Saturday, August 20, 2011

House Cleaning... I Will Conquer You!

I can't even pretend... I happen to absolutely adore my husband. I could write a few hundred posts to explain why. Never in a million years did I think I'd end up THIS lucky in love. Everyone hopes for the best, but God's grace has been poured out onto my marriage.

Although I have no problem being grateful for Joel in general, I have a very hard time trying to really honor and serve him. He is not a hard man to please. But I have found that some of the things that mean the most to him and speak the most love to him are areas of weakness for me. First and foremost - house cleaning. This is a constant struggle for me. I feel like I was born with a house cleaning handicap. I mean, my house is not filthy, but there is a difference between picked up and clean. It is so hard to be disciplined about it. One of Joel's love languages is food. I can cook for the man all day, but ask me to clean up the mess and all I want to do is go to bed. Why in the world is this so hard for me???

I am currently on a little personal quest rid myself of all things lazy in the home cleaning department. I am realizing that no one else is actually going to do these things. Ha! Joel is super helpful and will pretty much do whatever I ask but the reality is that he doesn't have the time. He is working all day and as soon as he walks in the door, my children attack him and beg him for daddy time. That pretty much trumps me asking him to clean the toilet. But beyond the practicals, I have a genuine desire to take care of this home and provide an environment for my family that they are healthy, safe and comfortable in. Who doesn't like coming into a house that smells and feels clean?

My first move was to get some cleaning supplies that I can actually feel good about. I never use toxic chemicals for cleaning and usually opt for vinegar, but recently I bought a mainstream "all-natural" surface cleaner for some reason. Half a bottle later, I'm back to my old routine with the vinegar. (Recipes below)

Another thing that I got was a mop. Apparently mops are a big deal to me. I started out with a traditional sponge type mop. I found out really quick that it was going to last me a maximum of four uses. Into the garbage it went. Then I got one of those twister mops. So annoying to use and the twist handle thing broke on the third use! Then a couple of friends talked me into the swiffer mop for it's convenience even though I argued that the concept is actually anti-clean. In short, I was right. Goodbye swiffer. So this week I stood in the mop isle at target for a LONG time. I took each mop down and inspected it carefully and eventually settled on an O'Cedar brand Roll-O-Matic mop. (You can bask in its glory here) Ding ding ding! We have a winner! This baby cleans quickly and thoroughly.

The third step in my little journey was to make a solemn pact with myself. I'm talking angels singing, clouds parting moment where I promised myself that I would actually hang up the clean laundry. I can fold and put away until the cows come home but I cannot hang up clothes for the life of me! I feel pretty good about this moment.

Time management is also a big issue for me. I've had to be honest with myself about a few things. After dinner, I am busy getting the kids ready for bed. By the time their lights are out and their doors are shut, the one and only thing I want to do is be with Joel. I'm sorry. I'm not going to do the dishes. I can tell myself I will. But I won't. What I can do is make sure that the table, stove and counters are cleaned off. So the next best thing for me is this: In the morning, I wake up before my kids get up. I get their breakfast ready and when they come into the kitchen and sit down to eat, I start unloading and loading the dishwasher. By the time they are done, all the dishes are done and I get to eat breakfast while they prance off to play with their full tummies. Secondly, I have for the most part made Mondays an off limits day when it comes to planning things. I have set it aside to clean and do laundry. If I can get my house squeaky clean on Monday, I am good for the week as long as I actually put away all of the laundry and do a quick pick up in the evenings.

Here are some 100% all natural and CHEAP cleaners:

Surface Cleaner
1 part water
1 part vinegar
*I use a cleaner spray bottle and use it as a spray

Floor Cleaner
1 cup vinegar
1 gallon hot water

Bathroom Scrub
Fill the bathtub with an inch of hot water and add two cups of vinegar. Then sprinkle baking soda over the water. Use a scrub brush to scrub out the tub.

So there you have it! My master plan to become disciplined in house cleaning. Let's see how this goes...


  1. Hey A, your plan sounds great. Should it fail (not that I want you to fail) but just in case your run into a hiccup, I have an alternative solution for you. Move to Ethiopia. All foreigners and plenty of Ethiopians have house help. Yes, I have a maid and she is wonderful. I cook, but rarely clean. She comes 6 days a week and on top of always having clean toilets, my bed gets made everyday. Having her is my main luxury here. House help make the open sewers and dead animals on my street just a little more tolerable. ;)