“How in the world am I going to keep this house clean?” I wondered during our first few days in the new house. The last thing I wanted was to spend all my time cleaning. I wanted to be able to devote more of my free time to Eric and the boys.
It is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. If that is true, I can be thankful for the two and a half months that our former house was on the market. The house needed to be kept “show ready” and we formed four habits during that are beneficial:
- Have a Daily Schedule
- Make it a Family Affair
- Do a Little at a Time Everyday
- Do Your Part but Look for Ways to Take Initiative to Help Others
Before I write anything else, please understand what I am not saying. I am not saying our house is always clean. I am not saying that this is what you should do. Everyone’s schedules and styles are different. I am simply sharing what is working for our family.
Within the first few weeks of being in our new home, I sat down and formed my “battle plan” (aka: the schedule). Some tasks are completed daily. I tackle just a few rooms or areas every day of the week. For me, cleaning a room means picking up, dusting, cleaning the floors, etc. I’m finding this not only takes less of my time, but the whole house has been touched by the end of the week.
Having a schedule helps me focus and not feel overwhelmed. It keeps me accountable to the areas that I have a tendency to ignore since “no one else will see it,” it gives me a sense of accomplishment every day, and provides extra time to do the things that we enjoy!
Here is the key to making this process a success in our house: I am not the only one working to keep the house clean. We had a family discussion about how we are going to take care of what God has given us and how we all play a part in making that happen.
We are trying to form little habits that make a big difference. For example, when we come in, we immediately put our shoes and jackets up in their designated spots. Our dirty clothes go in the hamper when we take them off – not in a pile on the floor. Those practices make it so much easier to maintain the house.
So is our house always “show ready?” No, and that isn’t the goal. We LIVE here! There are days when I totally ignore the schedule because life is crazy or we get lazy. It happens and there are times the house gets crazy messy! When we get to that point, we work together to get back on track.
The long term goal in this process is that we’re hoping the boys are learning responsibility and how to practically serve. We serve and honor God by taking care of what He has given. We serve others by doing our part and by taking every opportunity to go the extra mile to help.
So there you have it! You know what we do to (try to) keep our house clean and the lessons we learn from that practice!