I recently watched a complete home renovation on YouTube. It was a fixer upper that was transformed into my favorite style: modern farmhouse. Every single room of the house was taken from outdated to completely and uniquely updated. I was very impressed, as I normally am with those who have DIY genes. How awesome would it be if my home looked like that! I thought. I watched the whole video, mesmerized, when suddenly it dawned on me.
There were no people in the video.
There was no activity taking place, and no sign of life…just a cat lounging lazily on a brand new patio sofa. Above all…there were no children! I began to imagine what it would be like with young children running around in that place. Oy vey. I’m shaking my head even now, thinking about how much energy I’d need to put in to train my toddler not to touch any of that stuff. As beautiful as it was, it would just be easier to take away almost, like, all the pretty things. Wipeable sofas, anyone?
As a younger mom, I used to read articles about how stay at home moms felt so overwhelmed all the time. They would describe how their house was always a wreck. This would scare me because I absolutely thrive on cleanliness and organization. So I kinda bought the lie that it’s just not possible to have a clean home with little kids.
But then I started reading Kathy Peel’s family manager books (this one and this one) and they totally took my understanding of managing a home to a new level. I realized that I didn’t need to fall into the house-is-never-clean mentality. What I needed was management skills and a strategy. So I slowly but surely began to test and develop new strategies, and over time, I’ve seen drastic improvements to the way our home is kept.
I highly recommend every mom who is serious about managing her home well to own a copy of these books. They will be a continuous reference and a guide to help you out of the vortex of home management and guide you build to the well-run home you want!
Now on to some cleaning strategies. Here are three easy and highly actionable things that I myself have done for a cleaner home and peace of mind.
This. must. be. done. Because mom, there’s no way in the world you can do everything. When I was a new mom, I did everything for my baby. As she grew, however, I knew that I should involve her in household chores, but to be honest, it was just easier to do it myself.
By the time I had 3 kids, it was no longer possible for me to do this. Not even close. In fact, the more I tried to do this, the more I grew to resent my kids. I was letting them be lazy…and that was not ok.
Because truth be told, it’s a whole lot faster sometimes just to do everything yourself instead of teaching your kiddos to do it and being patient with their learning process. Over time, however, this not only makes you resentful, but it teaches them to be irresponsible. It also feeds their already self-indulgent nature. Having now trained my kids to come alongside me and help, I can vouch for the fact that an investment of time and patience will pay off greatly.
So, Mom, delegate away!
I always tell my kids that “everybody helps in a family.” It helps them to understand that they too have a part to play in the cleanliness of the home. I would also suggest to (respectfully) delegate tasks to your hubby. Because truth be told, he may not really know what you need help with around the house.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to delegate household tasks:
- Delegate a certain time of day (maybe even an amount of time as well) that you will dedicate to housecleaning
- Decide what specific things you will do during that time (do you want to focus on one room a day? Or one specific task, like vacuuming or cleaning windows?)
- Think of some fun tasks your kids can help you with (wiping walls and doors, dusting, folding laundry, etc)
- Write down specific things you can ask your husband to do
- Make sure you encourage your kids and make chores fun! Try not to be overbearing or critical-you want them to do chores cheerfully!
Make a cleaning schedule
Delegating tasks is the what, and making a schedule is the when. It really helps to have a daily cleaning routine to ensure that you keep yourself accountable to getting housecleaning done efficiently.
I didn’t always have routines to manage my days, and boy did it show. There would always be a thousand needs floating in my mind trying to push their way to the top. That would explain why I would be cooking breakfast for my kids and get distracted by the fact that I hadn’t cleaned the bathroom tub in a month. So I would stop what I was doing and go clean it.
*Sigh*. Poor, unguided me.
I have since learned that I could have saved myself hours of wasted time every day by coming up with daily routines. I had been trying to use schedules, but because I wasn’t making good ones, they weren’t working for me.
Here’s how I organize my cleaning schedule now: I set aside a time of day (usually after my breakfast routine) to tackle cleaning. During that time, I do laundry (usually wash one load, fold one load), do a basic tidy up of the home (even a toddler can help with this!), and professional clean one room.
What do I mean by professional clean? I mean I follow the list a professional cleaning service would use to clean a certain room. I will be making and sharing a printable for that soon, so be on the lookout! In the meanwhile, you can Google any professional cleaning service (like MaidPro) and look at guidelines they follow for every room.
So I encourage you to make a time of day specifically for cleaning, define what you are going to do, and involve your kiddos. The more hands on the job, the quicker you can move on to more (fun!) things in your day!
Get rid of extra stuff
I will be posting an article soon on my journey to minimalism with a large family, so stay tuned for that as well!
My personal opinion is that we as 21st century Americans have way too much stuff. And I think society at large is starting to feel the same way, which is why tiny houses are becoming more popular.
I’m a minimalist at heart. “Bare is beautiful” is always my motto when I’m purging a certain space. I’ve even been guilty of throwing away important stuff in my eagerness to get rid of things! But honestly, that’s kinda what happens when there’s too much stuff and I’m feeling the overwhelm.
Having less things to clean up will make your home easier to clean (simple concept, right?). So here are some strategies you can use to get rid of extra stuff:
- Be realistic about what you actually need to keep. Be especially critical with things you haven’t used in a year or more.
- Determine a certain number of clothes items you could realistically keep and give away the rest. For example, my girls get a lot of high quality hand me down clothes, and if I let them keep all of them, we would be drowning in clothes. So I limit them to 8 items of each kind: dresses, pants, shorts, etc.
- Be super critical about papers. My kids are always drawing things and bringing home a bazillion papers from school. I keep the best and throw away the rest.
- Toys. Oh, toys. I have a personal opinion about them which I will not share here :). Every so often, I will have my kids go through their toys and set aside the ones they either don’t play with anymore or don’t want. I always encourage my kids to think of other kids who may not have as many toys as them (this always makes them want to give away more stuff!).
- Have a minimalist mentality. Less is more.
- In getting rid of stuff, think of how your extra stuff can bless those who may not have anything. Personally, we give all our extra stuff away, and the place we donate it to gives it to families less fortunate.
If you implement these three tactics, your load will drastically decrease and you’ll be on your way to a much more smoothly managed home. Do you have any tips you’d like to share on this topic? Comment below!
A Simple Method for Organizing Any Space
How to Make a Schedule that Works
Use Routines to Make Your Days Run Smoothly