Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Cleaning

During the first three days of Holy Week, Easter housecleaning takes place
in many Catholic communities. This is more than just another secular custom.
Its purpose is to prepare the house for the blessing by the priest on
Holy Saturday, and is an outward sign of the inner newness of soul of the family.
This meaning should be made clear to the children so that they may help prepare
the house for the Church's blessing. By Wednesday of Holy Week the cleaning
should be finished, and the remainder of the week should be considered as
semi-holidays. (from

There are six Saturdays during Lent, not including Holy Saturday.

When planning my Lenten cleaning, Saturdays are important because Mr. Smith is home.  I plan to organize my cleaning by the week, and  I know I'll have those Saturdays to finish anything I didn't get to Monday through Friday... even if it's everything.

Let's back up a little.  I recently made a checklist for our regular weekly cleaning.  I have each room listed, then the things that need to be done in that room itemized.  As we finish them, we check them off.  For example:

o   kitchen
o   sweep
o   vacuum
o   mop
o   clear/wipe countertops
o   wipe appliances
o   wipe cupboards
o   clean stovetop
o   clean high chair
o   clean out fridge
o   clean garbage can
o   finish dishes
o   empty dishwasher

It's a one page document and I print it out on Thursday morning.  We're generally home on Thursdays and Fridays, and I like to get a head start on the cleaning.  There have been times that we've finished everything on Friday, and that frees up our Saturday for family time.  During our regular chore times on those days, we chip away at the list.  Anything that's not finished has to be done on Saturday.  Of course, anything that gets done on Thursday morning is at risk of being undone by Sunday, but I had to come to terms with that long ago. The goal is to have all of that basic cleaning done well once a week, along with all the daily maintenance, and to have a peaceful, work-free Sunday.  It's never perfect, (there have been many weeks when "clean out fridge" gets a line through it, rather than a check mark next to it) but this system has helped move us closer to that goal.

So during Lent, I plan to keep up on our regular cleaning routine, as well as work on one extra area per week.  These are my dirty half-dozen:
  • basement utility area
  • clothing (sort, donate, organize)
  • basement play area
  • closets (linen, craft/sewing, foyer, shoe, boy's)
  • bedrooms
  • food (fridge, cupboards, snack cabinet, pantry shelves)
If we can tackle one of these areas each week, and keep up on our 40 Bags in 40 Days, I will feel pretty darn good about things come Holy Week.  My plan is to print our regular cleaning list at the beginning of that week, so that by Wednesday of Holy Week our home will be prepared for Christ's rising, and we can concentrate on preparing our hearts.

Week one is the basement utility area, and we only have three days now!  It's the most pressing, since it includes my laundry room, but also the closest to being finished, which is why I chose it for this first short week.  
So, that's the plan.  I will try to update our progress on Saturdays!

1 comment:

  1. Keep up these inspiring posts!! Your list looks great! We are doing somthing similar and, yes, Saturdays are VERY important :)