I have been thinking a lot lately about what things I should focus on as far as house cleaning goes. My daughter is getting to the age when we need to start thinking about preschool time being added to the daily routine but I always feel like I just don't have time for that. However, since I must make time, I have been thinking about what I can do to make sure I do enough but not so much that I leave no time for the other important pieces of my work.
As I prayed about it, I realized that while I may focus too much sometimes on keeping things clean (by clean, I mean in tip-top shape, not simply sanitary), I also can't just let things go, both because it drives me crazy but because it drives my husband crazy too. So I decided what I'm going to do is make a Top Six list of the things that must be cleaned to have a "clean house". That way if nothing else gets done, at least we can both be happy with the state that the house is in.
If you want to do this for yourself, I would encourage you to start by thinking about what things your husband always mentions about your home. For example, it could be something that he always notices when you clean it perhaps it is the floors or the bathrooms. Or it could be something that he doesn't like and makes comments about, for instance, all the toys on the living room floor or the stacks of laundry, waiting to be folded. It may take awhile to think of them but if you listen and watch what he says and does when he comes home, you will probably see pretty quickly what I'm talking about. If you are still unsure of what his pet peeves are, ask him what things he would like to have cleaned when he comes home after a day of work. Once you have his Top Three, your list is half way done.
The next part is much easier. List the Top Three things that you are always drawn to clean, or what frustrates you the most when it is messy or dirty. This is usually easier because these are the task we get upset because no one does or the ones we find ourselves compulsively doing several times a day.
I'll give you some examples of things I thought of as I was making my list. Not all of these things are on my list but they will give you a good idea of what I'm talking about.
For example, I can't stand walking into my daughters' room and seeing every book, toy and stuffed animal they have all over the floor. So I will call a time to pick up and we will whip their room in to shape together. Now my husband on the other hand would find this problem at the very bottom of his list since he does not have to wade through the muck to get in and out of their room. But to me, it's a big deal.
He is more concerned with the basics; a place to sit or dinner being ready when he arrives, things like that.
I have a friend who cleaned off the top of her frig and discovered this was one of her husband's pet peeves. You can read her post here.
Now you have every thing you need to make your own Top Six Cleaning List. So each afternoon, set aside 15-20 minutes and get those things done. The first time you do this, it may take longer to get things actually clean, but once you've done that, it should be a simple tidy of each area. You don't need to deep clean all the areas everyday, just keep them maintained. Save deep cleaning for the days you have assigned to that room or area.
Trust me, this will go a long way to keeping you sane and your hubby happy!