353: A Stress-Reducing Year-Round Schedule for House Cleaning and Maintenance for a Small Household
Wednesday March 15, 2023

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A tidy sanctuary creates mental space to find calm more readily.

Upon walking into my home, Le Papillon, knowing and then witnessing that it has been cleaned, tidied and unnecessary items have been removed, whether that be emptying the recycling basket in the boot & basket room (aka mudroom), countertops are cleared of extraneous items, and the flowers are fresh, I breathe some of the deepest breaths I ever take during my days.

Distractions to the mind come into our lives in a variety of ways (I share and discuss 11 forms of distraction here), and one such way is clutter of items in our homes, items without a home, too many items, dusty, dirty, disorganized spaces, counters, windows, fabrics, floors, etc. No doubt, I am not sharing anything you don’t already know. But how do we tend to our homes and still have time and energy to live the lives we want to live?

I will admit to being nearly totally in alignment with Simone Beauvoir’s train of thinking shared in her book The Second Sex when it comes to house cleaning, “Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.” And if there was a magic wand to wave whenever the house needed its regular clean and tidy, I would wave it without hesitation regularly and often. I recognize that some may find calm in the practice of cleaning, and that is fine; however, what would you do if your house was perpetually clean? Think of all the time and energy you would have remaining to do something constructive, explore a curiosity, read a book, rest your eyes after a long, grueling, yet productive week, spend more time with those you love, spend more time in your own company getting to know yourself better, take a longer walk with the pups, snuggle with your cat who is seeking your company after having been at the office all day.

I share the possibilities of what we might choose to do with more time, regular time consistently available, to point out that while cleaning and caring for our homes is a necessity, there are many different approaches to doing so well to gain the benefits of such a space that is our sanctuary. Apart from hiring a regular cleaning service which I have done in the past and may do again in the future, even if they come every other week, or weekly, we still can care for our homes thoughtfully as well as simply in order to enjoy all of the time we find ourselves in our abode.

And regarding the choice to focus on a small household, this can be viewed in two ways: whether small in square footage or living with only a couple of inhabitants (our furry companions count as family here on TSLL). So whether you live on your own as I do, with dogs or cats or entirely in your own company, with your partner, or are an empty-nester, living in a small household liberates us in multiple ways, and thankfully, requires less to clean and care for, giving us more time and energy to do so well.

One of the chapters in my second book, Living The Simply Luxurious Life: Making Your Everydays Extraordinary and Discovering Your Best Self, goes in to great detail about “Living Small”, chapter 13, and one such reason is the reality that the smaller the space we call home, the less we have to clean. However, just because we may live, choosing to or not, in a small home doesn’t mean the home can’t be luxurious. In decoration, in organization, in consideration for everything, we can live luxuriously in a small home, and the beauty is, we have an advantage, we have less to clean, less to furnish, less to organize, now we just have to figure out how to do so wisely and with great savvy.

Back in 2011 I shared a brief post detailing what to clean and how often throughout the year in our homes, pairing with the post a free printable PDF of this cleaning schedule, but it was brief and that was more than 10 years ago, so with the prompting from a TSLL reader recently who shares her home with her husband and pets, sans children (similar to myself, sans the husband), I wanted to update and share with you how to clean and maintain your home throughout the year so that when Spring does roll around you don’t feel overwhelmed by the ‘spring cleaning’ fever that often arises. And I completely get it. It feels good to freshen up the entire house, but I don’t have the time and energy to do so all in one swoop once a year. Rather, what makes sense to me is a steady, smart approach both in how and what I clean and maintain to avoid large repair bills due to lack of attention.

Let’s take a look at the list, and I will provide again, but this time the updated version, the free printable PDF schedule at the end of today’s post/episode.

