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The secret to keeping your house clean is…there is no secret.

by Meagan Francis on February 8, 2011

Ugh.

Yesterday I asked readers to tell me their biggest keeping-the-house-clean challenges. Although you each have your own most-hated household tasks (mine would be mopping the floor) a couple of broader themes emerged:

  • Difficulty getting your spouse and/or kids to help out enough, or to your standards
  • Taking those first few painful steps in a big project
  • Clutter that seems to breed
  • The never-ending-ness of it all

I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve experienced each of those four obstacles during my tenure as a mom, and I have heard hundreds of other mothers complain about those very issues many times. To that list, I’d add a few roadblocks of my own:

  • It’s boring
  • It’s lonely
  • It never ends (oh, I guess you all already said that, huh?)

So here’s the part where I share some disappointing news: there is no secret to keeping a cleaner house. No magic formula,* no life-altering tool that will, as if charmed, get up and clean the room itself. In fact, if you haven’t already learned this hard truth, despite the suggestions made in the commercials, Scrubbing Bubbles do not actually fly around your bathtub on tiny brushes doing all the work for you. I know. Bummer.

I recently wrote an article on speed-cleaning tips and tricks for Parents magazine (it’ll be in the March issue), interviewing dozens and dozens of parents and homemakers along the way. While there were a few tricks that were new to me–like putting a bowl of water in the microwave to loosen dried-on spills and splatters–most of the tips I picked up were far less magical: Prioritize. Take advantage of five minutes here and ten minutes there. Train your kids to help out. Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Make sure everything has a home.

But there’s some comfort in that, too, isn’t there? There is no secret to keeping a cleaner house. That means there’s no reason why you can’t keep a clean-enough house, too.

First, I want to be very clear what I’m talking about when I say “a clean-enough” house. My house is definitely clean enough, most of the time, to keep me happy. However, there are cobwebs in my ceiling corners, dust on many surfaces, the inside of my fridge isn’t exactly company-ready, and I don’t even want to know what’s lurking under my bed.

In short? To me, clean-enough isn’t even close to white-glove perfection. Instead, it means:

  • Organized enough that we can usually find what we need without wasting a lot of time,
  • No visible spills, no bad smells, a bathroom that appears to be used by humans and not apes
  • Tidy enough that if someone knocks on the door mid-day, I don’t have to hide in shame.

And…that’s about it. If my house meets those criteria, I can concentrate enough to work, I can relax enough to play a game of Sorry! with the kids. If it doesn’t, I feel boxed-in, anxious and low energy.

So if there are no secrets to having a cleaner house, why is it so hard? I believe that in order to have a peaceful relationship with the state of your home, you have to embrace these three principles:

  • “Clean enough” is good enough. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good-enough. You have to give yourself permission to keep things only as clean as they need to be, give your kids and spouse permission to complete household tasks differently than you might in your fantasy world, and most important, give everyone–yourself included–permission to live in your home, even if that means you mess it back up again.
  • You are responsible for seeking your own cleanliness happiness. I’m not letting spouses and kids off the hook or saying they shouldn’t have to pull their weight–far from it. But if you’re the one who hates the sight of a dirty floor, and you refuse to mop it because you’re waiting for somebody else to take the initiative, and then you’re miserable every time you see it…well, you’re just punishing yourself. There are smart, sane ways to delegate and divide household labor–we’ll talk about those in another post this week.
  • Realize that it’s for your own good. It’s a lot easier to function when you know where things are, and it’s a lot cheerier to live in a relatively neat, tidy, and fresh-smelling home than a messy, dingy, funky-smelling cave. Keeping your surroundings nice is something you do for yourself, not something other people make you do.
  • Most importantly, moms have to embrace the endlessness. You know that funny quote about how trying to clean while children are still growing is like trying to shovel when it’s still snowing? Ha, ha! So true! So we should just recognize how futile it is and stop trying, right?Um, no. Swimming against the tide is frustrating and tiring and you might not make much visible progress, but it’s better than being swept out to sea. Look at it this way: every day you brush your teeth, and then you eat and they get dirty, so you brush them again–you probably don’t sit and think about how unfair it is that they went and got grungy again, do you? The fact is, life is made up of many series of endless, repeated tasks, and motherhood amplifies them. The quicker you accept that and try to work with it instead of rebel against it, the happier you’ll be.

