5 Steps to a Clean House: A Simple Guide for Busy Moms
A few years ago, I set up a housekeeping schedule so that I could keep on top of the chores. Amazingly, it actually worked! But seriously, after having two kids in two years and continuing to work full time as a practicing attorney, I have not had the time to keep up with it. Sound familiar? I know everyone says you should outsource where you can, but with day care payments, student loan payments and general thriftiness, I am stubborn. Also, you have to CLEAN for the cleaning person and that clutter isn’t going to put itself away.
As I sit here typing, my home is approaching disaster status – I would be pretty embarrassed with unexpected company! My counters are cluttered with yesterday’s art project from school, mail, there is a pile of laundry in a basket in my family room, and there are some dolls having a tea party at my dining room table. I probably should be tidying up instead of writing this post!!
When my home was maintained and clean daily it was because I set up a housekeeping schedule, and stuck with it. While the schedule of yore probably would not fit into my lifestyle today, it was a schedule nonetheless and it worked. So, while a new month is upon us, I am setting up the parameters for a housekeeping routine that will work for my family and I hope you can find one that works for you too.
Which rooms are most important to making the house feel clean? For me, it is where we spend the most time – the kitchen, family room and my bedroom! Of course, this presents a challenge as they are the most used and lived in, albeit get messy the quickest. That being said, I feel much calmer when I have clear countertops, an empty drying rack and a made bed. Your first step should be to make the rooms that are most important a priority. Keeping these rooms clean first will also motivate you to continue with your housekeeping routine.
This gives me anxiety at first, but now go to your priority areas first and make a loose list of what needs to be done to make the room clean. Does it need to be vacuumed? Dusted? Are there various backpacks, toys and what not all over the room? Are there shoes spread out on the floor? Is there a solutionfor that? It may seem like a ton or a whole weekend of work, but don’t worry about that now. Just get it all down and we will narrow it down by priority later. Next go to your lesser priority rooms and make similar lists.
3. Checklist time!
Have I ever told you how much I love check lists? Just check out my other post on Secrets of Downsizing your to do listand you will see how much I love lists! But, now is time for a checklist. Separate out each room and go through the list you made of what will make room look cleanest. Keep your list between 3-5 tasks if you can. For instance, in the kitchen, I put clear the counters, empty the drying rack and wipe the table. Very doable and probably only a few minutes for us who only have a small amount of time to keep their home looking nice. Be sure to include a checklist for your non-priority rooms as well.
4. Create Your Schedule
Take that checklist you just made and then decide which rooms will get cleaned on which days. Make sure that your priority rooms are done at the beginning of the week and you may even be able to tackle two in one day! Do not overdo it or you will give up completely and be back on square one.
5. Outsource What You Can
Kids love to help and they really love to help if it is fun! For instance, my kids’ rooms are disaster zones and I really do not want to spend my time cleaning them. So, I create a game out of cleaning their rooms and they actually do it with minimal whining. Of course, I make sure their rooms have lots of places for organized storage, so it makes self-cleaning a little easier. I love these storage bins for bedroomsor playrooms. I may need to help them along the way, but at least it isn’t another room I am not picking up clutter. Some other chores kids can do are wipe the cabinets and appliances, dust, wipe down the bathroom sink, and vacuum.
Okay, so here goes nothing, let’s start this together and check back in a week to see how it is going, deal?