1.Begin with a home and its contents that you actually use and need

In other words, this is a one off, not a regular practice, but something to keep in the back of your mind after you tend to it when considering bringing in new items to the home. Ask yourself the following question:

“The stuff you own has to help you create the life you want. And if it doesn’t, why is it in your home?” –Peter Walsh

As I look around my own home, small in square footage but large to the eye with its high ceilings and multiple south-facing windows letting in oodles of light, I will tend to this question room by room throughout the year. Honestly, nothing is on a schedule now when it comes to this permanent editing as I have edited quite a bit over the past four years with my move to my home and with the construction over the past three years. For example, my kitchen cupboards and drawers received a thorough edit during the kitchen remodel when everything was removed and stored in my guest bedroom. Nothing says, reduce and eliminate the unnecessary when you have no more floor space in your guest bedroom to put anything. Do I really need that [insert item that I have never used, not once, ever]? Below is a list of space, collections and items to seriously look at and judiciously edit:

  • Your bookshelves/library — Keep only the books that yep, brought you joy, but also that are sound reference books, collector items, and books you want to have on hand for any reason – to share, to recall a particular detail, but don’t keep books just to have more books. They bring more weight, take up more space, collect dust and reflect you inaccurately should anyone scan your book collection.
  • Your linen closet(s) — bedding, dining, bathroom, cleaning rags, entertaining, blankets, etc.
  • Kitchen cupboards and drawers — as you go through this process, especially in the kitchen, keep a notepad with you, listing any items you know you need more of because one or two is not enough as they tend to be in the dishwasher or utilized when you need to use them again, or any item you simply need. Be stringent with yourself about letting go of items that just take up space, don’t do an effective job and need to be let go. It will make finding what you need when you need it far easier and make cooking in the kitchen more enjoyable.
  • Any drawer or cupboard where you store anything — in other words, know what is in your cupboards and don’t use them to store things you never use. It is okay to have an empty cupboard. Say that again, and don’t be tempted by the need to fill it.
  • Clothing and coat closets —The seasonal wardrobe assessment is a great idea and goes more quickly each time as you get to know and love what you have in your closet. The coat (and I should probably add the outerwear accoutrement drawers/bins/shelves) closet will need to be cleaned and edited less frequently, but make sure you know what you have, have what you need and donate the rest.
  • Épicerie/Pantry —Listen to/Read episode #109 the 34 Must-Have Items for Your Home Épicerie, then read this post – 9 Ways to Organize Your Kitchen, Improve Your Health and Help Out the Planet
  • Tea/Coffee Cupboard —In episode #7 of Season 3 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show I share in the video a peek into my tea cupboard and how I organize it.
  • Candle Cupboard/Closet — The suggested idea of designating an entire closet/cupboard to candles was the Petit Plaisir of episode #280. Assess what candles you have, what candles have never been used and why, donating those you will never use, and making a plan to shop and welcome in the ones you love when/if they go on sale, otherwise purchasing when it best fits your budget and often purchasing more than one to stock up.
  • Bathroom drawers/cupboards/medicine cabinets — In your primary bathroom and any guest or powder rooms, be diligent and toss whatever is not used, has expired, etc.. As well, make a note of what you always need, what you are out of, would like to add to your toiletries to enhance your daily skincare and body care rituals and routines.
  • Your furniture (chairs, rugs, tables, beds, dressers, desks, mirrors, shelves, lamps, etc. – large and small) — let yourself dream and be very honest with yourself. Where do you feel most at peace, comfortable, cozy, relaxed, productive, etc.. Based on what the function of the room is, do you feel what you desire to have created with your furnishings? Admittedly, once you have your list of what you need but don’t have yet, it may take time. Have the patience because once you know how you want to live and feel in your home, the waiting is easier until you find and/or save up for what you know will fit perfectly in that particular space. Be a bit ruthless in letting go of items that don’t serve a helpful or comfortable purpose and vow yourself to not just purchase filler items – an ill-made side table. Get creative with what you have to hold space until you have the ability to welcome into your home what you have on your list.

Now that you have clarity that you either have what you need, or know what you need and have let go of the rest, you have let go of some stress, alleviated some unwanted burdens on your ability to relax when you arrive home and are ready to more swiftly and intentionally clean your home regularly without it becoming overwhelming, and maybe even a bit enjoyable. ☺️

2. Daily simple habits that reduce the amount of weekly and monthly cleaning

When we are at the point of burn-out even the simplest task of picking up after ourselves can be taxing. I can remember more nights than I want to admit while I was both teaching and blogging that I was too tired to entirely pick up the kitchen after cooking dinner before I went to bed. I literally needed more energy and going to bed was a necessity over cleaning the kitchen. Don’t worry, I would without fail, clean the kitchen in the morning, but that was a task that didn’t help to begin the day well. Stepping into a clean kitchen, a clean home each morning is a wonderful way to start the day and I knew that, but I did not have the energy to make it my regular practice on certain days of the work week. All of this built up to show me that I needed to make a change, so I share all of that with you to acknowledge, you may have an extremely busy schedule, so much so you cannot tend to these tasks listed below each day, but when you do make the necessary breathing room in your life to tend to these habits daily, it has a beautiful ripple effect of reducing stress, increasing clarity and giving you the ability to make better, more constructive decisions so that you never find yourself in such a schedule again.

