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Housekeeping with Maslow*: SHELTER

SHELTER LEVEL I: Can you walk through the house?

20+ Photos Before and After Cleaning That Can Make You Feel Extremely  Satisfied / Bright Side

Seriously, we’ve all looked around and wondered how it got that bad and where to begin. Here’s a plan that may help.


I cannot stress this enough for a clean house that will not take over your life. There are many wonderful organizing methods out there. It is a such a time-saver to be able to find things when I need them!

Actual cleaning doesn’t take very long. I know, because I timed it when I was getting complaints from the crew. Kitchen: 15-20 minutes. Vacuum 1000 square feet, properly: 20-30 minutes. Bathrooms: 10-15 minutes each. Dusting (again, properly): 45 minutes. Whining, procrastinating, making excuses, dawdling, taking breaks, and complaining: at least an hour.

Kitchen: Clean the kitchen, because it goes with FOOD, so it’s the most important room in the house. It is where everyone goes and gathers, the heart if you will, so a messy kitchen just brings everyone down. A clean kitchen is hope.

Pick up your stuff!!! Put everything AWAY. Go from room to room, and work each room clockwise from the door, and put everything it its place. The goal is to make each room “vacuum ready,” as if a cleaning service was coming, except that they’re not.

Think of a hotel room. Each one is cleaned each day in a matter of minutes. Why? Because they don’t have to deal with the clutter. So get everything off of the floor, dressers, counters, and tables that does not belong there.

Vacuum: Now you, or someone in your household, can sail through the dwelling, sucking up dirt unhindered. Don’t forget the upholstered surfaces.

Dust: Okay, some people dust before they vacuum and it doesn’t matter as long as you do each regularly. Also one kid is vacuuming and one is dusting, so…

Bathrooms: Apply toilet bowl cleaner and wait. Spray with disinfecting cleaner and wipe down the mirror, counters, sink, and fixtures. Spray and wipe the outside of the toilet. Get a new cloth and spray and wipe down the tub/shower. Swab the toilet. Put out clean towels. Lovely!

Wash the hard floors: I love my spin mop! Use a gentle cleaner designed for your type of floor.

SHELTER LEVEL II: A cleaning schedule.

It doesn’t matter what your cleaning schedule is, but it will keep you from being overwhelmed. Some folks have a cleaning day, and our children knew that was Sunday, when grandma came for chicken dinner. All of us working together could get it all done in two hours or less, depending. They knew they had until I returned from church to sleep in or have breakfast, and then it was battle stations. I miss their help!

By the way, if you are going to enlist your family, invest in quality products that are easy to use, like a good vacuum, mop, cloths, etc. Restaurant supply stores are a wonderful source for these. Make your home easy to clean. Dusting dozens of little figurines is a drag, so put the ones you can’t part with behind glass.

Let everyone choose their own tasks. Some people may like dusting or hate vacuuming. Everyone is responsible for their own spaces. When picking up, put personal items on individual beds. Some kids will stow these neatly, others will sleep with them for weeks.

A schedule might look like this, based on the traditional schedule you see embroidered on vintage dish towels: Monday: Wash Day ~ Tuesday: Ironing Day ~ Wednesday: Sewing Day ~ Thursday: Market Day ~ Friday: Cleaning Day ~ Saturday: Baking Day ~ Sunday: Day of Rest. Fun fact: Monday is also traditionally bean day because beans don’t need to be watched while you’re in the yard boiling water and such.

Monday: Laundry, including stripping the beds. Leave clean linen on each bed for remaking.

Tuesday: Vacuum & dust

Wednesday: Bathrooms

Thursday: Wash Floors

Friday: Grocery Shopping

Saturday: Free time!

Sunday: Family time!

This schedule could be done around an outside work schedule.

What day is Pick Up Your Stuff Day? Every day! Better yet, put stuff away when you are through with it. We’re all still working on that one.

SHELTER LEVEL III: designing and decorating. Can’t help you here – I got a lot of help from my mom and best friend. If your mom and best friend aren’t available or don’t have the knack, check out your local library or community college for books and classes.

*Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological theory consisting of a five-tier of human needs, often depicted as a pyramid.  Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up. ( In other words: food, clothing, and shelter, in that order, are the most basic of human needs. It occurred to me that I could use this simple list to prioritize homemaking and housekeeping.