Over the next few days I’m going to be posting more concrete tips and tricks on de-cluttering, delegating, and getting past common cleaning-up hurdles. I’m curious–if you dont currently struggle with keeping your house clean, is it because you’ve learned to embrace one or more of the above principles? If you do struggle with keeping your house clean, can you imagine how one of these principles might help you feel freer or more on top of the mess?

*Except for the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. That thing really IS magical.

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah February 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I love this. It is so true. I think the biggest thing that would help me is reframing housecleaning from Sisyphean and miserable to… well, there’s my problem. What is something good that you have to do all the time just because you have to do it? I hate brushing my teeth for the same reason, I must be a special kind of unmotivated. ;-) I do love the phrase “embrace the endlessness!”

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Leah, sounds to me like you’re an equal-opportunity rebel. Let me guess: you never did FlyLady, huh?

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Alison Alfredson February 9, 2011 at 4:53 am

True, so true. And how is it you didn’t know about putting water in the microwave! : ) Tip with that if anyone is interested. Put a pop cycle stick in a water glass, too. It is the fastest way to bring the water to boil. It really does work! Another cleaning tip: To get cooked on food off of a casserole dish or frying pan, fill it with water and ‘cook it’ on the stove. It works like magic, too.

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Alison, thanks for the tip! I’m definitely trying that casserole dish trick.

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Yolanda October 24, 2011 at 9:10 am

Alison! This could be the solution to my biggest pet peeve (cleaning casserole dishes!). I’m making a caserole tomorrow and will try your tip with water/oven tomorrow night!

Thanks! xx

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angie February 9, 2011 at 5:53 am

I do struggle with keeping my house clean, and I can see how your perspective could help me. I love the idea of embracing the endlessness, and the idea of not being swept out to sea. I definitely have found myself at sea many times. Thank you for the different perspective!

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Maureen February 9, 2011 at 5:57 am

Now that my kids are a bit older (11 thru 18), I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the endlessness of cleaning. It’s about time!

Meagan, wanted to let you know there’s a shout-out to The Happiest Mom on my blog today: http://writearounditall.wordpress.com. You’re inspiring!

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Chantal February 9, 2011 at 7:04 am

I struggle with the clutter and it stresses me out. And I do find it hard to enjoy my time with my family when my dining room table is a mess (and that is only one surface, there are many more). I am working on it. I don’t mind cleaning as much as I wish I had more time to concentrate on cleaning. I figure if I could clean for 8 hours a day for a week (and I know I never would but…) and tackle all this clutter then my life would be happier. But I just don’t have that time :(

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I’m going to tackle clutter in a follow-up post, but my best solution to keeping it under control has been to be ruthless about getting rid of stuff. I hear you about time, too. I think the key is having less stuff to clean and organize, having systems to get everything under control, and then cleaning in small bits and pieces so it never seems to consume your life.

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alison February 9, 2011 at 7:18 am

The one thing that has helped me the most with housework is having my sister-in-law come over. I watch her little boy during her ceramics class for a few hours on Monday, and instead of leaving right away when she comes to get him, she stays and we clean or work on some project. It’s so much more enjoyable to clean with someone you like–even if it literally amounts to one person cleaning and the other person getting kids snacks and getting a cute baby to sleep. It’s fun to chat and plan, instead of facing the boringness of it all alone. Then a different day, I take my little girl over to her house during the school-day, and we work on cleaning over there. There’s so much more we get done together–and it’s honestly because one of us is actually working the whole time instead of groaning. :)

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm

LOVE this, Alison, and mentioned it in today’s post!

