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Please share your cleaning routine. I cannot seem to get organized and keep my home clean anymore.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I have a 3 and 4 year old and a boy due in March. Neither of my kids nap anymore and by the time they go to bed at night I'm exhausted. My house is falling apart. I get it clean and then a few days later it looks the same way. There is too much stuff around. I feel like I need to get a better routine going and get rid of 50% of the stuff in my house. Any tips would be great.

post #2 of 23

I have cleaning people come every other week. Seriously, it helps (we were lucky to find a low cost/yet still awesome cleaning service..) Anyway the big stuff; scrubbing toilets/showers, doing the kitchen, mopping and finding pesky dog hairs in corners. In between I *try* to maintain. One big thing I need to work on (and I think this is a general thing for most folks) is simplifying. Less of everything = less I need to clean up which = happy momma. One of MY biggest problems is clutter and it's really annoying. 

 

One thing I'm trying to do is getting dishes done right after I use them. So if we use plates + cups for lunch, I rinse/wash them quickly in between what my next activity is. This is little I know but it seems to help and having no dishes in the sink is a nice feeling I think. 

post #3 of 23

I look forward to reading ideas on this!!! I'm in the same messy boat and 'm about to lose my mind.

post #4 of 23

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned FlyLady yet! I haven't managed to get into the routines in her program, but she seems to have helped a lot of other people build their routines and get rid of their clutter. Her info and everything is completely free too.

post #5 of 23

Habits really do help. Things like fly lady or just getting in the habit of cleaning a room everyday (which is what I do...but that mainly works because we only have 5 rooms at the moment, so the other two days I can "take off" aside from cleaning the kitchen.) so that it becomes automatic and you don't have to think about it really  work. It's getting to that point which is hard. And when you have two other children that aren't necessarily helping you clean but help create a lot of mess...well, that's a recipe for disaster. Maybe there's a way you can take their former nap time and make it "straighten up the house time?" Or get them in the habit of putting their clothes in the hamper when they're dirty? Just little things like that can help keep a lot of areas, like bedrooms, a lot cleaner.

post #6 of 23

I think its imperative to get kids involved in clean - up - at this age, theyre still usually eager to please and will pick up clutter.  With some involvement and responsibility now, maybe by the time they are teens they will still be doing it!

My problem is always the real cleaning  - the bathrooms and kitchen.  I will rationalize all day reasons why i just cant get in there and clean today....  maybe when my LO starts crawling i'll feel more satisfaction from mopping.....lol

post #7 of 23

NAKing so hope this is coherent! We have a 4 year old and a 20 month old and it is hard to keep up with the cleaning. For me it is really about developing habits - for me and for the kids. The #1 habit we have developed in our house is that things need to be taken care of right away when we are finished. So for example, when we eat a meal we clean up as soon as we are finished. We all clear our plates, my 4 year old sprays off the counter where we ate while I do the actual dishes. Then I clean up the crumbs off the floor with a cordless vacuum. My 20 month old does a variety of things to be helpful from sweeping the floor to helping me rinse dishes. I try hard to carry habits like this to everything. When we get in the bath we take off our clothes in front of the laundry hamper and put them in. When we are playing we put away one thing before getting out another. Even the 20 month old gets this stuff. For me it means the mess never gets overwhelming. Now in order for this to work I have done 3 things. First I made a weekly cleaning schedule that works for me:

 

Monday = bathrooms, towels, sheets

Tuesday = surfaces (dusting, furniture polishing,wiping down cabinets, etc)

Wednesday = vacuum and mop

Thursday = special job (whatever needs it, or a project like cleaning out a closet)

Friday = day off or catch up

Everyday = wipe down the bathroom, quick vacuum with the cordless vacuum, start laundry before bed, dishes

 

Second, serious decluttering.

Third, serious organizing and labeling. In our house everything has a place. Each person has a labelled bin for winter items. The kids toys are all organized in bins with labels. It really helps a ton. 

 

Hopefully this was helpful. Good luck!

post #8 of 23

I feel your pain and think the ideas in this thread are good, though I know how hard it is to change our habits. I think that's the toughest battle and getting everything back under control again.

post #9 of 23

Here is something I print out for each week. Some of my formatting is messed up putting this in Google Documents but you should get the gist.

