As we begin to plan and schedule using our calendars, the next important item to place on your calendar is time for cleaning your home. I hope some of you have already walked through your house and written down all the areas in your house that need organizing, cleaning or decorating from the second blog. This list of the areas that need work should be posted on a to-do list or on your calendar so you will be able to schedule a time for them.
But for regular weekly cleaning, look at your calendar and find a window of time when you and your family can get this done. I highly recommend cleaning your home once a week, for sanitary and allergy reasons as well as for your sanity!
Action Plan: Look at your rooms and closets and develop zones. A zone is an area reserved for one specific function as where you sew clothes, toys for your children, hobbies, etc. To better explain, think back to what a pre-school room looks like. There are hundreds of toys and books and games everywhere but when the teacher rings the two minute warning bell for story time, quickly all the playthings are put back where they belong. That’s because there is a zone, or a place, for each item: the blocks in the bins, the puzzles on the shelves, etc.
Your home should have zones for all the activities and hobbies your family has. There are three ways to organize these items: with the use of shelves, hooks and bins throughout your house and garage.
Now, for your weekly cleaning I suggest staying with the basics. I don’t think cleaning a bathtub with a toothbrush is a time-saver! So, get a carry tub with all your cleaning supplies and form a plan. Perhaps you can start with dusting, then swifting/vacuuming/moping floors, next cleaning the bathrooms and then changing linens and beginning your laundry. There was a time when my daughters and husband all helped: they would dust, he would follow them with the vacuum cleaner and I would mop the kitchen floor, clean the guest bath and then the next morning I would clean our bathroom and change the linens. The girls were expected to change their own beds and clean their bathroom – great teaching for when they left home!!
NOTE: For those of you who work outside the home or have small children, it is ok to hire a cleaning person! Don’t ever feel guilty for delegating. Delegating is one of the best ways to keep you from burnout.
My 5-minute quick clean. This is one of my favorite inventions! Before you go to bed tonight, take a 5 minute look at all of the living areas of your house: fluff up the pillows in the TV room, close the TV cabinet, pick up newspapers, shoes, etc. Make sure the kitchen is clean and unload the dishwasher if you can and set out breakfast dishes. Check the laundry room and make sure the washer is empty so clothes won’t mildew, etc. Turn off the computer and lights. In other words, do a quick clean and tidy up the areas you know your family has used.
When you wake up the next morning, you will already feel that half of the house is straighten! Now, before you start your day or leave the house, do a 5-minute quick clean in all the sleeping areas of your house: check bedrooms and make sure beds are made, pick up dirty clothes and empty trash cans, quickly wipe down bathroom counters and make sure curling irons are unplugged, etc. Now, when you get home your whole home is relatively neat and clutter free and you will not feel as stressed. Note: This is a great way to teach chores to your children and your little ones will love to help you “race” through the house getting it all finished.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from thy presence and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.” Psalms 51:10-11
Emotional Check-Up: Did you know that 40% of weekly cleaning is just picking up clutter? And 49% of Americans say thinking about household tasks stresses them out. Professionals have proven that stress comes from too much clutter in a home or office. Maybe this spring will be a good time to really purge each room in your house to reduce this clutter and your weekly cleaning will become much easier. In fact, next week’s blog will be ways to streamline and simplify your spring cleaning.
Healthy Fit-Fact: As we begin to de-clutter our homes and hearts, let’s also look at what we are eating. It’s time to treat our body as the temple of God that it is and refrain from over-eating, junk-eating and poor-judgment eating. Concentrate on foods that come straight from the earth: vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Here is a list of Super Foods from the Nutrition Action Healthletter: sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes, fat-free milk, broccoli, wild salmon, crisp breads, brown rice, citrus fruits, butternut squash, and spinach. As you begin to eat healthy, your whole body will begin to feel the change and you will be able to do so much more for the Lord, your family and others.
Next Week: Clean Up Your Home – Part 2: Spring Cleaning