Tips to Keep Your House Clean
Just when you thought your child left yet another stuffed animal in the living room, you realized it was a huge dust bunny! Overwhelmed by the clutter and dust bunnies invading your home? You are not alone. The average single mother only has 2 hours in the day to completely focus on housework- if your children don’t have a naptime, it may be even less!
It doesn’t matter if you work outside of your home, stay home with children or work at home, you must come up with a system. Here are some tips to getting started.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Sally Berger
1. Have a good attitude! Think about WHY you want a good home & write down a mission statement. Is it because you want to have peace in your home, you want your children to feel free to roll on the floor, do you want to have friends or even a hot date over? Look back at this mission statement for motivation.
2. Quiet those negative voices that make you feel guilty or frustrated with your “well lived in” home! You are doing all you can for your family and a pile or newspapers or unorganized desk was worth the time you spent with your children. Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones that say you are not behind and that you CAN accomplish anything.
3. Set the mood! Put the baby in the doorway jumper and put on some music that will get you groovin’ with the broom in hand. Who says you need big yellow rubber gloves and an apron, instead put on some cute shoes and take 10 minutes to paint your nails afterwards. Cleaning is not glamorous but a clean home is!
4. Prioritize and plan! Make a list each night before you go to bed of six things you must accomplish for your day tomorrow. Prioritize what must be done and include a chore or two on that list. If you don’t complete an item, move it to the top of the next days list. If you plan out your week (Monday-tackle bedrooms, Tuesday-Mop floors, play-date, Wednesday-work meeting, fold laundry, etc) you may feel less overwhelmed.
5. Set a time for cleaning! Set a timer for 30 minutes or an hour-whatever you have and commit to focus on cleaning for that full time, but no longer. Work as fast as you can to get the job done that way you have time to play later. Don’t pull out more than you can put back later. And of course don’t get sidetracked! Turn off the computer and TV! You will be done soon and can truly enjoy some of that free time with a clean house.
6. Start small! One job at a time. When the house is a mess, work one room at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by pulling everything out of cabinets or closets all in one day! Pick one room to focus on, clean and organize it, then step away. This will prevent you from getting burned out. If you can close the door and keep the kids out for a few days until you can tackle their room with them, even better!
7. Create a system! Have baskets that are labeled for their use as you go from room to room to clean—toss, give, put away. Don’t have time to create your own system or need accountability? Then use a valuable resource like FlyLady.net. Receive daily or weekly email alerts to help you tackle your home-from shining your sink to deep cleaning your garage. Remember that what works for other moms may not work for you. We are not aiming for perfection No one has it all together, not even your super organized cleaning friend you’ve been wishing to be like.
8. Include the kids with a chore chart! If your children are old enough to pull out the toys, then they are old enough to put them away. Instill in them the importance of sharing a clean space, just as much as you impart the importance of sharing their toys. Toddlers can put toys away in baskets and older kids can fold the towels. Teens are able to wash, hang, and iron their own clothes-in fact many will actually prefer it once you teach them how! Find a task your children love doing and be sure not to critique them. Also, getting rid of half the toy mountain wouldn’t hurt anyone.
9. Use the right tools. If you don’t have cleaners that actually cut grease and remove the toilet ring, you will feel defeated. Invest in some top-notch cleaners or create your own that will work for your needs. A good broom and floor cleaning system can make clean up twice as fast if your current supplies are too worn.
10. Reward yourself! Find or create something for your home that brings a smile to your face. Some favorites are fresh flowers, a family picture frame, new couch pillows. Maybe it will be something unique from a garage sale or an antique from your grandmother. Remember to smile in your home. It is contagious!
Be content with realistic standards! At the end of a solid two weeks of trying to maintain a clean home you may decide you need help and that is absolutely okay! Hiring a maid for a monthly deep cleaning may free you of some stress and give you some quality time with your children. That is worth it! Your home is your sanctuary and by keeping it clean you will feel you have a haven in which to raise your children