Maybe. Unless you count touch-ups before we have people over. Gross, I know.

I don't really have any time-saving tips, other than sweeping things onto the carpet. I hate using dustpans, so I sweep stuff from the kitchen onto the carpet and then vaccuum it up afterwards. I picked that little trick up from the head of housekeeping at camp.

Ok, your turn.


Smith Family Blog said...

I've been wanting to get a cleaning lady since Moses was born. Three years later, still no cleaning lady... But I am still strongly hinting to my husband that I want one!

That's funny about Kyle and the bathroom-- my husband is the one that cleans the bathrooms (and the kitchen), too. I practically made that a pre-nup before we got married. :)

Melanie Eccles said...

If you want a look into the life of an insanely organized cleaning fanatic (surprisingly NOT me), check out http://hyperhomemaker.blogspot.com/

She has a bunch of cleaning lists and schedules and helpful hints listed on the left side of her blog. I don't follow it, but I think she has some great guidelines and helpful hints. She's also a caterer and a great decorator and a Christian. So that's cool. :)

And I think I know the head of housekeeping. ;)

Good luck!

Elisa said...

I highly recommend a cleaning lady twice a month. I hired someone when I got pregnant with Zackary (hired her and then found out I was pregnant) and it has been a life saver. Our house isn't very big so she only spends 4 hours every two weeks but it has made my life SO much easier. It also forces you to pick-up and put away before she comes. If you can budget for it and find someone you are comfortable with, go for it!

Xander said...

The best thing I've ever discovered for routines, house cleaning, and abolishing perfectionism!

I live by this and it has transformed the way I run my home. She's all about babysteps, jumping in where you are, and building routines. I could go on all day! :)

Sarah said...

Well, i'd probably never hire a cleaning lady, because I just don't care enough at this point about cleanliness. I wish I did, but I don't. However, I still LOVE a clean house and feel SO much better when it's straightened up. Big difference between "straightened" and "cleaned" though.

I used to be incredibly resentful about cleaning and about who DID the cleaning. Not so much anymore. I have realized that I just DON'T and WON'T clean during the week. I have a full-time job, and I'm tired and want to relax when I get home. And between dinner and cleaning up (somewhat) from that, other cleaning is not going to happen, and it's obviously not going to get any better after Baby comes.

SO....I have officially made Saturday's my cleaning day. I really truly do NOTHING during the week other than MAYBE empty the dishwasher and MAYBE wash some of the bigger dishes that don't fit in the dishwasher. Saturday morning is reserved for the real cleaning of the kitchen, straightening the junk counter (junk mail, bills, etc.), vacuuming, dusting, etc. Bathrooms....I may or may not do those on the weekend. They pretty much get done when I KNOW that people are coming over to our house. I must say though, that often times when I'm doing my Saturday cleaning, Kevin will jump in and do the vacuuming AND clean SOME of the bathrooms. Sooo, I'm not totally on my own here. Which is awesome.

Saturdays have helped me not get SO far behind that it's unmanageable when I DO decide to clean, and it's also made it so that I know what to expect and I'm not resentful about doing it. Now....talk to me again when I have a toddler, and I may not be so big on the Saturdays..... :)

(Laundry: I usually do a load or two in the evenings throughout the week, but they don't get put into drawers or hung up until Saturdays)

rachel said...

Oh my gosh - I don't even have a pet, and I already wish I could hire a housekeeper. At the least, someone to dust.

Erin K. said...

Cleaning? I'm supposed to be cleaning?

I really don't have a routine - things pretty much get cleaned as I have time, energy, and motivation. (Which mostly means that we clean when other people come over.) I try to keep the kitchen cleaned up and generally keep the house picked up during the week, and then try to spend time cleaning other areas on the weekends.

Annie mentioned FlyLady, and there are a lot of great tips and techniques that I learned from her site, although I don't follow her routines.

One habit I started as a result of FlyLady is to set my kitchen timer for 15 minutes, focus on one specific task, and then see how much I can get done before the timer goes off. Then, when it does go off, I give myself permission to be done, or move on to something else. This helps IMMENSELY with the mental roadblocks that cause me to not want to clean, and is by far the most used technique at my house.

I recently also started doing what FlyLady calls the "27-fling-boogie." Strange name, yes, but I have now discovered the beauty of it. I often get to a place where I feel like our main living area is completely out of control, and then I'm overwhelmed and have a hard time knowing where to start. So, I set the timer for 15 minutes, grab an empty laundry basket, and as quick as I can, I find 27 things that need to be put away and I throw them all in the basket. Coats, earrings, toys, books, shoes, whatever - I throw it in, and count until I get to 27. Then, quick as I can, I go put everything away.

Most of the time it doesn't take me a full 15 minutes, and most of the time I feel 200% better about my house when I'm done. Sometimes I'll do a second sweep, but this time will look for 27 things to throw away. (Church bulletins, junk mail, old newspapers, etc.) If you have a space that you need to de-clutter, you can also do a sweep where you find 27 things to give away.

Weird, but it works.

And, can I say that I am so excited to find out that I'm not the only one who doesn't clean my bathroom on a weekly basis?

Pam Babcock said...

Sara, I've been all over the board on this one. Total neat-freak when my kids were little- but I was not working outside of the home. Then we went to Brasil and having a housekeeper was expected. It really took the pressure off and helped me to do more with ministry and hospitality. Back in North America as my kids got older, we have "cleaning tornados" (this won't work until your babes are older), we turn on jammin music and everyone works in the same room together, pick-up, dusting, vacuuming until the room is done. Then we move to the next room. Call it a team sport, have fun, and it's amazin how much can get done. Since I work, it's been the only way to keep things decent. However, with the hours you are working, I would have someone in to do the "least desireables", at least. That way when you are home you can enjoy each other and feel good about your home at the same time. Just my two cents!

Tara said...

We hired a cleaning lady about 5 months ago, right before baby #2 was born. Not only was it getting difficult to move around, it was hard to keep up with a toddler + cleaning. Also, I hate cleaning and so does my husband. He has actually been pushing for a cleaner for years and I've always said no. I have no idea why. I finally just agreed with him one day I guess: we hate to clean, we like to have things clean, there are people who like to clean and who need money, and we would prefer to spend that time doing other things like being with the kids and with each other. She comes every other week for about 4 hours.

And I'm a SAHM at the moment. It has been a necessity for us to have her the past few months with getting used to a toddler + a newborn. Going forward it is probably more of a luxury than a necessity, but it's something we're willing to do....I don't know why I didn't agree to it sooner.

I do try to keep things somewhat neat and clean in between, of course, and my husband vacuums the first floor a few times a week (we have 4 furry pets in addition to the kids).