Monday, August 1, 2016

Tending the Home

There was a time in early motherhood when I embraced the advice of others to not care so much about keeping the house clean while I cared for the more important needs of my young son.  Of course I couldn't get anything done when he was an infant with all the diaper changing, feeding, and laundry.  When he was a toddler I was running around after him and his messes and always fell behind!  And all this time, even through the preschool years, my son would demand most of my attention, for I was his very best playmate.  Well, he is 6 years old now, at an age where I'm not as fun to play with and there is no excuse for him not to help clean up more.  I can clearly see that his disregard for the messes he makes is a direct reflection on what he's seen me do.  I want him to take care of his things and for the house we live in, just as I have taught him how to take care of his body, heart, and mind.  I need to place more importance on cleaning our abode for it to become meaningful and a good habit for him.  Now how do I make this change and how do I involve my family?

1.  Adopt a cleaning calendar
There are several of these on Pinterest and certainly other bloggers have shared their suggestions.  Here's my schedule, which was inspired by Pig&

2.  Make cleaning manageable & fun

Simply having a cleaning schedule makes the process much more manageable.  And from there, tasks can be divided up between family members.  With dusting, a task I despise and gladly delegate, I can clear away clutter and my son can come along with a polish-coated rag to do the actual dusting.

Using essential oils in our cleaning solutions is a safer alternative than mainstream cleaning products.  It's also super fun for kids to pick out the oils to use (after giving them an appropriate panel to choose from) or let them mix the solutions that you've chosen.

This is also a great time to put on some great music and DANCE!  Get into it...


3.  Be mindful of how and where we place our things

There is a saying in the yoga community that how you do yoga is how you do everything.  If you rush from pose to pose, ignore important feedback that your body is giving you, vent negativity, and disregard the space of others in the room, there's a pretty good chance that you do the same in your everyday life outside the yoga studio.  We watch closely in our yoga practice and notice our habits without judgement so we can honestly see ALL without reacting.  Then we can make a conscious effort to change our habits, the way we approach our practice and everything else in our lives.  This housecleaning endeavor is becoming an extension of my yoga practice where I try to be mindful and treat everything I own as something precious that should be handled with care and respect.

This is how I found our kitchen towel hanging this morning:

Really?  I think we can take the time to fold the towel and put it back nicely, which leads to the final suggestion:

4.  Be a model for your family and be clear on how you'd like them to help take care of the house

It is obviously not important to my husband that the towels are hung nicely.  And he really doesn't care that the kitchen table is cluttered with mail.  He was always so supportive of me when I let the house devolve into a sty too!  Having a clean house really does matter to me though and seriously affects my mood when I'm in a cluttered space, especially if I feel like I'm the only one making the effort to keep the house picked up.  I need to constantly communicate how I'd like my family's help in maintaining order.  But I also need to make sure that I walk the walk.

When I come in the house, I hang up my keys, place my shoes in the closet, and hang up my purse.  If I start leaving my shoes out in the entry way, very soon there are ~ 10 pairs that have accumulated because I have implied that it's okay to do it.  It's fine every once in awhile, but then I end up being the one to put all the shoes away which causes even more needless emotional distress.  Let's just put away our own shoes, just the one pair we're wearing at the moment, in the closet.  Done.


We are 3 weeks into our mindful house cleaning commitment and I love how it feels!  A friend could stop by at any moment and I wouldn't have to explain with embarrassment how our house is small and gets cluttered easily.  I don't need to scramble to the bathroom to make sure it's "presentable".  The three of us are much more happy being able to sprawl out in our spacious, clutter-free rooms.  A clean, organized home complements a clean, organized lifestyle and the effort to get there is certainly worth it.

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