Cleaning is Hard
Keeping a home clean is a difficult task for most people. It is especially hard for working moms for two obvious reasons. Work and kids. Working a full time job means you have less time to clean. Having kids means that your home is going to be more messy. So how can you make and stick to a cleaning schedule for working moms?
As a working mother, you have limited time and there are more important things you would rather do with your spare time than cleaning. Your cleaning schedule needs to be quick, easy to follow, and realistic.
Our cleaning schedule that we have developed involves 3 cleaning times: before work, after work, and a weekly deep clean. Before work is primarily for quick tasks, things to keep your home in one piece. After work is for damage control and getting your house back together. Weekly deep cleans are for anything that falls through the cracks
It is important to set realistic expectations when it comes to keeping your home clean. It is essential to recognize that you won’t be able to keep your home spotless all the time. It is okay to have a little mess or clutter. It is not a reflection of your abilities as a homemaker. It will be important to recognize the difference between important and unimportant cleaning tasks. Limiting your expectations in this way will help you not fell overwhelmed.
Another important aspect of setting realistic expectations is to be honest with yourself about the time and energy you have available to devote to cleaning. If you only have a few hours in the week to dedicate to cleaning, it is not realistic to expect that your home will be perfectly clean all the time. It is better to set smaller, achievable goals that you can accomplish within the time you have available.
Recognizing that it is okay to have some mess or clutter, and being honest about the time and energy you have available for cleaning, can help you establish a cleaning routine that works for you and allows you to maintain a clean, comfortable home without feeling overwhelmed.
Before Work Checklist
You might think we are crazy to suggest that you could get any cleaning done before work. We are not suggesting any deep cleaning, rather some small, simple, quick tasks that will make coming home feel less overwhelming. Getting just a few of these things done daily before work can make a large impact on the rest of your day.
- Start a laundry load
- Have you ever had to stay up late to switch the wash to the dryer? Are you sick of always doing speed cycles? Starting a load before your walk out the door is a quick task that can save you so much time in the evening.
- Laundry can stay in the washer for up to 12 hours after the cycle completes. This means once you get home from work you can put the load in the dryer and get another wash cycle started.
- Tidy up as you rush out the door
- When you’re in a rush to get ready in the morning it is easy to leave all of your products, makeup, and accessories all over the bathroom. Its easy to leave breakfast out, cupboards open, and clothes all over the floor. We’ve found that it takes no extra time to put things back if you do it as you go.
- For example, once you’re done with your hair dryer, leaving it on the counter doesn’t actually save any time versus putting it back in its place. In reality you actually waste time because you’re going to have spend time tidying your things later! We aren’t saying you need to do your breakfast dishes, but instead of leaving them on the counter, at least put the in the sink.
- Make Your Bed
- Surprisingly this is a polarizing topic. No matter how you feel about making your bed, we believe that it is an important way to start your day. Now if you’re going to cut one of the 3 “before work” cleaning tasks out, this is the one to ditch. If you are committed to doing these things it will not only help you maintain a cleaner home but can have a profound impact on your life.This video is popular but if you haven’t seen it before, you need to watch it:
After Work Checklist
The after work checklist is a little more intensive that before work. Use your discretion to determine what is most important each day and focus on just those tasks. Your daily cleaning will depend in large part on how much time you have, the layout of your home, and how many helpers you can enlist. We have built this list for approximately 10-15 minutes per day in a 3 bed 2 bath home.
- Damage Control
- In a perfect world this step might not exist. Sadly with kids come messes. The first cleaning priority of every evening is to clean any major spills or messes. Our hope is that this doesn’t take too long because you deserve to have this step off your list. Make sure that when there is a mess that you get it cleaned as completely as possible to limit any future cleaning.
- One of the best things that can save you time dealing with big messes is the proper cleaning equipment. It can be the difference between a 5 minute clean up and a 30 minute battle with a mess that causes you to question having kids in the first place.
- Put Away All Food
- This step is one of the easiest things to do every day that will make your house feel so much cleaner and more organized. After meals or snacks make sure all food gets put away. Sometimes it is easier to do this at the end of night after the little ones have gone to bed.
- By putting away food and clearing off your counters and tables you will naturally be eliminating a lot of smells and future mess. If you’re feeling on a roll, also wipe down your tables and counter! Get rid off all the crumbs and stickiness. This gives your house such a good feeling.
- No Clothes On The Ground
- This is a similar step but an important one. The goal would be to never have clothes hit the ground in the first place but we know that while that may be realistic for your clothes it is not for your kids. This is something that again, will save you time in the long run. It will make your laundry take less time and limit future work.
- This is a good thing to get your kids in on. When going to bed do a quick floor check (it can even be a fun game for the right ages). This is something that will give everyone a better feeling in their rooms when they wake up the next morning. The “clean feeling” is the perfect way to start the day.
- Tidy Living Areas
- Time permitting, tidy the living areas and try to get the toys put away. It is the last step for a reason because it definitely needs to be done after the kids are in bed. The goal of course, is to have your kids clean their toys up and straighten the living areas before they go to bed. Who are we kidding, if you want your living areas clean, you’re going to be the one to do it.
Weekly Deep Clean
The weekly deep clean is something that should ideally happen the same time every week. You might be rolling your eyes because no two weeks are the same but we encourage you to dig deep to find a time that you can build this weekly habit. The reason for this, is so that it can become a part of your schedule not just an item on the to-do list.
We like to do our weekly deep clean on Tuesday nights. The kids get involved and they just know that every Tuesday we all spend 30-45 minutes. I would be lying if I said they don’t gripe and moan about it every week. I’d also be lying if I told you that they actually help every week. But I can tell you that some effort is made by at least me every week and that is what matters.
I know some moms who like to wake up early Saturday morning to knock out the cleaning. Others try to fit it in during a time when one or two kids are out of the house at an activity. You can do whatever suits your life, schedule, and kids.
Weekly Cleaning Checklist
You can reference our ultimate home cleaning schedule for more details or download the list from our free goodies list. But the things you want to try and get done on a weekly basis are:
- Clean Toilet
- Scrub Tub or Shower
- Wipe Counters and sinks
- Mop Bathroom
- Wash Bathmats
- Clean Stovetop
- Wipe Appliances
- Sweep and mop kitchen
- Vacuum high traffic areas
- Put away clothes
- Disinfect high-touch items
- Put everything in its place
Every 2-3 weeks try to do these tasks:
- Clean mirror
- Empty room trash bins
- Throw away expired food
- Wash sheets and blankets
- Vacuum or sweep and mop
You will save a lot of time if you go room by room and have all the necessary supplies handy. Don’t waste time walking back and forth to gather cleaning supplies from around your house. If you really put your nose to the grindstone for 30 minutes it is amazing what you can accomplish!
Get Your Kids Involved
Teaching your kids to clean and to stay clean is a life skill they will actually use. It will always feel like fighting an uphill battle but if you stay committed to holding them responsible for at least some chores around the house you will see progress. If your kids are the right ages cleaning can be a great game! Other ages teaching kids proper cleaning techniques can actually motivate them to clean more. Other ages might require bribery or threat of punishment. Let’s be honest, what teenager wouldn’t speed clean their room if they thought you were going to take their phone away.
Get creative! No one knows your kids better than you. Spend some time really considering how you can motivate them to clean. You would be surprised at how kids respond when you level with them. Tell them you need help. Tell them that you’re busy and stressed. If you can pull it off by some miracle it will save you hours of time and make your life significantly better. Not because having a clean house is such a big deal itself but because having a clean house leads to better moods, higher productivity, and overall better organization of your life.