15 Oct Housecleaning Tips from Moms
- When I’d houseclean with my small kids. I’d crank up some fun music, give each child a damp cloth for dusting and put them to work while I’d vacuum. Once they got fed up, I’d hand them the vacuum cleaner, while I dusted or organized. Sometimes I’d give them a damp cloth to clean baseboards; or a squirter to rub windows. Small kids really don’t clean well, but we’d work together, feel a sense of accomplishment and the enjoy a fun game when it was all done. This helped my kids get used to pitching in, gain experience and eventually graduate to doing the job on their own. On other occasions when my toddlers were nagging me to play, I’d opt for a game of hide-and-seek. While slowly hunting them down, I’d take occasion to straighten up a room while looking for my kids. They enjoyed the game and I got the house tidied. Irene
- With a large family I find it difficult to keep the house clean to the standard of my mom who had far less children. Instead of being uptight over it (which really upset my husband), I have opted to let go of my high standards and spend more cheerful time with my family. This does not mean my house is a dump or that I am lazy. What I aim for now is a tidy home that has a welcoming atmosphere and cheerful people. I keep clutter to a minimum on counters, shelves and in rooms. I have timed how long it takes for me to vacuum areas of my house, clean bathrooms etc. I even try to beat the clock on them so that I know how long it will take when I have company coming and am in a rush. Regardless this trick alone has helped me conquer the feeling of being overwhelmed by housework. Now I parcel it into my week and feel free to be doing other things, even though the house is not pristine at every moment. Every night before I go to bed, I tidy the main floor. I have some nice baskets for books, odd toys, piano books etc. This gives me a quick and attractive place to put most main floor mess. The kids have their toys in the basement family room and no where else. If I’m lucky, we all tidy that room once a week. Usually it’s tidied when the kids complain there is nothing to do because the toys have just melded into a sea of toys. The older kids are responsible for their rooms. They have to dust and vacuum once a week, but their clutter and their mess is their problem. I don’t touch their rooms. I focus on the common areas instead. When we got new flooring, I opted for multi-colors of dirt (browns, greys, greens, rusts) so that I didn’t feel I had to mop or vacuum every day. I got this tip and a lot of others from “Make Your House do the Housework” by Don Aslett. It has greatly reduced my stress and anxiety. Marian
- If you have a high spot in each bathroom for keeping chemicals away from little ones it is worth stocking all your bathrooms with bathroom cleaning supplies so that if you are in one and have two minutes you can do a quick clean up. Superficial looking clean can go a long way in reducing mommy-stress.Buying commercial grade cleaners at a janitorial retailer can save major money.
Having the children do a blitz clean up of all their personal stuff in the living areas is another way to help reduce mommy-stress. It is a lot easier to clean a neat room. Assigning living area rooms that each child is responsible for keeping neat, sweeping or vacuuming every day and dusting weekly during their school holidays really helps decrease mommy-stress. The argument in our house that works is if they want to have Mom`s time for fun stuff they have to help with the housework.
Of course having each child responsible for changing their own beds, folding and putting away their own laundry and keeping their own rooms neat and clean is important, too. Age 4 is not too young to change a bed (with supervision) or fold laundry.
Last summer I only cleaned bathrooms (because I don`t want them handling some of the chemicals) and had help for every supper. This gave me time to redo the patio, paint verandas, porches, the den and back hallway and gut a bedroom (with the kids help, too) while working part-time. I won`t pay for housework because I don’t get paid for it either but the kids did earn money with the landscape and painting work. Lisa V.
- Observing friends I notice there seems to be two approaches to ongoing work and I’d say it helps to know oneself and see which camp we belong to. Some like to work intensely on a long job, doing no other work besides. They spend a lot of time dreaming about this big blob of time they may some day have and only then, get to it. A lot of time can go by before that wonderful two days in a row to work on the big task comes along. Meanwhile…dream, wait, dream. Reality check? Others are more systematic – every day or often they put small amounts of time on part of the task. This helps tremendously with housecleaning. This holds true for lots of things and explains why certain persons get to do things others never get around to. I’ll read this great book someday…how about a chapter a day? I’ll take art lessons, spanish lessons when my kids are grown up – you know what? You can get a start on that now if you really want to. By breaking jobs down into smaller bite size pieces, we can do much more than we think. Jackie M.