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Ellen February 9, 2011 at 7:58 am

To me the most important part is “Realize it’s for your own good.” Recognizing that cleaning is not a menial, awful, degrading job that anyone who can avoid will, but that is actually a necessary part of a healthy family life. Having a clean-enough, organized-enough house does make for a smoother running, more pleasant household. One in which guests aren’t resented because you’re embarrassed by the sticky floor, in which family members can find what they need, and in which I can sit down to relax with a book or movie without my eyeballs being bombarded by the mess surrounding me. Martha Stewart is not a huge hero of mine (I’m not at all crafty), but she once said something I try to keep in mind. Instead of saying, “Ugh, today I have to clean,” try saying, “Today, I will clean.” It does transform it a bit from drudgery to necessary maintenance of the gifts of family and home. Not that I love cleaning. But it helps.

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Very wise words, Ellen!

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Jennifer Carsen February 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

My kid is still young enough (8 months) to not be adding to the mess, so this may not be applicable when she gets older, but the secret for me is doing a little bit each day.

Clean the kitchen on Mondays; dust/lint roll on Tuesdays; laundry on Thursdays; vacuum on Fridays; etc. (I actually clean one face of the shower stall each day when I’m in it, sparing me the dread factor of having to clean the WHOLE thing at any one time. Though naked shower-stall cleaning may not be for everyone, I admit.)

This bit-at-a-time method means the house is never totally clean at any given moment, but it also means it’s never a complete disaster–and I can live with that.

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Denise February 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

Embrace the endlessness! My mom was one of those white-glove cleaners; she had/has VERY high standards. Though funnily enough she’s also a bit messy. She’ll leave the dust cloth and the vacuum and the bucket of mop water out all day, for example. And hey, I’m the same way, minus the white-glove part. For me, in the years I’ve been a mom/owned a house, it’s been a process of embracing my methods and getting over the fact that I don’t clean up to my own standards. I know that sounds weird, but there it is. I clean the hell out of my bathrooms, the way my mother did — they get VERY clean and nice-smelling and sparkly. And then I wait sometimes two WEEKS before I do it again (minus wipe-downs of egregious spots; I do have little boys after all). And I’m okay with that. My other aim, as my kids grow, is to get them in on the act. On ALL the acts. They WILL learn how to dust and clean toilets, just as I did. They’ll hate it, too, and grumble, just as I did. But then I won’t have to do as much all on my own, and they’ll be much more marketable husbands!

Denise

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Denise, I think I’m like your mom. I’ll devote myself wholeheartedly to scrubbing something, then neglect to put away the sponge. But in my case, I’m just forgetful. I’m also the person who habitually leaves cupboard doors open…which is why we’re doing open shelving in the kitchen now!

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Denise February 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

…and by the by: I clean my microwave using a tip gotten from Martha Stewart, and it seems easier, maybe,than the bowl of water method. I wet and wring out a dish towel, and microwave it for a minute. Then you just use the hot damp towel to wipe down the inside, with all the gunk magically loosened, in just a minute. Bonus: a bit of lemon. I’m not that organized; usually, the lemons in my fridge are in a sorry half-moldy state (I need my mother to come over to do things like clean the fridge and the stovetop!)

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Jonelle February 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

I love this!! I’m always asked by friends and family members how I tend to keep my house so tidy, with a two year old. My tips are simple. I do big jobs like the floors & bathrooms when he’s napping. or in bed (when I have the time)! In fact sometimes when he’s in the bath I’ll clean the counter and toilet while I keep a watchful eye on him as he bathes! Another thing I do is what I call the ‘Commercial cleanup’ as a busy mum who runs two business and is a full time mum to my son, I don’t have much time for things like TV but when I do get the chance to watch a program I tidy up, dust, put dishes away etc during the commercials. I hope these little tricks help!! I know I love any and all good ideas when it comes to making mine and my families lives easier!! =)

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I get a lot of cleaning done while my kids are in the tub!

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Melissa February 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Hint: once a week clean your coffee maker with vinegar/water combo. Take the hot water that comes through, pour it into a cup, and put that in your microwave. Double duty cleaning!

