What isn’t made better by a routine? Even the most mundane and monotonous chores can be something to look forward to with a little mindset tweaking. (And of course, a few built-in rewards along the way.) That’s why we love the concept of romanticizing everything in your life. From your wake-up call to those sacred morning minutes spent sipping your coffee—everything is made better and brighter with a romantic twist. Your cleaning routine, included.
If you find yourself putting the task off until Sunday, you’re in good company. And while I’ve always loved the idea of a total Sunday reset—and regularly practice one myself—I’ve found over the years that leaving everything until the end of the week isn’t a solid way to spark joy. (Incite a meltdown is more accurate.) Instead, I’ve learned to sprinkle in small tasks throughout the week as a way to make life a little easier—and help my home sparkle more.
Featured image from our interview with Jessie and Brian De Lowe.
How to Romanticize Your Cleaning Routine
The benefit of switching up my cleaning routine goes beyond a tidier house. By weaving smaller, more consistent “tidy-ups” into my week, I’ve learned to embrace cleaning as less of a chore and instead something to honor myself and my space. Alongside the habits that support our body and mind, I believe that caring for ourselves asks us to express this self-love in our homes as well.
So, as we begin transitioning into spring cleaning season, I’d argue it’s time we learn to love our cleaning routines. Too much? Just wait—I guarantee these tips will have you looking forward to your tidy-up time, too. To dive deeper into the topic and share her expert cleaning tips, I called upon Allison Evans, co-founder of the cult-favorite cleaning brand, Branch Basics. Ahead, we discuss strategies for tackling the mess and how doing so can help you craft a happier life at home.
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Branch Basics co-founder Allison Evans has dedicated herself to helping others reap the benefits of clean living. Removing toxins from her home and diet helped her overcome chronic pain and severe PCOS, and then several years later, a bad mold exposure and symptoms of chronic Lyme disease. She has three young girls (something she was told would never happen naturally) and is passionate about helping others experience greater healing as she did.
Create a Strategic Schedule
As I said, your cleaning routine shouldn’t take place over a single day. Instead, be realistic and help your future self out. Just as time batching can help you work more efficiently, Evans suggests focusing on one task or one room at a time. “Vacuum/clean all your floors or do all your laundry in one day,” she encourages. “That’ll shorten up your daily room-by-room routine. Using the time-delay feature on your washer can also help get more laundry done while you sleep.”
She also promotes the idea of reframing cleaning as interval training, aiming to get as much done in a certain amount of time as possible. Evans explains how it’s done:
“Every day you pick a room, assign a household member to it, and dedicate 5-15 minutes to cleaning it. How much time it takes depends on the size and scope of the room. The point is to spend a little time every day as opposed to a huge, overwhelming chunk of time once a week. And forget perfection. Good enough is good enough, and it’ll get better the more you practice.”
Invest in Beautiful and Non-Toxic Cleaning Supplies
IYKYK—in the spirit of curating a healthy home and limiting our exposure to endocrine disruptors—we’re obsessed with non-toxic cleaning products. Not only does ditching chemical-laden cleaners ensure a safer home environment, but the “clean” replacement products often smell better, too. (A key step in romanticizing anything is creating a sensory experience.)
Before investing in a clean and sustainable arsenal of products, my under-sink cabinet left much to be desired. And there was no way I was using anything my phthalates-filled bottle touched without a proper air-out. Now, instead of a cracked plastic laundry bin, I have a French laundry basket I love. When it comes to splurging on anything, make the smart investment on beautiful things you regularly use.
It’s one of our favorite ways to tackle any goal. Habit stacking is the process of adding a desired behavior onto one you already do with ease. Example: Saying three positive affirmations in the mirror while brushing your teeth. Evans loves applying the technique by listening to a podcast or audiobook while she cleans and topping things off with a face mask. Ready to feel motivated and inspired to tackle that cleaning task you’ve been putting off? Try tacking on any of the habits below.
- Press play to a podcast. Follow Evans’ advice and listen to a high-vibe favorite or the audiobook you’ve been dying to get to the end of. Or use this time to indulge in a little true crime.
- Put on a face mask. I’m obsessed with Evans’ tip and love the idea of doing double-time with my skincare while I scrub. Hydrating face masks are a must during winter.
- Strap on your Bala bangles. I finally bought the Bala bangles everyone’s obsessed over for years—and yes, I’m now a believer myself. If you can’t make it to your mat, add a little resistance to what’s already a functional workout. Get ready to work up a sweat.
Slow Down and Savor
This is where mindset comes in. While I love Evans’ idea of interval training when I’m short on time, I also try to be present and purposeful in my cleaning. If you can, try lighting a candle in the room before cleaning it. Or, if the weather allows, open the window and let in a little fresh air. Yes, the goal is to work toward a clean and tidy space, but it’s also about learning to enjoy the process along the way. When you’re done, set a vase of flowers or cut branches on a previously-cluttered surface. I like to think of it as a little gift to myself and the space.
Give Yourself Grace
And express gratitude along the way. A sometimes messy home is an inevitability of life, and it’s a reminder to embrace every day as perfectly imperfect. Maybe you didn’t have time to tackle the laundry over the weekend as you planned to, or perhaps the junk drawer is earning its name. Whatever the case, make the active decision to express kindness and understanding when hiccups in your routine crop up. Then proceed in whatever way is available to you in that moment.
A final note on creating a cleaning routine you love: remember that messes exist for a reason. As Evans says, “I like to take the mindset of thankfulness by remembering how much I love and am grateful for the mess-makers in my life.” Instead of getting annoyed at your kids’ clutter or partner’s stack of papers, express gratitude for their presence in your home and the life and love they bring to your space.