Okay, so what are the daily habits? In order of the day’s events:

  • Clear the bedside table(s) of anything such as water glasses, opened books (close and restack neatly), etc., so it is neatly organized when you return to bed in the evening.
  • Make the bed
  • Empty the dishwasher (if you ran it at night)
  • Clear the table after breakfast (and after any meal), placing dishes in the dishwasher, not just in the sink. Run the dishwasher when full, or nearly full but on an eco-saver wash.
  • Wipe the kitchen countertops after each use of the kitchen.
  • Empty the trash when it is full.
  • Empty any recycling bins when they are full to their exterior destination for pick-up on their scheduled day.
  • Upon receiving/picking up the mail, immediately recycle any flyers/mailers/magazines you don’t intend to read/use; open all letters and recycle the envelope and any contents you don’t need.
    • Place all mail you need to address in a designated basket or holder in the main room where you look at your mail. I do this in my Boot & Basket room and have a basket on the wall that is used for just this case (tour the room here). When it is time to pay bills or tend to business, I take the basket into the office.
  • Place your keys in the same spot every time you walk over the threshold of your home from outside.
  • Have hooks on the wall as necessary and/or enough hangers or bins in the coat closet/mudroom for your outerwear, dog leashes, scarves, umbrellas. Immediately deposit the items in their designated spot when you return home.
  • Have a designated basket/bin for your reusable grocery totes, preferably near the kitchen and/or near the door you exit when you head to the market/grocery so that you don’t forget them or lose them.
  • Fold up blankets in the living room, snug, reading nook upon leaving the space.
  • Resituate/Plump the pillows on any chair or sofa you sat in upon leaving the room.
  • Clean as you cook: in between steps, not just after the meal is completely done.
  • Return tea trays or food trays back to the kitchen once you have finished relaxing. Don’t leave it to be picked up later.
  • Vacuum as necessary throughout the week. I have a Dyson wireless stick vacuum which makes it super simple to grab, swoop across the floor and pick up any dirt or dust the pups may have brought in from a walk, pick up crumbs from the dinner I just made and with ease place the vacuum back in the closet. Once I purchased this vacuum (2019) I have come to enjoy cleaning a bit more because there is no tedious cord, no bending over, light-weight and dare I say, it almost feels magical how easy it is to tidy up. This keeps the house clean throughout the week and lets us live our lives as well. Here is a link to the one I have.
    • A note about what you receive with the investment of purchasing Dyson vacuum cleaners as it was a step up for me price-wise and I pondered it for a while: The customer service is spectacular, swift, knowledgeable and helpful for any question I have had to learn the basics. Also, with a two year warranty on the product, it wasn’t until four years later that my battery needed to be replaced, and it was easy to do with their customer service. Free shipping and a warranty on the battery. Simple video tutorials for how to replace and install once it arrived. The customer service has sold me as a lifelong client as their products are high quality, high functioning and help available when I need it at any time.
  • If you work from home, tidy up your desk top/office at the end of each workday, prepared for a clean slate the next day. Make sure to have a presentable garbage bin (small) in your office. I use one from The Citizenry, and while my style isn’t no longer available, they still make many small baskets that are perfect for a waste basket.

3. Choose one day during the week, an afternoon or morning (early or late), that you can designate 1-2 hours to clean

Now, again, I am not someone who enjoys cleaning, and when I used to write this task in my planner, I sighed a bit because I would have rather been doing something else, prior to retiring from teaching, it would have been just having more time to relax at my home, now it is time to create, to explore, to be with my pups without a vacuum or a cleaning rag/mop in my hand. However, #3 on this list is a be a misnomer because you don’t have to do all of the same cleaning tasks each day of the week, rather you are going to alternate a few. Let me explain.

