Frustrated with the seemingly perpetual state of grime in our home, I wondered if I could benefit from a cleaning schedule.
Unfortunately, that only led to more frustration. Cleaning schedules abound online so it wasn’t a matter of finding one, but so many of them were meant for people who could spend hours a day on housekeeping.
Like so many other Americans, I have to be at work before the sun rises and I don’t get home until well after it sets. Doing anything other than waking up in the morning is next to impossible. To picture myself making the bed and throwing in a load of wash before I head out the door is just comical to me.
So, for those of you who are are in the same boat, I’m excited to tell you there’s another way.
Make the Most of Your Minutes
Long gone are the days of husbands heading off to work while their wives stay home to cook, clean, and tend to their children.
The vast majority of us are no longer able to make managing a household our top priority. In fact, it usually gets pushed to last. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way.
Colin and I both work forty hours a week in a four day workweek. My commute is about double his so I am generally the first to leave and the last to arrive home. Because of this, Colin prepares the midweek meals and I cook over the weekend.
Consider splitting mealtime duties in your home as well, even if you both arrive home at the same time.
Who should clean up after meals? The old adage of “You cook, I’ll clean” has no place in our home. At work, I teach and remind a dozen toddlers each day to clean up after themselves. It is only right to hold myself to the same standard.
Also, I can just about guarantee that if you know you’re the one who will be cleaning up after preparing a meal, you’ll keep a tidier kitchen, even if you do so subconsciously.
When it is your turn to do the cooking, take advantage of the downtime. In the three minutes per side of a chicken breast, you can wipe down the counters. While you await a pot of water to boil, you can load the dishwasher. The more cleaning you do as you cook, the less you have to do after.
When it’s your spouse’s turn to cook, take that opportunity to pick up around the house. Go through the mail and recycle the papers you don’t need. If you notice dust, sweep it up.
Whatever you do, avoid sitting down until dinner. I find it much harder to motivate myself to do anything around the house when my butt is parked on the sofa.
When you and your spouse split cooking responsibilities during the week, you both also get to take turns maintaining your home. And in a matter of mere moments a day, you’ve cleaned your house and dinner is simultaneously served.
After you both finish eating, clear your own plates and immediately put them into the dishwasher. I recommend running the load that night.
I’ve found that many recipes call for four servings and since there’s only two of us, we can have the leftovers the following day. That means it’s a night off for both of you! And since you won’t be cooking or cleaning, you’re afforded the perfect opportunity to unload the dishwasher.
Keeping the dishwasher ready for dirty dishes 99% of the time is optimal. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve piled cups and plates on the counters just because we were too tired (and perhaps lazy) to unload the clean dishes first.
Ultimately, you decide what works best in your household. Whether you use a detailed cleaning schedule or my system of cleaning a few minutes at a time, don’t assume you have to go at it alone. Get your spouse involved and, in time, cleaning can almost become an enjoyable part of daily life.
I want to hear from you! What kind of system do you use to keep your house clean? Comment below.