My Journey with Cleaning

I’m just 1 person who has always struggled to keep my spaces clean. Whether it was my childhood bedroom, my first apartment in college, or my house, “messy” has always been an appropriate word to describe my housekeeping style. Because I always have so much on my plate and I’m just 1 person, often cleaning, tidying up, and other housekeeping chores fall to the bottom of my list. My technique is usually to procrastinate until the mess is so bad it can no longer be ignored, at which time I finally break down and do a massive cleaning. It is not a strategy I would recommend. 

I bought my house in May of 2012, and my parents (who are the best fix-it folks I know) graciously helped me spend months fixing it up, with new flooring, fresh coats of paint, and a little new furniture. Every year in May, I spend a good portion of the month celebrating my house’s birthday with me by giving it a deep spring cleaning. It’s my chance to get rid of any mess that has accumulated—tidying up, decluttering, and organizing. But it’s also when I do those bigger tasks that I don’t do regularly, such as washing the couch cushion covers, washing and ironing the curtains, washing all the floors, and washing all the windows and dusting the blinds. I often have to take off work to make time for these projects, but this year I’m still largely unemployed and will simply need to figure out how to fit it into my current routine and obligations. Giving my house a deep spring cleaning once a year usually sets it up to remain in order for half a year or longer. If I can get my house into shape and just maintain the cleanliness, that’s the ideal situation. 

But that isn’t to say I don’t clean more often than that. Every Sunday morning, I have a cleaning routine that I do before church service. I love being able to put in an hour or two of work and start my day knowing all of these places in my home are clean and ready for my week ahead. Here’s what my routine involves:

  • Cleaning my upstairs bathroom (mirrors, sink, toilet, bathtub)
  • Cleaning my main floor bathroom (mirrors, sink, toilet)
  • Wiping down all commonly-touched surfaces with Lysol wipes (countertops, door knobs, drawer pulls/handles, appliance buttons, light switches and plates, house keys)
  • Wiping down all electronics with electronic wipes (keyboards, phones, remote controls)
  • Water plant
  • Refill cat water dish fountain
  • Clean stovetop
  • Vacuum entire main floor (and sometimes also one or more of: all sets of stairs, upstairs, and/or downstairs)

But none of the above addresses clutter, and usually I need to vacuum more than once a week (sometimes as much as 5 times a week, depending on how messy my cats are with their food). So despite keeping up with this Sunday morning cleaning routine for years, I still combat mess. I also still have 8-10 boxes that moved with me to my house in 2012 that have been sitting in my storage area all this time. And I still have plenty of areas in my home that collect clutter (read: most flat surfaces like countertops, tables, and desks).

Last spring, I started spring cleaning early in April with a challenge from Apartment Therapy. I continued through may and then kept the momentum going in June. Quarancleaning was my way of coping with the pandemic. If I had to be stuck in my house, I wanted to make my house as clean and inviting to me as possible. I went through more than 30 boxes of things I hadn’t seen since I moved into my house and reorganized a number of rooms entirely. It was an astounding accomplishment I will likely never be able to repeat. But even then I didn’t get through the entire list.


There are places where I need to touch up or repaint. There are areas of my house that still aren’t quite working for me as far as organization goes. My carpets are never as clean as I would like, and my cats still get kitty litter outside their boxes and refuse to clean it up themselves. So for as much work as I normally do, I still have a long way to go to get to that ideal, completely clean and maintained home. I suppose I’ve procrastinated long enough, while writing this article. I’m off to do continue my journey with cleaning!

How do you keep your space clean?

Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

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