How a Mom With Four Kids Keeps Her House Clean
And In A Minimum Amount of Time!
When my friends come over, they always ask, "How in the world is your house so clean?" Well, I'm not obsessive-compulsive. Nor do I spend a ton of time cleaning. I just have a simple system that works for me, and hopefully will work for you to.
In this article, we're going to talk about reducing clutter, setting up routines, and making things as simple and fun as possible. Keep reading to learn more!
First Step - Reduce Clutter
You cannot clean around clutter. I'll say it again - you cannot keep your house clean when you have a lot of clutter.
Having too much stuff is the bane of almost every messy house I've been in. For people in my phase of life, that too much usually takes the form of toys. Other people get a lot of collectibles over the years. Still others struggle with paper clutter.
The best way to start keeping your house clean is by getting rid of some of that stuff. Take about ten to fifteen minutes a day, and toss as much as you can. After the trash is gone, then start getting rid of things you can donate or sell. It really doesn't take that long to list something on ebay. Once it's gone, you benefit in two ways - you get rid of some clutter and you earn a little extra money.
In my house, we had two clutter problems - toys and paper. For toys, I went through and tossed all the broken ones. I also got rid of cheap Happy Meal toys. Then, I put toys in bins that the children don't play with as much. I store these in our utility room, and exchange them every once in a while. If they don't play with them when I get them out again, I know that it's time for those toys to go.
Paper is more of a challenge for me, but now I have a system that makes it better. I try to deal with the paper as soon as it comes into the house. So it either gets tossed, put on the calendar then tossed, or filed away. I keep a small to do pile with bills and pay those once a month.
Second Step - Set Up Routines
Your Daily Routines
Routines are the backbone to keeping your house consistently clean. A house left by itself without cleaning routines will gradually get more and more dirty. If you let things go for too long, you eventually have a giant mess on your hands! And when things are a really big mess, it can be overwhelming and hard to get started on cleaning it back up. Or after you clean it up, you'll be so exhausted that you won't be able to maintain it.
A better way to do it is with small chunks. Little bits of time spread over the week can keep your house sparkling clean consistently.
First, always make sure that you clean up the kitchen after a meal. Everyone should clear off their own plates, wash the dishes, wipe the counters and sweep the floors. We usually assign a chore to each family member and get done in fifteen minutes or less.
Another good area to automate is cleaning the bathroom. Bathrooms can get messy fast, especially if you have young boys. I take about five minutes a day just to spray a squirt bottle with soapy water and wipe everything down.
Also, it helps to make sure that everything gets put away by the end of the day. Our rule in the house is, "Once you're done, put it away." So when the children are done playing with legos, they need to put them away. This particular step will require training and parental reinforcement to make sure it happens, but if you start when they are young, it becomes automatic.
These are the daily chores we do. What about weekly?
Cleaning Routines Continued
Weekly Cleaning Routines
Here, people have different opinions. I like to do my weekly cleaning all in one day, while others like to do one chore a day. How you choose to do it depends on your time. For me, my weekly cleaning takes about an hour. But if you have a larger or smaller house, this could be more or less. Also, it goes faster with helpers.
Once a week, I (or the children) do the following chores:
- Deep clean bathrooms
- Sweep and mop
- Clean windows and mirrors
It's a pretty simple routine, but most of the house we keep clean throughout the week. So you can see why it doesn't take as long.
We also will throw in deep cleaning of any area of the house that needs it. This will include things like washing the walls and trim, moving furniture, ect. But that doesn't happen as often.
How Do I Clean? Make Things Fun!
The last, and most important step, is to make cleaning fun! If it's not fun, it won't get done. Especially not if you are expecting the kids to help you.
There are a few ways that you can make cleaning fun. You can play music while you clean. You can have a reward when the cleaning is done. You can play games, like having cleaning races or playing basketball with dirty clothes. One of my children's favorite ways to clean is to wear sock mops and skate around the room. Another great way to get the kids to clean is to hide coins in places that don't get dusted as well. Any they find, they get to keep!
So how do I clean my house? I keep it simple by having little clutter. I use quick daily routines and deeper cleaning once a week. I also keep the kids involved by making it fun with games and rewards.
And the result? A clean house that can have visitors at any time!