- I learned, when my guys were still little to have a small spritz bottle of water/vinegar for the mirrors and water/bleach for the sinks under each bathroom sink. You can buy them for next to nothing at the dollar store. While the kids were on the potty or in the bath, I had the mirrors and sinks/toilets done in no time! I could even get it done brushing my teeth! Or putting make-up on before guests arrived. If the mirror and the sink are clean, the entire bathroom is spruced up! Karen M.
- I have 5 kids. Aging from 7 years to 15 months. No twins. Bathrooms are my nemesis. I never get to them as often as I would like but I do leave a bottle of Lysol wipes in the main floor powder room to give the bathroom a quick wipe down if company comes over and I have not got to it yet. Making sure all my dishes are done every night is a huge help! Kids must put all their laundry in the baskets and make their bed every morning. We have one room with toys in it. Bedrooms are for reading and sleeping so that contains the toys mess. And my best advice, is if you are feeling completely overwhelmed! Stop, have a nap or read a book for 20 minutes and go at your day with renewed vigor. If you get frustrated, nothing will ever be done right. Clear you mind, the mess wasn’t made in a day so it is going to take more than a day to clean it up. Does it feel like home! Is everyone happy! Are you happy! At the end of the day, for the Glory of God, if you did your best, look forward to doing it all over again tomorrow! I am always looking for ways to include my kids more but with my help, they are very helpful. We have cleaning Saturday mornings and everyone tackles a task that is age appropriate. Little ones love to clean windows! They are terrible at it and use way too much vinegar and water! But they are having a blast and we are all working together! Always have a dangling carrot! If we get it done quickly…we can have a Wii tournament or bake cookies together! Kids love that and work way quicker and want to do more. Not sure what I am going to do when I have 5 teenagers that don’t see mess at all. But I have a few years to work on that still. Monica G.
- BIGGEST SUCCESS:
I finally got so annoyed cleaning the bathrooms, that I mandated that ALL men in the house must sit to pee. I was amazed how much cleaner the toilet, floor and walls (!) were. Apparently, my twins sometimes completely miss the toilet when standing (and talking).RECRUITING THE HELPERS:
Little ones love to help and be ‘big boys.’ I realized if I just lowered my standards (about folding laundry) and let the boys stuff their shirts in one drawer, trousers in another, socks and underwear in another… they were happy to help put laundry away. They also can (sort of) make their beds and tidy up toys.
They are big on sorting. So, we sort toys, have special storage places for puzzles, games, Lego. Sorting can be applied to laundry (dirty…into colors and whites; clean….into drawers). Sorting can even apply to emptying a dishwasher and putting cutlery away.
Key is having a place for everything. A friend built us a great little box unit with plastic baskets. The kids know this is where all little toys and art supplies go (no more Lego between toes!).
I loved Irene’s tip about filling a sink with soapy water while preparing dinner. I toss all sorts of dishes in their (except knives) and then washing up is much easier after dinner.
At age 4, we encouraged the boys to clear their dishes from the table and to say “excuse me” from the table. It’s amazing how this little task makes a difference to clean up time after dinner.
LOWERING STANDARDS AND FINDING PEACEFULNESS
I found lowering standards essential. It doesn’t really matter if the children don’t do a stellar job dusting, vacuuming, or putting this away. But if putting things away becomes a routine, then major cleaning is easier for me. I have a rule — cannot play a new game, until the old is put away first.
BOYS AND DOMESTIC CLEANING:
We have boys. I think it’s all the more important that they learn to be self sufficient and helpful in the cleaning department. It’s just about learning responsibility, independence, and contributing to a household. Besides, Mummy is super crabby when she does all the cleaning!!
LETTING GO OF PERFECTIONISM:
All said, cleaning house while one has little children is a bit like shoveling snow in a snowstorm!!
HOW TO MANUAL:
Oh…the best cleaning tip I got from a DADDY’S BOOK (we received at the baby’s shower). The author says to get all the cleaning supplies into one bucket. Then tackle one room at a time, starting upstairs and working from one end to the other, then down to the next floor. Do not try to do all bathrooms, or mirrors, or floors in the house. Just focus on one area (room) at a time and do all that it needs (beds made, vacuum, dust, mirrors).
