Cleaning backwards

I have company coming over tonight. Church company- which pretty much means my house needs to look really nice. Nicer than say if my best friend were coming over, ya know? The Christmas committee is meeting at my house rather than at church, partially because I keep missing meetings due to a lack of a babysitter.

Well, I don’t know if it’s a common practice, but out here in the country there is one rule you’re supposed to live by :

Keep your living room, kitchen and bathroom clean at all times… you never know when someone will show up at your door.

While I am a miserable failure, it does seem that the philosophy is what drives my cleaning. I always start with the kitchen, work on the living room while the dish washer is running, and then pick up the bathroom. My house, however, stays looking a mess. While I’m cleaning one room, my kids are destroying the other room. My husband probably thinks I never clean because by the time he gets home (around 7:30 or so) everything I HAD picked up is now a mess again. Let’s not even get me started on what my bathroom looks like after my two girls get done with it! There not even teenagers yet!

I have started taking note of a few phenomenons that are leading me to change my cleaning philosophy a bit. Moving me towards a “cleaning backwards” way of thinking.

1. If my bedroom and craftroom are picked up and tidy, I’m less likely to just toss stuff in there and more likely to actually put it away while I have my hands on it.
2. If the girls’ bedroom is clean, they will actually play in it! For hours!
3. If the laundry room is picked up, then I am more likely to actually pick up the misplaced dirty laundry (yes, honey I AM referring to your socks and pj bottoms), and take it to the …. LAUNDRY ROOM!

Sounds basic I know, but keep reading…

So here’s the plan:

I start with my room in the morning, make the bed, and then wander across the hall to see if anything in my craft room is askew. This also gives me an excellent opportunity to have coffee and check my favorite blogs, as my computer is in my craft room.

I take a quick peek into hubby’s office, where my children’s computers are, to check for dirty dishes and misplaced toys. (sidenote: I’m not rich, my hubby is a computer nerd that collects computer junk from trash and surplus sales… he can’t seem to stop building the silly things)

Next, I make the girls beds and do a quick pick up of their toys. Now that I’ve removed most of their “play stuff” it’s really pretty easy. The whole time I’ve been moving a hamper of dirty laundry down the hallway, filling it up as I go, progressively getting closer to the laundry room.

Oddly enough, this left the “Big three” rooms pretty easy. My kids stayed in their rooms all morning, giving me plenty of time to pick up the living room and finish gathering laundry. Every time I had to “hang out” in the bathroom with Jo (while she did what she needed to do), I sat on my little foot stool and put stuff back into the drawers and cabinets. Now that Jo is napping, and Sam is enjoying her well earned computer time, I am free to reload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. It’s 2 pm and I could welcome anyone into my home right now without too much embarrassment.

Then next time your in a cleaning funk, or losing your motivation, try doing it backwards. Sometimes knowing that the “thing that always comes last” is actually done can be very motivating.

2 thoughts on “Cleaning backwards

  1. marye~ says:

    That sounds good. I still haven’t taken care of my den. We put the tree up last night and I was trying to take pictures of the kiddos without all the clutter showing. I just kept moving the crap around instead of picking it up. I do keep the living room neat. That’s the only place I forbid the kids to leave their clutter. Hope you can keep everything picked up!

  2. Momma TaderDoodles says:

    I tried the trick again this morning, and it worked “o.k.”… my girls are a bit cranky so it kept slowing me down. My bedroom is finally in some sort of decent shape though!

    And yes, my kitchen is still being kept up with 😀 YEAH!

    M~ my mom fusses at me all the time for sending her pictures (for her scrapbooking) that has junk all in the background… sometimes you just can’t get away from it 🙂

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