Home Home About Zen Mama Contact

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gee, Your House Smells Terrific

My husband and I are polar opposites when it comes to our levels of cleanliness. When we first met, I wouldn't walk in his apartment without shoes on. It was disgusting. He grew up in a disgusting environment, which I found out during my first visit, when I also wore shoes the entire two weeks. (Those who know me, know what a big deal this is, since I NEVER wear shoes...or clothes, but that's for another post.) I, on the other hand, grew up in a house where the carpets were vacuumed every day and we then weren't allowed to walk on it, because it would mess up the vacuum lines. We had towels in the bathroom that we weren't allowed to use, because they were just for decoration. My grandmother has a trash can that is just for looks - I was severely admonished when I once put trash in it unwittingly. I didn't do any of that in my own home, but I was certainly tidy. I don't like clutter, I don't like funk, I don't like random mung all over everything. Needless to say, this has been cause for some serious compromise in our relationship. My standards have come down quite a bit and his have come up...a smidge.

I used to clean on Saturdays. I did it all. All the housecleaning, the car, the outside - anything and everything got done on Saturday. What a wasted day!

Things have changed now that I am a mom. Now, I don't have a whole day that I can dedicate to anything (aside from my son, who gets every day dedicated to him). Neither do I wish to dedicate a whole day to cleaning. Instead, I clean a tiny bit each day and one big thing each month. I include my son in all of it and we both have a great time helping each other out.

Here's what my new regimen looks like:

Weekly Cleaning
Monday - vacuum
Tuesday - dust
Wednesday - bathroom #1
Thursday - bathroom #2
Friday - kitchen
Saturday - yard
Sunday - car

Monthly Deep Cleaning
January - closets
February - blinds
March - fans/lights
April - windows
May - bedrooms
June - floors
July - bathrooms
August - vents
September - kitchen
October - baseboards
November - laundry room
December - furniture

The daily stuff takes a maximum of 15 minutes out of my day. I don't even have to find 15 minutes together - I can do it piecemeal, if needed. And, you know, if my son is having "one of those days" (you know the ones), that day's chore doesn't get done. No biggie. It got done last week and it'll get done next week. Not the end of the world.

The monthly stuff gets one a little at a time as the month goes along. It's more of the detail work that doesn't get attended to in the daily stuff. It certainly doesn't take a whole month to do any of it, I just have a month to get it done. No pressure, no biggie.

It really is so easy. When company comes over, I'm never more than a quick tidy-up away from being ready. I wish I had done this before I was a mom, because I could've spent my Saturdays doing much better things all those years. Live and learn - and thank goodness for my best teacher, my son.


  1. your monthly stuff is more like my annual stuff. on a good year...

    my house is basically hygienic, in the sense that it wouldn't cause illness, and basically tidy, in the sense that we don't fall over stuff and i have a rough idea where things are at any given moment. but mostly it's like my cooking--- my domestic motto being: "welcome to my home/kitchen; no one's died yet"...

  2. I can relate, however it has been all too easy to let my standards slide over the 15 years we've lived together and now I face an up-hill battle to get it the way I want it. Currently working on the 10minute principle. The idea that you can get more done in the 10 minutes before a guest arrives than you can all week. The job may be huge but if I tackle it in 10minute bursts I may just get there!