We have 5 kids age 2-9, and a dayhome…i think the biggest thing for me is to take pleasure in how a clean house looks. When I’m overwhelmed or unmotivated, I simply try to direct my thoughts toward that state of mind that I have when I look around a clean bedroom, kitchen, or even bathtub! If I can make myself focus on the end feeling of satisfaction I KNOW I will have, then it is easier to get going.

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Meagan Francis February 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Melissa, you are so right–taking pleasure in the end product helps us focus on the positives.

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Rachael February 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Our home is dirty, cluttered, and disorganized. I don’t need it to be sparkling clean, but I do need it to support our lives, and it isn’t doing that very well right now. My observations on this topic: If it takes time, then so be it. I’ve given us a year to get rid of the last of the clutter and figure out a good-enough cleaning routine. And if it takes longer than a year, then it takes longer than a year—embrace the endlessness indeed! And: Be happy with how far you’ve gotten. Actually, I wish I had some “before” pictures from around the time my son was born, so that I could remind myself just how far we’ve come in making a comfortable home for ourselves!

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Mari M. February 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

When I was at home living with my parents I hated any and every chore in the world. Now that I’m in a college on-campus apartment with 3 other girls, I can’t stand the messes their parties do to the kitchen and living room! X_X I’ve suddenly found myself cleaning things out of disgust and out right horror (why are there raw fish sticks and cat food under the couch?!?), and most of the time I just lock myself in my room where, after reading from this site, the mess has magicaly become clean and neat. ^_^ Thanks for the multitudes of advice!

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Amy March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

I love this! I’ve just come to realize that I need to embrace the endlessness of yardwork, too, which is a little depressing. :)

I’m a semi-Flylady. I use her 15 minute technique a lot. It turns out you can get a lot done in 15 minutes. I’ve divided my schedule into a few tasks a day, and I “reset” my house every night (or at least I try to), so that it’s in reasonable order when I wake up in the morning. It puts me in a much better mood for the day!

You are right about the magic eraser–I’m afraid to find out what’s in it, because it really is magical! :)

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SleeplessinSummerville March 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

I am trying to create a culture change in my head to get the house under control. It’s helping a lot so far. Basically, I used to be a special-occasion cleaner. I only felt a sense of accomplishment when I completed chores if there was a dramatic difference in the appearance of something before vs after I cleaned it. The upshot of this was that I didn’t clean things until they were really dirty. Suddenly, I realized that this attitude was causing me to DELIBERATELY CULTIVATE FILTH. I just didn’t see it until recently. I don’t always get to things before they get dirty now, but when I think about a chore and tell myself it doesn’t need to be done right now, I ask myself two questions: Will I feel more inclined to do this at a later time (am I especially tired, is it really late, etc) and the second question if the first is no is “Am I trying to cultivate nasty?” The answer to the second question is always no, so I just go ahead and do it if it’s not too time-consuming. And I’m finding that my chores are less time-consuming when I just drop what I’m doing and do them quickly. I must have wasted a lot of time rationalizing why I wasn’t doing housework!

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angela March 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Cleaning is my worst enemy, until i had to move. I realized that my soon to be husband is a real life pack-rat. We, well he had a storage room that was filled to the top. No lie, i swear. i told him to help me one late night and I knew he would not want to finish. As soon as he went to bed everything came out. It only took me 2 hrs and 12 big black trash bags to clean it. i know that when I move i will get it organized and dare him or my 3 children to put something where it dont belong. i am not a neat freak but i like a clean house. Thank goodness for moving. cant wait to get it back together and the way i want it.

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Ally April 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

For the first time in my life, I am not struggling. My house isn’t perfect, but the things that make me breathe easy and that relax my eyes are getting done. And I have a toddler and a newborn–never in a million years did I think this would be the time. I suppose I’m at the “baby steps” stage of Flylady, just morning and evening routines (I’m the only one of my mom friends not to complain about laundry getting done!), and I don’t think my sink will ever remain shiny all day, and yep, I’m barefoot…but I count cleaning in “15 minuteses” and I have come to realize that of the four humans who live in my house, who a) spends a lot of time there and b) cares about its cleanliness? Me. I clean for me. I put on earrings and mascara in the morning for me (not that my husband doesn’t appreciate it). I put my dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them on the table for me. And I spend two minutes cleaning my bathroom every morning for me–would it be disgusting if I did it only half as often? No. But I’m pleased with my sparkly bathroom and that’s worth doing it.

