At this time of year, I’m not just getting my kids and myself ready for back-to-school busyness … I’m getting my home ready for back-to-school, too.
Ah, August. Every year, even though it’s still very much summer, it’s time to get ready to get back into a back-to-school routine.
This year, I’m not sweating about preparing my children for back-to-school. They’re homeschooled. They’re getting verbal reminders that school starts in two weeks. Plus, they can see me bustling around, getting last-minute curriculum deliveries.
Mentally I’m gearing up for it, because I have totally been checked out on summer vacation for the past two months. (For all of June and July, I didn’t want to hear a word about school or think a thought about curriculum choices and plans. Hence the last-minute curriculum deliveries.)
But on August 1, I started to rein myself in and get prepared for another year. As much as I love the structure a school year brings, it’s a lot of work.
What I can expect
Since this will be my family’s fifth year of homeschooling, I know what’s ahead of me:
- I know that in all of the joys and frustrations of homeschooling, I will devote hours of each day to my children’s education.
- I will then shoo them off to a mid-afternoon rest time/play time/reading time in their bedrooms so I can give a few hours of my day to the business of blogging.
- After all of that schooling and blog work is done, I’ll get on with our family’s night – dinner, dishes, bedtime.
- And when my head hits the pillow at night, I’ll be exhausted.
In all of a mama’s busyness, I know that the one thing to slip will be my housekeeping. (It always does. And it should. People are always more important than things.)
Oh sure, I’ll stick to my obligatory daily household chores that I’m so thankful for – making beds, doing a load or two of laundry, and washing dishes – but beyond that, life happens. And my home takes the brunt of that.
A year of deep cleans
The mess that is my home used to concern me, until veteran homeschooling moms encouraged me to let it go – when you homeschool, a perfectly cleaned house might as well be an impossibility.
So I’ve stopped truly caring when I see clutter cropping up. It still bugs me, but when I simply have no time to remedy the issue, I have to choose to not worry about it.
Instead I try to find peace through a few deep cleans each year:
- Every November, I try to thoroughly clean our kitchen and bathroom before holiday guests start coming.
- Each January, I put our Christmas gifts away and try to purge unnecessary belongings.
- Each March, I spring clean our home.
- Each June, when school is finished, I clean out our basement and try to deep clean our home and yard before we leave for vacation.
- And now, each August, I’m going to try to touch up on areas that need deep cleaned again – cluttered closets, our messy school room, out of control drawers and cupboards.
But that’s it. You may see five deep cleans planned for each year, but you need to know that once that deep cleaning is done, there is very minimal cleaning done in my home.
(Don’t worry. If you would come to visit my family, you wouldn’t have to feel totally grossed out. I clean our bathroom a couple times a week and vacuum once a week … but that’s about it.)
Benefits of an August deep clean
This year, I’m loving my August deep clean. Since I mentally checked out on a two-month summer vacation, I haven’t been concerned about my home. (You know how I take care of my yard during my June deep clean? I haven’t touched my gardens since. The weeds love my approach.) It’s been really good to forget about the pickiness of everyday life and just live. I’ve loved the time with my family and friends.
But as much as I’ve loved the relaxation, the nooks and crannies of my home have been showing it. So this month, once I finally buckled down and figured out our homeschooling choices, I started caring for the problem spots in our home again. Our linen closet is nice and tidy again. I can get into our kitchen cupboards without small appliances falling on me. It’s all good.
As I’m caring for my family’s belongings and our home through the cleaning process, I’m also able to mentally prepare for the school year. I’m trying to get my school year off to a clean, organized start – so I don’t mind the messes when the full-on busyness of back-to-school hits.
How are you getting your home – and family – ready for back-to-school?
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All images courtesy of Unsplash.