This is another post I’ve had incubating, adding to it a little at a time. Since I have to go run errands in a bit and therefore not as much time to think through some other thoughts, I decided to post this today. Feel free to use it if you like! Let me know if you do and I’ll come see your answers (or feel free to answer in the comments). And, since I created this meme, I’d appreciate a link back.
1. Do you make a plan for the week? The day? Or just go with the flow?
No, I don’t, unless I have some kind of deadline coming up. I tend to work housework in around what needs to be done and when I have time to do it…and, sorry to say, when I feel like it. But I feel like it much more often than I did years ago! I can’t stand for things to get too very cluttered or dusty for very long.
2. When is your best planning time?
Usually the night before or first thing in the morning.
3. Do you clean room by room or task by task (e.g., do you dust the whole house at one time, or do you clean the living room completely before going on to another room?)
Task by task for most things. When I have the dusting stuff out, or the vacuum, I like to do everything I have to do with it while it’s out. One exception would be bathrooms: I tend to clean the whole bathroom before going on the the next one, except that I do all the floors at one time after I’ve cleaned everything else.
4. Do you do certain tasks every day every week, like a shopping day, a laundry day, etc.?
No — see #1. I do try to avoid housework that doesn’t need to be done on Sundays, and I have to wash Jesse’s gym clothes some time between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, but otherwise I tend to attack things on an as-needed basis.
5. What’s your least favorite housecleaning task?
Probably cleaning toilets.
6. Do you have a favorite housecleaning task?
I can’t honestly say I enjoy any particular housecleaning task, but I’m okay with most once I get started, and I do like the results.
7. What do other family members do in the way of cleaning the house?
When the boys were younger we rotated different jobs — there were some done every day (dishwasher, garbage, taking recycling out, etc.) and some done weekly (vacuuming, dusting). Now Jason and Mittu take care of the dishes most nights and Jesse does whatever I ask whenever I ask — often taking our garbage and recycling and sometimes unloading the dishwasher. He also takes care of the dog as well. Jason and Jesse help bring groceries in. Since Jim works 60+ hours I rarely ask him to do anything unless I am in a real bind. I figure that’s my work while his is being the “breadwinner” (yes, we’re pretty traditional ), but sometimes he pitches in. He takes care of anything outside. That leaves me with the laundry (though Jason and Mittu do their own), dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, bathrooms, organizing and clutter pick-up, shopping, cooking, all the extra little jobs in the kitchen, etc. — enough to keep me busy.
8. What, if anything, do you do to make housecleaning more enjoyable, (e.g., play music, set a timer, etc.).
When I was first married, I had one friend who liked to spend a lot of time on the phone — and we didn’t have cordless phones then, much less cell phones. It was popular at least in the kitchen area to have an extra-long cord so you could reach the whole room while on the phone. So sometimes I would call this friend or my mom (my mom and I rarely talked for less than an hour) while puttering around the house cleaning here and there. One of my dislikes of newer phones was that they were so small I couldn’t comfortably put them between my head and my shoulder so I could talk and use my hands for other things. These days most of us don’t talk on the phone that long any more, and many phones have gotten “hands-free” anyway.
But usually I turn on the Christian radio station or play a CD. I don’t have an iProduct. I don’t know if I’d like either headphones or earpieces. I need to borrow one of the kids’ devices and try it out to see, because sometimes I do think it would be nice to listen to an audiobook or something else. I don’t like to just sit in front of the computer to listen to anything there without doing something with my hands, so being able to take some of those things with me while I work sounds appealing.
9. What things make a room seem messy or unclean to you?
Clutter. Picking things up and establishing a sense of order does wonders for making it look cleaner.
10. What are particular areas that are standouts to you that other people miss?
The area around the faucet on the sink. It can pretty quickly get gunky stuff around it, and in our area, even pink or black mold. Once my sister was staying with us and surprised me by cleaning the bathrooms while I was out. I think the first thing I noticed was that little gunky black line around the faucet, and it took a great deal of effort to just say thank you and not mention that.
11. How do you motivate yourself to clean when you don’t feel like it?
The biggest thing is just to get started. “Once begun is half done” as the saying goes. Another motivation is having been embarrassed a few times when someone popped in unexpectedly and the house looked like a disaster area. But then I felt really guilty one time “cleaning for company” when I thought — doesn’t my family deserve a clean home, too? Wouldn’t it help motivate them in their future to keep things clean if that’s the habit they’ve grown up with, rather than a frenzied, pressured marathon cleaning when an event is coming up? Plus I’ve learned that I just feel more peaceful and orderly in my thinking when my environment is fairly orderly. When the house is cluttered and chaotic, I just feel the same way (not to mention time and energy wasted not being able to find things when needed, etc.). And then, I have learned over the years that it is less work and takes less time to keep on top of housework than to let it slide and build up.
But probably what should be the biggest motivator for a Christian homemaker is that we’re representatives of Christ. I don’t think that means we have to keep things museum quality and can’t let our families relax in their own homes. We shouldn’t become more Martha than Mary. But “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40), though the context is church services, surely applies in principle to every area of life. And then of course I Corinthians 10:31 applies to all areas: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” If a non-Christian walked into my house unexpectedly, would a messy, unclean house or a basically clean and orderly house be a better testimony? And shouldn’t that testimony be before my own family as well, not just unbelievers? Now, I admit, I don’t think through that every time I need to clean, but every now and then getting the right perspective helps.
Sometimes collecting quotes about homemaking encourages me, too. I put several in an older post titled “Encouragement for Homemakers.” A few other homemaking-related posts are:
(Graphic courtesy of Fotosearch)