One of the most basic homemaking principles is setting up good homemaking routines. Taking the time to establish routines that work for you is totally worth the time and effort. Not only will you have an easier time keeping your home clean and in order but after a while you can work on auto-pilot. Without even thinking about it you will be following your habits and maintaining your home.
Keep It Simple!
If you search for homemaking routines you will see so many ideas, plans, and systems that you may just drop the whole idea and decide routines just aren’t for you. I’ve tried most of them. From Flylady’s 15 minutes a day and zone cleaning to a color coded notecard system that lists every job you could ever do in your home, I’ve tried it!
Now I have a simple routine that suits me and doesn’t require a spreadsheet. Life is busy and unexpected things crop up all the time. You need to have a system that can flex with you and still feel doable. When a kid suddenly needs stitches I can’t have “clean the oven today” hanging over me.
One Load a Day
One of the best pieces of homemaking advice I’ve ever heard is to focus on the things that get worse the longer they sit. For most of us that is laundry and dishes. Years ago I started doing one load a day. Realistically that’s been two loads a day for me.
Before my day gets going, I put a load of laundry in to wash and my goal is to get it dried and folded that day. This leaves my machines empty and ready to use and no one digging through a pile of clean (or dirty) laundry looking for a specific item.
I don’t wash laundry on Sundays so sometimes Monday has an extra load or two. However this habit has worked great for our big family for years. Towels and sheets are not part of my one load a day count, I’m just focused on clothes and kitchen linens.
The hard part for most of us is the folding a putting away. For me if I only have to fold one load it’s doable and I remind myself of my mom’s famous words, “It’s not as bad as it looks!”. The feeling of having laundry done every day certainly outweighs the dread of folding a load of clothes for me.
Quick Bathroom Cleaning
More people may dread cleaning bathrooms than even dishes or laundry. We have two and a half bathrooms at my house, and they can get out of hand quickly with so much use. My goal is to clean them two to three times a week. Ideally I clean on Mondays to set up for the week and Fridays to prep for the weekend. Often there’s another quick clean during the week if we are having company.
For me this involves wiping down the sink and counter and cleaning the toilet. Once a week I clean the tubs and showers and usually not on the same day. I realized I’m more likely to maintain clean sinks and toilets if I didn’t have to think about showers and tubs. When I’m in or by that bathroom, I grab the all-purpose spray and a cloth or a disinfecting wipe and quickly go over the sink and toilet.
Bathroom Cleaning Supplies
I keep all-purpose spray and wipes in every bathroom and a can of disinfecting powder by each toilet. Many cleaning experts recommend having one tote or caddy of cleaning supplies that you carry with you. Again, I tried this but found that it was never where I needed it and hauling it around wasted time. Having everything on hand in each bathroom is the most efficient for me.
Why is dusting so hard? For such a simple task that we all have to do it’s surprisingly difficult to get it done. I finally realized that moving all the stuff is the hardest part. My home is constantly being decluttered but I still had stuff on my tables. I got rid of everything that was non-essential so I would be more likely to dust.
My living room has four side tables and a coffee table. It’s a rectangular room with three windows, three doors, a fireplace, and seating for eight people. As you can imagine it’s a bit crowded with furniture. In order to keep it clean I only have lamps, coasters, and boxes of tissues on the tables. Not every table has three items but that’s the only stuff I keep in there. Removing the extra or decorative items made dusting so much more doable.
In the photo above you see the only thing I use for dusting, a damp cloth. Growing up we used cans of furniture polish. We have lots of allergies and a couple of kids with asthma so I don’t use many commercial cleaners. It saves money, time, and helps our air quality. For a while I used dusters or special tools but I don’t want to buy and maintain tools for just one job. A quick simple swipe with a soft damp cloth is all you need to keep your furniture clean and looking good.
Homemaking Routine Wisdom
Years ago I read that changing your mindset about cleaning and chores would make a huge difference. This writer said to think of chores as a cycle or pattern instead of thinking of them as a task you finish. It’s so true! You never finish cleaning your floor, you have just cleaned it for today. Substitute bathrooms or kitchen or laundry in place of floors and you can see the wisdom of it.
As long as you are living in your house it will need to be cleaned. If you can change your mindset about it to being a process you will have an easier time. Over the years I’ve come to think of it as a blessing to have a home to clean and the strength to do the work.
Something I learned about myself is that if it’s not simple I’m probably not going to do it, at least not often. If I have to move a bunch of stuff I’m not going to dust or sweep. Moving three things to put something in it’s place will keep me from putting it away. A basket and a dryer full of clean clothes will make it too hard to do laundry.
As I work in my home every single day I consider how to make things simpler so I can work more easily and efficiently. I look as my routines and habits and think about how I can modify them to suit my life today. What am I doing that I don’t need to do anymore and what new habits do I need to work on. Then I always think, ” How can I make this simpler?”
I hope you try some of these ideas or even just look at how you can make your own cleaning routines simpler and more enjoyable. More than anything, how can you make the job of keeping your home richer for yourself?