How Often Should I Clean My House?
As a mom of 7 kids I spent years feeling like I was always behind. There was always more to do and I was never done. And unfortunately, it took me about 15 years to realize that I needed to shift my thinking. I had to realize that all of the things I was doing for my family needed to be done and if I wasn’t there to do it then someone would have to do it in my place. That could be hired help like a nanny or a house cleaner, but someone had to do it because it's a job that needs to be done. Once I was able to adapt to the idea that managing a home and raising children is a ‘job’ then I was able to reassess my priorities.
The right question is not how often should I clean my house, but how often should I clean my house to MAINTAIN it. It is more about maintenance than completion.
In a work environment you have short term projects that come to completion in 3 or 6 months. You do the planning and you know that it won’t last forever. Other assignments might be more long term like a 2 year project but still it is completed at some point. Even monthly budgets or financial statements are completed at the end of the month in only a few days and then you don’t think about it again for 29 more days.
For most of the jobs you encounter as a parent, there will be some measure of recurrence for many years to come. Cleaning the house, doing laundry, preparing meals, training children and chauffeur duties are all long term commitments. They are required at some regular intervals for years or even decades. While you might have a few short term projects like changing out seasonal clothing, shopping for school supplies, or painting a bedroom, the majority of your job as Chief Operating Officer of your house are things that need to be done on a regular basis.
Re-shape your thinking to prioritize maintenance over completion.
Don’t look at everything as a task to be completed. But rather, schedule yourself to do the tasks that need to be completed at regular intervals to accomplish continued maintenance. Do you want your kitchen floor mopped once a week? Would once a month be too infrequent? Probably. So somewhere in between is the maintenance interval. You can almost ask: When does that NEED to get done and it can’t wait another day. Probably your maintenance interval is somewhere in between your ‘ideal’ interval and your ‘it can’t wait’ interval.
How often is your ideal bathroom cleaning interval? One week. Would every three weeks be too long for you? Then probably 2 weeks is your maintenance interval. Wipe up messes in between cleanings but don’t worry about it not being perfect. How about washing towels? How often would you like towels washed at your house? Is every 3 or 4 days your ideal time interval? Could you wait two weeks? No? Then maybe every one week is your maintenance interval.
This holds true with children too. How often does your child need some special, individual attention from you with no distractions. They might want it everyday or every other day. How long is too long to wait to spend some individual time with each of your kids? When does their behavior show that they need attention from you? Two or three weeks? Then maybe every week is how often you need to be intentional about spending one-on-one time with each of your children.
The interval schedule is determined by you. However, remember the goal is not perfection but maintenance. Longer than ideal but sooner than disgusting is the optimal maintenance interval for cleaning everything in your house. :)
Done is better than perfect! Just get started!
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