Growing up, I remember my dad teaching us how to clean the bathrooms. And every weekend, we would have to do that dreaded chore. Somewhere along the line, he also taught us to make beds with hospital corners.
My mom showed us how to cook a few basic things, and how to properly do the dishes. She taught us how to vacuum, and clean up after our various pets.
So when I got married and moved into my own apartment, I had a base knowledge of how to keep things clean. And while we each have our quirks, keeping a home clean when it’s two adults is reasonably easy.
My cleaning methods and standards have definitely changed since those days of just the two of us living in a small apartment.
Done is good enough.
I can be a bit of a perfectionist about things, but the truth of the matter is that if something gets clean, even if it’s not quite clean the way I would do it, it’s still done. And done is good enough.
That means that sometimes I have to be okay with the way my husband folds the towels. It’s different than my way, and it’s a battle we’ve been fighting since we got married. But sometimes, he folds the laundry, and it’s done.
He’ll laugh if he reads this, because even though done is good enough, I still usually comment about the towels. I just can’t help myself! But I do appreciate that he takes on some of the household chores too.
Good enough means that sometimes, the plates that the kids wash turn out a little greasy and not quite rinsed clean. My kids are scared of hot water. But they’re good enough for them to eat off of again, and that’s good enough.
Be flexible about timing.
Yes, I may want to have perfectly clean counters, floors swept and mopped, and bookshelves dusted, but when it’s 15 minutes to the kids’ bedtimes, I have to adjust my thinking, and save something for another time.
I will say that our daily and weekly routines have helped with this tremendously, but there are still plenty of times when we just run out of time or energy, and cleaning has to get pushed to another time.
What needs to get done will get done, and everything else will get done eventually.
I don’t like asking for help. I like to believe I can do everything myself, but I’m really bad at estimating how long things will actually take, and I sometimes run out of time. Or energy. Or willpower. Or all of the above.
Luckily, I have a more than capable husband and children who can take on home management roles if I let them. Because they live here too, and if I want to raise responsible adult children who know how to clean and cook and do adult things, then they need to see both parents doing those things, and they need to learn how to do them too.
Does it bother me when things aren’t done the way I want them to be done? Yep. Do I hate the sound of whining about chores? Oh yes. Does it sometimes take twice as long to teach a child how to do something as it would for me to just do it myself? You better believe it.
But it’s still important. Because eventually, when they learn how to do it, it actually is helpful.
Minimalism helps too.
We’re definitely still more on the aspiring side of minimalism, but everything that we’ve decluttered has made it easier to keep up with cleaning.
Because our dining room table always gets cleared off, it’s really easy to wipe the whole thing off.
Because the kids’ toys get picked up at the end of the day, it’s really easy to sweep the floor and get the living room back to “normal mode”.
Because we don’t have a billion clothing items, we can get laundry done in a day without it being overwhelming.
Less stuff equals less to take care of.
When Jesse and I first got married, I was a perfectionist who had to have everything just so, and I did most of it myself so it would be the way I wanted it.
Now my standards are a little bit lower, and I’m willing to accept help. We have less stuff to get in the way of keeping things clean, and we have routines that keep the housework moving. I’ll be talking more about those soon!
Have your cleaning standards changed since you first started out on your own?