As a mom and the owner of a cleaning business, I know just how stressful it can become to balance a clean house with spending time at work, with your spouse, and most of all, time with your little ones. Here are some cleaning tips that have helped me make the most of my time!
1. Wake Up Early
Every morning I set my alarm to get up 30 minutes before my family does. Not only do I get to take a shower without extra company, but I also get to enjoy my first cup of coffee in peace. Most importantly, I get a head start on some of the tasks I know I won’t have time for during the day.
Here are a few of those things you could tackle in the morning before your kids wake up and before you head out of the house:
- Empty the dishwasher.
- Move clothes from the washing machine to the dryer or fold dry clothes.
- Make your bed, pick up dirty clothes, or clean up cups or bottles from your nightstand.
- Throw some chicken, veggies, and potatoes in the crockpot so you can enjoy dinner when you come home after a long day.
2. Be Prepared for “Art” Stains
When it comes to kids, sooner or later, there will be crayon marks on your walls, marker smears on your doors, or ink spilled on your couch, or stains on places you wouldn’t even think of. Because of this eventuality, you should always have some of the following products in supply. Keep in mind you only need to dab a stain, not rub it in.
Keep these stain-erasing supplies in stock:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Baking Soda
- Magic Eraser
- Hand sanitizer
- Aerosol hairspray
- Nail polish remover
3. Sometimes You Need to Fake a Clean House
There are some days where we are drowning in appointments or being the mom-taxi for our kids. On these days, there aren’t enough hours in the day to clean. If you get unexpected guests on one of those days, it can become a crisis when you try to make your house look presentable!
Here are some of my tips on how to fake a clean house within minutes:
- Add some lemon-scented essential oil to the vacuum bag, and then run the vacuum. Not only do you get rid of crumbs and dog hair, but your house will also smell fresh and clean, even if it really isn’t!
- Throw any loose items in a basket and stick that basket somewhere out of sight.
- Perform a quick toilet check by wiping down the lid, the seat, and the rim of the toilets to remove any stains that might’ve been left by your little ones (or your husband).
4. Multitask—Clean as You Go
Cleaning while managing other tasks can sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, while your pasta is boiling or the casserole is in the oven, take a few minutes to tidy the kitchen. Clean the utensils you used for cooking, load the dishwasher, wipe down countertops, or clean that spilled milk out of your fridge. This will not steal any of your time since you’re in the kitchen anyway.
Another example is while you and your family gather dirty clothes/hampers, make it a 10-minute cleanup for everyone. You’d be surprised how much a family can clean in 10 minutes if everyone makes it their focus for that time.
- Take dirty clothes to the laundry room.
- Pick up cups and other dishes from bedrooms or other areas and put them all straight into the dishwasher.
- Gather empty snack wrappers and throw them in the trash.
- Go through mail, paperwork, homework, and other loose papers scattered around the house. File what’s important and discard what isn’t.
This sounds like an hour’s worth of work. But if a family of four does this for 10 minutes, you can all cover a lot of ground.
5. Put Things in Their Place Right Away
Some of the messes and circumstances I’ve offered solutions for above could all be avoided if we just put things where they should go right away. Sometimes, it’s easier to kick off our shoes in the hall and throw our purses or backpacks on the floor. But if you can train yourself and your family to put things where they should go, you will decrease “designated cleaning times.”
Check out these tips:
- Instead of kicking off your shoes in the hallway, place a small shoe rack by the front door where all shoes can be stacked.
- Install some hangers so jackets, purses, and backpacks can be kept off the floor.
- Go through the mail immediately. Throw away junk mail, pay bills as they come in, and either shred papers afterward or file them. Don’t get into the habit of piling unopened letters on your entry table or countertop.
- Train yourself and your family to make the bed every morning before leaving the house.
- Do a quick pick-up of laundry laying on the floor and any unnecessary items sitting on the nightstand.
6. Get Help If Things Get Too Overwhelming
STOP TRYING TO DO IT ALL! Even superheroes (like you!) need help from time to time. I get it! We think we can do it all, but there are times in life where we may have to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you need a dog walker or laundry service for life. But if your husband is traveling for work for the next three months, or your boss asks you for more hours this quarter, don’t kill yourself by pulling night shifts folding laundry and meal prepping.
Here are a few ideas for help you can get from the outside:
- Online meal service
- Laundry service
- Dog-walking service
- Lawn service
7. Ask your Kids to Get Involved
If your kids are a little bit older, it can be beneficial to everyone to get your kids involved in the housekeeping beyond those 10-minute cleanup sessions. Encouraging your kids to help to do the laundry, washing dishes, or even just dusting and wiping down surfaces around the house will not only give you a few extra hands to help out, but it also teaches your kids valuable life skills they carry with them when they leave the nest.
Cleaning doesn’t have to seem like a punishment or a chore. Perhaps you can put on some music as you and your children clean. Making cleaning a fun task allows you and your children to spend a few more minutes together after long days at work and school.
8. Keep Many Stashes
Another way to become more efficient at cleaning is to have multiple stashes of cleaning supplies throughout the house. Keep cleaning materials in every place you will need them.
- Instead of storing all the bathroom cleaning supplies in just one bathroom, store supplies in all bathrooms.
- Don’t put all your cleaning materials in some random closet in your house—make sure you keep some in your kitchen.
- If your home has multiple floors, consider keeping a vacuum cleaner on each floor.
Keeping extra stashes of cleaning supplies will help you to address any mess in any part of your house quickly. And with kids, there’s going to be quite a lot of messes.
9. Space Out Your Work
Try to maintain a clean house while working, and spending time with your family can quickly become very overwhelming if you try to do all your cleaning all at once. Try to divide some of the cleaning across several days. Or tackle one room a day instead of trying to do it all at once. Designating each room to a different day of the week will ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed by fitting all your cleaning into one afternoon or one morning.
10. Clean Up Messes Right Away
This may seem like an obvious one, but we’ve all had those moments where something is spilled or stained, and we shrug it off, saying we’ll clean it some other time. Don’t let yourself fall for that temptation! Stains are always the easiest to clean when they first happen. Letting stains accumulate, even if you intend to clean them later, will make your house feel dirty. And a dirty house is not a pleasant environment for anyone.
From one mom to another, I hope these cleaning tips will help you manage a clean, healthy lifestyle while spending quality time with your little ones!