How to Create a Grace-Based Rhythm for Cleaning Your Home
Let me tell you something about those cute, little cleaning schedules that are all over Pinterest these days. You know which ones I’m talking about.
They’re pretty and organized and definitely appealing for the Type A mama, but if you are a mom with young kids who struggles with perfectionism, anxiety, or guilt like I have, then you probably know how these may seem like a great idea on paper… but actually end up becoming a nightmare.
The reality is life is too busy and most of us are too unmotivated or pulled in a hundred directions to actually clean our house to our heart’s content. We can come up with the perfect cleaning routine or schedule, but more often that not, we end up stressed out or disappointed in ourselves.
I used to stick to so many different cleaning lists and schedules and I remember how determined but also OVERWHELMED I was. I honestly can’t count the number of times I got in fights with my husband over it even, usually because I felt like I was doing too much and he wasn’t doing enough.
Finally, one day it hit me. Even if I DID have my house always cleaned to my standards, would it make me happy? Or wouldn’t I just find something else to obsessively strive after? Enough was enough. I threw out all of my cleaning lists and decided to try something new. Not another rigid, stressful routine, but a grace-based rhythm.
Over the years, adopting grace-based rhythms has set me free in so many different ways and I want to share the steps I took in regards to being set free in my attitude and habits toward cleaning.
Step One: Flip the script
You want to break free from perfectionism, anxiety, or stress? It starts with what you tell yourself and what you believe.
The lie: Having a perfectly cleaned home will satisfy me.
The truth: There will always be something I’m striving for to fill me.
The lie: I can clean all the things and do all the things.
The truth: It’s not reasonable for me to try to do everything in this season of life I’m in.
The lie: My identity and worth is found in how “put together” my life - and my house - is.
The truth: My identity is found in Christ alone and the state of my house doesn’t define me.
Once the lies in your head are replaced with the truth, you then have the power to start living out the truth day by day. You’re free to choose grace, not perfection.
Step Two: Choose grace
Lay out your options. Ask for help from your spouse or a close friend if you still might not be seeing things clearly.
Option 1: Continue what I’m doing. Try to keep my house clean to this standard I’ve set that clearly isn’t working.
Option 2: Clean nothing at all and hire a maid (not the most budget friendly).
Option 3: Have one set cleaning day per week or every other week (not always realistic when little kids are running around)
Option 4: Pick and choose my three non-negotiables and let everything else go until I have more energy or am able to somehow weave them into my week (this, my friends, is what I call a grace-based rhythm).
In case you’re wondering, I picked Option 4 and my three non-negotiables were cleaning the kitchen every night before bed, cleaning the toilets every week, and cleaning the tubs twice a month.
Everything else, like the dusting and vacuuming and wiping bathroom counters? If I got to it, I got to it. But otherwise, I let it go.
And you want to know what happened?
I was happier. Because even though certain parts of my house were a mess, I CHOSE to allow that mess. I decided the three things I was going to give my time and energy to, and saying no to everything else actually empowered me!
Does this mean my house is disgusting? Definitely not. Every couple of weeks, my husband will usually run the vacuum or I’ll find some time to clean the bathroom counters and dust while the girls are eating lunch. When I’m able to, I get our house back in shape. But it’s not something I stress over or rearrange my life for anymore. It took time, but I finally reached a point where freedom and peace and JOY in these things became like second nature, which actually leads me to my final step...
Step Three: Practice freedom
Freedom from stress and especially freedom from something as deep-rooted as perfectionism doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something you practice and intentionally walk toward every day.
The first couple of weeks of not cleaning my house to my usual standard weren’t super easy. I still got annoyed every time I thought about how long it had been since I dusted our nightstands or saw how many toothpaste streaks were on the bathroom mirror. A part of me still wanted to cling to this ideal of a perfect, sparkling home.
But every time I ignored those nagging feelings and reminded myself that I was choosing GRACE over perfection, I was 1) pushing the lies away, and 2) affirming my freedom, until it eventually became like second nature.
The more you practice letting go, the more you see that your worst fears and anxieties are rooted in lies. Every time you get to the other side - to the end of another day, another week, another month - you are actually helping your brain replace those lies with the TRUTH.
This is the secret behind grace-based rhythms.
I’m passionate about sharing this idea of “grace-based rhythms” with women because I believe - and have experienced for myself in more than just cleaning my house - that when you incorporate grace-based rhythms into all aspects of your life, you become a new woman who doesn’t have to be held back by perfectionism any longer! You become a woman set free.