It was an aha moment for me the first time I hired a cleaning service to regularly clean my house: they came every other week. And I thought to myself, how can I possibly wait two weeks to have my house cleaned? After all, for years I had attentively cleaned my house each Friday after work, no matter what I was up to later the evening or how long my week had been. Well, what I discovered was that if you clean it well every other week AND tend to the daily habits shared above, your house will be just fine, and you will be less stressed and have more free time.

What to do each week (every other week tasks designated as such):

  • Vacuum everything – the floors, hardwoods, carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, pillows, window trims, etc.
  • Clean the stovetop (aka the hob). Get some good dish soap and water, some stainless steel cleaner if necessary (I use EZBrite as it is environmentally friendly)
  • Wipe down the fronts of the dishwasher, refrigerator (use EZBrite for these as well if they are stainless steel), cupboard fronts, and around the handles as they tend to get the most dirty from being touched frequently.
  • Every other week: Wipe down doors, near the handles to remove prints, etc.
  • Every other week: Dust (I used to do this each week. It is unnecessary.)
  • Every other week: Mop all floors. I used to do this each week, but no longer do. If it was a particularly dirty week, I will mop, but so long as I vacuum regularly, remove my shoes and wash the paws of my pups when we return from a dust-filled/mud-filled walk, the floors stay presentable until the following week.
  • Welcome fresh flowers into the house – between 1-3 small bouquets placed in the living room, bedroom, dining room, foyer or office, I either pick them up at Trader Joe’s or source them from my own garden during the warmer months, sometimes picking one up at the farmer’s market.
  • Clean/wash bed linens. Air dry the sheets to ensure they last longer, especially linen sheets – NEVER put them in the machine dryer as it is too harsh of heat.
  • Wash any regularly used towels – bathroom and kitchen.
  • Clean bathrooms that receive regular use, this can be done every other week depending upon how heavily the bathroom is used. For bathrooms used occasionally, monthly is fine.
  • Clean mirrors and windows/glass doors, removing fingerprints as necessary.
  • Go through the refrigerator, assessing prior to heading out for your weekly grocery outing.
  • Wash your dog/cat food dishes.
  • If you have a microwave (I do not), clean inside and the front window/door.
  • Clean switch plates for regularly touched light switches.

4. Quarterly/every 3 months/Seasonally

Many of the items on this list will come from tasks shared in #3 that don’t need to be done as often depending upon how you live, or need to be done more frequently that are listed below in #5.

  • Thoroughly clean all trash canisters/recycling bins
  • Dust lamps, shelves, any place that can collect dust that you can’t reach easily, or isn’t seen or used regularly.
  • Dust computer screens – this may be done more frequently, but at least every three months.
  • Launder all blankets used in the living room or in snugs/reading nooks.
  • Clean/dust/wipe down items in trays and vignettes on top of console tables, dressers, coffee tables, etc..
  • Store seasonal décor in a clearly labeled box or bin and place where it doesn’t distract and is out of the way (garage, attic, storage space).

5. Twice a Year, during a day or couple of days that you have energy, so ideally after a day you have been able to rest

One time of year I tend to many annual or semi-annual tasks is during the week between the years, that final week of the year when I am able to have time to myself and just rest, then be energized to tidy up which always feels good upon going into a new year. Here’s the list:

  • Clean all windows – inside & out.
  • Flip the mattress
  • *Clean and reorganize the pantry, this happens at least once a year, sometimes twice. As I become more clear about what I need and organized to refill when I run out as it happens, I have found tending to this once a year is enough.
  • Thoroughly clean the refrigerator – remove the drawers, the lining on any side shelves, and clean, clean, clean. If you have been assessing your fridge’s contents each week, this won’t be a difficult task and should only take about 30 minutes.
  • Clean oven thoroughly
  • Launder pillows – I cover my pillows with liners (aka pillow protectors) and then place the pillowcase over the top of those. This helps to protect the pillow itself.
  • *Wipe baseboards and moldings – this can also be done once a year depending upon the work you have had done in your home, how often you leave your windows open, etc..
  • Clean the kitchen range hood.
  • Clean the filter in your dishwasher.
  • Clean any bird feeders (this can be done more often if you have an active bird café).
  • Clean under and around any furniture that isn’t regularly vacuumed or moved.
  • Clean the garage thoroughly, editing as you go.
  • Have the sprinkler system (if you use one), turned on in the spring and winterized in the fall.
  • Cover/Remove vent covers – for winterizing and then come spring remove and store.
  • Exterior hoses, watering cans, non-frost proof pots in the garden – drain all water and store.
  • Replace the water filter in your refrigerator or other water dispensing device (filter dependent).
  • Clean gutters – this may need to be done only yearly depending upon the amount of debris that potentially can fall into your gutters. I tend to do this in the spring and the fall.

