Scrubbing Fewer Toilets

When we toured our previous home for the first time, I didn't walk in and say, "Oh happy day, look at all these toilets that will need cleaning!" Or, "Oh my, so much carpet to vacuum and tile to mop, how fun!" I looked at the big rooms and high ceilings and told myself lies. Lies that there were little green clad men, who would show up at night and do my (literally) dirty work.

Let's face it, no men - big or small - are ever going to volunteer to clean the entire house while everyone else is asleep. That's going to happen right after men start trying to figure out how to go through childbirth.

I spent half of this Monday cleaning house. With half a day, I scrubbed both bathrooms, changed the bedding (my absolutely least favorite chore), vacuumed or mopped all the floors, and did a bit of dusting.

Today, two days later, I'm going to clean the kitchen, and however much I can throw lilac scented Ajax and grapefruit scented Method at in two hours, I'll call it enough fruit smells and be done.

The last place we lived was exactly twice as big as this house. It had five bedrooms vs. two, four bathrooms vs. two and a few extra rooms we don't have (or need) here.

I don't have want to take eight hours a week to clean our house.  I actually don't want to take four hours to clean our house, but I'm a grown up and grown ups usually realize they have to clean up their own messes. Not judging anyone who routinely hires their house chores, but I've never really liked the process. The night before they arrive you go around and pick up your own house, so they can come in and clean. Then you spend the day trying to stay out of their way, and no matter where you go, that's where they need to be.

The end of Monday felt great because

#1 I COULD clean most of our house in part of one day

#2 I didn't feel lazy and undisciplined

#3 Everything smelled fruity and looked wonderful and I could take pride in a job well done

#4 Now I was free on Tuesday to do whatever I wanted to, completely guilt free

When we began considering the decision to major downsize, we knew there would be a lot of things we'd have to do that would be hard. Cub Sweetheart gave away or sold almost all of his thirty years of garage accumulation of tools, etc. We gave away or sold entire rooms of furniture, including the beat up kitchen table our kids had eaten their cereal at for their entire growing up years. I got rid of most of my craft supplies (crafts have a propensity to ooze and claim space). We gave away half of our clothes (that we didn't wear anyway). We gave away most of our kids' old toys, and that's okay since the baby is now 34, and they all have babies of their own. (Yes we did send a few of the most special ones their way.)

But almost any hard decision, once made, has its upside. Our utilities are about half of what they were, there is virtually no yard work which blesses our backs, we can already tell our neighborhood is going to be warm and friendly because of the similarity of stage of life we're all at, and I can clean my entire house in a fraction of the time it used to take. CS now has the time to volunteer in our community rather than mow the grass (we sold the mower), or do other, now unneeded, home maintenance. I'm planning to volunteer at a pregnancy resource center near our home. We read more, we take walks, we go to the movies, all because we downsized.

Being honest, while I do prefer to clean up after myself rather than hire it out, I don't prefer to clean every day either. Any time I've tried to use those cute little cleaning schedules, where you do something every day, I've run out of gas pretty fast. Life has to be more than getting out of bed and trying to get excited about 'today's bathrooms day!' or 'today's dust every flat surface in the house day!'. I'm down to two to three loads of laundry a week now, but I still remember when I did that many loads five days a week. I consider the downside of getting older, i.e., dealing with chin hair, to be worth the upside of only three loads of laundry a week. That's if I act like a grown up and change the bedding.

Changing the bedding is never going to be my favorite, but this week's house cleaning only took a fraction of the time it would have taken me at our previous home, and it only took one Aleve and a hot soak in the tub to deal with the after effects. Not bad!

We're seeing the blessing of 'less is more' and it's feeling better all the time.  


Connie said…
hi bev.....LOVE the 1950's photo at the beginning! i still have teenagers at home, so i'm not quite where you are yet, but i am looking forward to downsizing and continuing to purge. good for you for simplifying your life and allowing yourself the gift of time to do with what you wish.
Karen said…
We were heading in the direction, but a couple of years ago, we moved back home to be near our moms. Now we have my mom living here sooner than we thought, and it just got a whole lot more crowded with her stuff, too. I can't wait for retirement, a smaller space to keep up with, and going to the movies. All in good time. I'm happy for you. I know it's been a long journey. :)
Kathy said…
I am in what I hope will be my forever home. A three story back split on 9 acres. We joke it is our "dream home", reality is we continue to dream of all the fixing up it needs and are slowly working on those dreams. However, it is a lot of work and upkeep - especially since the kids moved out and no longer help with the day-to-day chores. I am hoping to purge and simplify our possessions to make things a bit easier, but honestly, sometimes downsizing sounds wonderful.
Bev said…
Karen, having been through the journey with my mother, my heart aches for you as it's a tough, tough one. I read several books on Alzheimers and they were a great help. I should have gone to a caregiver support group, and as you have your mother in your home that might be a good option for you as well? Prayers for wisdom, comfort and strength as you find your way through this time with your mom.
Bev said…
Kathy, downsizing was a LOT of work, and we're glad we did, this side of it, but mercy! I wouldn't be up to the upkeep of 9 acres of anything, but if that's what makes your heart happy, good for you!
Karen said…
Bev, thank you. I had not even had time to stop and make a plan, as sudden as it was. I will look into that. Mom's hairstylist told me that one of her clients goes to a senior citizens craft group for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. It would be 4 days a week with lunch included. That would free me up to do my errands, and some much needed "me" time. I know it is so important, but I tend to leave myself to the last. Trying to fix that during this is key to my sanity, I think. I appreciate all info that is offered to us.
Delbert Powers said…
Downsizing has to be one of the best things I'v done in my later years. There came a point when I was scratching my head wondering what I am doing with my life scrubbing toilets that hadn't been used in years. It's freed me up to take vacations and pick up new hobbies. I don't miss the big house at all.

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