I hate to clean. Actually, I can’t stop myself from cleaning, not like an OCD-type of compulsion, but almost. With three kids, multiple pets and a husband, my house is a mess. And, you know what? I really, really hate that.
Everyone who comes to our home comes to the side door, the one that opens directly into my laundry room and kitchen, the TWO places in the house where the mess perpetuates itself like a never-ending sess pool of crap.
And I do not like when people, my friends in particular, see my house messy. Does it show a messy mind? A disorganized life? A woman unable to care for her home much less anything else?
I don’t even like it when my children’s friends see it. I know they’re running home to say, Mama, you won’t belive how messy Mrs. Meyer’s house is. I mean, really.
So I clean. All the time. I clean at 5:30 a.m. before I can start work. I clean at 9:00 p.m. after the kids are in bed. And then I spend regular intervals – every 15 minutes? – during the day cleaning something. It matters little that I’m rarely the one who makes this mess.
Anyhoo, I find my compulsion for cleaning getting a little out of hand. Sweeping the floors twice a day. Continuous wiping of the bathrooms with Clorox wipes (I have two boys who have yet to discover what the toilet is used for, even though they are eight and four). An assembly line of laundry that never, ever ends. I finish the day’s laundry only to find it replenished itself before I even sat down for a snack. Or a drink.
I’m not alone. I know I’m not alone. I have enough mama friends out there to know that I’M NOT ALONE. Let me shout it from the rooftops.
But, what’s a girl to do?
Here’s what I did: I made a schedule.
For each day of the week, I listed a household chore (inserted into my outlook calendar that is synced with my iPhone). I do the chore for the day then MAKE myself quit. And go write. Even if I got it done in record time, I quit cleaning. And I take that extra time to write.
Here’s my schedule:
- Sunday: Bathrooms and trash (we have trash pick-up on Monday) and usually after a weekend of kids in and out of the house, these rooms are disgusting. Seriously.
- Monday: Floors upstairs – vacuuming, sweeping, mopping of all upstairs rooms. Doesn’t seem too bad, right? Of course, we don’t have a huge upstairs and this is manageable. But I make sure I do a darn good job so I can live with it for the week.
- Tuesday: Dust upstairs.
- Wednesday: Floors downstairs.
- Thursday: Dust downstairs.
- Friday: Miscellaneous (like the fridge, walls, etc)/Windows/Mirrors
- Saturday: Sheets-washed and beds remade.
There you have it. Of course, on top of this there is the daily kitchen duty, and when the dog has had an accident, I obviously go ahead and clean it. But with this schedule, I am assured that my house will be clean. Even if I have extra time, I DO NOT go on to the next day’s chore. I take that time for myself. Or I write. Or I take a bath. Usually I write.
I’ve come to realize, if we’re not careful, our lives become so busy, there’s nothing left for us, nothing left of us. We belong to everyone and everything else.
But not anymore. Put it on the schedule, do it, then go write.