Ep 033: Cleaning Tips & Systems with Kendra Hennessy

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Kendra Hennessy is the founder of Mother Like a Boss, a good friend, and a cleaning system and routine extraordinaire. She is truly amazing and full of really simple tips when it comes to cleaning and setting up cleaning routines for yourself. Cleaning is something we, as moms, do every single day. But, when you make your cleaning routine systemized and rhythmic, you don't have to really think about it all the time and it doesn’t rule your life anymore.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Kendra Discuss:

  • The 101 of implementing systems into your cleaning routine.

  • The importance of creating a cleaning routine that is unique to you + your schedule, instead of following someone else’s routine.

  • How the lack of a routine is still a routine, but how creating an actual routine will be more beneficial for you.  

  • Several simple (and effective) cleaning tips that will help make your cleaning routine easier.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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ALLIE: Hey friends! It's Allie. I am so excited for today's interview. Kendra Hennessy is a good friend of mine. She's amazing and full of really simplistic tips when it comes to cleaning and setting up cleaning routines for yourself. You don't have to think about it anymore. It doesn't rule your life anymore, and you guys know I'm all about that. She's awesome. This episode is going to be great.

One quick thing. When we were recording the episode, the editorial calendar looked a little bit different. I say in the episode “episode 21” but it's actually not episode 21 so, ignore that. Don't send me an email saying that you were confused and it's not the right episode. It was just an error. Other than that, the episode is awesome and perfect and I'm so excited for you to hear it. Enjoy and let me know what you think by leaving a review on itunes.

Hey guys! Welcome back to The Purpose Show, episode 21. We are talking all about spring cleaning with my friend, my-in-real-life friend Kendra Hennessy. Say “Hi!”

Kendra is amazing. She's hilarious. This is going to be a great episode. Kendra's specialty is cleaning and systems and systemizing all the things that, as moms, we have to do all the time on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis, all those different kinds of things. Making it so that it's systemized and rhythmic. You don't have to really think about it all the time, which is awesome.

We work together, have a business together. When we were setting all that up we let each other into each other's courses and I remember being, “OK, this girl.” Going into her courses, looking and thinking, “I never would've thought of that.” Little things I never would have thought of – it’s amazing.

It's funny because my thing is decluttering. Your thing is cleaning but I would glaze over (with cleaning) and you were doing the same with decluttering, so our stuff fit perfectly together and it was just a match made in online-bus heaven.

KENDRA: It was wonderful. I talk about decluttering but only from the standpoint of you need to declutter before you start cleaning. I wasn't teaching it, wasn't telling people how to do it and I felt the exact same way when I got into Your Uncluttered Home. I didn't know all this stuff and then I listened to a few of the audios and, “Well that's genius! I never would've thought to tell people to do that or I never would have thought to do that.” I feel like our stuff literally perfect for each other and we developed it before we even knew each other, which is weird.

ALLIE: Yeah, it's awesome. I think it's a real testament to the fact of collaboration over competition. We all have our specialties, gifts and things that we’re really good at. We are combining them instead of being worried about it and trying to be all catty about it.

We're talking all about cleaning house lately and a lot of the episodes this month have been kind of in that theme. First of all, I will let you introduce yourself and then we'll get into your simple basic tips, the questions you get the most often. If you want a clean space and a clean start, where do you start? What’s the best place to start?  We’ll get into all that. First, tell us about yourself, your family, and what you do.

KENDRA: Sure! I’m Kendra Hennessy and I own Mother Like A Boss, which is my business. I help modern moms become “homemakerish” is what I call it. It’s my movement, the “homemakerish movement.” It started because I saw that homemaking was getting this really bad rap.

I shied away from that word for a really long time. I didn’t even like using it because I thought, I am not a homemaker. I work. I do other things besides stay home, take care of my family, wear high heels, and make beautiful meals. I realized that is such an antiquated notion that people have developed over the past 20-30 years.

