Cleaning when you have kids feels a lot like pushing on the ocean. You think you’re making progress and then you turn around and WHY ARE ALL THE BLOCKS OUT IT’S ONLY BEEN FIVE SECONDS THIS IS THAT SCENE FROM THE SIXTH SENSE WHERE ALL THE CUPBOARDS OPEN BY THEMSELVES.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? You don’t have kids.
I don’t lose sleep over not having a spotless house, but I do need the house to be somewhat neat most of the time. As a work-at-home mom, this house is the extent of my little kingdom most days and when it gets clutter and crazy and gross, I feel cluttered and crazy and gross. Plus, with Eva’s asthma, we don’t even have the option of letting things get out of hand because dust = coughing = hospital = no fun for anybody.
It used to be that I cleaned in big chunks of time. Kyle would take the kids out to the zoo or down to visit my parents and I would spend those 2-3 hours cleaning up after a week of madness. The house would be clean at the end, but inevitably I would end up feeling resentful because I didn’t get to spend that time with the kids or because I would have really rather gotten work done or finished some other project or just relaxed with my friend, Netflix, and poor Kyle would catch the brunt of my resentment even though he was the sweet husband that tried to give me a break by taking the kids.
No fun for anybody. None at all.
It took two kids and about two years, but I finally have a pretty good handle on this cleaning thing. Here are 5 of my tricks:
1 /// Have a place for everything. No, really, you need a specific place for everything. Saying something goes “in the playroom” is not a place. You need to be able to say “this goes in the playroom on the second bookshelf, second shelf from the bottom, in between the shape sorter and the xylophone”. That might sound like super micro-managing, but it’s actually a huge time-saver because everyone knows where that thing goes and when you run out of specific places for things to go, it’s a sign that it’s time to start downsizing the toys.
2 /// Have one place for clutter that you empty once a week. Inevitably, there will be little random things that you only need temporarily or which show up at a time when you don’t want to rearrange everything. We have a bin in the playroom where stuff like that gets tossed so it’s out of the way until someone (usually Mom) has a moment to sit down and go through it. It’s become the home for finished art projects, half-finished art projects, fast food toys, birthday party swag, and anything else I don’t want to think about when we’re busy.
3 /// No shoes, no food, no play dough. It turns out that wearing shoes into the house does more than get things dirty. Shoes seem to break a lot of toys in our house, since little feet can’t tell when they’re stepping on something fragile if sneakers are in the way. For this reason, shoes come off first thing now. Food stays in the dining room, since toy bins were catching an awful lot of chips and dry cereal, and play dough comes out once in a blue moon and stays on the dining room table. Ever tried to pick that stuff out of carpet. Blahhh!!
4 /// Clean during “found” time. To keep the cleaning from piling up on me, I’ve gotten in the habit of cleaning during regular stolen moments of found time. When the kids are in the bath, I pick up in the bathroom and wipe down the sink/mirror/floor. When the kids are settling for their nap, I fold and sort laundry while standing in their room to make sure nobody sneaks out to get a picture book. When the nuggets are in the oven, I put dry dishes away, empty the fridge of anything old, and wipe the counters down. And when I’m brewing a cup of coffee or tea, I take the brewing/steeping time and do a quick sweep of the playroom.
The 4 Minute Playroom Sweep with the Hoover Cordless 2-In-1 St…#NoCordNoBull #Hoover #ad
Posted by Ever Clever Mom on Thursday, November 5, 2015
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5 /// Get a cordless vacuum. Confession – I didn’t actually get the big deal about cordless vacuums and didn’t think we needed one because our house is small and relatively free of stairs. I thought it was just to save a bit of time and hassle, but it turns out that I’m much more likely to grab the vacuum and do a quick pass now that I don’t have to worry about unwrapping the cord, finding a free outlet, and then wrapping everything back up again. We’re using the Hoover Cordless 2-In-1 Stick and Handheld Vacuum, which is powered by a battery pack that waits in a charger until I need it so I can just click it in and go.
It’s self-propelled and has a light on it, in addition to being really easy to maneuver, so I don’t have to move all the furniture (including the kid stuff) to get into the tight spaces where the kids are sure to go.
So, now the house is pretty clean most of the time and I swear Eva’s asthma has been more under control ever since we got into the habit of keeping the carpet dirt and dust free daily. The battery for the Hoover is actually interchangeable and works with all of the products in the Hoover line, including the other 2 cordless vacuums and the wet cleaner for hard floors, so now I’m kind of thinking we might need to pick up one just for the kitchen and bathroom floors. It would be really nice to have those be clean every day without all that scrubbing!
Have any cleaning tips for me? Share!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.