I’m not good with cleaning schedules; bathrooms on Monday, kitchen floors on Tuesday, that sort of thing.
I tend to put the schedule off until the end of the week and then the whole house is a mess and I am trying to do all the chores in one day.
Which means my house is extra messy because everything was ignored and I’m extra stressed because I’m living in a mess and trying to clean it all in just a few hours.
Thanks to Emily’s wonderful resources I’ve been able to change and improve upon my habits and create a rhythm, not a routine, that works for me. Rhythm is a part of every day life. Maybe you don’t wake up at the same time every day, but you do the same things every morning when you do wake up.
Rhythm is fluid and flexible. Routine is rigid.
I can’t do rigid. So I created a cleaning rhythm for myself to work into my perfect day
A cleaning rhythm means I know what comes next. Once I start cleaning the rhythm carries me through the chores and things go smoothly.
Here is a brief outline of my cleaning rhythm.
I start in the Northeast corner of my kitchen, just left of my sink. I clear the counter of random papers, dirty dishes, and other things that find there way there.
From that corner I follow the direction of the sun, East to West, and continue to clear counters, put dirty dishes into the sink, and wipe surfaces, then onto clearing the table. Once surfaces are cleared and wiped down I start on the living room (West). I pick up the coats, move the basket of clean laundry into the bedroom, put shoes away, and toys that find their way out of the play room.
Then I move to the bedroom (Northwest), make the beds and fold and put away laundry (I fold my laundry on top of the bed).
Then It’s the playroom (North). I am teaching my eldest child the habit of cleaning the playroom every night before bed, so this is normally fairly clean. But occasionally crafts need to be decluttered and toys that found their way into the living room need to be put away.
Then I am back in the kitchen. The sink (East) is full of the dirty dishes I found strewn throughout the house. I do the dishes and sweep the floors. I am done.
My rhythm takes me from the North East corner of my kitchen clockwise around my house back to my East facing sink.
I love the idea of mimicking the direction of the sun in my cleaning, moving East to West. I feel it gives me a connection the the natural rhythms of the day. But most importantly it gives me a starting point.
Those times where the house is just so messy and I don’t know where to start, I need a clear starting point. By having a starting point, moving in a circular motion, and ending at my sink, I clean quickly and thoroughly.
This rhythm focuses on the daily upkeep of the main living areas, but the daily upkeep can be the most taxing. For things that don’t need to be cleaned every day I try to clean as I see the need. For instance I clean the bathroom while my daughters are taking a bath. A quick five minutes to wipe the counter, mirror, and toilet is all that is needed. And after their bath I wipe down the tub.
Having a rhythm feels natural and flows where having a routine feels rigid and uncompromising. A routine makes me feel like I’m not in charge, the chart is. And I don’t want that. With a rhythm I feel I am on top of things, even when things get out of hand I know where to start and where to go.
You don’t have to follow the direction of the sun or go clockwise. Just pick a starting point and move in one direction. Don’t try to do the dishes first if your house is like mine and you find dishes in corners of the house where they shouldn’t be. Just gather them in the sink as you move along and come back to them at the end.
A rhythm can be used at any time of day and doesn’t require you check anything off. Once you establish a cleaning rhythm, it becomes second nature and your time spent cleaning is cut drastically.
To help you establish a rhythm try looking at what needs to be done before the big chore. For example I don’t want to sweep my floor and THEN wipe my counters. All the dirt from my counters is now on my once-clean floor. I don’t want to start the dishes before I’ve collected them all. Emily once told me in one of her podcasts (available to Hardcore Homemaking members) to start cleaning from the top down.
So if a cleaning schedule doesn’t work for you, maybe a cleaning rhythm will come more naturally.
From Heather: I’m a Holistic Nurturer. I do my best to create a healthy environment for all to grow and thrive in using sustainable means. I garden and home-educate. I aim to consume less and grow more as a woman. I dabble in herbalism and minimalism. I write for Holistic Nurturhood. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram!