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Keeping the Home | Establishing a Cleaning Cycle

August 21, 2023

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The coffee is brewing. I’ve already read to my kids, and they are in their designated quiet time spots. I grab my camera desperately needing to snap a few photos of my home since this is a post about keeping the home, right? Finding several quasi clean and uncluttered areas, I snap a few pictures to share with you, my faithful readers.


Here I sit at my computer surrounded by a somewhat cluttered and needing-to-be-cleaned house. And yet I am writing about keeping the home today! I chuckle to myself. Though somewhat ironic, this is real life, my friends.


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Don’t let Pinterest pictures, Instagram stories, or YouTube videos get you discouraged, my friends. Everybody’s house gets messy and dirty, and even the best of housekeepers hast to put a little elbow grease into keeping her home.


Every well-run home goes through cycles of cleanliness and dirtiness/messiness. Depending on a family’s routine, the “dirtiest day” may be different from one family to another. Some people have restful Sundays and use that time wisely to create a sanctuary of cleanliness while some families may be extremely busy on the weekends.


Sundays are dynamic days for our family as we travel out of state to serve in a small, country church. Mondays are inevitably “crash days” when the process of homemaking hits the bottom and the cycle of cleaning and caring starts anew.


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Today’s post is meant to encourage anyone, no matter his or her stage of homemaking. I am not a cleaning expert nor am I going to win the “cleanest house” award. But I have learned so much in the past ten years of actually living in my own house. I wish I had understood the concept of having a cleaning cycle instead of just a cleaning checklist.


Keeping a home is a life-involving and life-giving process. My home requires my constant care and attention, and in return, my home offers me comfort, security, and beauty. Keeping a home is a continuous process, not a “one-and-done” chore that happens every once in a while.


Like the continuous ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide, so caring for a home is a never-ending cycle. That statement used to haunt me as I frantically grasped at the elusive concept of a “clean house” but could never catch it. I used to get angry when family members or guests messed up my hard work and made the house dirty or cluttered again.


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Yet, when I established a continuous cycle of cleaning my home, I began to relax. I realized that once I established set patterns for cleaning, every surface would eventually get clean again. It’s okay if guests don’t know about our “no-shoe” rule and drag in dirt. I will sweep and mop when it’s time in my cleaning cycle. It’s okay if the kids scatter toys around the living room. We have routine clean-up times.


For some people, doing a certain task on a specific day of the week works for them. For example, Mondays may be laundry, Tuesday may be clean the bathrooms, Wednesdays clean the kitchen, etc.


I have tried such a routine, but inevitably something happens (especially with homeschooling), and I miss a day. I used to feel doomed to failure because the rest of the week was off-schedule.


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What I have found that works for me is to clean in a certain cycle or pattern, and once I complete the pattern, I start over again. I may get the cycle done in a week, or it may take me two weeks to complete the cycle.


My cleaning cycle looks something like this:


Laundry (including sheets and anything else in the laundry basket)*

Clean the bathrooms

Dust, sweep, and vacuum upstairs and down the staircase

Dust, sweep, and vacuum the downstairs

Mop the floors

Clean the kitchen


*Though I am not religious about what chores happen on what day, I do always wash the sheets, towels, and anything else that needs washing on Mondays.


The rest of the chores can happen on any day although common sense dictates that I mop once the entire house has been swept and vacuumed.


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Once these chores have been completed, I will then start the cycle over again when the house needs some attention. I have learned to relax and not bother cleaning a clean house. I don’t have time for that anymore! So I clean once the house starts to get dirty which does not take long.


After I complete a cleaning cycle, I usually take some time to fill up a bucket with soapy water and scrub an area that needs attention. If you are like me, “extra chore” cleaning lists are completely overwhelming. So instead, I fill up a bucket with lovely smelling water (I like to use Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap in lavender) and go scrub something dirty. It’s not usually hard to determine which area needs the most TLC! With my soapy water I may

  • Wash the walls in the kitchen

  • Scrub the back of the stair treads

  • Wash the bedroom doors

  • Clean the baseboards

  • Wash the kitchen table and chairs

Don't panic; I do not complete all these tasks every time I fill a bucket! These are just ideas...


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For those completely overwhelmed by the care and keeping of a home, just jump into a cleaning cycle and do it routinely. Even if you don’t do it perfectly, just start. I found that just by cleaning my home routinely I actually notice areas of my home that need work, and my entire home starts to get better.


It may take time for your home to actually start feeling clean, and you may need to complete several cycles before you really notice a difference. Cleaning a home isn’t about perfection (you will never achieve it!). Keeping a home is about a continuous cycle of care and attention. So grab a rag or a broom and jump in!


-Ashley


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Mary Palmer
Mary Palmer
Aug 21, 2023

Hi Ashley

I'm an avid list maker, after reading your blog I understand your cleaning cycle concept. I do wipe stuff off a lot.

I'm going to try your way to see if I can accomplish more using the cleaning cycle concept. I have lived in my apartment for 6 almost 7 years. I don't think I have ever washed all the doors. So my first cleaning attempt is the doors and windows as well as curtains and blinds.

Thank you Ashley for all you do for me

Mary P

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Ashley Qurollo
Ashley Qurollo
Aug 22, 2023
Replying to

Sounds like you will have a sparkling clean apartment, Mary! I love lists, too; don't get me wrong. I just would get so frustrated when I couldn't accomplish everything in the time prescribed. The cleaning cycle has been much less stressful for me (and my kids!).

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Thank you for this!! The idea of a cleaning cycle instead of a checklist sounds better to me. I always misplace the checklist anyways 🤣. Thank you for your encouragement!

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Ashley Qurollo
Ashley Qurollo
Aug 22, 2023
Replying to

That's too funny! Well, I like simple things, and this idea seemed pretty simple to me.🤗

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