Get the kids to help
Growing up I had a friend who wasn’t allowed to play on the weekends until she finished all her chores. I thought this was cruel and unusual punishment at the time but now it makes sense: by expecting our kids to help keep the house clean, we not only relieve some pressure from ourselves but we teach our children responsibility and important skills they’ll carry into adulthood. Even simple tasks like putting their dishes in the dishwasher or cleaning up their toys at the end of the day greatly benefits everyone.
Keep cleaning supplies handy
One simple thing has revolutionized my bathroom cleaning routine: I keep an all-purpose cleaning cloth under my sink where it’s easy to pull out and wipe down the sink, mirror and other surfaces. By simply putting a cloth within reach I’m able to keep my bathroom clean.
This applies to any area of our homes. When we don’t have to haul our cleaning supplies around, we’re much more likely to actually use them.
Develop a deep cleaning routine
The less I have to think about housework, the better. One great way to put cleaning on autopilot is through a deep cleaning routine. You can do tasks on whatever schedule works for you and customizable checklists can help you keep track of what needs to be done.
Invite people into your home
We all have those messes we’re willing to ignore for too long, those cleaning projects that we just don’t get to when only our family is within our four walls.
But for most of us, the moment we know someone else is going to set foot in our homes, we suddenly get all kinds of cleaning inspiration. Take advantage of that.
To be clear: the last thing I want is for you to think that I’m telling you our homes should be completely clean every time we have a guest or that we should present ourselves and homes as being perfectly put together. (God bless those friends who can come into our homes when they’re at their worst and love us no less for it!). It can just be a good encouragement to do a little extra cleaning.
My mother-in-law is coming for a visit in a few days and my shower hasn’t been cleaned in longer than I am willing to admit, so guess what’s going to finally get a good scrub down? Having people in our home can be a good motivator for us to get around to those tasks we’ve been ignoring.
Give yourself grace
I am all about giving yourself grace and this is one area most of us need an extra helping of it.
Would it be great if our house looked like a photo from a magazine? Yup. Is that realistic? Nope.
While I do value having a clean home, and honestly I’m a much better person when it is clean, what I truly desire is that every person who I welcome into my home feels loved and cared for. While a clean, tidy, beautiful space can play a part in that, it’s only a very small piece.
So when a friend in on her way and my compulsion is to frantically wash dishes and shove toys in the closet, I need to stop and check my heart. And give myself grace.
Our homes will never be perfect and no one wants to be in a perfect home anyway – it would make us feel uptight and uncomfortable. What we all want is a space to be ourselves, to be loved and accepted for who we are, messes and all. When we let go of unreasonable standards and accept the messes in our homes (and the ones in ourselves) we can better love ourselves, our homes and the precious people inside them.