Rebranding is the first step.
Instead of having a “cleaning day,” which sounds a bit like a list of chores, I have what I call a “home day” — a day where I set aside time to take care of the house’s needs.
There is no prescription for what order to do things in, or how to keep the home under control as a whole — everyone lives so differently. Some days I break the house up into sections; other days I stick to one room or project.
For instance, sometimes my daughters and I will focus our home day efforts on the upstairs. We each spend time caring for our own rooms and the shared second-floor bathroom. If I hold and make the space for all of us to take care of the bedrooms, it doesn’t feel like such an added “personal chore.” It’s my job as the parent to teach my kids how to set aside time for these types of tasks.
I have what I call a “home day” — a day where I set aside time to take care of the house’s needs.
Honestly, it’s nice to be together, under the same roof, doing similar tasks but having the space for some alone time. I encourage the kids to go as slowly as they want, taking the time to go through their closets and drawers and pull everything out. Why not? Now is as good of a time as any. It gives them a chance to organize their things, get rid of clutter or trash or donate what they don’t want anymore. Some of them are messier than others; everyone has their own type of cleaning flow. The point is to keep it flowing.
I usually help them on the last leg of their rooms. This way they have received some support, but it’s also nice to spend some time with them in a personal way. Together we take it a little further than they might have gone on their own. This is an opportunity to teach cleaning techniques, life hacks or find some missing things under the bed. Ultimately, I am trying to help them find their own unique flow, but also guide them on how to take care of their spaces until they don’t need me anymore.
On our home days it’s not about doing things we hate or dread; we don’t think of domestic work in that way. In general, we have a good attitude when we approach this set-apart domestic time; it’s just part of life.
When I have my own home days, the ones where I have the house to myself, I let myself clean and tidy aimlessly. I don’t have an agenda or a list of tasks; I just take care of what I have to take care of.
The mindset shift between a “cleaning” or “chore” day and a “home day” takes the productivity edge off. If I am aware that my value doesn’t lie in how much I get done, but on my ability to value time and energy, it makes our homes priceless, clean or not. I believe that I am doing my best to be caring, aware of the mess I make and to set aside the time to honor the spaces that hold us daily.
Lois Volta is a home life consultant, artist and founder of The Volta Way. Send questions to email@example.com.