Grace and Housekeeping {Oxymoron No More!}

A very (insert any amazing adjective here) friend has invited me to link up to her series “Grace Laced Mondays” as we try to find grace in the everyday.  Visit her here and check out the many others who are finding grace in the everyday.

Since I had been in the throes of housecleaning…that was the first thing that came to mind and thus decided to share how I have found grace in it.

Define: Grace.

1.  noun: elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.

Synonyms: attractiveness, charm, gracefulness, comeliness, ease,lissomeness, fluidity.
Antonyms: stiffness, ugliness,awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.
Housecleaning and grace?  Sounded like an oxymoron to me.
The antonyms of grace sound more like housecleaning to me:  ugliness and lack of ease!
I have put a lot of thought obsession into this never ending-just when done-needs to be done again-while you’re cleaning one room your kids are tearing up another-under-appreciated task. Are you battling the same thing?  Well-I was going to nip it the bud starting this New Year…once and for all.

First-I needed a plan that would work.  There were also tasks that needed to be done every. single. day.  One of those for us was a load of laundry (well, almost.  But it is something I at least check every day.)  Otherwise it inevitably became out of control and piled up…somewhere or everywhere. Take the 30-day laundry challenge at least check your hamper/closet everyday and see if a load can be done.  Here is my DIY laundry detergent recipe that I am still loving (be sure to use white vinegar in your rinse cycle!)
Everyday tasks:
  • Kids put away laundry and pick up room
  • Kids put away toys in playroom
  • Make bed(s)
  • Load of laundry
  • Sweep up kitchen after each meal or when needed but do it daily
TIP: Invest in a lightweight, cordless, quick vac for this task. If you have wood floors I have found the Hoover LiNK Windtunnel to be THE best. It will pick up GLITTER!!  I love love love mine!!!!  I have heard the Electrolux is good too.  The Shark doesn’t get as many  fine pieces so you get things stuck to the bottom of your feet 😦 ew.
  • Shine the sink 🙂 not really but this is what I say to remind myself NOT TO GO TO BED until the kitchen sink is clear.  Dishes are put away, sink is clean and dry.  KITCHEN IS CLOSED! It just makes the morning so much nicer.  Trust me.  I hated it every night but am learning to value this one!!!

  • Then I go into the downstairs bath (the one that gets used a hundred times a day…by kids) and wipe down the sink and toilet. It seriously takes a minute.
TIP: It is very helpful for me to keep a microfiber cloth, squirt bottle of vinegar and water and a tub of Clorox wipes in each bathroom (homemade wipes recipe).
TIP: Keep plastic bags in your trash can so you can just grab the trash and put another bag in.
TIP: Keep a separate toilet bowl scrubber in each bathroom
This bathroom has not been “cleaned” in a week…other than the less than 1 min. wipe-down each night. Having bragged about that…I hope you think it is clean 🙂
Then 10 min. after I took this pic…it looked like this…painted green 🙂
and now you see why I have to do the one-minute-wipe-down every night!
For the real cleaning…well…
at first I had a plan but by the time the day came to clean a certain room…it was still clean so I skipped it, which threw me off because then all of a sudden one day the entire house is a dirty mess…and then the madness happened all over again. So I had to tweak and retweak my schedule.  As will you.  Every house is different.  Different sizes, amount of kids, flooring, etc. So tweak as needed.  I am just sharing helpful thoughts I had while making mine and sharing my actual one in case you don’t want to start from scratch.
Start with a chore a day, broken down by something manageable. Keep things in mind like NOT having to run up and down the stairs, not lugging your vacuum up and down the stairs, cleaning your floors AFTER high traffic days, cleaning your fridge before trash day, dusting BEFORE vacuuming, etc.
Sunday:  Dust Downstairs
Monday:  Floors (downstairs only) .  I do this on Monday so I am not a wicked witch about them all weekend-knowing and assuming they are going to get trashed and clean them 1st thing on Monday so I can enjoy clean floors all week!
Can I just say…GET A HAAN si-60 steam mop TO CLEAN YOUR FLOORS.  NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING COMPARES!!!!! I have tried every single floor cleaning system out there (seriously.  even a robot.  I am a whack-job-nut when it comes to floors and this is my BFF!!!)  Here is a wet paper towel handprint test TAKEN FROM THE KITCHEN FLOOR after cleaning them with my Haan two days prior.  If you don’t ever do the handprint/paper towel test on your floors then please pretend you never read this admission of insanity 🙂
I also keep a Rubbermaid spray mop with microfiber pads upstairs to clean the bathroom floors.  I fill that with vinegar, water and tea tree oil because I NEED to know the bathroom floor is disinfected!
See…I’m a whacko!
Tuesday: Sweep the front porch & clean windows (our front glass door & back sliding door with the scummy handprints all over them.  Other windows downstairs as needed).
Wednesday:  Clean Kitchen (don’t forget the microwave!  Wipe off cabinet doors.)
Thursday:  Master Bedroom (dust blinds, clean windows, wipe baseboards if needed too but that usually only needs to be done every other week)
Friday: Upstairs Bathrooms (just keep a tub of Clorox wipes, water and vinegar and microfiber towel) in the bathrooms to make this faster & easier.  I have a set under every sink!!
Saturday:  Change bedding OR Clean kid’s room (alternate weeks) *cleaning kids room includes dusting blinds, ceiling fans, dusting, baseboards and vacuuming. A thorough cleaning of the rooms!
I don’t want my weekends and family time to be spent on heavy chores so I planned the quicker/easier ones for the weekend.  I also need Mike’s help vacuuming the stairs…being pregnant…so I planned that for the weekend. Just things to consider…
Also keep in mind that some things only need to be done every OTHER week.
For us that was things like:
  • Scouring the tubs and showers (although I do keep a spray bottle in the bathroom and spray them down with this solution every couple days after a shower or tub.  In a spray bottle combine:  1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup peroxide, 2 tsp. castile soap, and a couple drops of tea tree oil or essential oil)
  • Washing the bath mats and rugs
  • Cleaning the kids’ room
  • Changing bedding