When women started to go back to work, when moms started to go back into the workforce, we left behind the notions of homemaking. But the thing is, homemaking is just something you have to do. I have single friends who are homemakers. It means “making a home.” It means making a home that you cultivate out of love and comfort. We all want to live in a home that we feel comfortable in, that we feel comfortable having other people over.

I know Allie’s big thing in talking about decluttering is so if someone at the last minute says, “Hey! I am in town. Can I stop by?” you aren’t scrambling around saying, “O my God! My house is a mess!” That’s what homemaking is too. It’s making a home that feels comfortable and feels good for you.

I started it because I owned a cleaning business for ten years and I realized that most of the moms that I was cleaning for were super anxious that I was coming over. I thought, “this is counterproductive. They are having someone come into their house and clean, but they are really anxious about it.” What was happening was they weren’t able to manage their home so they were having someone come into their house to clean. They had no organization. Their house was full of clutter. They had no routines in place. They weren’t maintaining it between me being there, so me being there was actually a hindrance and not a help. I found that with a lot of moms.

What I decided to do was branch out and help moms manage their home versus having someone come in and clean. Once it was managed, then having someone come in and clean is great and wonderful. Believe me, it is a wonderful thing to have done, but if you don’t have control of your home and your routines then it is pointless. Every time I would come into someone’s home, I was starting from scratch – every two weeks! You are never getting anything underneath the surface cleaning done.

I have two kids, an 11-year-old daughter, Ava, and a 5-year-old son, Everett. We live in upstate New York. I have a wonderful, tall, dark and handsome husband. He’s very tall, a foot taller than me. We have been married for almost eleven years. By and large I live a very blessed life. There’s really nothing else I can say. Every time I think about describing my life I think we live a very quintessential American life. Super, super boring.

ALLIE: {laughing} Perfect! I love how you describe what you do. I love the way how you serve our fellow women. There is this pull, “don’t be too homemakerish because then you’re not a strong woman.” It’s ridiculous.

You live somewhere. It requires something of you. That’s OK. It’s also OK if that’s “all you do” or if it’s not. We are not here to talk about that. We are here to talk about that you live somewhere and it needs maintenance, you need to take care of it. It’s ridiculous that it is a negative thing to say that, or care about that.

I love what you said about having help come, because it is super helpful to have that. I love what you said about not having to start from scratch every time. Do the things that I know you are supposed to do every once in while and I really don’t want to do, not “Help me. My house is embarrassing.” Then every two weeks starting from scratch, doing what I could have been doing rhythmically over the last 14 days or whatever.

KENDRA: It was happening with a lot of moms too. There were some that after a few months, I could see a noticeable difference in their house. They were using me to clean every few weeks so they could get all the other stuff done. If I don’t have to clean the kitchen, the bathrooms, and mop the floors, then I can start decluttering my closets on the weekend. I can start getting rid of paperwork. I can start rearranging furniture. I can start cleaning baseboards and all that stuff that I don’t get a chance to do.

But then other moms never knew how to maintain anything. They never had any rhythms, routines, or schedules in place so every time I was there, it was like I wasn’t there two weeks ago, which is sad.

ALLIE: I relate to both. I relate to the first one where it is just maintenance. Right now, we have someone who comes every other week who does the baseboards, the tubs, scrubbing, the detailed stuff. If I can delegate that and have that off of my plate, I am good. I can do all my regular “surface stuff.” We don’t have a lot of clutter. I have also been on the other side where you are so overwhelmed that you don’t do anything because you don’t know what to do. There’s too much to do, so you ignore it. It gets worse and worse. You think, “Well, that’s why we have the housekeeper.” No, you should feel good when you walk into your home every night whether it was housekeeper day or not.

Give us the 101 of cleaning routines and systemizing things. Give us the run down and then I will ask you for more specific tips.

