Why I’m Okay With ‘Adequate’ Housecleaning

If I’m really being honest with you, I would love to have a white, minimalist house that looks good on Pinterest. But with a lack of natural light coming into our house on a normal day, and two energetic boys at home, I’m not in a hurry to replace my carpet, couch or curtains with items that will make me stressed every time one of them goes into the living room!

A while ago, after feeling that I couldn’t succeed at this housekeeping caper, I realised that my ideals were based on a couple of extraordinary friends with a cleaning addiction (and houses that look like they should be on a magazine cover). Since I have been blessed with different abilities, such as bargain hunting and storing everything that might come in handy one day, I realised that the standard I set for myself actually had to be more in line with what I felt comfortable with.

HouseworkAnd so my system for ‘adequate housecleaning’ was born. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the toys are picked up and the only thing on my kitchen table is a scented candle and a bottle of wine. But more often than not, there are many places in my home that could use some extra TLC. And I have ‘more important’ things to do than hours of housework every day, so I’ve settled into a routine that everyone in my household seems to be able to live with.

My ‘Adequate Housecleaning’ Regimen:

  • I try and live by the Flylady rule ’15 minutes from company ready’ which means that if we spontaneously have people over, it should only require a 15 minute head start and the family and I can cover the major areas of the house and bring them up to a standard where we are happy to invite people in. (If you’ve never heard of Flylady, she’s got some great ideas on how to help, go and check out her site).
  • I do most of my housecleaning once a week, which including vacuuming and washing floors, cleaning bathrooms and dusting.
  • I do a load of laundry every day (that seems to keep up with my household’s needs), and spot clean toilets, counters and floors throughout the week as necessary. I make sure all the dishes are done every night (I let them dry on the dish rack overnight), and I clean and put things away as I go.
  • I am working on a new habit of spending 30 minutes a couple of times a week do to bigger decluttering and cleaning tasks, working through areas that I don’t usually touch (under beds, cleaning out cupboards, etc).
  • I don’t actually make my kids pack up every toy every night. My children play in our living spaces since they share a small bedroom. When things get out of control, we have a ’10 minute tidy-up’ and work together to clean up the floor and put things away.

I know that there are lots of things that I could do better, especially if I wanted to be a perfect homemaker. But as I mentioned earlier, my priorities rest with other things apart from cleaning, and I change the routine as the seasons of life change. For example, I used to go grocery shopping and clean the house on Mondays, but now that I am working from home during school hours, I clean the house over the weekend or after school.

I’d love to hear any top tips that you might have about cleaning!

Share them in the comments below!


About The Author


Tanya lives in Canberra with her husband and two sons. She is passionate about helping women to live fulfilled, purposeful lives. She enjoys reading, cooking, craft and creating memorable moments for her family.


  • JF Gibson

    Reply Reply 13/09/2016

    I do a big clean (floors, bathrooms etc) once a week too, that way I can keep on top of it with a ten or fifteen minute tidy each day. Laundry is my biggest headache. With a tradie hubby and four girls (two teens!) I feel like I’m forever doing laundry. One thing I always do, is go to bed with a clean kitchen. So dishes done and away, benches cleared and wiped. That way I feel I’m off to a good start the next morning.

    • Tanya

      Reply Reply 13/09/2016

      Sounds awesome! Keeping on top of the laundry pile is an ongoing battle, isn’t it?!

  • Seana Smith

    Reply Reply 13/09/2016

    Hello Tanya, good to meet you via IBOT. I must confess to having had a cleaning phobia in that I have always had a cleaning lady…. until this week. I think I was terrified of being a downtrodden housewife and was happy to invest money in home help.

    But in fact, our circumstances have changed and it’s time for all the family to work together and the kids are all old enough to help now and need to learn this stuff. And I’m not downtrodden, it was all in my mind.

