No one could steer me right but mama tried, mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better but her pleading, I denied
That leaves only me to blame ’cause mama tried

I empathize with Merle Haggard. No, I didn’t turn 21 in prison facing life without parole, I was (and still am) too chicken to do something stupid, scary, or illegal. My issue is more domestic. Literally.

Growing up, my mom, bless her heart, ran a tight ship. She modeled, very effectively, how to be a devoted wife and mother, an efficient homemaker, and selfless community leader and volunteer with a professional career. Despite typical assumptions of being an only child, I had chores, responsibilities, and that dreaded, handwritten to-do list Mom or Dad left for me on the kitchen table. Tasks included emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, dust furniture, mop floors, or clean bathrooms. During the summer, I also mowed the lawn. When I was old enough to drive, I ran errands, went to the grocery, and took our garbage to the city’s collection center. It wasn’t until Husband and I were married and living in our current home that I had a paid garbage collection service. Growing up, I did not receive an allowance. I was not paid to complete chores around the house and I most certainly did not receive compensation for grades or good behavior at school. As a living, breathing, functioning, able-bodied member of society, I was expected to contribute and give my best effort at home, at school, and on the golf course. My payment, if you will, was a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my belly, and a used Volvo sedan. I was privileged because Mom and Dad paid for my golf equipment, private lessons with a professional, tournament entry fees, and fuel and lodging expenses when I traveled to junior tour events.

Reminiscing about my childhood and upbringing, I’m disappointed in my adult self. I look at this house and I’m ashamed. It’s not the home I want to create for Husband and Kamden. If guests rang the doorbell, I’d be embarrassed! I don’t make our bed. Yesterday’s mail is on the counter. A plate and two bowls are in the kitchen sink. Clean dishes are in the dishwasher. Dirty clothes are in the hamper. The floors need to be mopped. You can write your name in the dust on the TV console. I could go on and on.

This week, I am challenging myself to creating and keeping a cleaner, less cluttered living space. To make the endeavor more manageable and less overwhelming, I’m focusing on one or two specific areas per day. I’ll do some ‘maintenance’ things each day, such as load/unload the dishwasher, sort the mail, and clean sinks and countertops. Honestly, most of these tasks take 30 minutes or less to complete.

Organize + empty refrigerator
Make grocery list / weekly menu

Deep clean KITCHEN
Collect garbage for pick-up
Wash + put away laundry

Deep clean BATHROOMS

Deep clean BEDROOMS
Wash + put away laundry

Deep clean LIVING ROOM

Wash + put away laundry

Wash bed sheets
De-clutter for 15 minutes

My goal is to create a realistic schedule that I will follow each week. If the experts are correct, and it takes 21 days to develop a habit, our house will be a neater, cleaner, less cluttered home before the end of the month! Who wants to come over for dinner and a white glove inspection on September 30? (I’m serious about the dinner, but not the glove inspection.)

Do you follow a cleaning schedule?