KENDRA: Something that I do a little bit differently than some other people in this “industry” is that I don’t give people pre-made cleaning routines. There are a lot of people out there on Pinterest. Go and search “weekly cleaning routine” and all of these images are going to come up that are beautifully designed. The problem that I find with that is that we don’t all live the same life. The whole, “dust on Monday, vacuum on Tuesday, clean the bathrooms on Wednesday.” What if your busiest day of the week is Wednesday but you have a lighter day on Monday and that’s when you like to do your cleaning?

I think what has happened is we live in a very “all or nothing” society in a lot of ways and that ends up infiltrating cleaning too where “I have to be able to get it all done and it has to be perfect every single week or every single day or I am just not going to do anything.”

The main place I start when it comes to a cleaning routine is sitting down with a list of all the things that you need to do in your house. I have a list. It’s called “Everything and The Kitchen Sink list.” It is literally a list of everything in your entire home, broken down by room. Take that list, look at your schedule and decide, “What are the days that I am most able to do certain things?”

For a lot of people, it may not be the weekdays; it may be the weekends. For other people it may be the opposite, where they are cleaning during the week. A stay-at-home-mom might say, “I want to get my stuff done during the week because on the weekend when my husband is home or my kids are home from school, I can play with them and be with my family and not be cleaning.”

The way that I teach cleaning routines is all about not focusing on what other people are doing but sitting down and creating a unique routine for yourself. That tends to be a lot harder for people, because they overcomplicate it. “I don’t even know where to start.” And people want things pre-made for them because that takes out so much work for them. They just want a rule.  We talk about this all the time.

ALLIE: It also takes out the fact that it is not going to work for you. It’s not going to work for you if you didn’t make it suit your own schedule, your own life, and your own desires. It’s going to be easier to get it, but it’s going to do nothing for you.

KENDRA: Exactly. I always say to start with a main list. You don’t have to use mine. Walk around your house, go into the kitchen, and say, “What are all the things that I need to clean in the kitchen?” The reason that I developed the list is that there were a lot of moms coming to me saying, “I don’t even know what I have to clean in my house.”

They felt ashamed and embarrassed. Why? No one hands you a manual when you become an adult. “Here are all the adult things you will have to do for the rest of your life. There you go.” You just learn them as you go. If you lived in a house where no one told you to clean the inside of your dishwasher once a month, how are you supposed to know to clean your dishwasher once a month. Moms shouldn’t feel ashamed of that. I created the list for that purpose.

Walk around your house and find all the things that need to be done.

Also, on the list I say how often I recommend doing it. That’s another question that I get asked all of the time. “How often should I do that?”

Take that list and put it into a schedule. I know people are going to ask, “But how? Where should I put it?” Take a piece of paper and put Sunday thru Saturday on it. Start putting some stuff in there based on what you have going on in your life. You can get out a calendar. Use a Google Doc. Use Trello, which Allie and I both run our entire lives on Trello. I have taught people how to put their cleaning routines onto Trello. Anywhere you will be able to see it.

For those people out there that say, “I don’t like cleaning routines. I don’t like routines. I am just a rebel. I like to “wing it.” I like to wake up every day and “wing it”, that’s a routine in and of itself; it’s is just chaos. Chaos is a routine that you have lost control of. That’s something that people don’t understand. Chaos is also a routine. Not having a routine is your routine. It is just that you are routinely having to start fresh every single day versus knowing what’s coming, which is what a routine does for you when you wake up in the morning. “Oh, cool. Today I have to clean the bathroom. If I get the bathroom done, that’s all I have scheduled today for cleaning and now I am done.”

ALLIE: Yeah. I like how you said that the lack of a routine is still a routine. Maybe for an example and some perspective, I am coming out of a season of choosing to have this rigid morning routine because I needed to get things done and it worked for me. Now I am more relaxed. I call Emmett into bed with me. Go slow. Have my quiet time and my coffee. Start the workday at 8:30 in the morning instead of 4:00 or 5:00 like it was. It has been really great.

It’s funny because by letting go of my routine still ended in a routine. Saying that you are not a “routine person” or that routines are too rigid for you, everyone is a routine person. You are being intentional about what the routine is so you are happier in your life and it works better for you.

