You know, back when all my kids were home, I used to daydream about how clean my house would be after they left.
No more bins filled with backpacks, shoes, and rotting lunch bags by the back door.
No more laundry on the floor.
No more stuff that needs moving from the couch before I could sit down.
Floors would be spotless.
Bathrooms would be sparkling.
Everything would be in its place.
(Insert laughter here)
That was the dream, anyway.
The thing I forgot to take into account is the fact that I would still be living here.
Me, the Original Messmaker.
And without kids to set an example for, let's just say sometimes it's hard to get motivated to clean up.
Yes, it is nice that the back door chaos of backpacks, shoes and moldy ham sandwiches no longer exists.
But now there is no one to point a finger at when I see things left out.
Yes, those five pairs of shoes by the door are mine.
Yes, those two coffee cups, three water bottles, four hair bands, two books, a phone charger and receipt from Walmart on the nightstand are ALL MINE.
As are the socks, sweatpants and T-shirt on the floor, which I ripped off my body in the middle of a night sweat.
This is my life, people.
So how do I motivate myself to clean up this "empty nest?"
First, I go back to a Daily Routine. This really takes care of 90% of my problems.
Daily Routines (or Minimum Maintenance) make it possible to survive on the least amount of effort, and reaps huge dividends in mental peace. When things are tidy, I just feel better.
I cannot over-emphasize the magic of a Daily Routine.
What remains then, is the Nitty Gritty of tubs, toilets, floors and things that require a bit of work. Generally, and I'm not proud of this, I put these chores off as long as possible. Which brings me to...
Second: What works is a super simple Weekly Schedule - Waay modified from my crazy busy days as a Work-From-Home-Mom. I've written extensively on this in years past.
But here is what I'm currently rolling with. It's not heavy-duty, but it's enough for right now.
Monday: trash cans, floors
Thursday: kitchen (fridge, stove etc.)
Friday: porch, glass door, living room
I really don't like to clean on Saturdays, so it's my lop-over day to catch up on the stuff I didn't get to during the week. Since I still work from the house, I can't always stick to the schedule - knowing I can do it on Saturday helps me stay sane.
What this "schedule" does is help me to not procrastinate, and it releases me from the burden of feeling that I have to get everything done all at once. I can do my Chore of the Day and then move on. I'm always ready to "move on!"
So, why talk about cleaning at "this stage of life?"
Because this is the part that many of us have been waiting for: to pursue dreams, find our passions, and remember the things we always said we would do.
Clutter and chaos get in the way of being the best we can be.
Don't let the mess keep you from growing, blooming and becoming. Value yourself enough to create a beautiful space for your soul to breathe free.
Make your empty nest your sanctuary with a Daily Routine and a simple schedule.
How about you? Do you struggle to keep things clean, even after the kids have grown up? How can a simple weekly schedule help you see your way clear?