When you’ve got a career, marriage, and motherhood to keep up with, as well as trying to make time for your own hobbies, it can feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day. Oftentimes, housework gets pushed to the back of the priority list. But having a clean and organized home environment is essential to attaining a relaxed and peaceful mind.
It may seem impossible, but it can be done! Here are some cleaning tips to make the process much more manageable, even in the midst of hectic schedules and the numerous demands of motherhood.
1. Get Rid of Clutter
The more clutter you have around the house, the longer it takes to declutter. There has been a recent trend toward minimalism, like the popularity of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the craze over tiny houses. We all know that maintaining a minimalist home can be particularly difficult with young children. You don’t have to do anything drastic, but if you have a lot of items that don’t have a proper place in your home, consider selling or donating them. Get rid of toys that are broken or are no long played with, donate those piles of books that never get touched, and make sure your closet only contains clothes that you enjoy wearing and fit well.
2. Top to Bottom
When planning a strategy for cleaning a room, start at the ceiling and go down from there. This way, any dust or other dirt is going to fall onto the floor that you haven’t cleaned yet, and that makes the whole process a lot faster! Don’t waste time trying to make sure you don’t dust onto anything that has already been cleaned. When sweeping stairs, sweep from the top to bottom as well.
A great tool for keeping the floors clean with minimal effort is the Roomba. There are many models with different capabilities so you can find the one that will best fit your budget and needs. We have the Roomba 690, which will connect to WiFi and can be controlled from our smartphones. It is programmed to run once a day and will return to its dock once it is done. It significantly cuts down on the amount of sweeping that needs to be done and gives me one less thing to worry about.
3. Get Someone Else to Do it For You
It can be hard for moms to admit that we are not superheroes who can handle everything with a smile on our faces. It’s not shameful or a sign of weakness to pay someone else to help, if it is within your budget. There are a lot of different options, and it may be more within reach than you realized. You can hire a cleaning service or an individual, set up a monthly schedule, or save it for special occasions. This does not mean that you won’t have to clean anymore, but your hired help will tackle things you may not get to often, like baseboards, deep freezers, and messy garage you keep putting off.
At the same time, make sure there’s no underlying problems in your house structure or your water systems. Issues with the HVAC, roof, or plumbing are serious issues that require professional help. Calling a business like Mr Rooter Plumbing right away is a good idea when faced with potentially complicated issues with your house.
I know that I often procrastinate and put off cleaning because it can be so tedious and not very fun. However, cleaning time doesn’t have to be just cleaning time. Rather than pacing around your house while talking on the phone, pop in some earbuds and start working through your cleaning list. If you are itching to catch up on your favorite TV show, sit in front of the TV with your laundry basket and get a whole load done before you even get to the credits.
My favorite time to listen to podcasts is when I’m driving, but listening to them while cleaning comes at a close second. One particular podcast that has actually given me great ideas and tips about cleaning is Mother Like a Boss. The host, Kendra Hennessy, is a mother of two kids, and she has ample experience in keeping homes clean from owning and running a house cleaning business for over ten years. Her tips are practical, ingenious, and formulated from years of experience in her business and her home.
5. Clean As You Go
As you walk around your house and notice small things that need to be cleaned, don’t make a mental note to do it later. Chances are, you’ll forget, and the mess will increase exponentially. If you have a few minutes, put away the item that is out of place or wipe up the small spill on the counter. Another easy hack is to fill the sink with soap and hot water while you cook, so that you can put dirty dishes in to soak as you go. Once you have finished cooking, your dishes will be ready to load into the dishwasher or be hand washed. You don’t have to deviate from your schedule to do these quick and easy tasks, and it will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
6. Delegate to Your Husband and Kids
Keeping the house clean is NOT solely on the mother’s shoulders. If you are a stay-at-home mom, you may feel obligated to take over most of the housekeeping duties. But being a mom is a full-time job, with no breaks or monetary compensation! So don’t feel guilty for wanting or needing help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Your kids are most likely more able and willing to help than you even realize!
If your husband does not help out around the house as much as you would like, don’t write it off as a lost cause. First, express to him the things that he does that you are thankful for (taking care of care maintenance, mowing the lawn, etc.), so that he feels appreciated. Then, communicate to him clearly that you need help and give him specific jobs (with instructions) that you would like help with. Don’t assume that he will see the chores that need to be done and do them without asking.
7. Take Back Control of the Toys
Don’t let your kids toys take over your house! Designate one or more areas that toys are allowed to stay permanently. Use stylish bins and baskets in communal living areas to store the toys so that the house does not look cluttered or disorganized. Let your kids know, after a certain age, that they are responsible for their own belongings, and they will lose them if they are not taken care of. Set a rule that only one set of messy toys can be played with at one time so that sets don’t get mixed up and the mess doesn’t get out of hand. Find the perfect balance of letting your kids have fun without the mess becoming an eyesore.
8. Take Off Shoes and Wipe Paws
A great way to minimize the amount of dirt that gets tracked in is by making it a habit to take shoes off at the door. This is even more important when you have younger children at home that are crawling around or apt to put anything and everything in their mouths. Taking off shoes before entering a home is a very common practice in Asian households, but it is not as universal in American culture. Hang a friendly sign as an easy reminder to let guests know your preferences and keep a designed shoe rack or area by the door. Don’t forget about your furry pals! Wipe off their paws when coming in from outside, and your floors will be sparkling clean for a little longer.
9. Use Bath Time as Cleaning Time
As the mother of a toddler, I know a lot of time is spent watching my water-loving son in the bathtub, playing with bath toys and splashing. Why not use this time wisely and clean the toilet, sink, mirror, and anything else that is within reach while monitoring your kids’ bath time. Then, after they go to bed, the only thing left to clean is the bathtub.
10. Create a Cleaning Routine
The most effective way to stay on top of household duties is by creating and sticking to a cleaning routine. Most importantly, find a strategy for cleaning that works for you! Whether that is spending a few hours cleaning every weekend or doing a little bit everyday, use the method that fits in best with your family, your needs, and your crazy schedule.
For those of you who are looking for a useful resource to help you develop an efficient and doable cleaning routine, check out these free printables in my resource library.
What are some cleaning tips that works wonders for your household? Please share them below!