KENDRA: Think about the people that are always late for work or late to take your kids to school. That’s a routine, honey. You are just routinely late. Many times we think, “I like to come up with it on the fly.” That’s all well and good except what happens most of the time is that you never end up getting to those things because the rest of your life takes over. Having things like a cleaning or decluttering routine once a month where you go through paperwork, toys, etc., it is in the schedule and you are far less likely to cancel on something when it is literally on the calendar because you have already blocked out the time for it.

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Hey mamas! It's Allie here. I want to tell you about my good friend, Kendra Hennessy, who is the founder of Mother Like A Boss and the Cleaning Systems Queen. I am not sure if you guys know, but we actually have our own collaboration that we have formed together called Rock Yo Mom Life.

Our mission there is to use our combined forces to help you systemize your cleaning, declutter your house, and step into your role as the mom you're made to be.

We've got free downloads, courses, and lots more good stuff over there. Head to rockyomomlife.com. The Ultimate Rock Yo Mom Life Guide is a totally free, more than 50 pages, and super helpful workbook coming soon! It is so, so good! (Get on the waitlist.)

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ALLIE: Give us some of your “top tips,” the things that you always say you are so good at. Give us your three top cleaning system tips. Please share the thing about having cleaning stuff on every level of your house. I love that one! It is so obvious, but I never thought of that.

KENDRA: Tips are one of those things that sometimes you say them and you think they are really simple, but people are like, “Oh my God! That’s mind blowing!” but other ones you think are mind-blowing people say, “I have been doing that for years.”

ALLIE: Yeah. I always do that. I’m sorry. My bad. I guess I have a thousand kids back-to-back-to-back, and I can’t think about where to put my cleaning sprays.

KENDRA: {laughing} Exactly. Let’s start with that one. What Allie is talking about is that if you have a multi-level house, keep a “batch” of cleaning supplies on each level of your house. The reason for that is most people, in America at least, keep their cleaning supplies under their kitchen sink, in a mudroom, a laundry room, somewhere in a cabinet tucked away in this far corner of the house.

The problem with that is, the scientology behind it, if you are upstairs in your bathroom doing your hair and makeup and you think, “I am going to give the vanity a really good cleaning today because I got makeup all over it.” Then if you have to walk all the way downstairs to grab the cleaning supplies, how likely is everyone listening going to be to come back upstairs with the cleaning supplies and clean.

I don’t know about you moms out there, but the answer is, “I am going to forget.” I am going to get to my kitchen and forget why I am there. I can’t even open Google on my phone to look something up without instantly forgetting what I was looking up.

ALLIE: {laughing} I do that in a panic. “Oh! Hold on! Don’t talk to me! If you open your mouth, I will kill you! I am trying to Google something!” I will forget! Totally!

KENDRA: This is totally off topic, but I forget what I was Googling in the middle of a sentence. I started writing, “what is the best way to…” and forgot what I was trying to finish. Then Google gives you what they think. “No, it’s none of those. I literally don’t remember.”

With that being said, the likelihood that you will actually make it back upstairs is pretty unlikely. Think about that in your daily, weekly, monthly life, of all the times that you could have been right there doing something. You see some cobwebs and you think, “I should grab my Swiffer right quick and take care of that.” But if your Swiffer is tucked away in the recesses of your garage, you’re very unlikely to get it and come back.

I always say to have a little cleaning bag, or caddy, or whatever you use on every level of your house. Or if you are not going to use a bag or a caddy, just have them in each area of your house. I have cleaning supplies in each bathroom. Glass cleaner, some baking soda and a sponge. Whatever you are going to use. Keep it in every area. Then it is easier for you and the rest of the people in your house to actually clean on a regular basis. Don’t leave your cleaning supplies in only one area. Even if you do have a one-story house, maybe keep them on each end of the house. It will make it a lot easier for you.

