Meet Clean Mama, the Woman who Made Cleaning Trendy.
We've all had that moment. You look around your house and you're like where do I even start. You might have read Marie Kondo and bought a whole mess of organic cleaning supplies from your handy TCY guide. But where do you start? What's more, how do you make sure you find time for cleaning among eeeeeverything else you have going on. Enter Becky Rapinchuk. This woman knew what she wanted–more time with her kids–and to get there, she started a movement to help other women (and ultimately herself!) take back control in order to spend more time with theirs, too.
And it was cleaning that liberated her. Becky is the Clean Mama, and her story (plus the perfect place to start!) is below.
Name: Becky Rapinchuk IG handle: @cleanmama First, we want to know, what are the identities you lead with: Wife, mom, entrepreneur, daughter, sister, former art teacher
What led you here? What’s your backstory?
I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and I was for a bit but I also was an art teacher, an admissions counselor, and worked part-time at a few restaurants and retail stores. Always hustling but wanting to be home. I was also looking for ways to be able to finally be home with my kids full-time. During this busy time, I was refining my cleaning routine and trying to figure out the best way to keep the house clean AND enjoy my kids.
How did that become the Clean Mama story? This may seem like a basic question, but why cleaning?
I really enjoy cleaning, really! My friends would ask me for tips and tricks and when I was teaching art I would send the kids home with how-tos for cleaning those pesky art stains. I decided to try to start a website and create a way to share my cleaning routine with the world wide web. I was brainstorming web names and my husband came up with "Clean Mama" - he said, "it's what you are, just call it like it is." - ha!
Did you always see yourself as an entrepreneurial type? What was your dream job as a kid?
I have always wanted to own my own business - I never thought that it would be this, I was always coming up with art to sell - small paintings, painted murals, other artsy ventures.
How did the early days of Clean Mama feel? How has it evolved as you’ve grown, both as a company and as people?
It started as just me in 2009 and I quickly added my sister to help deliver pdf documents from my Etsy shop in 2010. She still works for me as my social media manager and so does my sister-in-law. Everything else I hire out by the job - it works well for my business model.
A huge part of what we hear from readers (and ourselves) is the feeling of overwhelm–a core component of what the Clean Mama method tackles. Now that you’re running a truly global business, how do you overcome overwhelm these days?
I make lists and break things down into small, manageable tasks. I look at the year at a glance and plan a theme for each month and then just do things a month at a time. It would probably be easier to map things out even further but things change so quickly that I like to have things in flux with a baseline of ideas that I can move around.
What have you learned about your customers? You’re kind of part of some of the most intimate parts of their homes, right down to the gross bathroom crevices.
I've learned that customers give me my best ideas and direct where I go with Clean Mama. I listen to their questions and struggles and deliver content geared to helping them solve their homekeeping dilemmas and problems.
We found it interesting that you specifically address women who work outside the home and how they too can make the Clean Mama method work for them. Why’d you feel it was important to make that clear?
I found that there is a stigma around stay-at-home moms and work outside the home moms and I wanted to address it, especially as the person that came up with the routine :) I created it because I was a working outside the home mom that desperately wanted to spend every minute of time at home with my kiddos. Being a mom is hard and wonderful and cleaning your home shouldn’t be difficult. That’s why I created my routine - to spend minutes a day cleaning so we could all enjoy a clean house AND each other!
What do you find the biggest challenge to be as an entrepreneur growing a business digitally? Especially now that cleaning is trending!
Keeping my head down and staying in my lane - setting up boundaries around social media and other people’s expectations vs. my reality.
I would rather sit down and chat or do a class with people in person vs. being online, but the reach is amazing when you’re online. You can do more and go ‘further’ but I miss the human connectivity.
What’s the biggest reward?
Cleaning is trending and that is a GREAT thing! I have worked at this for over 11 years and it’s been great, I am grateful for this opportunity on the web and for being able to be HOME with my kids.
This month’s theme is “Summer Cleaning,” and we mean that literally and holistically in life. How do you apply that to your business and to your personal life?
I am always cleaning and simplifying - whether it’s in our home or in my blog and shop. I like to make sure that we're thinking of things in the easiest, simplest, most efficient way.
What’s next for Clean Mama?
My fourth book, Clean Mama's Guide to a Peaceful Home, is coming out December 29th, 2020. I'm super excited to share more about it - it's all about systems and rituals for a calm and cozy home.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to tap into a space that might feel crowded (like Instagram!)?
Be yourself and just start sharing!
Last question: What advice would you give to your pre-Clean Mama self?
Be ready to adapt and change quickly - the internet moves FAST!
Head to CleanMama.com and subscribe to her Homekeeping Society, where you'll have access to a whole suite of calendars like the one below, plus, tips, guides and so much more to keep your home spic and span–and leaving time for what really matters. Be sure to tag us and @cleanmama to share your progress!