Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
Late last year, I thought I had it made when I booked a local company to clean my house once a month.
Any homeschooling parent knows that a home needs more than monthly care, but I figured they would do the deep cleaning, and I could keep up with the rest. It sounded like a dream come true for this work-at-home mom.
But it didn’t turn out that way. The cleaning company were used to customers who worked outside of the home. Not a problem, I thought. The kids and I will just go out for a few hours, and return to a tidy house. But when the cleaners failed to show up on time, after I’d worked hard to get the kids ready, it started to frustrate me. And when they didn’t clean the way I wanted or return my emails, I decided to move on.
Then one day I had an epiphany. If the cleaners could deep clean my whole house once a month, why couldn’t I?
Turns out I can, and I’ve been doing so for the past three months.
Here’s how it works.
I searched online for a traditional cleaning checklist (Here’s an example) and created my own based on our home and what needs to be done every four weeks.
I only clean and care for the kids on monthly cleaning days–no formal homeschooling, writing, laundry, or cooking.
The focus for the rest of the month becomes keeping the house tidy and doing any essentials–wiping the bathroom or vacuuming the floor. It’s amazing how a tidy, uncluttered house can fool people into thinking it’s clean.
Here are the benefits I’ve found in once-a-month cleaning.
1. It isn’t always on my mind.
By cleaning every four weeks, I’m only deep cleaning my house 13 times a year–hooray for that!
As a result, I’m not constantly thinking about when to fit in cleaning or how dirty something is. My calendar lets me know exactly when the house will be clean again. Nothing hangs “undone” over my head.
2. It reflects our family’s values and helps me combat perfectionism.
I honestly don’t want to be remembered for having an immaculate house. Changing the lives of children, loving my family–these are the reasons I get up each morning. But I don’t want to live in a pigsty either. Once a month cleaning feels like the right balance.
It also helps me combat perfectionism–by working this way I’m declaring that ‘this level of cleanliness is enough.’ I’m not striving for something that isn’t really important to me anyway.
3. I’m cleaning when it really needs to be done.
In the past, when I cleaned on a weekly basis, my rotation list would occasionally tell me to clean something that didn’t look dirty. I found it hard to get motivated.
But every four weeks I can easily see that the floor needs mopping, the tub needs scrubbing, and the bookshelves need dusting. This was especially noticeable last week after our vacuum died. Many thanks to those of you on Facebook who chimed in with recommendations for a new one! (If you’re curious, we ended up with this Hoover–so far, so good.)
4. The house shines and sparkles–for at least 24 hours.
My favorite part of having a cleaner? Returning to a house that sparkled and smelled clean.
Now, even though I’m doing the work myself, I still get that feeling. Even the microwave shines for a day!
5. It saves money and fits with our homeschooling lifestyle.
I hate having to abide by someone else’s schedule. I love that I can arrange my cleaning to fit with the rhythm of our days, without having to work around the timing of a cleaner.
Every four weeks on cleaning day, my husband brings takeout home for dinner. Even with this treat we save a considerable amount compared to what we paid for cleaning services. And there’s nothing like the reward of pad thai to keep me working through the afternoon slump!
If you haven’t yet discovered the right cleaning system, think it over and see if once a month cleaning might work for you.
Have you managed to find a cleaning system that works for your homeschooling family?