Keeping your home clean can seem like an impossible task for a busy mom! That’s why it helps for stay at home moms to keep a simple daily cleaning schedule, and in this post, we’re going to look at how to make one that works for you.
There seems to be a general consensus in the at-home mom community that it’s impossible to keep a clean home. I bought into this for a while, but I realized that a clean house is more than a convenience-it’s a whole contribution to mental health!
There are things you can do to keep a clean and tidy home, and part of this is in identifying the cleaning tasks you’ll commit to daily.
First, though, let me tell you my journey into figuring out how to keep a cleaning schedule and how we handle cleaning in our home.
Before I had kids, I was super clean.
I was one of your typical super organized and clean people who always kept my stuff orderly. This was challenged a little bit when I got married (and I discovered that “clean” can have a different meaning to someone else lol).
And then I had a baby.
It seemed like as soon as I brought my oldest home from the hospital, nothing stayed in its place. Diapers and wipes were always on the coffee table, bottles and snack wrappers littered the side tables, and piles of laundry (were they clean? were they dirty?) were always on our bed.
It became normal for everything to be messy, and while I knew it was just a part of the beauty of raising kids, it still bothered me.
And then I had more kids.
I started having more babies and it just became that much harder to keep our home clean. While I was grateful to be able to be a stay at home mom, there were times when I literally felt like no matter what I did, no matter how much time I spent all day every day tidying up, messes were still waiting all over the house to be tended to.
I would always hear other moms talk about how keeping the house clean wasn’t something you should worry about as a stay at home mom.
I wanted to believe that. I really, really did.
But the problem was that we lived in a small home, and messes everywhere, combined with the constantness of daily life, felt like it was just too much for my personality to handle day in and day out.
I started thinking, should a stay at home be expected to keep her home clean? Is that even fair to expect from myself?
I knew that while my home may not be able to be perfectly clean all the time, I needed to figure out some kind of system or strategy to get and consistently keep my home at a realistic level of clean that I could be ok with.
Here are some things I did that I believe will help you make a good daily cleaning schedule:
Determine what “clean” means to you
Before you start gathering stay at home mom cleaning schedule printables galore, it’s important for you to determine what “clean” means to you.
Personally, when I think of a clean home, the image I have in my mind is that everything is organized and in its proper place; counters, tables, appliances, and floors are wiped down/washed; and the home looks inviting and feels clean.
However, other people’s definition of clean may mean that things are at least picked up off the floor, or that things are decently clean (piles of clutter here and there may not matter to them, and they’re ok with a little dust).
Your level of clean may vary from another mom’s, and it’s helpful for you to determine how you view “a clean home” and what you’re honestly ok with.
What’s your attitude toward cleaning?
In my first few years as a stay at home mom, I used to see cleaning and organizing as a waste of time. Because I spent so much time doing it, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything important, like there were more important things I could be doing than just cleaning and organizing.
Since then, I’ve realized what a blessing it is for our whole family to not only keep our home clean and organized, but to train my kids to be the same way and take care of the things that belong to them.
Also, I used to think cleaning took up a lot of time.
I realized that in actuality, cleaning doesn’t take up a lot of time, especially if I’m diligent and consistent about it. For instance, I’ve realized takes about 5-8 minutes to completely clean the dining room (clear the table, wipe down table and chairs, sweep and mop floor), 10 minutes to sweep and mop the kitchen/hallway, etc.
In my mind, I had made it out to be a much bigger job than it really was, and my perception became my reality. Once I straightened this out in my mind, I was able to make and stick to a daily cleaning schedule that I’ve followed to this day.
My daily cleaning routine
There are a few things I do on a daily basis, and at specific times, to keep our home clean.
In case you’re new around here-let me put this in context-I’m a homeschooling work at home mom with four elementary age (and younger) children. This means they are here with me all day, err day, so I don’t have tons of free time (like I would if they all went to school).
Before I share our daily routine, I want to note that unless I have to, I don’t generally run errands or do grocery shopping during the week. I meal plan and create a shopping list on Saturdays, and shop and stock the fridge/pantry on Sundays.