I write in things specific to that week such as a doctor appointment.  Some weeks I don't get everything checked off but most weeks I get at least some of it done. Only having to worry about one big cleaning task a day keeps me from getting overwhelmed. For instance, I will not worry about the bathrooms on Monday. I'm only allowed to worry about vacuuming and getting laundry started. 

 

I still have lots to do but developing this little chart has helped a bit. I'm always tweaking it depending on DD1's school schedule or the season. In spring and summer I'll add in garden time. I'll only print out about 4 at a time. 

post #10 of 23

I definitely hear you! With three little ones it can become a real zoo in here!  I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that for me, slow and steady is going to win the race. A year ago I was in what sounds like a similar place as you, but very slowly I've been developing some habits as well as decluttering.  But when I look at the whole house as a big mess I'm overwhelmed, whereas when I just think of one habit to work on then that helps keep it manageable.  These days some of the habits we've worked up to are:

  • Saturday morning chores, we do this as a family, which means that one of us allows the kids to "help," while the eldest does a couple of bigger chores fairly independently and DH or I works our tail off speed-cleaning everything.  At least once a week our house is beating back into shape!  Though these days the cleaning is more maintenance and less frantic cleaning.
  • Having dishes either in the dishwasher, or clean in the dish-rack.  No more having a sinkful staring me down. 
  • We got one of those hampers that has three sections, so we sort clothes right as we take them off.  Even the little one usually gets it in the right one, and if not, DH or I usually notices fixes it.  My eldest has been helping by putting a pre-sorted load in the washer whenever I ask her.  Pre-sorting makes laundry a lot less of an event and instead just makes it a quick task I can do while the little ones are otherwise engaged. 
  • Making the bed.  It's amazing what a difference this made.
  • Making the kids' beds.  I didn't start that until recently, months after starting to make my own bed.  My 8 year old now makes her own most mornings, the 4 year old sometimes does his, and on other days I do them. 
  • Before sitting down to eat, instead of just shoving a pile of stuff aside (or putting it on the piano!), we now take the time to actually put each item away where it goes.
  • The kids clear their own dishes before being excused from the table.  I then wipe the table down if it's needed.  No more breakfast dishes that are still sitting on the table for our after-school snack!
  • Now I'm working on folding the laundry right when I get it out of the dryer, to try and eliminate the stacks of clothes on the couch.  The new habit for the kids is to take their own piles of clothes upstairs. 
  • we rotate toys so we can now clean the toys in any given room away in less than 10 minutes.  Amazing.

The other thing I've been working on for the past year has been to declutter.  There's still more to do but we're definitely getting much closer to a reality where everything has a place.  There are still a few spots that have piles of "hm, where do i put this?" stuff but it's getting less and less.  Looking at it as a much longer-term thing where even taking a tiny babystep is helpful, has been life-altering for me.  I still feel overwhelmed at times, but by and large I feel pretty good about things.  We even recently had friends stop by  unexpectedly and I didn't feel embarrassed about my house.  That's truly new for me!!

post #11 of 23

When I had kids, it was really hard for me to get used to the idea that I had to clean every day, instead of the once a week clean/it stays that way for a few days system. 

 

Slow and steady really does win this race.  Dishes every day, kitchen every day, wiping down the bathroom every day, then spending some time really cleaning.  I have a smallish house (1500 sq feet), and I spend about 1-2 hours a day cleaning, including the kitchen from all the meals. with 3 little helpers.  That's not that much, and if I just go ahead and do it, it's over, and I don't think about it until the next day.  I like that system a whole lot better than having hte mental clutter of having undone chores hanging around to be done "when it needs doing".

post #12 of 23

Just subbing.  Love this thread!!

post #13 of 23

Monday:  (Cleaning up from the weekend, mostly.) Dishes, picking up, floors, take out trash, clean bathrooms, go through grocery store ads and note sales, and make a meal plan for the week.

 

Tuesday:  Do laundry and water plants.

 

Wednesday:  Some light maintenance, but mostly the day is reserved for bigger projects or resting, depending on energy level.

 

Thursday:  Dusting, put away laundry that was hung up to dry, more work on projects.

