8 Toilets

October 14, 2017 by Maureen

Having a second home as a vacation home sounds really glamorous and fun.. until you are the one maintaining and cleaning them both! My husband and I just moved into our beach house last weekend, and while we were so excited and couldn’t believe it was real, we also realized we have a lot of work ahead of us. With three kids running around us it has taken much more time to complete some of the tasks that we thought would be quick and easy. Here is an idea of the things we now have to maintain:

  • We have to clean up two yards. One yard is half an acre of grass that needs to get mowed and the other is a quarter acre full of pinecones.
  • We have two kitchens that need to get cleaned and wiped down constantly because with three kids we all know the milk never stops spilling.
  • We have a total of 8 beds with sheets that need to get changed and that doesn’t include a room with three guest beds.
  • We have 6,000 square feet of space that needs to get vacuumed and swept, not to mention..
  • A million windows to clean. A rough guess of the windows between both homes is about 130. Crazy.

But for me the real kicker is we now own a total of 8 toilets! We all know that toilets don’t just stay clean if you don’t use them. No, they need constant cleaning and attention. If you are the one in your household that has the fun job of cleaning those toilets then please say a prayer for me that I can quickly train my children and husband to clean them too.. or at least to aim appropriately! How do I do all this?

Management

Alright - in all seriousness, how do you manage two homes? Well, I think the main tool is called a schedule, and in my case it involves paper and pencil and a weekly printed out calendar. I started doing this in the beginning of the school year and if I can toot my own horn.. I’ve been rocking it. Bathrooms have been clean every week, laundry has been done AND put away, errands have been run, and dinners have been made. It was a true miracle. I’ve been a little lax on occasion but now it is back to it. Heading to the beach house every weekend gives me such renewed energy to really take life by the horns! It makes me want to make both homes the best they can be.

Another way that I have been able to manage both homes is with google docs and their shareable lists. My husband and I start a list each week of things we want to tackle for the beach house. We have learned to prioritize and make sure that all the things on this list are possible before we lose ourselves in the inability to cross anything off. We share the list with each other through the week and then by the weekend we know what each person has to do and how we can accomplish those goals with the kids.

I also taught my son to do this!

Now with two homes I have to step it up again and get serious. And my tool is printing out the google weekly calendar, putting it on my clipboard, and assigning household chores to the days.

Based on the shared google doc, Greg and I seem to be on the same page about things and we just start going through the routine. He tackles the outdoor stuff while I am inside. I am more of a homebody anyways so this works for us. I LOVEEEE decorating and designing, redecorating, and redecorating AGAIN so he just let’s me do it and chuckles when he comes in to find that furniture has been moved three times.

Closing Up

When it’s time to (sadly) leave the beach for the week and tune back into reality there are some important things that must get done. This way it is a much easier and stress free transition when you return!

  • Clean all bathrooms. For me this usually means grabbing the can of Lysol wipes that I keep in every bathroom and wiping it all down. Then leave the toilet lid up so they get less moldy and you are good to go. Make sure once a month you do a good shower scrub too.
  • Make the beds. I know it seems easy enough to just leave them because you are the only ones coming back, but for me it is so inviting to see a nice made bed. I am also a huge fan of a bed with great pillows and bedding.
  • Put the dishes away. This means either in the dishwasher or back into the cabinets once they are dry. Having a clean counter is clutch for when you come back. We all typically dump our stuff when we arrive and I tend to bring food every weekend so it is much easier to actually have the space when we get there.
  • Empty trash cans in every room. Pretty much goes without saying.
  • Leave a light or two on timers. Walking back into a softly light room after a drive to the beach is extremely welcoming. And make sure you have a date to return.

Expectations

I just want to say that Greg and I are not anywhere near perfect. I always see all those Pinterest posts of the amazing women who clean and declutter their whole homes within a month where they choose things like a medicine cabinet or junk drawer to tackle each day. God bless them. I aspire to that but let’s be honest… I am one woman with four people to clean up after! If I can clean the breakfast dishes by dinner time I am happy.

When it came time for us to leave the first weekend, we left a pile of unpacked boxes in our living room, the kids left toys scattered around their space, and things weren’t near as tidy as I would have liked them. But we had a 3 year old who was surprisingly napping, so we had to take advantage of the moment. We chose to clean up quickly and then go with the flow. We threw the quiet, sleeping kid in the car and had a nice relaxing drive home where we could gently ease ourselves back into the pace of the week.

I have come to realize that owning a second home adds more responsibilities and chores, but it should not also come with added stress. Whenever we leave the beach our kids are constantly begging us to stay rather than go home where their friends are. They have also realized the beautiful, slow, and carefree pace of the beach, and for that gift I will certainly make my cleaning schedules and gladly clean all 8 toilets every week..ish.