If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a mama with more to do than there are hours in the day – or you know someone who is. You know the only chance you have of tidying your house in time for Thanksgiving next week, and KEEPING it that way through the rest of the holiday season, is with some good cleaning tricks for busy moms.
I get it; I’ve been there. The cold cup of coffee you reheat 3x before you get to finish it. The weeks (especially in the haze of newborn parenthood) when you can’t remember the last time you showered, or washed your hair. How are you going to find the time to clean your house, let alone keep it that way???
If you read my last post, about getting a clean house in less time, you know that getting certain basics squared away first is step #1. But even if you haven’t gotten all those repairs knocked off your list yet, there are still tricks you can work on now. These tricks are doable, I promise, and will help you stay on top of the chaos between now and the end of the year. Who knows? By the time the new year arrives, you may have gotten yourself into some new habits!
Ready to make cleaning the house a lot easier? Read on for a few tricks that many parents swear by!
This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.
Cleaning Tricks for Busy Moms (And Dads!)
1) Plan To Spend 20 Minutes Cleaning/Tidying Per Day
Around 20 minutes, spread out throughout the day, is a manageable time to spend cleaning. Or “tidying,” if you prefer. (Yes, there’s a difference between deep-cleaning and tidying, so don’t let a lack of time for deep-cleaning discourage you from lots of quick tidies!) You might focus on one room while your kids are playing there, for example. Or pick one small and finite task, such as grabbing stray books or shoes and putting them back where they belong.
“But how can only 20 minutes make a dent?” you may think. Believe me, it does. If I’ve got 5 minutes left over before school while the girls are still brushing teeth and putting on shoes, I’ll tidy the counters. 5 minutes after school while they settle into homework? I’ll (shh!) recycle some of my husband’s junk mail. 5 minutes while the girls are brushing their teeth before bed? Usually not enough to fold a whole batch of laundry (my least-favorite task!), but enough time to make some headway.
Staying on top of the little tasks each day can really help keep things from getting out of control. I’ve used the same principle with the girls, too. Five minutes here and there to clean up their homework desk, pick up their toys, or tidy their rooms is a LOT easier than letting things get so bad that it takes an entire afternoon!
2) Know What You’re Going To Be Doing On Certain Days
You know how housewives used to designate certain days for certain tasks? There was washing day, mending day, baking day…It may seem old-fashioned, but think about it: You probably have weekly patterns to your work, to help you get it done. Why not do this for your cleaning, too?
If you come up with a plan for which days you’ll accomplish which cleaning tasks, you’re going to feel more structure. And that structure will help keep you from constantly postponing the cleaning jobs to a later date. Maybe you have a designated day or time for certain jobs; as I’ve written elsewhere, we knock off the weekly jobs each Sunday during our Cleaning Power Hour. Or maybe you’ll clean the bedrooms on Monday, the living room on Tuesday, the bathrooms on Wednesday, etc.
You can also set a timer for 20 minutes and power through as much as possible during that time. When you’re super-busy, you don’t want to have to spend too much time cleaning up. A timer will help you to stay focused and accomplish what really needs to get done. For what it’s worth, the 20-minute timer ties back to a time management and productivity method called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s super-helpful for getting all sorts of things done, but I especially love using it to chip away at cleaning jobs I’ve been avoiding.
3) Invest In Products And Tools That Will Make The Job Quicker
If there’s something that will make cleaning faster and easier for you, by all means, get it!!! When you free up time like this, you’ll have more time to spend with your kids and on other important things. You can look at www.cleanhappens.com/ for some great products to inspire you and get your thinking started.
Also consider investing in products that will simplify your cleaning efforts. Don’t have a dishwasher? By all means, get one if you can! Vacuum too cumbersome to lug out? Consider easier-to-manage alternatives, like a carpet sweeper, cordless vacuum, or electric broom. These lightweight options won’t replace your regular vacuum for the heavy-duty cleaning. But they WILL make it easier to clean up little messes quickly. This means a) you’re more likely to do those quick cleanups, and b) by the time they’re preschoolers or older, YOUR KIDS CAN USE THEM!!! (Do not underestimate giving kids the ability to vacuum up their own messes. This is huge.)
And what about a cleaning caddy? If you have room to store one and your house is compact, get one. It’s a great way to get all your cleaning gear into one place, so it’s easy to tote from one room to the next. On the other hand, if your home is more spread out, consider stashing duplicates around the house, so you always have the right product at hand to give the bathroom a quick wipe-down.
4) Figure Out Your Priorities
Which is more important to you? Having a home that looks like a museum, or spending quality time with the ones you love? Knowing your priorities ensures you schedule enough time for them and that you don’t feel stressed out.
If your priorities are spending time with your family and getting your work done, don’t fret too much about missing a day cleaning, as long as your other two priorities are met. Also remember that we all go through seasons in our life. If you’re a parent of an infant under the age of one, you can be forgiven for not having time to keep your house spotless! Ditto if you’ve recently gone through a move, or a major illness.
It can help to come up with cleaning priorities too. Maybe grubby sinks really stress you out. In that case, make sure you clean the sink every day, In my case, it’s cluttered/dirty kitchen counters, dishes in the sink, and smelly dishtowels. As a result, I have an ample supply of dishtowels, so I can swap in a clean set whenever needed. And my floors may not always be clean enough to eat off, but you’d better believe my countertops are! Decide what’s important to you, and don’t worry too much if other areas are less-than-perfect.
5) Don’t Aim For Perfect
Speaking of which: Perfect doesn’t exist. Even if it did, it becomes even harder to achieve when you’re a busy parent. This is just reality.
Back in my student days, I gradually came to a hard realization: Perfect is the Enemy of Done. Getting that essay just PERFECT before turning it in was never going to happen. Rather than rack up late points, best to just hand it in already.
Over time, I’ve come to realize the same is true for housecleaning. Yes, there is always more dust hiding somewhere, or another fingerprint to wipe. But there’s also such a thing as declaring yourself done with a job and moving on.Perfect is the Enemy of Done.Click To Tweet
Don’t worry about things being perfect, or spotless. As long as your home is tidy and healthy, that’s all that matters. Remember that the dishes in the sink or the laundry in the corner can wait another day if your kids want to play a game with you. There will always be more laundry and more dishes, but your kids won’t be little forever.
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