 

Friday:  About the same as Monday; getting things ready for the weekend.

 

Saturday:  Quick clean up for Sunday, wash up all the dishes and take out the trash.

 

Sunday:  Let things go, and rest.

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 23

i have found that the biggest thing is not to just do it once a week. because, yes, after a day or two it looks the same. i have 5 kids with one on the way and i can not just clean once a week. i do a major house cleaning ( really scrubbing stuff) once a week and then wipe stuff down daily, sweep daily , vacuum a couple times a week, pick up often. it actually doesn't take much time at all to do any of this. i mean the stuff i do daily... maybe 5 minutes for each thing, with a total time of 20 minutes, unless the kids have destroyed a room and then with their help we pick that up. even my weekly deep clean takes about two hours total. the kids help, and yes they might complain some, but we all live here and i am not the one who makes most of the mess. lol

i found that getting alot of stuff out really helps also. with 5 kids we just have lots of stuff (like toys) and a few times a year i just pack some of it up and donate it because there is just too much. dh will take the kids out when i do that, it is just easier that way. 

being that i am a SAHM i do tend to do most of the work around the house, because i am here, but dh does help out on the weekends (he is the duster/window guy. lol) and i do laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY! (bleck) otherwise it is just overwhelming. 

 

h

post #15 of 23

I agree with the last poster--do it in smaller pieces, on a daily basis rather than a "big clean" once a week.

 

Get your kids involved, btw.  Right now, they can pick up and carry, and they can help you wash things with vinegar water (in a spray bottle) and a rag (they can do floors, tables, doors, windows, any non-porous surface this way).  Keeps them happy while you do the real cleaning.  Involving them at this age, even though they're not much real help, will set a precedent for them helping as they get older.  It's a good habit to start. 

 

Doing the small maintenance things daily will keep you from having to do major cleaning too often, and keep the mess from getting overwhelmed.  Most of these things do not actually take a lot of time, but if you ponder the mess and think about how long it will take to clean up, it *seems* like it takes to long to be worthwhile.  It does take a lot of time to do a days worth of dishes, but if you toss the breakfast dishes in to soak for 10 minutes while you drink your coffee, it'll take 5 minutes to wash them and put them on the rack to dry.  I'd rather do 3 of those 5 minute deals than be faced with a tower of crusty dishes at the end of the day.  You can wipe down the bathroom in under a minute, if you keep supplies there within easy reach.  You can have an open bin for toys, and cull the toy collection so they all actually fit in there, and have your kids help you with a "toss the toys in the bin" game when you're tired of stepping on dollies. Anything that tends to get left lying around (like laundry, toys, hair care stuff, whatever) create a place for it, so that you always know where it needs to go and can toss it in there yourself or send a kid to put it away. 

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I agree with the last poster--do it in smaller pieces, on a daily basis rather than a "big clean" once a week.

 

Get your kids involved, btw.  Right now, they can pick up and carry, and they can help you wash things with vinegar water (in a spray bottle) and a rag (they can do floors, tables, doors, windows, any non-porous surface this way).  Keeps them happy while you do the real cleaning.  Involving them at this age, even though they're not much real help, will set a precedent for them helping as they get older.  It's a good habit to start. 

 

Doing the small maintenance things daily will keep you from having to do major cleaning too often, and keep the mess from getting overwhelmed.  Most of these things do not actually take a lot of time, but if you ponder the mess and think about how long it will take to clean up, it *seems* like it takes to long to be worthwhile.  It does take a lot of time to do a days worth of dishes, but if you toss the breakfast dishes in to soak for 10 minutes while you drink your coffee, it'll take 5 minutes to wash them and put them on the rack to dry.  I'd rather do 3 of those 5 minute deals than be faced with a tower of crusty dishes at the end of the day.  You can wipe down the bathroom in under a minute, if you keep supplies there within easy reach.  You can have an open bin for toys, and cull the toy collection so they all actually fit in there, and have your kids help you with a "toss the toys in the bin" game when you're tired of stepping on dollies. Anything that tends to get left lying around (like laundry, toys, hair care stuff, whatever) create a place for it, so that you always know where it needs to go and can toss it in there yourself or send a kid to put it away. 