Morning cleaning tasks
The first thing I do for cleaning, as part of my morning routine, is to throw a load of laundry in the washer. Because this is an easy cleaning task, it helps me to get a quick cleaning victory. Also, my older kids are in charge of unloading the clean dishes from the dishwasher while I prepare breakfast.
After school tasks
After their homeschool lessons, my kids have assigned tasks they need to do. I’m currently working on using the daily chore routine cards from my Responsible Kids Binders for my younger two kids to help them do an age appropriate chore.
My older girls have paid and unpaid chores that they do every day. Their unpaid chores consist of tidying all of their personal belongings-shoes, clothes, toys, books, etc. Their paid chores consist of things like wiping down baseboards, cleaning the vent, wiping the cabinets and appliances, etc.
During this time, I’ll either deep clean an area or two, or do an organizing and decluttering project.
After dinner, we all help get the main areas of the home back to normal. This means the older girls help clean up the dining and living room (put all things where they belong, sweep hallway, sweep dining floor, wipe down table and chairs), myself or my husband cleans the kitchen (cleans countertops, loads dirty dishes in dishwasher, sweeps and mops kitchen floors), and whoever doesn’t clean the kitchen gets the littles bedtime routine started (bath, teeth brushing, reading books, etc).
This means that, if we diligently dedicate about 20 minutes to cleaning up, all the main areas of our home can be cleaned pretty early in the evening. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, it feels super good to be able to wind down with a clean and tidy home!
The Reset Rule
Another thing our family has recently started implementing to keep the house clean is what I call The Reset Rule.
This means that before a child transitions from one activity to the next, they have to “reset” the items they used, basically meaning that they have to put everything back where it belongs.
Although this takes diligence and watchfulness to implement, IT’S WORTH IT. Not putting things back where they belong is the #1 reason our home gets messy.
This also applies to whenever we get out of the car after having gone somewhere,-they all need to take whatever they brought into the car needs to go back into the house and all trash needs to be thrown away.
The issue with some cleaning schedules
The general issue with copying other stay at home mom cleaning schedules is that cleanliness differs from one person to another. Likewise, one mom may prioritize cleaning one area, while another mom could care less.
Another issue is with how we interpret cleaning schedules. I’ve come to realize that we stay at home moms tend to easily fall prey to comparison. If one mom is deep cleaning her bathrooms every other day, we can be tempted to think that that’s what we should be doing too.
That’s why I started this daily cleaning routine post by helping you define what level of cleanliness is both realistic for you and your family and what you’re comfortable with.
We’re all on different journeys, we have different skill sets and different personalities. My job isn’t to make you think you need to be doing what I’m doing; my job is to inspire you with ideas for how to create a strategy that works for your life.
Lastly, many cleaning schedules put most, if not all, the cleaning responsibilities on mom.
I believe it’s important for kids to know that it’s everyone’s job to keep the home clean, not just mom’s! This way, not only do your kids (and hubs) learn responsibility and the importance of their contribution, but cleaning ends up taking less time.
I know many moms like to use nap time or quiet time as a time to try to get cleaning done. Personally, I prefer to use that time for personal rest or focus tasks (things that require my full attention).
I like for my kids to see me clean, and because much of it is mindless (can be done while focusing on something else), I find it easier to do while they’re awake and engaged in free play.
Get a fresh start
If you feel that your home is overwhelmingly messy and you don’t know where to start, it may help for you to get a fresh start by spending time organizing, decluttering, and deep cleaning your home.
You can hire an organizing service, although they’re pretty pricey. However, doing yourself can be overwhelming.
To help you, I’ve put together an organizing and decluttering printable pack. It has everything you need to get and keep your home organized from top to bottom.
You may also consider hiring a cleaning service in your area to start you off with a deep clean. I’ve done this before, and it’s so helpful!
Consistency builds the habit of cleanliness
Lastly, don’t forget that whatever you do consistently over a period of time will build a habit. However you choose to build your stay at home mom daily cleaning schedule, if you stick to it, you’ll start to build the habit of cleanliness…and it’s the habit of cleanliness that keeps your home clean!