How I Adopted My Mom’s Quirky Cleaning Habits for My Own Home

published Jan 16, 2023
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Most of the things I know about cleaning and organizing, I learned from my mom. She has always been a tidy person, which as a child I could not appreciate; as an adult, I am grateful she has passed down this trait to me. While my mom and I have not lived together in years, I noticed that I had unconsciously adopted a few of her cleaning quirks not because they were helpful (although they are), but because I still feel the responsibility of not annoying her.

As children, my sister and I learned our mom’s house rules quickly and rarely broke them. Her rules were how our homes over the years remained spotless. Applying her quirks to my domestic adult life has also helped keep my home tidy while maintaining a connection to the woman who taught me so much about the importance of a peaceful home. 

Never cook past a certain hour

In the home I lived in before I moved out and where my mom still lives today, my mom had a strict no-cooking past 7 p.m. rule. Because the kitchen was directly below her bedroom, her high sensitivity to smells made it difficult for her to go to sleep (which she already struggled with). To ease her insomnia, we rarely cooked past this hour unless it was for a holiday or special occasion. I have since passed this quirk on to my husband since our apartment has an open layout that quickly fills up with the scent of whatever he’s cooking. Hanging onto my mom’s quirk has been deemed useful not only to keep pungent cooking smells at bay, but to encourage the digestion- and sleep-friendly habit of eating dinner earlier.

Do the laundry at specific times

In two out of the four houses we lived in throughout the years, the washer and dryer were near my mom’s bedroom. She always made it a rule to never do laundry when she was in her room because she didn’t like the noise and vibrations. This meant that we did laundry on weekday mornings after she left for work or a weekend night if she was out with friends. Today, I try to do my laundry as early as possible in the day or I start it while I’m out of the house, and not because I mind the noise, but because I have an ingrained feeling of not wanting to annoy my mom (who doesn’t even live with me!). However, this quirk has been beneficial to me and my husband since we both work from home and prefer to listen to music or have the TV on in the background instead of a noisy washer and dryer. 

Clean up before a cleaning

My mom rarely hired a housekeeper for deep cleanings since she has always been particular about her preferred cleaning methods and overall routine. However, on the rare occasion that a housekeeper would visit our home, my mom would require us to clean the night before. We would put away clothes, clear off surfaces and counters of any items, and even wash and put away dishes. My mom would explain to us that this cleaning before a cleaning would allow the housekeeper to focus on actually cleaning and scrubbing instead of worrying about putting things in their right place. While I have never hired a housekeeper, I still do a light clean before deep cleaning the next day to lighten the load and help me finish faster.