Going along the lines of keeping your supplies on each level is keep them in the room that you use them. People keep their dusting supplies under their kitchen sink. But all your dusting has to happen in all the bedrooms, so why not keep your dusting supplies in the living room closet.

ALLIE: There is something about “all my cleaning stuff is here so all my dusting stuff is here.” You just don’t think about it. And it’s just not working for you. I have done what Kendra is saying guys. And it's so funny. It's amazing. Especially now that we have a two-story house.

Especially… OK, this is not talking bad about Brian, but I have to say, does anyone else's husbands trim their beard and clean it up? Your facial pubes are all over the bathroom right now and I can't take it. How is this cleaned up?

KENDRA: Do you know that there is a product that I have been wanting to buy forever? It’s hard to describe on audio, but you can see me. It is a hammock that goes under their beard and it attaches to the mirror so that it catches all of the stuff. My sister-in-law actually tagged me in it and said, “I think Adam needs this.”

ALLIE: {laughing} I need it. I am going to find this and link to it. (Beard Hammock)

KENDRA: If you have a half-bath, or a full bath with a pedestal sink with no storage under the sink, get a cute little basket. People always want to buy baskets and you know Allie & I are always telling you not to buy baskets at Target.

ALLIE: Well, sometimes you need them.

KENDRA: Every now and then you can buy a cute basket at Home Goods. Don’t go crazy. Take the basket and fill it with those things.

Then if you don’t like the way that certain bottles look buy glass bottles on Amazon. You can buy three of them for ten bucks that are beautiful.

If you are worried about your kids getting into certain things, then make the cleaning supplies in those areas natural. Put some vinegar and baking soda. You can put baking soda in a little mason jar. It looks cute. It’s easy to access. Your kids can eat the baking soda; it’s not going to hurt them. That way it looks nice but it is still there when you need it.

I am telling you it is a psychological thing that the more accessible our stuff is for us, the more likely we are to use it.

One of the tips that I always tell people because I see people not doing it, so I feel I have to talk about is your products, whatever you are choosing to use, vinegar and water, or you buy everything that Target has, they are meant to sit and work. They are not made to spray it and immediately wipe it up. The reason is that especially if you are disinfecting or trying to degrease something, all of the products need to actually penetrate the dirt. They need to get into that area.

Think about a time where you have had something sticky on the countertop and if you try to wipe it up with a little bit of water and paper towel it takes forever, but if you spray it and let it sit for a bit of time, even just warm water, will help lift it up. It is like soaking your dishes. If you soak them, it makes it easier to wash them. The same goes for products.

In your tub (I see people do this all the time), they spray something on their tub and they get in there and start scrubbing it. It takes so long. Girl, spray that stuff, do something else, and then come back. You are making more work for yourself if you are not letting stuff sit.

You also are running the risk that you are actually not removing bacterial. Most anything antibacterial needs to sit and work. It’s like washing your hands; you need to wash your hands for 30 seconds in order for it to work. The same goes for your cleaning too.

If you are doing anything that has to do with removing germs, you want to make sure that you are letting it sit for a while. You don’t have to let it sit all day. Spray your countertop, turn around and spray the other countertop. Wait thirty seconds and then wipe it down.

ALLIE: Thank you! I love that. My goal was to squeeze in as many cleaning tips in 25 minutes as we could and we did! I feel like you are one of those people where we can’t really cover it enough so we will have to do a follow up episode. I am just saying this on the fly, so I hope you’re cool with that. {laughing}

KENDRA: Um….I think you could probably talk me into coming back. I guess it would be alright. {laughing}

ALLIE: Thank you guys, for listening and thank you Kendra so much for being here and sharing your awesome tips with us. We'll link in the show notes. Alliecasazza.com/shownotes/33. We’ll link to the Everything and The Kitchen Sink List, which is awesome and free. We'll link to the Beard Hammock for sure. And Kendra’s amazing courses. We have our courses bundled together where you buy one, you get one, way discounted, so we’ll link to all that good stuff.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Allie Casazza

Allie Casazza , Murrieta, CA