How to Create a Daily Cleaning Rhythm that Takes the Stress Out of Keeping up with the Mess

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Why does this house never seem clean!?  It seems like all I’ve done today is clean! The idea of trying to create a daily cleaning rhythm seems impossible!

Raise your hand if this has ever been you.  🙋

Yeah.  Me too.

When I worked outside the house, I would squeeze cleaning into the cracks of my days or put it off until the weekend.  Then on the weekend, I wouldn’t want to clean because it was family time.  It left me stressed and frustrated that my space was never as clean or organized as I wanted it to be.

Fast forward to when we had our second baby and I transitioned to being a stay at home mom.  I thought I would have all this time to really get a handle on cleaning and organizing our new home.  

Wrong.  Two kiddos, unpacked boxes from a move a few weeks before I gave birth and constant distraction left me frustrated all over again.  Only this time, my inner voice was really beating me up.  

I remember thinking You should be able to handle all this.  What is wrong with you? Just about every day.  

Finally, I got a decent night’s sleep (shoutout to all you mamas with littles who aren’t sleeping through the night.  You’re amazing!), and I decided to make a plan.

Even if the words “make a plan” stress you and your free spirit out, I hope you can still glean something from what I have learned as I figured out how to create a daily cleaning rhythm that takes the stress out of keeping up with the mess.

 create a daily cleaning rhythm mom and child cleaning

First, identify your stress points.  

We all have certain areas that lend themselves to more chaos than others in our home. Some of those rooms make us crazy when they are messy and others we could probably let go and just shut the door.   

My main stressors were a house that never felt “clean”, no time for bigger projects (like, ahem, unpacking fully), and needing to protect weekends for family time.

I decided to let the playroom and kids rooms be messy and do a bigger pickup once or twice a week and focus on keeping the kitchen and master bedroom clean and tidy.  When the kitchen is a mess, I feel like a mess. And when my bedroom is a disaster I don’t feel relaxed when I want to be. This is a key part when you begin to create a daily cleaning rhythm.

What areas of your house make you feel like a mess when they are a mess?

What rooms can you let go?

Also, quick PSA – our homes will likely never look like Instagram and Pinterest… because we LIVE in our homes.  We make memories in our homes.  We care for little humans in our homes.  Perfect isn’t the goal.

Second, create a daily cleaning rhythm to follow rather than a routine to commit to.

Rhythms allow for flexibility and help you stay consistent, whereas routines feel more rigid and tend to make you feel like a failure when you get off track.

Take time to decide what’s important for you and what your house/family needs.

My family thrives on quality time and consistency, so I knew I would need to dedicate a certain time to cleaning rather than do it whenever I could fit it in or while the kiddos did something else.  

Identify what your kids can help with.

Kids can do so much more than we think and teaching them how to care for their homes is important! My son (5) has chores that he is responsible for (like making his bed, picking up toys, helping with dishes) as well as chores he likes to help with (like vacuuming or mopping).  Both of my kids help me dust and wash windows once a week.

Decide how much time you have/want to dedicate to it per day.

Your rhythm will be different based on whether you work from home, are a full time stay at home mom, home school or work outside the home full or part time.  You may want to tackle one thing per day or have two days a week where you get the bulk of it done.  Whatever works for your personality and lifestyle is what will be best for your family.  The key is to decide and then set aside the time.  As mamas who often run the family calendar, most of us would agree that if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen.  The same is true for those pesky little tasks like vacuuming. 😉

Personally, to create a daily cleaning rhythm, I picked 1-3 tasks per day and gave myself a dedicated hour in the morning that is “chore time.”  The kids and I both have our daily tasks and knock them out after breakfast so that we aren’t playing catch up all day. 

 create a daily cleaning rhythm child cleaning

A few additional things to consider as you are creating a rhythm that works for you:

  1. Make a list of areas in your house or go on Pinterest to print off a helpful list from a professional.  Don’t feel you have to do it all, but treat it as a jumping off point so that you don’t forget something important.
  2. Work smaller tasks into things you already do.
    • For example: empty the dishwasher while making your coffee in the morning.  Wipe down counters and start the dishwasher when cleaning up from dinner.  Wipe the bathroom down during the kids’ bath time or when you’re getting ready for the day.
  3. Don’t overdo your to-dos.  Make the cleaning tasks do-able in the time you choose so that you’re set up for success each day. 
  4. Be consistent but flexible as you find what works for you.
  5. Write down your rhythm and post it somewhere you can easily see it to take the guesswork out.

I have loved looking at taking care of my home this way because if I miss a day, I know I have another pass at it next week.  I don’t feel stressed out with the need to play catch up. I have more freedom to jump on deep cleaning/organizing projects because I’m maintaining better.  I don’t have to think about what needs to be done because it’s already decided, written down and hanging up in my kitchen.  I’m not overwhelmed by it because I’ve mapped out, prioritized and scheduled time for it.

What are you going to do to take the stress out of keeping up with the mess?  

Happy cleaning! 

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Anna Seeley is wife to Josh and mom to Logan and Loralei.  She created Graceful Journey with the mission of encouraging women to live into the hope and purpose they were made for through storytelling and tangible tools. She believes every woman has a purpose and a story as unique as they are and that we are all beautifully and wonderfully made. No one is too old or too young or too busy to live life on purpose.  If you were getting coffee together she would remind you that there is hope in every season, something to be learned in every heartbreak, and that there is always - always - grace to be found in the journey.  Join Anna on IG @annajseeley for more encouragement and a peek at her everyday life (aka - coffee, kids and chaos)!

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