I’m also beginning to realize that if it leaves in a trash bag, I don’t have to pick it up six times in the next two days ;)

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Deanna April 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I’ve recently started Flylady and it’s helped me so much! I suppose that I’m a stay at home mom makes cleaning a little bit easier because I can do it throughout the day but I have a 3 yr old, 1 1/2 yr old and I’m 8 months pregnant. Flylady has really helped me get organized!

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newwifey April 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm

A man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done. If you take on house, spouse and kids you just have to deal. I don’t know how I will. I just took on house and spouse, and its hard to keep it tidy now. I’m constantly cleaning up after him. He goes in the kitchen and there are crumbs, food boxes left out, coffee grounds. Urg! But that’s what I took on and I deal. At least he does help out, without me having to ask. I do all our cooking for the most part and he will gladly jump in and put away the dishes.I have every reason to believe this will last.

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Monna Payne April 11, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thank you so much for this frank post. I found it at just the right time. I was feeling sorry for myself and disillusioned about my life though I LOVE my husband and kids so much and (theoretically) am happy to spend this time at home for them. The never-endingness was just getting to me. Unlike careers and school, there’s no finish – no feeling of ever really completing something and I was discouraged.
These were the words I needed to hear to move me from theory to reality.
I posted a link to you on my favorite things blog this morning. I have some friends who feel the same way!

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NicoleT April 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I suppose I grate the most at waiting for hubby to do anything I ask him to help with (either the stuff I spontaneously ask, or the stuff he has agreed his is “regular” chore). His timeline and standards are different.

I need to just accept it’s not going to change… which makes me really P1SS3D. But I suppose our house would be a lot cleaner if I just cleaned instead of using up my time being mad about it.

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Connie Abbott May 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I go in cycles of struggle against the mess, kind of accept the fact that we’re a whole family of messies, and struggle again; some of it depends on my energy level and maybe the weather. I like this little quip from Joan Rivers…it doesn’t exactly express me, but it makes me laugh: “I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes–and six months later you have to start all over again.”
(and…I haven’t posted on my “housekeeping” blog in…forever…but I was actually thinking yesterday about posting on the Magic Erasers, isn’t that funny? They are amazing!)

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Meg Berg May 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

As a mother of toddlers, the state of my house seems to be constantly on my mind. For me, something changed when I started following the rule of always leaving a room better than I found it. This really has made a huge difference in my house without seeming to add much to my workload. I’m already following my kids from room to room and going up and down the stairs, so I just make sure to take something with me on the journey. As I leave the living room, I grab two pairs of shoes from the floor. Before we head downstairs, I do a quick sippy-cup sweep. It doesn’t make the house immaculate, but it makes it much less daunting when it’s time to really spend some time cleaning up. And more than that? I feel like I’m being productive, even when I’m just trying to control chaos.

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Colby May 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

As a mom of 5, who doesn’t naturally tend toward neatness and organization, I struggle/battle with keeping everything picked up AND put away. There are too many surfaces (counters, floors, etc.) It seems like anything that can end up on the floor WILL end up on the floor. And due to entropy/ nature abhors a vacuum-everytime I manage to clear a surface it fills up again immediately. My days feel like one big game of 52 pick-up, and whack-a-mole. I doggedly keep at it, but I find myself so resentful of having things books, toys, clothes and all kinds of random objects to try to keep sorted and organized and under control it leads to big frustration. Not sure of the way around it. But like my friend always said “E is for effort.” Guess I’ll just keep on truckin!

