If you are anything like me, your house is constantly in a state of disarray. I visit and/or see photo’s of other people’s spotless homes and wonder if they a.) don’t have kids, b.) keep their kids locked up, or c.) are complete minimalists. The answer is probably d.) some combination of the above! I feel like I am always cleaning the house, or needing to clean the house/toilet/laundry/etc. It NEVER ends!
Now that I’ve gone back to work full time, I have to come up with a system – gone are the days where I could leisurely clean the house one morning a week when the kid’s were both at school, or while Finn was napping each day. I’ve joined the club (again) of the momma’s & daddies who are trying to do it all — in between after-school sports, homework, piano practice, dinner prep, family dinner at the table, bath-time, laying out clothes, packing lunches, and getting everyone in bed….and somewhere in the midst, trying to keep the house in order! I’ve got a few tips that I’ve discovered – mainly because the LAST thing I want to do on days off (i.e. weekend) is clean house!
These are not the most environmentally friendly, or non-toxic, but, it is working for now!
1. Clean up the dinner dishes right after eating. It only takes a few more minutes to clear the table (make the kids do that!) load the dishes into the dishwasher, and wipe up the counter. I am a super procrastinator, but even I have to admit that if I will just do it right away, I avoid the all too easy temptation to “do it in the morning” ….which, inevitably turns into “do it after I drop off the kids”, “do it after lunch”, etc. Just get it done! You’ll sleep easier.
2. Clean the bathroom while the kids are bathing. My boys are young enough to bathe together, so I plop them in the tub – while the water is running, I wash their hair and rinse with the water while it’s still filling up. That way, they can soak/play without interruption. While they are creating tidal waves, I grab a rag and my Mrs. Meyer’s Counter Spray (Rosemary Scent smells divine!) and quickly wipe down the toilet bowl and base, window sill, counter tops, cabinets and door knobs. A quick swipe will do the trick, and it only takes a couple of minutes. Post bath-time, while the water is draining, I use one of their towels to “mop” the floor. I mean, there is enough California Baby bath water splashed on the floor – might as well take advantage!
3. Embrace Cube and/or Basket storage. I am obsessed with cube unit furniture, as referenced in my House Crasher’s post of Finn’s bedroom! Both of my kids’ rooms, as well as our living room, have some sort of cube unit. I love these, because you can stash a LOT of toys and not see any of the clutter! Every night I walk through and any stray toy I find, I stash in a cube or basket. Ideally I put it in the correct bin, but if it’s a late work night? Stash and go. You can sort for home-school time on the weekend!
4. Do a load of laundry every day – or every other day, at least. Lord, have mercy! we go through a LOT of laundry at this house! (Thank goodness for Allison’s DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe – this is not longer a grocery bill drain! PS – I actually did Vanessa’s version first, and it took me less than 5 minutes!) Anywho…laundry is another chore that can sneak up on me – our laundry closet is behind closed doors, and we put all of the dirty laundry in said closet. Therefore – it’s out of sight! Sweet! However, when you don’t see it, it’s easy to forget how quickly it piles up. And nobody wants to do 4 loads of laundry in a single night. My new plan: one load per day. I start the washer when I wake up. It’s a 40 minute cycle. I put wet clothes in dryer and it’s halfway finished when we leave for school. When we get home, 1 load of clean laundry – done! One load is not a big deal to fold and put away – and this is another task that I enlist the help of my kids! Finn (almost 2) is obsessed with putting clothes into the washer and dryer. I’ll just mention it and he runs to get it done. Wish Hudson (7 1/2) was as excited about chores!
5. Streamline your cleaners. I am transitioning from our chemical cleaners to Borax and Vinegar, as well as Mrs. Meyer’s. It’s pretty incredible how much you can do with just a few items. It makes it a lot easier when you only have a couple of things to clean with, versus a different cleaner for each individual task! I also love that they are less toxic for my family and safer for the Earth (we only get one!).
So, what do you think? Have you implemented any special “tips” that have helped you maintain a cleaner home? I’d love to hear them – especially shortcuts and money savers. Comment below, or find us on Twitter or Facebook and share your tips!