So, Are You Like Martha Stewart? Donna Reed?

Heather says:

When people ask what I do, after I joke about working in a bar, describe my job at FeedBlitz, talk about my app, I then have to explain Home-Ec101. This happens a lot and generally I get the confused puppy head-tilt.

I run a website on home economics -head tilt- I write about lifeskills for adults -increased angle of said head tilt-

Oh, so you’re like Martha Stewart?

Well, no, it’s a bit more basic than that. I’m not into frou-frou and I think there are a lot of people that genuinely need the basics more than frills.

I talk about cooking, cleaning, basic home repair, and laundry.

Oh, so you’re like Donna Reed?

No, not her either.

I bet your house is immaculate.

And it’s at this point that I just force a smile and try not to let out a huge guffaw. I have three kids. Who has three kids, more than one job, and an immaculate house?

Not this gal.

I know HOW to keep a clean house, but every so often in a while things -deadlines, the kids get the flu, I get called in to cover for a sick co-worker, etc all pile on and the daily chores just don’t get done.

Yesterday, if you had walked into my home, I probably would have died of embarrassment. Thank you for not coming over, by the way.

I admitted this over on Facebook -you are a fan, right?- and someone asked, “How do you get back on track after a couple days (or more) of not being able to do daily chores?”

I enter triage mode.

I either start a load of laundry -or restart it, if it was neglected in the machine for a couple of days.

I then head into the kitchen and start on the sink and dishes.

Next I clear counters and the table-papers may get put into a couple of piles -this depends on how long I have to perform the triage and everything else gets put away. The counters and table get a quick wipe down.

Next up come the bathrooms -not a deep clean- a dump some cleaner into the bowl, give it a quick swish -wash my hands, find the toothpaste cap and get the globs out of the sink. Then it’s wipe off the sink, followed by the toilet seat and rim. The bowl gets a scrub, a flush and I make sure there are clean towels.

Finally come the floors.

All the crap that shouldn’t be out and that will interfere with sweeping / vacuuming gets picked up and put away. -Sometimes I use a timer and put on music to encourage the minions’ help, but if they are at school, I just knock it out, asap.

I set Gertie -my robot minion- to go and I head upstairs to at least get the coffee cups out of my office and to vacuum the floor up there.

Everything piddly gets to wait until the next time the chore comes around in the rotation. This isn’t a perfect clean, this is a crisis clean for communal areas. My bedroom door can and will be shut until I have the bandwidth to deal with it and that’s okay. The same goes for the kids’ room.

No one is perfect. Not you, not me, and definitely not the perfectly coiffed lady in the coffee shop.

Hang in there. Things are going to eventually get better and well, even if they don’t, hanging in is the only option, so make the best of it.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Your triage clean is the perfect description of my normal cleaning habits. And then the lightbulb went on over my head. I’ll have to look into this “daily chores” thing everyone keeps talking about.

    • says

      Brigid,
      The way I look at cleaning is, there is pretty much a net amount of time that will be spent on maintaining a home. You can either organize it in a way where it is done regularly and in small amounts or bank that time and make a large withdrawal on a day off and . . . you get the point.

      Additionally stains set and toothpaste turns to rock hard mineral deposits and that kind of adds to the time spent cleaning, too.

  2. Emily says

    I’ve been under the weather for a few days, so the house has gotten away from me (That, plus a broken knob on the dryer). You have no idea how timely this post is for me.

    Thank you!

    • says

      Oh no, the dreaded laundry backlog. If it gets bad, a trip to the laundry mat may be in order, spend one afternoon instead of an entire day. . .

      Also, I hope you’re feeling better.

  3. D says

    I like your term ‘triage’, (I used to work in a Dr. office). I like to think of it as my ‘white tornado routine’. You prioritize, considering how much time you have available. Oh, and the kids have to be fed in there somewhere too.

    • says

      LOL Thanks, I just look at it as an assessment and taking care of the crucial things and moving on to the next. . . so there is a parallel in there somewhere :)

  4. Cyndi says

    Thank you. This was a post that I really needed today. I’ve been having back problems for several weeks now, had surgery last week and found out this morning there is a possibility I might have to have yet another surgery to fix it. As you can imagine, my house is a complete mess from not being able to do anything. Thanks for drilling it down to the basics for me so that when I can do things again I can start small and build up as I go. And NOT feel like a horrible, nasty person in the meantime!!! :-)

  5. Pamela says

    I always appreciate your honesty.
    When my 3 boys were small, there were days I actually PRAYED that no one would come to the door – my house was in such a mess.
    Thank you for all your good words, love ya lots!
    ~P

  6. rachel_w says

    Triage is a good way to put it! When the house is a mess I’ve found a few things that make everything feel so much better. Making the bed makes a bedroom seem so much cleaner! Clearing off the kitchen table and counters does the same thing for the kitchen (including doing the dishes like you said) and then a quick wipe down of the bathroom with a clorox wipe or two makes it presentable for company! Pick up junk off the floors and vacuum only if there’s time.

  7. Sharon says

    Thank you, this is super helpful! Your triage is much cleaner than my regular cleaning system (which is no system! Hey, I have a 2 year old and am expecting in 4 weeks, that’s a good excuse, right???) I pretty much clean when I get so tired of the mess that I can’t stand it for another minute But, this is a great way to at least make the house look presentable without taking a week.

  8. Karen C says

    Hum, I think I am more like Phyllis Diller! Make them laugh till they cry so they can not see the mess.

  9. Marianne says

    Part of why I love your site so much is that you are honest. I can relate to you because you’re a real human with a real life and real kids and real messes. Thank you for your transparency, in this post and in general. To say that it’s refreshing is an understatement.

    As for me, I’ve just moved into a new place with my sweetie, so I’m trying to both get settled and create some routines. Like another commenter above, I think it may be time for me to pay more attention to those daily chore reminders and try things with a plan instead of only doing triage cleaning.

    Thanks for being awesome.

  10. sue morgan says

    Holy cow……were you in my house this week…month….this is what I do, word for word, I have 3 grandsons with me, and this is what happens all week at our house. Thank you for letting me know im not alone! I was up at the crack of dawn this morning to try and get a hold of this, and found you….so the machine is on and Im off to find the vacumn! Have a blessed day!!!!!!