A friend posed the question, "What do YOU do?" on her blog as it pertains to house-keeping. I like this question because I used to be a real "neat freak" (often called A.R. by my former roommates—which describes a person with such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others). Somehow God broke me of that "idol" in my life!
Now, I must say, I do SO love order. It is in my genetic makeup! (For example, when at the store looking at greeting cards, I have to restrain myself from re-organizing the ones that are out of order.) But slowly God has helped me not to have to have EVERY SINGLE THING in place. Like the utensil drawer. I think it would be excellent to have each stack of spoons, forks, and knives perfectly aligned—oh the beauty! At some point many years ago I stopped noticing when they aren't stacked perfectly. But I digress...
Back to the topic of house-cleaning. Given my mainly melancholy personality, I would probably be most prone to the "neat freak" method of cleaning, where everything MUST be spic & span at all times. But it enslaves you at the expense of your kids and other important things. Something has to give—BUT it doesn't have to be all or nothing! (I recommend working that out with the Lord's help.)
I currently use the "I clean it when I can't stand it any longer" method of cleaning. For some people that would never work, because they'd never notice something needed cleaning! For me, it means I swiffer and vacuum once a week; clean the main bathroom once a week (or sometimes more often, since I have a 4-year-old boy whose aim isn't 100% perfected); dust about once a month; and wash the kitchen floor less than once a month (I can't believe I just admitted that publicly!).
I have also tried the "days of the week" method, but I couldn't stay faithful to it for some reason.
Keeping the clutter at bay is my biggest "trick" to being satisfied with the state of my house. For example, my kitchen doesn't have to be 100% sanitized and spotless—but a cluttered kitchen only lasts around here for half a day at the most—I can't stand it—it's like having a radio tuned between two different stations—I can hardly think straight! Just taking 10-15 minutes to put dishes away, wipe the counters, etc. gives me much more peace.
I also try to keep piles of stuff minimal. I wish I could say I've eradicated them altogether, but as I type, I have a small pile on either side of the keyboard. Maybe a large part of keeping the piles to a minimum is not procrastinating? After all, my piles usually contain things I don't want to forget about (like a utility bill that needs follow-up, a check that needs to be deposited, a few magazines I'd like to peruse when I have some leisure time). So here's one of my favorite solutions—I used my Christmas money to buy it!—this basket ladder a.k.a. basket wall organizer.
I love it! I keep my son's homeschool stuff in it, the latest grocery store ad, etc. Very handy. I highly recommend!
OK, so I kind of got off the topic of cleaning. It's a necessary evil, I guess! But you know what they say: your kids won't remember if your house was spic & span, but they WILL be left with an impression of how they felt about the time they spent at home with you!