Trying to keep our house clean and tidy over the past year has been exponentially more difficult than it was prior to having a little one. It’s amazing to me how one little person can make such a difference (even before he could crawl around and make messes). However, I think there are two key factors that have made housework more challenging 1. The added stuff 2. I have less free time for cleaning and organizing. I know that if I’ve found it to be challenging when I work part time, have one child, and a husband who cleans, that it must be even harder for other Mamas. At the same time, it is important to me that my home feels relaxing and comfortable for our family. I certainly don’t have this mastered and my house is not even close to perfect, but these tips have helped me find a balance over the past year.
1. Declutter Your Home
Every item in my home must be cleaned, put away and given attention. Having less means that I have less to clean and put away at the end of the day. There are so many motivational YouTube videos and books including: A Simplified Life and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo.
2. Create Simple Routines
In the morning we almost always make our bed, pick up any clothes laying in the floor, and if I’m home I will start a load of laundry. In the evening, we try to start the dishwasher, wipe the counters, pick up toys (we put up things throughout the day too) and empty the trash if needed. While this doesn’t deep clean our home, it does keep it from getting out of control. Also, if I notice something messy and it takes less than five minutes to clean up, I will stop whatever I am doing and address it.
3. Choose Easy Techniques
I adore beautiful Montessori playrooms where activities are neatly arranged on shelves ranging from the least to most difficult. However, that is just not very practical for us right now. Instead I keep Noah’s toys in baskets where I can scoop up big messes in seconds.
4. Get Help When Possible
If you can afford to hire help, then I think that’s awesome. If you have a robotic vacuum that cleans your floor, then good for you! I don’t think it’s lazy to get help and sometimes it’s necessary (especially with multiple children and working full time). I don’t have either of those, but I did get an extra-large Swiffer so that I can do a quick pass on our floors in only a few minutes. I also don’t feel guilty that my husband does chores around our house (although it is much appreciated). Also, if your kids are old enough to help out then let them fold laundry or sweep even though they won't do it perfectly.
5. Give Yourself Grace
This is probably my most important tip. It’s okay if your house looks like children live there, BECAUSE THEY DO. There will be a day when my son isn’t unloading his dresser as I’m folding clothes to put away, but that isn’t today. Set your expectations for a clean home to match the amount of time and help that you have.
I would like to add that a "clean home" doesn't look the same for everyone. For me, it means that I wouldn't be ashamed if someone dropped by unexpectedly. I hope that this post was encouraging and would love to hear anything that you do to keep on top the housework!