Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Home Making - Cleaning

How do you go about cleaning your house?

I ask this because a couple of days ago my husband came home and told me that one his soldiers sends her husband and children out for a couple of hours every Saturday morning and cleans the house.  Since then I have been thinking on the house cleaning arrangements for our own home; and how time efficient such a method would be with young children around.

When I was working I was an intermittent cleaner - an all or nothing kind of girl.  Every couple of weeks DH (provided he was at home) and I would blitz the house and then, pretty much, do nothing but the kitchen and bathroom between times. 

Now that I am home with Ginger all the time I seem to sort of chip away at home-keeping jobs - a la Fly Lady.  For instance, today I tackled a deep clean of the bathroom while yesterday I did our bedroom.  But in all honesty, that is about all I achieve in a day (on the domestic front) apart from day to day duties of dish washing and laundry.

It sometimes feels very time inefficient and I never have the satisfaction of having a completely clean house.  Also, jobs like mopping the floor just seem to get shoved from one day's to-do list to another.  And, a toddler home seven days a week creates a lot more mess and, for that matter, dirt than two adults only home evenings and weekends. 

The thing is, with Ginger underfoot or 'helping' I can't get more than 15 minutes or so of cleaning done before she wants me to play with her, or at least pick her up (I am a softy when it comes to grizzles).  Helping often includes walking off with the duster, Windex and newspaper or vacuum cleaner head to do her own cleaning or, indeed, emptying the entire basket of clean washing onto the floor or grass one item at a time.  Retrieving said cleaning objects usually results in a full toddler meltdown which then delays us another 15 or so minutes while we either try the distraction method (rarely successful - my daughter has a memory like an elephant) or the Mummy is ignoring your screaming and kicking and is going to pretend like nothing has happened method (which leaves Mummy partially deaf, Ginger unhappy and the whole household - I include the dogs here - perturbed).

So, to counterbalance this, shame on me I know, while I might make progress in one room I sort of allow her to go into full destruction (aka exploring) mode in another, or indeed sometimes even in the room I am working on.  Dusting her room and stripping the bed can involve a full 10-15 minutes extra time of picking up all the nappies she takes off the change-table shelves, picking the books and toys from her bookcase off the floor, oh, and resorting the contents of the wardrobe shelves she has decided to empty. 

Which is all a very long winded way of coming round to the question - how do you maintain (as Auntie Leila would call it) a reasonably clean home?  I'd personally particularly love any tips on doing so with a toddler around but cleaning experiences under all familial circumstances are welcome :)

Please share...


  1. A clean home all at once with everything tidy? Impossible...unless you are the only one home. I like to think of it as lived in, and 15 minutes is fine. I can do enough to be satisfied in 15 minutes :-)
    Wait until she is a little older and you can play the game "Lets put away 5 things that don't belong where they are" Yayy!!!

  2. oh this is a common dillema! i did a post recently highlighting my FMI rule. I clean in five minute intervals. I attend to this and that throughout the day and just chip, chip, chip. Do i have a sparkly house? No, but it is a home, not a house. I'm lucky that each sat morning hubby does a monster vaccuum and window clean whilst I amuse the kids, and then I do the mopping and dusting. In between is just keeping it tidy and orderly!

  3. I just read the post below this - slightly in awe (and slightly jealous :-) ) that avocadoes grow wild where you live.

    A friend with a toddler and an eight month old(both boys) introduced me to the Motivated Mom's chore planner this winter ( If you scroll to the bottom of the screen you can see links to view samples. It does seem to help her keep a reasonably clean and tidy house with busy small folks around. As you know, no kiddos here yet, but I like that it gives me a thorough list to make sure everything gets done each week, and breaks everything into manageable 5 - 15 minute tasks that can be done here and there on my work breaks. They don't organize the lists exactly as I might, so I glance over the chore list at the start of the week, add any chores I'd like done more often/thoroughly, and scratch out those that aren't necessary. Sometimes I knock out a couple of days at once in a quiet evening, sometimes chores are skipped til the next week. It also helps me remember chores that wouldn't make it on the routine at all without seeing the list - changing furnace filters, washing light fixtures, cleaning kitchen drawers, etc.

    Best of luck!

  4. You'll remember this time dimly (the cleaning part) but you'll remember Ginger's antics and brilliance forever. I read all the books, tried most of the systems, felt guilty and ill-equipped. Do you know what I did that I am the most happy about? Sat down and made a lap for nuzzles and love. There are good cleaning days and bad cleaning days. If you recognize a bad cleaning day, leave the house. Go to the park or go for a nature walk. When you come back, it won't look so bad. Oh, and if it happens to be "that special time of the month" grant yourself great grace. You are a sweet soul. I love coming here.

  5. Thanks for all the feedback. It helps to put it into perspective - no man is an island and all that:)

    I do like to get the jobs done early while Ginger is fresh and able to entertain herself - then we can have together time later in the day.

    Sarah - I will give that site a go. Thanks. Fly lady just has too many things on the list - clean the range hood once a month; really, that's just designed to make me feel inadequate:)

  6. My favorite story my Grandma told me was of when my then small aunt *helped* by washing all of Grandma's china in pledge. Even the crystal. *g* She waited till Aunt went to sleep and then really washed it all.

    I do it all day long. If I run upstairs I throw in a load. If a bathroom needs a cleanup, I do it. It really never takes more than 10 minutes. But, twice a year I give the house a really good clean-Lent and Advent. Then the walls even get washed and we clean it every day (a little each day) for a week.

    What does make my life easy is my mop. It's a microfiber mop with a sheep wool head that I dust mop the wood floors with then I just wet it to clean the linoleum. Easy peasy.

  7. Good advice, Pom Pom. With Flylady you can't go wrong. Baby steps and you aren't behind. When I had four little ones at home, I learned to do things in very small pieces. It took some doing as I was used to starting and completing a task all at one time. Now that I only have a 12-year-old at home, I'm finding it very difficult to change the 'small pieces' mindset and staying on task until something's finished! Life is made up of changes and stages, none of which last too long in the big scheme of things.

    During my own growing up years, I don't remember my mama doing very much with us, but I do remember the yelling about messing up something or not taking our shoes off at the front door. Sad. To her credit, she did make lots of things FOR us, and we have a great relationship today. But relationships are more important than a clean house. I'm sure you'll figure it out as you go along.