Friday, March 09, 2012

Spring Cleaning

People have asked me how I can work full time, be a mother, garden, knit, geek, and whatever else it is I do with my days.

Do you know what my answer is?

It's easy.

Do you know why?

I don't clean my house.

And by that, I don't mean that I have a housekeeper come by every two weeks.  With no raises for Dave and me for the last 4 years and the addition of two children in daycare and a minivan payment to a budget that was barely making it before, we cut back on our housekeeper. (Not that I am complaining too much--there are folks who have it much worse than we do; we're just going to pay for 10 years for the daycare that kids 5 years of  daycare expenses)

Anyhoooooo, no housekeeper.  What I mean when I say I don't clean is that well, our house is usually very messy.  We clean for guests--one of the reasons we have parties!--but on a Saturday morning if I have a choice of scrubbing the toilet and tub or getting sweaty and dirty in the garden, I am going to opt for the garden.

That doesn't mean that a dirty house doesn't freak me out.  I have enough OCD in me to not like the clutter and mess and dirt and unfiled bills and toddler clothes to be sold and shoes on the floor and papers to recycle and magazines to read and blankets from a fort and the teepee from two Christmases ago and the toys scattered about and general crap that a family of 5 makes. But if I have to make a choice, I'd rather go outside and enjoy the natural untidy-ness of Mother Nature. (I never got the Mother Clean genes)

So last week, the Charlotte Observer had an article about Spring cleaning and dusting all the places at the top of the room you don't during the year and moving all the furniture around to sweep out from under it, etc, etc.  It inspired me.  We haven't deep cleaned the house since we moved in and although I don't have the time to do this sort of cleaning, I took it anyway.  Of course, they also suggested that the rooms you spring clean not have clutter.

HA!  I did it all at once.

And it's so nice.  I've re-organized poorly organized storage.  I've tossed old toys.  (WOOOOOHOOOOHOOOOHOOOHOO!)  I've made a huge pile for our garage sale.  I've moved nearly all the kid crap out to the office-now-playroom.  (They can keep a few toys inside.  A. Few.)  I've cleaned off crap, dusted high and low, and made executive decisions about what we need and what is just taking up space.  Don't tell Dave.

I realized that I like it.  I actually love a clean house.  It is comforting to me to walk in and see open spaces and neatly arranged counters and shelves without crap everywhere.  It feels like beauty.  I think it is beauty. And I think it helps clean and clear my mind.

We hope it lasts for a while.  Even Conor walked in after school one day and said "WOW!  This room looks BEAUTiful!  You tell me what you need me to do and I'll do it!"  Even Dave is picking up his shoes and putting them in their New Special Place.  (Everything has as Special Place.  That's the only way I can do it)

Maybe the house cleaning will only last a week in this tip top shape.  But I'm hoping my brain cleansing will last a little longer.

How do you do it?  How do you keep your house clean either as a SAHM or a working mom?  Am I just that lame?  Well, don't answer that third question.


Shelly Cunningham said...

We recently moved into a house that's bigger than anywhere we've ever lived before, and even as a SAHM (we have three year old twins & an 8 mo. old baby) I was struggling to get it/keep it clean.
I ended up making a schedule where I clean one room/area each day of the week. Monday is the living/dining area. Tuesday is the playroom/entry. Wednesday I do bathrooms... etc. It helps because it only takes about twenty minutes to dust & vacuum each room, and knowing I'm going to do it each week takes away the pressure of getting it perfect each time.
When I worked (up until the twins were two & a half), I never cleaned house. So I say, if you can let it go, let it go. But if not, the weekly schedule might help?
Good luck!

Carroll said...

Huge kudos to you, Anita! I never got that gene either, so no tips from this direction -- just enormous appreciation for your accomplishment :-)

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