    Like you, I’m not obsessive about things being clean or tidy… I’d love the whole house top be spotless and everything dusted all the time but… want to do lots of other things in life plus to do nothing at times too.

    • Tanya

      Reply Reply 13/09/2016

      Hi Seana, lovely to meet you too! Thanks for sharing your story, I am glad you have survived without a cleaning lady! Yay for kids helping!

  • Rachel

    Reply Reply 13/09/2016

    I made the decision to work a few extra hours a week so I could get a cleaner in once a fortnight. House cleaning is definitely not my skill set!!

    • Tanya

      Reply Reply 13/09/2016

      Sounds like a great plan! Stick to your strengths!

  • Ness

    Reply Reply 13/09/2016

    Adequate housekeeping would be an improvement for me! I do keep a list and tick it off but it still looks like I’ve done nothing. I’ve had a look at FlyLady and it just seemed so confusing, my head hurt and I clicked away. Your system seems more doable. I must admit I’m not a fan of those brilliantly white homes. It’s probably just me because I have sensory issues but all the bright shiny whiteness gives me a headache. I do prefer things to be tidy, but I’m terrible at keeping it that way!

    • Tanya

      Reply Reply 13/09/2016

      Hi Ness, yes, Flylady can be overwhelming, I like some of her ideas though (like ‘progress not perfection’). I hope that the blog gave you a couple of ideas to start on! x

  • Deborah

    Reply Reply 13/09/2016

    Oh yes… I had to keep my house spotless recently as my place was on the market and then I moved and had cleaners come in. Usually I’m pretty tidy as I hate clutter but there are certain jobs I hate doing… like vacuuming. And cleaning the bath, for eg…

    I live alone so good enough is most certainly good enough for me!

  • Renee Wilson

    Reply Reply 13/09/2016

    Your routine sounds fairly similar to mine. I get cranky if I can’t do a proper clean once a week and I need to have all toys put away at the end of the day too 🙂

  • You are a lady who is welcome at my home anytime!
    I have six kids and have no hope of having a magazine-like home for the next 20 years. I quit some time ago and took up blogging instead.
    Just the basics, nothing sticky or dirty. I don’t care about the clutter so much these days either. I spend most of my time motivating the kids to get working on it all.

  • I try to have a big clean up once a week too. I try to get the kids to at least clean up all their own things and not leave them lying around…it’s a work in progress. I work full time so finding time to clean is hard. Not to mention at the end of the day I am buggered.

  • I’m not a great housekeeper and I too have had to lower expectations. I have similar friends with beautiful houses as well. I try to keep at least one space lovely and neat as a retreat from the kid mess.

  • This is me to a tea. I never knew the 15 minute rule with visitors but know I know it, I will run by this (makes it easy )

  • Tracy

    Reply Reply 14/09/2016

    I have used flylady, when my kids were teeny tiny and I was at home, and I loved it so much. That system stopped working for me when I was working 4 days and studying at Uni full time, and doing 4am-11pm days between work, study and family (two daughters doing VCE….). Now that I work full time I pay someone to clean once a fortnight. I have fancy thoughts about doing house cleaning things, but come school holidays I’m so done in that I sleep and read alternately.

    Some days I dream about all the people in my house moving out and how much cleaner everything will stay. And then I remember that I don’t do the dishes and I think maybe the baby adults could stay a bit longer after all. Mostly I look forward to all the people moving out. Except Dh….he can stay.

    • Tanya

      Reply Reply 14/09/2016

      Hi Tracy, I can see why you had to change your system when you got so busy! It’s good that you recognise the need to rest in the school holidays too! x

  • Oh my gosh I can so relate. I best friend always has a tidy house and I (to put it lightly) DO NOT. I’ve come to realise that there are many differences in our lives – not just the tidiness in our houses and these contribute to the differences in tidiness. I’m ok with that. Like you I’ve developed a system that works for me and my house isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough. Meanwhile I have time to relax and play with the kids and I’m calling that a win 🙂

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