~Nelle was my helper cleaning the interior of my stove recently. Learn more about why I chose Le Cornue for my stove here.~

6. Yearly as the time is right on the calendar/season for each task and your schedule

The yearly tasks will be dependent upon your home, climate, and other variables, but whenever you tend to what you need to, choose a time that works with your schedule, budget and the best time of year to tend to this task, if it requires, for example, you to be outside.

  • Service HVAC – this will prevent any surprises during the winter or the summer when you want to be able to trust your heat source or cooling source is able to work properly.
  • Clean your fireplace if you have a traditional wood-burning fireplace.
  • Deep clean any carpet and rugs, either done by a professional or on your own.
  • Have any curtains or hanging fabric cleaned.
  • Clean upholstered furniture (I sometimes do this twice a year depending on how heavily used each particular piece, and I do it myself with an all-natural cleaning product the cleaning company that used to clean my house recommended – Nurturals.)
  • Clean around dryer vents and any vents in your home (above your stove, for example), where they leave the house on the exterior as well.
  • Clean porches/balconies deeply, typically I do this in March just before I place my furniture back outside after being stored in the garage.
  • Test and/replace smoke alarm batteries – write the date on the battery when you insert a new battery so you know how long it has been in use. This will help you decide if you should replace it as no one wants to be woken up in the middle of the night by a dead battery.
  • Optional and dependent upon the city ordinances: Have your water back flow tested by an approved business (this is something we have to do in Bend if we live in the city limits).

Phew! Okay, just looking back at this list may seem like a tremendous amount; however, when what you are taking care of are items and spaces in your home that bring you comfort, calm and repose, it becomes motivating to keep them at their best which is why I began with #1. When we remove what feels like a burden because we never use it, it simply takes up space or holds memories we don’t want to revisit, then tidying up does become more of a chore. Once #1 has been taken care of, and you spread out all of these tasks over a year, it actually isn’t that bad at all. In fact, while compared to the list I wrote in 2011, this list is quite extensive, due to the fact that I have a far smaller house (nearly half the size) than I did when I wrote the previously list, all that I do is far less and done far better which ensures that I can space out the time between tasks or when I do them more frequently, not have that much work to do.

Compiling this list occurred on a wonderfully rainy day here in Bend which gave me much time to reflect on a year’s worth of responsibilities, but also, as I wrote each one, I was also expressing gratitude, thankful to have a home to care for well. Which leads me to my final idea for creating more enjoyment of the task of caring for our homes, why not name your home? I know it may sound silly at first, but when we humanize the space that gives us life, safety, security, comfort, nurtures love and care, it reminds us that is more than four walls and in a way, a part of our ‘family’ so to speak, and that too helps in providing an internal motivation to care for it well.

And with that to ponder, wishing you a wonderful start to a brand new season with Spring’s arrival next Monday, the 20th. 😌

~Click here for the free PDF TSLL Cleaning & Home Maintenance Schedule~

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Petit Plaisir

Palais des Thé’s Herboriste (herbal/tisane) Thés

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31 thoughts on “353: A Stress-Reducing Year-Round Schedule for House Cleaning and Maintenance for a Small Household

  1. Interesting theme! 🙂

    I like to do some of the house maintenance chores; others, not so much. For example, I like to iron whilst listening to classic music, and it can be very a very contemplative exercise; on the other hand, I do not like to dust, not at all, no, sir, thank you very much, I’ll pass (if I could…). On dusting, I have to agree with Simone B.

