Years ago, I read a children’s book to my girls by Joann Stover called “If Everyone Did.” It was a precautionary tale with simple yet humorous illustrations about a world in which everyone dropped a tack, everyone made a mess. and so on. It taught the basic truth that we are all responsible for creating a healthy, clean environment around us with everything we touch–every minute, every hour, every day.

Family Time During Covid For many families, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the sharing of tight spaces for long periods. Laptops, tablets, mobile phones running in every room, quiet spaces at a premium and food containers scattered throughout. A nervous breakdown in the making for those who cherish clean, sanitary surfaces. 

Last year, we downsized house and upsized land by moving to a remote cabin with a scenic view of the mountains. With a new blue tick puppy and a two-year-old adopted boxer-coonhound mix, it is amazing how hard it is to keep the outside out. Oh, did I mention my daughter coming home from college with two adorable cats and a pet snake?

Personally, I tend to be a spurt cleaner. I make piles. On quiet days when everyone is out, I clean said piles, starting with the counters and working my way to the floors. With everyone here ALL the time, I tried a few things to make life more sane for us all.

Have a family meeting. Let everyone give their input on what they will do to contribute to a healthier, cleaning environment. When family members feel heard, they are more likely to participate.

Set times in the day and/or week that things need to be gone from surfaces so the person assigned to cleaning the surfaces on a given day can reach them. You may decide to hire someone to clean surfaces but there are plenty of chores to be done for them to do their job well.

Consider using a task management app to create shared to-do lists and reminders, including items to pick up at the hardware or grocery store so designated shoppers can pick up the requested items when out and about. My husband and I love using this feature since we moved to a cabin up in the woods. Trips into town always have multiple stops and now if two more items are needed, we remind each other to use the app so we don’t forget something.

Use online calendars to create reminders and set times to clean. When it comes to cleaning, the saying is true that many hands make light work and with everyone working together, no one carries the burden alone.

Accomplished singer and actress, Bette Midler, is quoted as saying, “My idea of a superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.” I don’t consider myself a superwoman–just a smart one that uses technology to my advantage and with limited time or motivation to spend all day cleaning, I am always looking for new gadgets to try. As I mentioned, many hands make light work but being smart about cleaning as you go make it even lighter!

We moved to the mountains for a simpler life in a clean, relaxing atmosphere. Let me tell you, forty acres is not simple and there is more dirt being tracked into the house now than on our quarter acre in the suburbs but we are learning to slow down a bit and enjoy precious time with each other. Because, if everyone slowed down just a bit, we just learn how to appreciate what we have in the time we have it.