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A clean home is a tidy mind. I know this, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still super hard for me to keep a tidy home!
I’ve told Husby and myself that the reason for this is kids. We have kids! We both work full time! Of course our house is a disaster. Everything I do, they undo. Besides, a messy home means they’re busy making memories, right? This, of course, naturally translates to “a messy home means I’m successfully momming”!
To an extent. Let’s be real here.
I know it’s unrealistic to think I can have an immaculate at all times. There truly is something to be said about how difficult it is to keep a clean home when you have little ones.
But it’s also unrealistic for me to think that my house can never be clean. As with most things, there’s a middle of the road.
I feel so much more at peace when my house is in order. So why can’t I get it together? Finally one night I’d had enough. I decided it was time to quit making excuses and start taking better care of my home.
I’m going to share with you some of the things I do to stay somewhat on top of the cleaning – somewhat.
My house is never totally clean and there are still days where it looks like the Tasmanian Devil stopped by for a drink. I’m human. And a mom. And, at times, yep, you guessed it – lazy.
Let’s get this partaayyy started!
Lay the Foundation for a Clean Home
First, let’s start off with a few calls to action:
1. Stop being lazy.
I knowww, I know, I know. This is supposed to be a guide for lazy moms, which may sound like I have the secret to having a clean home while maintaining your laziness.
I may have misled you a bit there.
The problem is -there is no magic solution to keeping a clean home.
Oh, yeah. I was totally bummed too when I found out that Mary Poppins-type magic doesn’t exist. I have searched high and low for a magical solution that would keep my home clean without me having to lift a finger, and I have sadly failed.
After spending the majority of my adulthood waiting for my house to clean itself, I have surrendered to reality and finally started implementing a handful of those pins I’ve been saving over the years. Some of them have worked for me, and others haven’t. More on that below.
So, stop being lazy, or at least as lazy. This is the most important tip of all. If you can’t accept it, then not much is going to change.
2. Find what works best for you.
For the longest time, I created a story in my head that things are supposed to be done a certain way – and that way was whatever the mainstream was saying it was.
The issue with that is that often times the most popular method that worked for the masses didn’t work for me.
To give you an idea of what I mean, I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you have too, then you know her method for folding clothes gives you fabulous results, but it was too much work for me (told ya I was lazy). I would avoid folding my clothes because I dreaded the amount of time and effort (in my opinion) it would take to fold them per Kondo’s method, and as a result, my clothes would lie in piles on my bedroom floor for days. (PS: While I didn’t adopt her specific method of folding clothes, the overall book is a definite must-read).
The key to a clean home is to really find which tips and tricks work best for you and that enable you to stay on top of cleaning so that you never feel like you spend too much time and energy on this oh so dreadful task. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
3. Deep clean your house to start.
If you’re like me, you have really let the cleaning go. If that’s the case, take your next free weekend and just clean, clean, clean. Buy a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of your favorite beer to get you through it. Turn on some fun music. Get a sitter for the kids, or try to keep them occupied with something for as long as you can. It sucks, but you’ll be SO happy when it’s done.
Or you could pay someone else to do it for you. Whatever works!
Having a clean home to start with will motivate you to keep it that way.
Tips to Keeping a Clean Home
Alright! Your house is now sparkling and you’re ready for it to stay that way! But how?
1. Create a cleaning schedule.
This is seriously the best idea ever – and it’s totally not mine. Regardless, cleaning schedules are great because they help you get into the habit of cleaning a little bit each day instead of letting it pile up to the point where you’re overwhelmed and just don’t even want to get into it. It also saves you from spending an entire day of your weekend just cleaning.
To get a cleaning schedule, you can either search Pinterest for one that you like, create your own, or you can download the Cleaning Schedule that I use. You can use it as is, or use it as a foundation to create a schedule that fits your needs.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can even make a very simple “command center” in your kitchen where you can hang your cleaning schedule. I got these cute, inexpensive frames from Amazon. I stuck my cleaning schedule in one of them and hung it up in my kitchen. This way it’s not outta sight, outta mind.
2. Dedicate 30 minutes daily to cleaning.
At the end of everyday, put on some music, grab a glass of wine and your spouse, set the timer to 30 minutes, and try to check off as much as you can from your cleaning schedule. It can actually be a little fun by making a game out of it!
3. Find and designate a “collection bin”.
I have a fabric container with a handle that I designated as our “collection bin”. I keep it on the floor in the corner of my kitchen because the kitchen is central to the rooms that we hang out most in.
Inevitably, our things from upstairs find their way downstairs throughout the day. Instead of running up and the down the stairs, or leaving things on the floor to avoid doing that, I just walk through the house at the end of the day and put anything that belongs upstairs in this container. Then I carry it upstairs and put everything back where it belongs. It takes all of 10 minutes and it keeps the clutter from building up around the house.
4. Clean as you go and grant yourself some grace.
As you’re going through your day, clean. I know I’m making it sound a lot easier than it is at times.
For instance, the other day my 3 year old got into my make up and poured it all over his carpet, pooped in his pants and stuck his finger in his butt, and then poured milk all over the family room carpet. Not all at once, thank the good heavens. But still, I wanted to poke my eyes out.
Events like these obviously take precedence over the crumbs accumulating on my kitchen countertops. This is where the grace comes in handy. Don’t beat yourself up on the days when you aren’t able to stay on top of the cleaning!
Do the best you can with the type of day that you’re having and be ok with it. Every little bit helps.
5. Get your kids in the habit of cleaning up after themselves.
You may already have this handled in which case I’m super jealous. This is probably the hardest thing for me to do because it’s just sooooo much faster and easier if I do it myself. Like SO much faster.
Oh, and then there’s the whole thing about my preschooler never listening.
But here’s what happens when you plan on just cleaning the mess up yourself. You either won’t, or when you tell your 3 year old to clean up his room, he will respond, “No. Daddy will do it for me later”. Yes, this is coming from personal experience.
I have come to the realization that we are slaves to our preschooler. Don’t let yourself get to this point because it’s really hard to reverse (it has been for us anyway!). If you are at this point like me, stay strong and be consistent. It’s going to be tough and you’re going to want to give up, but keep going. Don’t clean up for them. Make them do it. Take privileges away. Let them tantrum. Just. Do. Not. Give. In. We can do this!!
I think. 😉
6. Just freaking do it.
Another way of telling you to stop being lazy because it’s that important to your success with this!
Sean Patrick Flanery said, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”. Remember this quote and say it to yourself when you need to hear it.
At the end of the day, when the kids are finally asleep and you’re winding down, I know you just want to go to bed. God do I know it. But repeat this quote to yourself and use your last ounces of energy to put those dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
I usually tell myself, Take the next 30 minutes to do some cleaning and then you can have an ice cream sundae, because 30 minutes doesn’t sound so bad – and it’s fun to reward yourself. I’m always happy the next morning that I did (To clarify, I’m glad I cleaned… not so glad I ate the ice cream sundae).
A Clean Home is a Respite!
There ya go! This is how I’m keeping my house presentable enough for someone to stop by and not think “Maybe I should contact child services because her children are obviously living in unfit conditions”. Just kiddingggg.
But seriously, being in a clean home does wonders for your psyche. I know it’s hard to stay on top of, especially if you have pets or kids, but doing a little cleaning each day will make such a big difference.
And again, you’re going to have days that are just flat-out crazy. You really won’t have the time or energy to check much off of your list, and that is totally ok! Even checking one thing off of your cleaning schedule will help.
This is what works for me right now. I’d love to hear how you keep up with house chores! Comment below with your best tip for keeping a clean home!