    Living luxuriously in a small home is just my thing and I take care of my home gladly and thoroughly, which is not to say that this is the most fascinating and fulfilling activity of my life… 🙂

    For the weekly cleaning, I hired a cleaning service that comes every second week for a deeper cleaning. In between, I do my own cleaning to keep matters in order. Monthly or annual tasks, I rather enjoy – say, clean and arrange cupboards, be it books or pantry, or taking down curtains to wash or take to dry cleaning. Here, at least, I do not have to climb the mountain weekly… 😉

    I am taking a bit of time today to catch up with some posts. I have been unwell with a very long bout of flu (not Covid), so my participation on TSLL was rather poor the whole month of February. It is so nice to be able to do so again!

    Thanks, Shannon. Your Nelle is a beautiful dog!:-)

    1. Isabel,

      I do hope you begin to feel your good health return entirely soon. We have missed you! Thank you for sharing how you approach caring for your home that takes care of you and your family. And a great idea for ironing. CLassical music, something I too enjoy. Thank you for your words about Nelle – I will give her a pat for you (right now, she is asking to go for another walk, I think I will oblige ;)). Have a lovely day and get well soon. xo

    2. So glad you are on the mend, Isabel, you have been missed! Have a beautiful weekend and Happy Spring!☘️🐝🌷

    3. Isabel hope you ‘re getting stronger. You were missed in February. I too love to have some music for ironing and a few other tasks. It takes the sting out of the chores
      Wishing you a lovely Spring. Kameela 😊

  2. Great episode, Shannon! So many useful tidbits to make our lives a little easier.

    I have always said that the times I am most at peace are when my home is clean and the pantry is well-stocked. My daily, weekly, and seasonal tasks, etc., are very similar to yours. My family has heard on more than one occasion my motto of, “the way to always get ahead is to every day make your bed”. I feel if you don’t accomplish anything else during the day, at least you have one goal attained.

    One tip I would like to share, if I may, is doing a few of your weekly tasks on a daily basis. I had to figure something out when my boys kept me so busy with all of their activities, along with working full-time. These activities would often take us out of the home on the weekend, and spending a couple of hours cleaning was out of the question. So I adopted this plan not only for household chores but laundry as well.
    For example, on Mondays, I clean all the mirrors, the mantle, and the microwave. I also wash my laundry as I prefer to do that separately. While Saturdays are spent dusting shelves (on a rotation), polishing the stove & stainless, cleaning the showers, etc, and washing bed linens. If I don’t get to it on that particular day, no worries, I will get to it the following week. It has made my life so much easier while giving me more time to enjoy the weekend. Now that the boys are out of the house, I can use that time in the potager, creating that English garden I desire so, or reading in my snug.

    I agree with the naming of the home. Our home has been christened, La Taniere des Lapins (The Rabbit Lair) as our last name means, “a den of rabbits”.

    Also, thank you for giving me permission to get rid of books, lol. I looked at two just yesterday wondering if I should keep them or donate them to the library. They are of the Thursday Murder Club series so I was on the fence, but now I think I will give others the opportunity to enjoy them as much as I did.

    Have a wonderful day!


    1. Love all your ideas, Michelle, thanks. Thursday Murder Club! I have only read the first one and was highly amused. Look forward to the second. Have you heard of the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs? They focus around a Charleston, SC tea shop owner and are quaint, historical, entertaining and cozy.
      Love your home name, btw.

      1. Melissa~

        First off, let me express my deepest sympathy for the loss of your husband. I am grateful that you have such lovely memories to hang on to. The sentimental cleaning can be a difficult task and I admire your strength and determination.

        The Man Who Died Twice is as wonderful as the first book in the series. Thank you for your suggestion of the Tea Shop Mysteries. I will definitely check into it.

        Take care!

    2. Great attitude Michelle I’ve come to realise that yes it’s on the list to be done but it it’s not possible today then tomorrow will be just fine. Life’s too short to fret about it. Love the name of your house. I’ve always lived in houses with names. Would you like to share how your house name in French came about ? Our house name is La Cherté . Its translation is the high cost of living The land was purchased by the previous owners’ grandparents from the French railway. Have a lovely start to Spring. Kameela 😊

      1. Hello Kameela!

        I named our home “The Rabbit Lair” because our surname means “a den of rabbits”. But, everything sounds better in French, doesn’t it? 🙂

        Our Spring began with temps at 0 C, however, should be warming to 19 today. The birds have been in full form though and I am loving it!

