People have often come to my house and have marveled as to why my house is so clean. I usually sidestep their compliments with remarks like, “well, I have a robot who cleans (thanks to my trusty robot vacuum),” or, “well, it’s not that clean,” or something like that. And honestly, it’s not that clean all the time. Really. I also don’t spend most of my time cleaning… I promise.
Oh, and about that robotic vacuum…My husband found a killer deal on one to help me out around the house, as he knows that I really like clean floors, but am usually too exhausted from running after babies and their crumbs throughout the day. So, he thought it was a great investment of time to give me a vacuum. Just a disclaimer here: I still cleaned my floors before I had the robotic vacuum – just less often. I vacuumed/swept a few times a week (or as needed) because my toddler would consume 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks and the crumbs drove me nuts. Nuts!
That said, the reasons that I keep my house clean(ish) are mainly for myself.
- The first and main reason is: I like the sense of control. As a person who is susceptible to anxiety (I’m guessing that I’m not alone out there?), this helps me feel like I can make something work. Order from chaos, that sort of thing.
- It helps me to relax. I just like the feeling at the end of the day of the house being set back in order. This sounds ridiculous – the straight lines that my vacuum makes on the carpet yields this sense of zen. Have you ever had a professional come in and clean your house and you are mesmerized by the clean lines on your carpet? Yeah, it’s like that. 🙂
- Out of sight, out of mind. I can put my feet up and enjoy a glass of wine and I don’t have that irritating and nagging feeling that I need to do something. Do you ever throw in things in your closet when you have company? It’s sort of like that – I don’t want myself to judge me, if you will. If I don’t see the clutter, it doesn’t stress me out as much.
- If I clean up the toys daily, it helps my toddler to play better. Do your kiddos ever wander around when there’s a mess? Well, think about it. Some of their toys may be missing some of the parts – their beloved train caboose is in a different room from the engine (heaven forbid). The tea set is missing the cups…what fun is that? That way, the toys stay together, ready to be brought out and played with again.
- I’m ready for company at almost any time! As a stay-at-home parent, I enjoy hosting play dates and being ready for impromptu gatherings. They keep me sane. Keep a tidy house helps keep the stress level to a minimum as I don’t have as much work to do.
So, how do I keep my house in order?
- I have a cleaning schedule, which I don’t really stick to religiously, but it helps me stay on track (or at least know how far behind I am). In a later post, I will provide one for you to customize and download!
- Each day after my kiddos go down for a nap, I set a 10 minute timer, and I scurry around doing a daily pick-up. I at least clear some space in the mess of toys (or throw them in the toy room) so that I can sit and relax without looking at the clutter. Less clutter= less stress.
- I choose not to own a ton of random stuff. Here’s a note about clutter: I don’t have any. Really. I am a minimalist when it comes to owning things. Having fewer items to keep track of makes cleaning a breeze. If you have a ton of stuff, I would suggest downsizing and pitching or donating. There have been studies done on the link between clutter and stress. Call me crazy, but I’d rather not be crazy from owning a ton of stuff.
- Lastly, I keep a separate checklist for what I call “deep cleaning,” and I try to tackle at least one of those items per week. Examples: cleaning the window tracks (gross), or wiping down the blinds.
What do you do to keep your house clean (or at least livable)? I’ve found that having a system in place helps keep things under control, and then I actually spend less time cleaning because I’m not trying to manage everything in one day. I know that if there’s an underlying mess in someone’s room or some gunk in a bathroom sink, I have a specific time set aside to get that done. No one wants to waste valuable time cleaning when we could be doing better things…like sipping coffee, exercise, napping, reading, or really anything else. Honestly, I don’t love to clean, but the end product is therapeutic, and helps me to be more productive in other ways.
I hope this helps you manage your clutter and keep stress at bay!