TIP:  Having 2 sets of sheets for each bed is super helpful because then you can put a clean set on while the other is in the wash…then fold and store and it is ready the next time you need it!  By the way…Walmart has GREAT sheets.  Seriously.

  • Cleaning out the fridge (best to do this before going to the store and before trash day!)
  • Cleaning the playroom (although picking up the toys is a daily kid chore!!)
  • Dusting the balcony and  banister and vacuuming the stairs
So add those to your calendar with corresponding chores (i.e.  Add “clean out fridge” to a day where you are cleaning your kitchen)
I also found that some things needed to be done montly like:
  • Washing pillows
  • Dusting the lightbulbs
  • Cleaning the dishwasher
  • Cleaning the garbage disposal
  • Sweeping the back porch
So be sure to add those, too.
Then put it all together and it looks like this 🙂 Looks easy enough, riiiiight?!? 🙂
But let’s face it…it is pretty hard to clean the house when you have kids around…so I tie my kids up 🙂

juuuuuuuuust kidding 🙂
I do it when my kids seem occupied doing something else or seize the moment (like they are taking a bath so I clean the bathroom sinks & toilet, etc.) Or I bribe them….Like “let mommy finish this and then we will do that” or have them do their “chores” while you are doing yours.  Or just threaten them 🙂
Oh and I really don’t write my schedule out…I have it plugged into iCal and it repeats for me every month and even reminds me 🙂
I print it out and tape it to my bathroom mirror AND MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR ME>>>>MY COMPUTER!!!!! 🙂 I love my computer.  If you love your treadmill (ha!) tape a copy there 🙂
There are darrrrrling templates all over the web if you want something fancy schmancy.  I found this blog with several to download free.
As for time…I would say that the upstairs bathrooms on the day that requires the shower and tubs to be cleaned too is the hardest and most time consuming day and from start to finish…it takes exactly an hour. I only do this chore every other week.  Every other chore can be done in about 30 min. except the floors.  So really…it isn’t that bad.
So I guess, in short…as long as I do my “Daily Chores” and dedicate an hour or less to my chore…my house stays clean.
I have heard people say these two things most frequently:
1.  I like my house clean all at once.
Me too.  But that takes me 6 hours and then it just gets messed up again within 1 hour so I feel defeated.  Maybe when Jackson AND Ally are in school two days a week I will divide the chores up by two days but for now…I feel better taking 20 min-1 hour a day rather than 6.
Plus…it is clean.
**Note: I asked my hubby what he thought of the new “system” and  He said “It’s great.  The house has been clean all week!”
2.  I don’t want to clean everyday.
Neither do I but I also don’t want to clean allllll day either.  When you make it a routine/habit…it won’t feel like that…and it will make cleaning easier and easier as you stay on top of it.
The only “problem” I have noticed is that sometimes I get in a cleaning groove and have to force myself to stop {neglecting the kids} 🙂
I hired a housecleaner once.  It is $120 to clean my house.  She said she’d come back in 2 weeks.  In ten days most needed to be cleaned already…so if I hired her as needed…every 10 days (3 times a month) it would cost $360.00.  Myyyyyy cleaning schedule looks better and better and better 😉
I guess the true test for me will be this week.  I have company coming on Wed. Let’s see if I feel the need to “clean” again before she gets here.
Why don’t you try it, too!  One month and see if it works for you and your family…see if you can find the grace in housecleaning.

An excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels…

She looks well to the ways of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:10, 27

5 Comments on “Grace and Housekeeping {Oxymoron No More!}”

  1. I love this, Rechel!!! I’m so glad I’m not the only one thinking through “the plan.” We did much of this over the break as well! I will follow some of the links for resources. Thanks!!

  2. Jenny says:

    Wow. This *almost* hurts my right brain. 🙂 It’s awesome to have a system, and I will probably come back to this post to get some ideas I can incorporate…I’ve been working through my house, room by room getting rid of clutter and deep cleaning.

  3. Noelle says:

    Funny you posted this because I was planning on writing about being an organized housewife myself. I didn’t because…. well….I’d be a hypocrite if I did! I think you did a much better and more thorough job than I could have. 🙂
    Good post!

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