        Take care…oh and I am also loving the cleanser you suggested.


  3. Grateful to wake up to this lovely post this morning, Shannon. It’s not something that is ever far from my mind, mostly because I never feel caught up! First of all, THANK YOU for giving me “permission” to only dust every other week. I always look in horror at the dust that already collected by the day after. So discouraging. I think I can get onboard with this overlooking it, telling myself I’ll do it in a few days.

    I did want to mention an idea I heard about sentimental items and letting them go. Take a picture to preserve the memory and then say goodbye! I am doing what I’ve come to call “sentimental cleaning” after the death of my husband and have had an extremely hard time letting go of things. I feel that they are pieces of him/us and each one takes him further away. We had a full lovely life and along with it came a lot of stuff! I’ve slowly redone a few rooms to suit my needs alone now and I hope to be brave and address it all at some point.

    Thank you for this bit of encouragement to really get to a point where I have no stress wondering what I’m going to do with all this stuff. I don’t want to lose sight of what a clutter-free tidy home will look like and, most importantly, feel like.

    1. Melissa,

      Thank you for sharing the idea of sentimental cleaning and please accept my condolences on your husband’s passing. Absolutely understandable as to why letting go of things would be difficult. And I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing this as I know you have helped others navigate through such loss.

      And yes, the feeling of a clutter-free home as much as the look is the powerful part of this approach. Thank you very much for all that you have shared. 🙂

      1. Thank you for your warmth and encouragement, Shannon.

        Now I’m kicking around home names, too. My name (Melissa Reina) means Little Queen Honeybee so I’m thinking that’s a good place to start! It’s a place I buzz around and have found and stored much “sweetness”.

        1. Melissa, my love to you and sincere condolences on your loss. I love the idea of “sentimental cleaning”, thank you for sharing. As Michelle has said, I admire your strength and determination.
          I love your idea for your home’s name, can’t wait to hear what you have settled on!
          Bon weekend and Happy Spring!🌷🐝💛xx Rona

          1. Rona, thank you for your support and condolences. All the genuine kindness I’ve been shown here means so much and gives me extra strength to forge ahead. How lucky we all are to have Shannon’s blog in our life! It feeds so many parts of my soul…some that I didn’t even know needed it. And, after searching thoroughly through her recipes, etc. it will feed much more than my soul. 🙂 Can’t wait to try it all.
            Love the little bee!!! Bon weekend.

    2. Hello Melissa,

      Please accept my condolences for your loss. Thank you for all you shared about the difficulty to let go of objects that represent a life of love. I totally sympathize because I personally find very hard to let go of objects that represent memories of love. Clutter-free is good, “memories-free” is not so good, in my book, so sometimes it is difficult to find a balance there. The main thing, I think, is not to push one self too hard on this, taking one’s own sweet time until the time to truly let go presents it self – and it will. 🙂

      I remember that on one episode of the series Queer Eye, they made a quilt with the old clothes of the father of the protagonist of that episode, as a “memory of love”, as he did not wanted to dispose of those clothes, but on the other hand, they were just taking space in his own closet. I don’t remember the exact episode but it was a very strong moment. Even I got a bit emotional there. I found this such a sweet idea. 🙂

      Have a lovely day, many hugs from Germany!

      1. Thank you Weisserose, for your caring words of wisdom. I’m very grateful you recalled and shared about the quilt, it touched my heart.

        Hugs to you and your little Norwegian Forest cat! I have one outdoors, they are beautiful.

  4. Thank you so much for this podcast! It brought a smile to my face to see that I inspired a podcast. I have the same Dyson. It is one of the best investments for my home. You have motivated me to start my new cleaning routine. At age 36, I bought my first house in 2020. I have been wanting to name my house and still trying to decide on a name. Also, I feel blessed to have been given a chance to own my space. Thank you again for being someone who encourages me to live a simply luxurious life in my own way!

    1. Kiersten,

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the episode ☺️💛 And thank you again for reaching out and sharing what would be of interest and helpful to your life. I genuinely appreciate such emails and it was the right time to polish up what I had shared in the past. Thank you very much again.