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April May 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

i love your thoughts. i am frequently teased and publicly accused of being martha stewart, donna reed, etc by my friends who think i live to clean my house. not so. i’m sitting in the middle of a messy room right now drinking black coffee and eating frosting…but i am just a clean person. so i pick up, throw out, organize and clean daily. that’s what i’m comfortable with. I hate living like a slob! and yes i am training my girls to clean up their messes…and i think that’s an investment in all of our futures.
ps: i love mr clean erasers for.sure.

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Megzer September 8, 2011 at 2:32 am

My mom gave me sound advice when I was complaining about the neverending cycle of cleaning.

Someday you will clean your house and it will stay clean. That’s when the kids are grown up and moved out. You will miss the mess.

Embrace the mess while you have it!

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Amanda September 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I am a mother of an almost two year old and have a hubby that only cleans when I have went away for a few days to visit friends or family and left him to his own devices. I try to use the easiest ways to clean that I can find when I dont have time to do a thorough house cleaning (I hate mopping the floors- everytime I wash the floors either the dog walks in with muddy paws, the cat decides to cough up a hairball or my toddler ‘cleans’ the floor with baby powder, I cannot stand to scrub the tub either which I found an amazing helper — Vileda bathroom cleaner!! I loooove it, it saves me the time and my back when cleaning the tub. It is like a mop/swiffer for your tub! ) the floor I am still trying to find a quicker mop so that when it gets dirty five minutes later I dont have to worry about the hour or two spent making them nice and shiny… lol.

P.S. I love your blog, you rock and are very very helpful, so Thank you for being awesome!!

ttfn
Amanda

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Althea December 4, 2011 at 3:28 am

I am Wife also so i can relate this topic…being clean in your home and the surroundings is really reflect your personality as a girl or a wife. I am really don’t like when i am in the house and found out that things in here things in there it really makes my head hot…lol…but because of work i clean my house once a week:(…..
thanks for the posts i got some idea…

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Vicki Church December 14, 2011 at 4:17 am

Thanks! Another thing I do is what I call the ‘Commercial cleanup’ as a busy mum who runs two business and is a full time mum to my son, I don’t have much time for things like TV but when I do get the chance to watch a program I tidy up, dust, put dishes away etc during the commercials.

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cleaning service Nashville December 23, 2011 at 2:13 am

Though it is customary to entrust the cleaning to mothers, we should not depend on them all the time. It would be nice to help do chores at home, that way it is accomplished faster and it would not be tiring.

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Pam T January 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

i have read you post many times. I have a problem with our 41 year old son his soon to be wife her 4 year old and our 13 year old granddaughter that all live with us. Our house is 95 year old house is getting a little tired inside. What do I do with a mother that won’t pick up after herself or her 4 year old daughter? Our son has had custody of our 13 year old sense she was 2 so I have been MOM / Grandma for many years. With hem and our granddaughter in and out of our house for years. Yes I am retired for the reason of taking care of our 13 year old for so many years. How can I get his soon to be wife to clean up after what she calls her soon to be family. There are some things I will refuse to do and that is laundry. They can let it pile up hip high and they still don’t care! Trash on my coffee table trunk and no respect for my house is driving me nuts. I have ran away from my house twice now and I refuse to run away again. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!

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krystal w February 18, 2012 at 10:51 am

i clean the kids rooms while the kids are watching a movie, they are not much help but if i put a movie in while im cleaning there room they wont be messing up another part of the house! and i also clean dishes while im cooking meals this way dishes are done at least twice daily!

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Carrie August 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

This should be linked with the “too-busy-itis” article. So many I know have to be Sooo busy and the thing they’re busy about is cleaning. I know kids make a house dirty – so do husbands. But they list off all their cleaning as if there is going to be a military inspection every day at noon and six! It’s crazy – nobody cleans that much and nobody has to have their house that perfect! I was told it HAD to be that constant a chore because of the mother’s delicate immune system…and if she weren’t such a smoker, I might be tricked into believing that. THANK you for posting that it doesn’t have to be perfectly clean! A clean and tidy house DOES run more smoothly than a funky cave, but one has to let go of the unreachable expectations that we’ve been convinced by society that we HAVE to have! All mothers are great, even if the house isn’t showroom ready – a lived in house is a house full of love, which is more important than any white glove inspection.
Why do so many mothers feel they have to have a perfect house or else we will view them as worthless? It’s just not true!!!

