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Home and Family, Productivity

How to Keep Your Home Clean (ish)

So you are a mom with little children in the home. And your house isn’t clean. We have all seen those internet photos that say something to the effect of, “Sorry for the mess; my children are making memories.” It is a sentiment that we can all relate to. A home with children is a home that can be in a constant state of disarray. However, this does not have to be the case!

When my son was a little baby, he wasn’t even crawling yet and I felt that the upkeep of my home was too much for me to handle. Then he became mobile, and started eating solid (and messy) food! If I managed to get my kitchen to an acceptably clean state, it was because my son was in the living room, littering the room with his toys. The mess never seemed to go away; rather, it migrated from room to room. I couldn’t keep up.

How to Keep Your Home Clean(ish)

This constant state of chaos simply would not do. I don’t know about you, but clutter and mess have a tremendous negative impact on my mental clarity and mood. I simply can’t handle it. So the way I was living was making me feel like crap, which led to decreased to productivity, which increased the mess, and then. . . you get it. No bueno.

I had to do something and some aspects of my life and daily routine needed to change. I started with a schedule. It’s a very rough and flexible weekly schedule of one or two important tasks to complete each day. In addition, each night before bed I make myself a to do list and review it first thing in the morning. And lastly, I developed a set of rules for my household in relation to cleanliness.

But more than just changes in my routine, I needed to change my mindset a bit. Specifically, I needed to chill the F out about the mess my kids leave in their wake. My house is never perfectly neat and tidy. There is crayon on the walls and God knows how many matchbox cars hidden in my couch, under beds, etc. Some days, we are busy having fun, and we don’t have time to pick up every toy or unpack the diaper bag. There’s always tomorrow, and you have kids – no one expects your home to be perfect.

The Schedule

I have this written on my command center dry erase board. The dry erase marker is perfect because it allows for CHANGE! Here is what I start out with each week:

MONDAY – Laundry and Bathrooms

TUESDAY – Bedrooms and Dusting

WEDNESDAY – Kitchen, Dining Room, and Living Room

THURSDAY – Decluttering project or outside chore

FRIDAY – Organize office papers and tidy around the house

Download a free printable of this schedule here.

Now, let me explain why this works for me. Nothing that I have planned for each day takes me longer than an hour. If I have extra time, I schedule myself some deep cleaning, but this schedule just encompasses the maintenance required to keep my home livable and presentable.

Monday

We do laundry when the week starts because our weekends are usually jam packed and I have a pile of dirty clothes come Sunday night. My laundry room is right next to our guest bath, so I clean that while the laundry is running. Monday night when the kids are playing in the bathtub, I clean the sink and toilet in our main bathroom, then do the shower and floor after they go to sleep. (It’s not a deep clean for the shower with Comet and all that. Just a wipe down with some soap scum Tilex stuff.)

Tuesday

I tidy the bedrooms because I am typically still have laundry to put away on Tuesday, and might as well tackle the clutter while I’m in there. I dust the shelves in the bedrooms, and then dust the downstairs area during nap time.

Wednesday

I babysit from my home and Wednesday is my slow day. I only have my two kiddos are a cute little three month old baby boy. So Wednesday allows me the most time in which my downstairs main living area is not a play room. On Wednesday, I wipe down the cabinets in my kitchen, take some wood polish to my dining room table, then sweep and mop the floors downstairs and vacuum my living room. If my couch looks a little rough, I scrub it down with some hot water and upholstery cleaner.

Thursday

This is when I notice things that have started to pile up from the week. I start with my fridge and get the clutter out anywhere I can. And then if I have extra time, I do something outside like weeding the garden.

Friday

We turn in my husbands paperwork for his job and tidy up our office and whatever else is out of place in our home. I like to start the weekend with a clean slate so I am not overwhelmed when Sunday night rolls around.

The Rules

I have gotten some teasing from friends and family about my rules but they help me manage my home! So I stick to them like glue.

  1. I never leave dishes in the sink when I go to bed.
  2. I load the dishwasher after EVERY MEAL.
  3. The kids’ toys stay in the living room and their bedrooms.
  4. The kids’ get picked up every day.
  5. The kitchen is the heart of our home, and as such, it stays clutter free at all times. (No bills on the counter, etc.)
  6. I don’t let myself have more than two baskets of laundry to do at a time. (We have a hamper in our bedroom and the bathroom, and I try to start laundry before they are both totally full. Sometimes this means I am doing laundry twice a week, but it keeps things MANAGEABLE!)

 

These rules are for my sanity more than anything else. They exist so I do not get overwhelmed by huge messes. I suggest you develop your own household rules. What areas of your home become messy the fastest? What areas are more lived in and therefore require the most attention?

The To Do List

My husband makes fun of me because I am ALWAYS making a to do list. It’s the last thing I do before bed and the first thing I look at in the morning. And then I check it about 5,000 times a day. My to do list is my reminder of what needs done. It always starts out with dishes. While the kids are eating breakfast, I unload my dishwasher, and start my day out with a tidy kitchen.

{I love the Google Keep App for managing my lists}

My to do list is kind of revolving. It includes both my daily and weekly tasks and I check things off as I go. I also include things that most people probably would not write down like, “Give kids a bath.” I do this because when I look my my list, I like a full picture of everything I have yet to do that day, and what kind of time those things will require.

A Few Extra Tips

Meal plan and make things ahead or in big batches whenever you can. Dishes, people. Dishes are the enemy, so the fewer dirty dishes, the better.

Speaking of prep work, do as much preparation for your day the night before so that in the morning, you can just get to business instead of having to clean up breakfast, pack lunches, etc.

Don’t let the sun go down on a big mess. If you don’t want to clean it before bed, you definitely won’t want to in the morning.

Give your kids age appropriate chores. My son in three and he knows his dirty clothes go in the hamper. It’s a small thing, but small things help too.

Hold your family members responsible for picking up after themselves. My husband is not allowed to leave me dishes in the sink. He knows this.

Make your damn bed. Just do it. It starts the day off right and motivates you to be productive the rest of the day. Plus it just looks nice.

Sweep the kitchen daily, especially if it’s where you enter your home or you cook every day.

And, of course, have some grace with yourself because motherhood is hard and small children can suck the life out of you sometimes.

 

 

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