I switched to baking soda and vinegar to replace the more toxic cleaning supplies. There are plenty websites with recipes for INEXPENSIVE and effective and environmentally safe cleaning products.
DESPERATE MEASURES: My mum hid chocolate around the house as prizes for cleaning (for herself!). I take breaks after I accomplish particular zones (cup of tea or dance to music!). Fiona
- I put my favorite energetic music on and blast it around the house. It makes me feel energetic, motivates me to enjoy what I’m doing and I find I get my housework done at double the speed. If I’m doing something that requires me to stay in one spot, ie. Ironing, mending, dusting, tidying a room, putting away laundry, etc. I enjoy listening to podcasts, CDs or YouTube videos, to hear talks on parenting, marriage or even learning about my faith. The intellectual stimulation it gives me makes the task at hand a joy to do instead of inner complaining. Marian
- We have no carpets in our house, so for sweeping wood floors in our upstairs hallway, stairs and the kids’ bedrooms, the kids use those fun slippers that have dust mop material on the bottom. They can “skate” around the hall and their rooms, and for the stairs they put them on their hands and work from the bottom up (safer than top down). Cleaning them off is easy, and the whole process is easier for little kids than trying to get the broom and dustpan coordinated. They won’t work so well where there is water on the floor or where there are a lot of crumbs like the kitchen. Meg F.
- I was sick and tired of my 2 year old’s messy, sticky, gloppy hands grabbing the spindles or the tops of the kitchen chair, especially after it was all crusty and dried on. So now there is a pillow case over the top of the back of his chair. Works perfectly. Whip it off every once in a while and throw it in the laundry. Sharlene
- This helped with my boys: If beds go unmade every morning consider eliminating the top sheet and trading several blankets for a duvet instead. Take one or two seconds to straighten out the duvet every morning and you’re done.Also with bedding, try washing/drying the sheets and putting them back on the bed that same day. This saves time and energy because you’ve eliminated the need to fold it and put it away.
Items that don’t belong in a room are the main contributors to visual clutter. Get into the habit of removing ‘move elsewhere items’ when you leave the room, and placing them on their way to where they do belong. For example, if something belongs upstairs, place it at the bottom of the staircase and take it to the proper room the next time you go up or have younger ones run them up for you. You’ll be amazed at how effective this technique can be in keeping rooms tidy with minimal effort. Dianne W.
- For ladies that work outside of the home here’s my suggestion, from experience. HIRE a cleaning person/service to help out even once a month. Do not feel guilty! Teach everyone in your home about what maintenance means, give them each a check list to view daily. Post on bedroom doors. Pick up after yourself is a mantra heard often in our home, that’s half the battle for me. By the way, I expect my 14 year old son to know how to wash his laundry, sew on buttons and other basics. This makes him feel more independent.There is a wonderful book called: “House Works” check out their site: organizedhome.com Josie W.
- My son is 3 1/2 now and I’m pregnant (20 weeks) with our second boy. My son found an interest, as all children do in the early years, of cleaning and sweeping. I never made housework to be a chore. It was simply what one does, just as one eats, uses a fork or plays outside. My son still delights in washing the floors and when we moved recently, did a fine job cleaning the inside of the fridge! We are always careful to use/make environmentally-friendly (and kid-friendly) household cleaning products so I needn’t worry about his or my exposure to toxic cleaning products.When my son was first interested in cleaning, I was careful not to over-praise him, lest that become a bargaining point or power issue later. It was simply something enjoyable that needed to be done. There were no rewards for cleaning, except to say how nice it was that the floor was done or the table cleared. Sometimes I think we get bogged down with the idea of having to praise a child for everything thing they do. Of course, we always say thank you for the help.
My husband does his fair share of housework too, which I think is important for our son to see. We all take care of our home, not just Mom. My husband and I don’t rigidly divide tasks as some households do. I think a more balanced approach is better, at least for us. To us, the important thing is that the job gets done and it’s for everyone to do. We all enjoy a clean house, we all work towards it. Probably when our children get older, particular tasks will be assigned to them, but the whole family will still be cleaning together. Tracey G.