My wonderful husband bought me a book a while back that may have offended some wives. For me, it was a welcome gift. It is basically a 900 page cleaning bible entitled "Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House" by Cheryl Mendelson. It has been a great resource for me as I attempt to learn how to be a good house keeper. (For those of you who do not yet have children, I highly recommend getting this art down before they come!) I would just like to share a quote from this book that is so true about the mental aspect in cleaning and how to overcome it through routines.
"A housekeeping routine not only prevents your home from growing seedy and sour between cleanings but also helps assure that you are willing to do the work, for, as experienced people all know, housework movivation can be a psychologically delicate matter. Cleaning, laundry, and other chores are far harder after you have let them go for two weeks; the energy you must summon to tackle them becomes greater the longer you have procrastinated. Not doing some housework leads to not doing even more housework.
"If you have no system, you have to reinvent your housekeeping or debate what to do first every time you do it, and the required mental effort is a major obstacle, especially when you are tired. But a tired working person is often able to do things that are routine and habitual. No thinking is required; minimal inertia must be overcome. A chore that fits into a reassuring overall plan of housekeeping feels effective and worthwhile. But if you feel you are just tackling the worst problem in a home that is starting to go to pieces, it may hardly seem worth the effort."
The author suggests dividing all the housework you have into portions that must be done daily, weekly, monthly or seasonally, and yearly or less often. She then provides a typical list of of chores in these categories. If anyone is interested in her list, let me know and I will e-mail it to you because I just typed it all up in an excel document...but beware, it is a little daunting. I have also found it helpful to get my husbands opinion on what is important to him. Knowing he will notice certain things that have been cleaned is great motivation!
To be honest, I have done this, and it really seems like in order to get it all done, I need to be cleaning all day long! And that is just not feasible, especially with little ones. In fact, I have yet to find within the pages of this book any advice on how to keep a schedule with small children at home all day who never seem to be on the same page I am! I have devised hundreds of schedules and plans only to eventually toss them out the window! Any advice others have on this matter is greatly welcomed.
However, I have found that what she said is totally true. Even if I am not able to get every little thing done, when I have a routine and scheduled days to do things, it is a lot easier to get at least something done. The mental energy is often the hardest part of it all! Good luck!