As busy working moms, when we drag ourselves home at the end of the day, it would be nice if home was a haven. Home should be a place to finally take a few deep breaths and enjoy real life with our family outside of work. But when those deep breaths smell like a bad combination of trash that hasn’t been taken out, dirty socks, and dog hair, we know that the day’s work is far from over.
While some moms might go right to work cleaning up the house before starting dinner and overseeing homework, for others it’s all too easy to put off until tomorrow what they really can’t find the energy to do today. Unfortunately, things like dirty dishes, laundry, trash, and clutter don’t just wait patiently for you to have time to clean. Instead, they get busy multiplying and, in snowball effect fashion. the mess just gets bigger and bigger.
We all know THAT mom who seems to be able to do it all. They work, they have kids, but somehow they also have homes that are clean, uncluttered and inviting. Fortunately, some of those moms have shared their best housekeeping hacks, and they aren’t what you would think. For busy moms, the best tips to keep a house tip-top, are not helpful hints about the perfect way to use your best mop to scrub a tile floor, or how to clean your bathroom shower grout. Instead, they are handy hacks to keep the mess from snowballing, and quick tricks for fast cleaning that work with the busiest schedules.
Keep Cleaning Kits in Critical Areas
For most moms, by the time it’s their turn in the bathroom at night, they look around at the wet towels and the toothpaste smears in the sink and decide to give the bathroom a good cleaning on the weekend. Instead, keep a plastic tub of specifically bathroom-type cleaning supplies under the bathroom sink. It should include sponges, gloves, a spray-type bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner and brush, and window cleaner for mirrors. Bathroom cleaning wipes are also really great for quick cleanups.
If you are like most moms, you’re sure to find yourself in the bathroom throughout your time at home either helping a child on the potty or over-seeing bathing and tooth-brushing. Use the time that a child is playing in the bathtub to quickly spritz bathroom cleaner in your sinks and on bathroom countertops for a quick clean up. You can also clean mirrors and the toilet. (providing a child isn’t sitting on it.) You can even use bathroom wipes for a super-fast fix. These are great even for a quick floor wipe while your child is in the tub.
If you can’t manage a quick bathroom clean while your children are in the tub, you can also treat yourself to a nice warm bath when the kids are asleep and do a quick clean up with your handy supplies while the tub fills and then reward yourself with a long soak.
Also, keep a basket of living room cleaning supplies hidden in your living room for quick cleanups. Things like furniture polish, electronic dusters, a dust-buster, and a microfiber duster are perfect for fast fixes in the living room.
Be a Basket Case
One of the most helpful hacks of all time for busy moms are baskets. Get a series of decorative baskets in several sizes and shapes. Use the largest baskets you find for your living room. One or two large, cute baskets are perfect for quick clutter cleanups. Take all the toys that are scattered around and toss them in the largest baskets. Keep a smaller basket on the coffee table or an end table to throw in clutter like books, magazines, remotes, game controllers, stray homework, and all the other family paraphernalia that are always scattered around. Instantly, your living room looks neat and organized. Clutter in a basket looks eclectic, whereas, clutter all over the floor and furniture just looks messy. Having baskets where you throw everything also helps family members know where to find things.
Kitchen baskets are also highly helpful. Use a rectangular, tray-shaped basket to throw things like mail, newspapers, phones, and keys. Use a cute, decorative basket for your countertop to keep the clutter off the counters. Put in things like bottles of olive oil, cooking spray, salt and pepper shakers, hot sauce, balsamic vinegar, and even the spices that you use the most. When placed in a basket, counter-clutter looks like a statement!
Ask anyone who does real estate photos, and they will tell you that baskets are the key to hiding clutter.
Have a Ten Minute Tidy-Up
Choose a time of day that works for your family and call a daily ten minute tidy-up. This means that everyone has ten minutes to clean up basic messes in their bedrooms, or in a designated part of the house. This can mean throwing things in the handy baskets and even using the handily-placed tubs of cleaning supplies. A lot can be done in ten minutes.
Then, designate a time on the weekends for clearing out some of the baskets and having children return toys and other belongings to their rooms.
Get a Robot Vacuum Cleaner
The initial cost might make you cringe, but it’s much less expensive than a housekeeper. With today’s robot vacuum cleaners you can program them to run while you are at work, and even check their progress on your phone. While you are away, your busy little robot will be sweeping your floors, vacuuming your carpets, and some can even wet-mop floors! They are also designed to reach places that you can’t reach with a regular vacuum such as under beds and chairs. Many are engineered to pick up pet hair and deodorize. When you get home from work, this part of the cleaning is already done for you. I promise—your robot vacuum will soon be your new best friend—with benefits!
Times have changed, and families have to change with it. Most households no longer have one working parent and another that works as a homemaker. In families where both parents work,, eat, shower, and sleep, and created the children who live there, it’s only fair that both parents participate in the cleaning. The workload should be divided up between both adults in the household. The easiest way to do this is to either divide up chores according to who hates which chore the least, or to divide up days that each parent is responsible for cleaning.
Children should also be given age-appropriate chores, such as returning items from the clutter-baskets to their bedrooms once per week, cleaning their rooms, and participating in at least one chore outside of their own rooms.
The Touch One Time Rule
This is an easy but effective method of keeping up with things in your home instead of letting mess and clutter buildup. Try it yourself, and then instruct your family on this. Touching only one time means when you take off your jacket, it doesn’t leave your hands until it’s hung up. Don’t throw it down somewhere and plan to hang it up layer. The same applies to everything, from used towels to toys. Anything that’s in your hands should be placed back where it belongs, and not put down on the nearest available surface to be picked up later.
With these handy housekeeping hacks, even busy working moms should be able to come home, shut the door behind them, and take a deep breath, before enjoying some family time.