Friday, June 20, 2014

Day Twenty: Be Your Own Maid

Image from Flickr

I love having a clean home but don’t love housework.  I wish I was one of those people who clean for fun, but I’m not.  And since I don’t have a housekeeper or a maid, I’m constantly dreaming up ways to motivate myself so I don’t live in a dusty pit.

One way to encourage myself is to change my way of thinking – from housework as a necessary evil to thinking of it as taking care of my home and my family.  It is a very nurturing thing to do for yourself and those you love to ensure there is a clean and comfortable home to come back to at the end of the day.

Here are some of the ways I have come up with to make myself love cleaning.

I like to buy nice supplies.  Baking soda and vinegar are my number one duo and I use these for loads of cleaning jobs, but I also love pretty cleaning products.  Over the past year I’ve been using Mrs Meyers countertop sprays in geranium and honeysuckle, and bathroom cleaning spray in lavender.  For not much cost these are a real treat and I look forward to using them.

Having a love for sparsely decorated and shiny clean hotel bathrooms makes me happy to use my Mrs Meyers sprays often (and 50/50 white vinegar/water for the mirrors) to achieve this look.  And the more often you do things the less dirt builds up.  For two of us I find once a week for everything is fine.

If there is something quick – a five minute job (and many are) – I do it right there and then.  As quick as you can think of an excuse for leaving something undone, you could have done it.  By the same token, sometimes I try to do jobs as quickly as possible, as usually I am quite slow-moving and meticulous which adds up to my cleaning jobs taking all day with no time left for fun.

Keeping cleaning supplies where I use them is very helpful too.  If something is to hand I am more likely to use it which makes perfect sense when you think about it.  We have two bathrooms and two toilets, so now I have duplicates so that all the products I need are in each room and I don’t have to take them back and forth.  I also have paper towels and clean rags (large squares from worn out t-shirts are fantastic) in both bathrooms and keep them stocked.

Plain-scented wet wipes are kept in three different places which means there is always one available for a quick clean-up job or window-sill dust.  They are also great for wiping along skirting boards.

I do my worst job first, which is vacuuming.  I find it quite physically demanding and vacuuming also twists my lower back, so I do it in the morning when I feel most energized and also to get it out of the way first.  Then mopping the hard floor areas, then it’s onto easier tasks.

I often think how it would be more enjoyable to clean someone else’s house than my own.  Do you ever feel like that?  Because of this, I can approach my housework as if it’s not my house that I’m cleaning and sometimes it even works.  I think I’d make a really good housekeeper (although I would be very expensive) so imagining I am cleaning someone else’s house works well for me.

Taking pleasure in cleaning and making it fun and enjoyable is how I get through my housework.  Do you have any tricks you employ to motivate yourself?


  1. I love your approach! I am not a huge fan of cleaning either, but I love the way my home feels and looks afterwards, so I just focus on that rather than the process. :)

  2. I try to use scented product like Caldrea and I use wipes every day in the bathroom as I run my bath water. I'm not a big fan of vacuuming which is a job Monsieur likes. I set myself a "cleaning mission" each day and feel good when it is accomplished.

  3. Doing the job right when I notice it needs doing has been my saving grace. On the vacuum front, I bought a Hoover Linx cordless and it's so very easy to use. We have two German Shedding Dogs so I need to run the vac around every morning and this thing is so easy to maneuver I don't mind. Empty the dustcup, put the battery in the charger and it's ready for the next day. I haven't pulled my big vac out of the closet since I got this one in February. I must sound like a commercial!

  4. I'm like you; I love a clean house, but do not like cleaning. One thing that's helped me is to not be such a perfectionist. I used to feel I had to set aside such a large amount of time to get everything done "right"; and thus, it never got done. Now I work quickly and do a little here and there; it might not be perfect, but it's better than not getting to it at all!

  5. I tackle one job each day and get it done early in the morning. I have a gal who comes to clean for two hours each week and it is my husband who insists we keep her as he does not do housework at all and feels guilty so this is his way of helping!
    I like the scented products and use Method cleaners. I find their grapefruit all purpose cleaner good for most grime and it is a versatile product from mirrors to counters.
    If I am in a funk cleaning I put on some great music and turn up the volume...that helps me.

  6. Fiona, how do you balance working full time and keeping up the house? I've just started a new full time job and am having trouble balancing the two.

  7. Tracy, you have three more children than I do, so I'm sure that makes things a lot different. I work five days and have two days off. Mostly I like to stay home those two days, but if I had to I could do the weekly basics in half a day. I do laundry after work sometimes. And decluttering like you are doing means there is less to clean. I'm sure it wouldn't be easy going from having more time at home to working full-time and I wish you all the best!

  8. I do a once a week clean and maintain each day. Like you Fiona I work full time so it's a matter of doing it or have it hanging over me. I've never not worked so I've learned to be efficient. :)

  9. I particularly dislike vacuuming because of pushing & pulling that heavy thing around, and the noise. I try to make it "a zen thing"... I do my house-cleaning myself because I live in such a small space right now & it doesn't take much time.

    Very helpful to me has been this very short eBook by Ian Stables, "The Easy Way to Clean: How to Clean Your House Using a Three Times Faster Method" (no affiliation). His tips on effortless vacuuming was right on-target for me. This little book is on Amazon sometimes for free, and if you sign up for his emails he'll let you know when his books will be free on Amazon!

  10. I defend my right to keep things clean. This sounds crazy, but it took me decades to claim it. I am the housekeeper (probably 95% of the responsibility in this home) but I wasted years pretending as if it were no big deal. I worked around everyone else's demands for my time and their conceptions of the best way to store and use things. It finally occurred to me that I needed to stand up for myself. Two things happened after that - one was that I claim my daily housekeeping time as "work time" equal to any out of home paying job. Second, the new rule is "If you don't know where it goes, leave it out for me to take care of." My family thought they were helpful by stuffing things in the furthest corners of closets, cabinets and basement to get them out of the main living spaces. And I found I was constantly sucked into needing to deep clean all of our living spaces to root this stuff back out and send it where it belonged - mostly all recycle, trash and give away! Gggrrhhhh!! This is still my toughest rule to enforce and stay on top of.

    A new trick I'm using to motivate myself is to snap a digital photo of the room - a before and after. Seeing the clutter in 2 dimensions on my laptop causes me to get offline and tackle it right away! Silly - but it works!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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