Housekeeping Tips for a Busy Working Mom **OR** The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Housekeeping
If you are like me, you are a busy working mom wondering how to keep a clean house when you have so much other “stuff” to worry about! As a fellow hard working mama, I am going to share a few cleaning tips and tricks that help keep my household from descending into complete and utter chaos. Here’s some of my favorite ways to stay organized on a daily basis:
- Always make your bed. I timed myself today and this simple task took me under two minutes to complete. It is a small time investment to make your bedroom look one million times nicer.
- Pick up your (or your husband’s!) dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. You will be much more tranquil when clothes are not strewn about.
- Hang up and put away any clean clothes. I am the worst offender on this one. I have a very bad habit of taking off my blouse and slacks after work and draping them on the bedpost. (Elegant, I know). If you put your stuff away, it’s so much better
- Clear off the counters. Work one section at a time if they’re super messy. Give random stuff to the family member it belongs to and make THEM put it away. Sort out your mail as soon as you bring it in. Wipe everything down, including kitchen table and fronts of cabinets and appliances if you have time. Try to do this really fast. Sometimes I set the microwave timer for 10 minutes and race the clock.
- Load and unload your dishwasher every day. If you are like me, you hate this. For clean dishes, I roll out the top rack and dump out all excess water that has collected on the dishes. Then I towel off the surfaces while everything is still in the rack (saves the time of drying each individual dish). Next, I tell myself that I only have to put away 10 things, and then I can stop if I want to. Sometimes I go find something else to do for a while, but most times I see the progress of the first 10 things and I just keep going. Repeat for bottom rack. Make it a policy that everyone puts dirty dishes right in the dishwasher and not just set them in the sink. Alternative to this plan: pawn this job off on your kid(s)! My kids earn extra screen time for doing this job.
- (Optional) Sweep your floors and hit them with a spray mop. I really like the one from Libman because you can refill it with your own cleaning solution, unlike some other brands like Swiffer. This helps keep things from getting tracked around the rest of the house, and stretches out time needed between full out floor scrubbings.
- Pick up stuff and put it away. Toys, clothes, shoes, etc. can be sorted out by the kid and they can put their own stuff away. Put pillows, blankets, etc. back in their spots.
- Run the vacuum. Like making the bed, it only takes a few minutes but makes a huge difference. Note: You might not need to do this every day if your family is more civilized, but my kids are pretty wild and messy.
- (Optional) If you have time grab some multi surface cleaner and hit TV screens, windows, and furniture as necessary to cut down on dust and grime.
- For an extra bonus, sometimes I light a scented candle before I begin or dance my way around with a bottle of Febreeze for added freshness. I like clean smelling things…Even if they are not really *that* clean…Call me a cheater.
- Worst place to clean in my opinion. Obviously we have to clean the toilet, so scrub out the bowl. You probably don’t need to do this *every* day, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a quick swish. I have had pretty good results keeping the bowl clean with Scrubbing Bubbles toilet cleaning gel stamps, so I usually apply that every 2 weeks or so.
- Wipe down your counter and sink every day with a Clorox wipe. Daily wiping prevents it from ever getting gross. This is an easy job for a kid to help with. Also use another wipe to hit toilet seat, tank, etc. … Again, ick!
- Clean mirrors and empty trash. I keep all my cleaning supplies in a cleaning caddy so I am not running all around looking for toilet brushes and paper towels.
- I make my kids clean their own rooms, but sometimes their organizational skills are lacking. I help them with some things as necessary. I encourage them to make their bed daily and pick up dirty clothes. Also to keep their “stuff” off the floor. This is another chore they do to earn extra screen time. I do the vacuuming, windows, change the sheets, etc.
- Kids have to bring their laundry to the laundry room. I wash and fold clothes, and bring it back to their bedroom. They have to put it away.
- Obviously, I do most of these things for my 2 year old. J He has to pick up his own toys.
- Toys are kept in the kids’ bedrooms or downstairs in the play area. We do not keep toys in our living room, they get put away each night.
- Laundry: I try for at least 2 loads on both Saturday and Sunday, from start to finish. Otherwise I usually run out of steam in the evening and clothes will be sitting in the wash machine for three days because I forgot about them.
- Outdoors: I try to keep the exterior looking like non-hobos live here. Occasional weed pulling or picking up the flower pot or lawn chair that blew over in a storm.
- Car: If you bring something into the car, take it out with you (ex: morning coffee cup should go back in with you each night). Make you kids do this also. Try to go through once a week and empty trash and wipe down dash/windshield. I find my can gets a funky old French fry/gym shoes kind of smell if I don’t keep on top of this. Tip: A cherry bomb or little tree costs $2.50 and does not help!
Alright, so these are my GUIDELINES. I try to do these things every day and as needed. I don’t always get everything accomplished, but I find it makes things much more livable if I manage to get to them even a couple times a week. Hopefully this will help you keep on top of the basics, and cut down the amount of time spent deep cleaning. You know, we do want to procrastinate that shower scrubbing session as long as possible!