There was a segment on CBS Sunday Morning recently that featured a museum dedicated to the history and promotion of cleaning. It is called The Museum of Clean. Clever name, right?!? It’s in Pocatello, ID just in case you’re interested in visiting. I’m telling you about this because of the man who was featured on this segment, Don Aslett, spent his entire life savings to build The Museum of Clean. He must really like cleaning. Mr. Aslett said something that I’ve been thinking a lot about.
This is what he said, “How you clean will be how you live. That’s just the way it is.”
The truth is, I’m just not a very good housekeeper. My home is not filthy, I just wouldn’t recommend eating dinner off my floors. The toilets are as clean as toilets can be, I change the sheets on the beds…sometimes, the microwave is clean, and we don’t have roaches or any other bug problem for that matter. For me, there are far more important things in life than having dust-free bookshelves and perfectly vacuumed “vees” in my carpet-like watching Mad Men on Netflix for six hours straight or taking the kids and a picnic lunch to the park on beautiful days.
Cleaning isn’t something that I overly stress with my kids, either. I’m more concerned about them playing and using their imaginations as much as possible, doing well in school, and learning to be kind to others than I am with their ability to make their beds so perfectly that a quarter bounces. We do have simple rules about putting their dirty clothes in the hamper and clearing their plates from the table after meal time. They are expected to help out around the house and not be complete slobs, but unmade beds and their messy playroom do not bother me. This is why doors were invented! Messy bedroom? Shut the door and voila! Instantly cleaned!
There are times, though, when the clutter and toys get to be too much. Piles, piles everywhere!! I’ll get a sudden urge that the house must be cleaned RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT. This is usually right after I’ve stubbed my toe on a monster truck or misplaced one flip flop, only to find it and twenty other missing items under the couch.
When these bursts of cleaning energy hit, I get the kids involved as much as possible in the endeavor so that when they are grown up and married, their spouses won’t think that I never taught them about cleaning. That, and the fact that the vast majority of messes in the house were created by them. We do have a rule-more of a guideline, really- that in our house, as a family, it doesn’t matter WHO made the mess, but EVERYONE will help to clean up.
Seeing the entire playroom floor covered with toys and saying, “Clean it all! Clean it all, right now!,” typically results in a two-way meltdown between Carson and Ella. Instead, I’ll tell Carson to find all the monster trucks and put them back in their bin and I’ll tell Ella to find all the dress-up costumes and put them away. Giving the kids specific instructions helps make cleaning a little less horrible.
I also set a timer for 30 minutes and tell them that all the cleaning has to be finished before it rings. Not only do I get a hearty chuckle from watching the kids run around cleaning while trying to beat the clock, it gives us an actual ending time so that we won’t feel like we spent HOURS cleaning.
I haven’t always been this laid back about cleaning, but the older I get, the further down my priority list cleaning falls. There’s just SO much more to life than a perfectly cleaned house.
So thank you Mr. Aslett of The Museum of Clean. You are exactly right. How I clean is exactly how I live: If it’s important, it deserves my attention.
This post is sponsored by Hallmark for their Life is a Special Occasion campaign. While Hallmark is compensating me for participation in this campaign, all opinions expressed are my own. Have I mentioned how honored I am to be a part of this campaign? THIS is way better than cleaning a toilet, that’s for sure!
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