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Georgetown TX Maid Service August 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Such great advice!!

Part of me always thinks it will be easier if I just “do everything at once” but that never works. It’s MUCH better to clean as you go.

Thanks for the reminder….

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Brenda September 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

One thing that helps me with cleaning to be more fun, is if I listen to music while I clean. Especially if it is up beat music!! You should give that a try!

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Karen September 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I’ve come to realize that the only person who cares about having a spotless home out of a household of 6 which includes, a husband and 4 kids, is me. I love the “clean-enough is good enough” outlook on household chores, it gives me relief to know that I don’t have to be Stepford wife in order to be considered a good homemaker. :)

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Becca watts December 10, 2012 at 3:44 am

I thought this was great. I spent my whole day cleaning and this made me feel ok about those last little unnecessary details th

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Becca watts December 10, 2012 at 3:45 am

At won’t make or break my house. also an

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Becca watts December 10, 2012 at 3:48 am

Sorry, my phone keeps screwing up lOl. Another microwave trick. If you take a coffee mug halfway full of water and microwave it for a minute and a half or so, and leave it in the microwave for ten minutes, it steams all the crap off the walls in there so you don’t have to use spray to clean if you don’t want to. It cuts the actual cleaning time by a lot

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Latoya January 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

It’s not that way for me I have 4 boys and a husband i have a 2b2b and i work 2 jobs my boys always spilling something on my rug the it seems like i dont have enough space for anything im no where near organized it’s like I never have the time either im to tired or lazy or i clean in between jobs if i could.implement some rules and more organization were i can say put that back and the job gets done i feel like im a maid and no support from my family

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Sarah Anne January 5, 2013 at 9:25 am

i came across this article in my search for cleaning chart ideas which have never worked for me in the long run anyway! I’m a proud 23 year old mom of a beautiful 1 year old girl. Her dad and i have only been together for about two years and i find keeping the house clean really difficult on top of everything else i feel. Small house lots of baby things and a doberman. first time living with anyone other then my parents and i’m a young mom on top of it. i thought i would be using my degree and all that fun stuff you do in your 20s. however im proud to be this little girls mom shes amazing and her dad is just as amazing he works a hard job as well as being a reservist in the military! and all i have to do is keep up with the house and food shopping. I know how much an unorganized house bothers him from his childhood and i feel like im completely failing him because i get so tired im still learning to balance everything myself.

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Ellie March 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I really enjoyed the post and will be trying it out soon! We are in the process of starting to take guardianship of my fiancés younger sister (21 years younger shed 7) and I need to get the house cleaner before that process is over . I’ll will try to do the clean enough method instead of the “it must be perfect” pull your hair out method.

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Mikka April 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I clean everyday and its always the same mess for. The day before and I have to fight with my kids to help what can I do

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Amber May 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Thank you!!! I needed this today!

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christal May 31, 2013 at 5:05 am

I start cleaning then i take a break thats where i stop and never get back up. I hadto stop the breaks. I have 3THE kids oldest 9 youngest 9 months really overwhelmed.

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karen July 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Discipline is self-care and self-care is discipline.

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Winter September 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm

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talita November 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm

its sooo boring a house clean especially when your 15 years old and having 3 young siblings and a hard working mom with a studiying older sister uf its tiring

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amyj February 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

This is an awesome tip, I read in a book. Instead of rinsing out your rag as you clean, get a dozen cloth diapers (or similar) and toss each into a pile as they get dirty. Then, when you are done cleaning, throw them all into the washing machine.

This really cuts down on cleaning time!

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Jessie_Irishman July 1, 2014 at 6:01 am

I personally feel that dislocated clutter leads to more clutter and more clutter leads to insanity in home :D I will share my secret: All you have to do is pick up a piece and land it in a place where is should be. Passing it from one location to another is simply not accepted. Rest I am sure this wonderful post will serve the purpose..:)

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