As a mom of three that works outside the home, I am often asked how I get everything done. Another thing I hear a lot is “HOW do you get so much stuff done? I could never keep up!” Some of that is just genetics. I hate to be bored and sitting idle, so I’m constantly on the go. I also despise clutter, so the majority of the time, my house is in a state fit for company, or can be within 2 minutes (typically means making beds, because no, we don’t do that on weekday mornings. I haven’t found the solution for THAT yet!). Today I’m going to share my secrets for how to keep your house clean while working a full time job.
First, over the years I came up with a schedule that works for ME. I also enlisted the help of my children. Now I’m not going to lie, I had a house keeper for several years and LOVED it. I only had to spot clean and vacuum throughout the week and she did the deep cleaning. She ended up moving on to a different job and I wasn’t able to find anyone dependable, so it fell back to me. So let’s get to the actual topic at hand – my tips and tricks for keeping your house clean as a full time working mom:
- Create a cleaning schedule. It takes a good 4 hours to really clean my house top-to-bottom. I don’t have that amount of time during the week and I don’t want to give up that much time on my weekends! I looked at my schedule and decided that I would clean the upstairs, which includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms on Wednesdays, the basement on Fridays and the main floor on Saturdays. I chose those days because that is what works for me. Look at your week and pick a day that maybe you get out of work a 1/2 hour earlier, or the day your husband cooks dinner – anything that makes loosing that hour of cleaning time less painful.
- The upstairs takes about an hour, so each Wednesday evening I vacuum and mop the upstairs (we have hardwoods throughout the house). I’m not a fan of sweeping, so I have a stick vacuum that works perfectly on hardwood floors. I also clean the bathroom vanities and sinks, the baths and the toilets. A quick dusting and the upstairs is done. My kids are in charge of keeping their room floors clear of debris. Most people can’t believe how clean my kids rooms are. It was just an expectation from birth and they’re use to it. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t clutter and messes from time to time, but day-to-day, they are pretty clean. I just ensure that they have plenty of storage so that they can shove everything out of sight! Seriously, I don’t care if it is perfectly placed, we have lots of bins in each child’s room so that they can shove things in and gets it off the floor.
- We have a finished basement, so I typically clean that on Friday’s. It is the only floor with a rug, so I use my Dyson to quickly vacuum and then I dust. That’s about all that requires. My 15 year old daughters room is also down there, but she is responsible for cleaning that and her bathroom. I do spot checks on her bathroom to make sure it is staying clean and yes, there are times I have to remind her to step up her game so that it is up to “Mom Standards” but she typically does a great job. She is the only one that uses that bathroom so she can most certainly pull her weight in keeping it clean!
- Saturdays are the day that I clean the main floor. This is the most time consuming, so I do it Saturday mornings and I enlist the kids help. I dust and then my 8 year old son vacuums while my 6 year dusts all of the baseboards. Once those are done, I mop the entire floor. I also wipe down all of the kitchen cupboards and the outside of the appliances. I finish by cleaning the guest bathroom. Obviously I do not give my children tasks they cannot complete up to my standards. I wouldn’t ask my 6 year old to vacuum because I would just have to redo what she has already done because she tends to miss a lot of spots. I know she can handle the baseboards and do a great job, so that’s the task she gets. And yes, we do give our children an allowance each week, which helps them clean without complaint.
- Clean the inside of your fridge and stove once a month. If you stay on top of this, it really doesn’t take too long. I usually just do this whenever I’m feeling super energetic!
- Spot clean as needed. I typically pull out my vacuum several times a week in the kitchen. It’s where most of the action happens, so I will run the vacuum quickly to get up any small messes or crumbs. This helps keep them from being dragged into other areas of the house and only takes a few minutes of my time.
- Laundry – I hate laundry. Hate it. We use to do a load a day, but recently we’ve enlisted my 15 year old – but before I get to that, I’ll tell you how we use to make it work! The kids each have a hamper, and my husband I share one. As the hampers fill up, I empty them into a 4 bin rolling cart that I keep in the laundry room, that way laundry is always on hand that needs washing. Each morning before work I would throw in one load of wash. When I arrived home, I would throw the load into the dryer and then as I was finally sitting down to a little TV in the evening, I would quickly fold that one load. Since it is only one load, it is manageable and I could easily put it in the kids rooms to be put away, etc. But as I mentioned, we have a teen that wanted extra money, we had a job we hated, so we worked out a deal. She does the laundry throughout the week and we pay her. She has to make sure she does it correctly though, otherwise she’ll loose her job! She runs them through the washer and dryer and folds them into piles. Then each person is responsible for putting their clothes away. I will admit this is where my younger kids fail and I typically put them away once they bring them up to their rooms and drop the piles on their floors.
- Dishes – Again, we enlist the help of our children for this. They are responsible for loading and unloading the dishes, while I clean the counters and table tops.
Obviously I don’t have all the answers, and your situation may be different than mine, but I swear by creating a cleaning schedule. I think if you can look at your days and break up the cleaning into more manageable pieces, you’ll see that your home stays cleaner and is less of a hassle to take care of! Getting into a routine will help and staying on top of cleaning is key. The longer in between cleans, the longer it takes to get it back into tip top shape! It’s not easy being a working mom, keeping house, raising kids, so try to make things a bit easier any way you can!