  5. Hullo, Shannon,
    Brilliant suggestions and I am definitely going to stop guilting about dusting enough.😄
    I LOVE a good routine, for maintenance of house, garden, and self. It just makes it so much easier and effortless. One thing I have learned through the years, that if the routines go wicky-wacky for whatever reason, do not despair or go into a panic of encroaching chaos and doom. Because that won’t happen. It’s just a routine, a set of suggestions designed to help you relieve stress, not lock you into some prison of self-servitude. Chill and pick it back up when you can. 😊
    I too have a wonderfully small space and will be definitely be looking into the Dyson as lugging out the large upright vacuum is such an un-fun thing(although I am grateful that I have a space to vacuum! But you know…).
    And ever since you introduced the idea awhile back, I have cudgeled the brain for a proper name for our domicile. It will happen this Spring, I am determined!
    Love to you and the pups, bon weekend, and Happy Spring!🌷🐝🐶💛
    xx Rona

    1. Hello Rona,

      I can second the recommendation on the Dyson. I have the same, that is, a different reference/ model – Dyson Animal -, with an extra large dust container, designed to put up with all that pet hair. I chose this model because my cat is a Norwegian Forest Cat, so looooong hair all over the place… But yes, the vertical vacuum is a big help, I find. The classical vacuum cleaner is also useful for areas where the non-flexible tube of Dyson is not so accommodating, so I keep both.

      There, my daily two cents… 🙂

  6. Dear Shannon,
    This is so helpful. Thank you for sharing the effects of the busiest time of your life on your kitchen, because I have been there when my job was way too many hours. I’m so glad we both have more balance now! Just the best. And while I love order as much as I don’t love cleaning 🙂 , the presence of a timetable with shorter, more frequent sessions takes a lot of the dread away, and you have offered such an abundance of great details, thank you! Here’s to many happy afternoon tea trays in a lovely clean room… -Liz

    1. Liz G, I loved your description of a schedule with shorter but more frequent sessions. I think I could manage that! It would be well worth it to savor “many afternoon tea trays in a lovely clean room”. Thank you for the image.

  7. I retired at 46 in order to be a full-time housewife, as I love cleaning and taking care of our home. I have detailed lists and our home runs smoothly. There is a wonderful YouTube channel called “Diane in Denmark” which provides inspiration.

    I live in a 3100 sf home that is 111 years old. My biggest piece of advice for anyone in a larger home is to purchase a robo-vac: we have three, one on each floor – well worth the investment.

  8. I loved this podcast! I’d like to add one “practice” I use and have tried to teach my children and husband. It’s called ‘one touch’, practicing the mindset of only touching something once. For instance, at the end of the day when you’re getting ready for bed. Take off your clothes and put them directly where they need to land: clothes hamper, hung in the closet or folded and put in a drawer. Another is when emptying the dishwasher, take the plate, fork, etc. out put it directly where it needs to go – no piling on the kitchen counter allowed. Your example of going through the mail immediately after coming inside from the mailbox and putting each piece where it needs to go is another great example. It’s a mindset and helps keep your home tidy, things organized and saves time. It’s like magic!

  9. A comprehensive list Shannon. I think I might be cleaning my windows too often maybe a bit.of an obsession. and I have a lot of them. I might rethink this in the light of what you’ve said. I love a clean home and I have a routine. I clean an entire room thoroughly each week then top and tail the rest.I do like a Spring clean also both inside and out. I have daily , weekly and monthly tasks. Depending on how busy I am if I do not complete a scheduled task I just don’t fret about it I just will do it as soon as I’m able. ( like Rona said don’t make a big deal of it will get done ).It wasn’t always like this I used to have to get it done . Before bed I like to do a quick zip round making sure everything is in its proper place so that way I can start each day with uncluttered spaces . Gets me off to a great start to my day. Have a lovely start to Spring Kameela😊

  10. I go by a schedule for each day of the week for cleaning, however on my ‘bad’ days at times I must skip part of the list and it can become stressful trying to catch up. That might be the time I head outside or go into my studio to de-stress to come back and then move on to being grateful that I am now able and ready to do what needs doing to keep the rest of my life calmer.

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