Great advice! thumb.gif
post #17 of 23

Doing things in small pieces and in spurts is really key - I'm a little OCD so I might not be the best person to reply, but I'll share my routine anyway smile.gif First, a couple tips:

 

  • Clean as you cook - I cook 3 times a day (2 if we're having leftovers for lunch), and I have learned to tidy things up as I go rather than just throwing everything in the sink. If I'm waiting for water to boil, I'll rinse the mixing bowl and put it in the dishwasher. While the meat is browning, I'll wash the knives really quick. If the meat/sauce/rice needs to stand for 2 minutes before serving, wipe the counters down really fast. This way, after the meal is over, all that's in the sink are the dishes you just used and maybe a pot or pan.
  • Keep toys etc. in the kitchen - Since I spend so much time in there, I need DD to be in there with me pretty often, so she needs something to do. She has her own kitchen cabinet with some small pots, measuring cups, wooden spoons, a few toys, etc. When we're in the kitchen she goes to her cabinet, pulls some stuff out, and keeps herself occupied.
  • Enlist DH - Not to clean (unless you're lucky!!), but to watch the kids while you clean. My DH hasn't vacuumed or dusted a thing in almost 6 years, but he's more than happy to keep DD occupied so I can do it. I give him an option - read "Goodnight Moon" for the 1000th time or dust the bookshelf. "Goodnight Moon" always wins winky.gif
  • Are you using/reading/wearing it anymore? No? THROW IT OUT. - Or better yet, donate it. If you buy a new shirt, get rid of an old one. When you finish reading a magazine, clip anything you want to save, put it in a folder, and toss the magazine in the recycling, not in a magazine rack. If you haven't used a kitchen gadget in 6 months and you find yourself continuously shoving it back in the junk drawer, toss it.
  • Make your kids help you - We're not really there yet, DD will be one tomorrow, but this will definitely happen in our house. She is just starting to get the concept of "in and out", so I have been showing her how to put her toys back in their baskets in the living room. She put her playsilks away before her nap today, woohoo!
  • Straighten up after the kids go to bed - I don't mean full on cleaning, just a little tidying. Arrange the pillows on the sofa, put toys back in their baskets, load the dishwasher, throw in a load of wash, even set the table for breakfast. You will feel much better waking up to a neater house than waking up to a disaster. It only takes 10 - 15 minutes, and can change your whole outlook on the next day.

 

Finally, get all the "big chores" on a schedule. This is how I do things every week (also figure in diaper laundry every other day):

  • Monday: Laundry, change bed linens
  • Tuesday: Floors (sweep, Swiffer, mop, vacuum)
  • Wednesday: Bathrooms
  • Thursday: Meal planning and grocery shopping
  • Friday: Dusting (if I don't have a lot of time I'll use a Swiffer duster - best invention ever!)
  • Saturday & Sunday - Light maintenance, enjoy the weekend!

 

You can do it mama! After a few weeks, you won't even notice that you're doing it anymore orngbiggrin.gif

post #18 of 23

We are a family of 6 and expecting our 5th child in August... My kids are older so I just began a newer chore routine... where Ive made chore cards that rotate for each person... the youngest gets the easy jobs that she cant mess up!  I know this might not work for those who dont have the helpers... but the most beneficial decision i made was to break each day down to a few  jobs that NEVER get done.... or that i have trouble with....

 

Family of 6 means alot of laundry that i havent been able to conquer... so I broke down each day of the week with 2 loads of Laundry per day.... mine on Saturdays, Child#1 on Mon Child 2&3 on tues (they wear same sizes and share bedroom) Child #4 wed Hubby on thurs... then sheets on a day towels the next. school uniforns another day and misc needs washed on another... its helping out alot... so i dont feel totally overwhelmed with the clothes... 

 

I made designated days for bathrooms, kitchen, trash etc... yard cleanup etc... and make my chart manageable with 4 chores per day.... we will see how it goes.

This is a new system for us so I will update with results and chaos!  

 

Fly Lady is a great system... though i would suggest creating a new email account for all of those updates alone... they send alot of ideas, encouragement and daily emails that would otherwise overwhelm your email box.

 

little steps.... one day... not in the near future... maybe just maybe i will have my better homes and garden Home!!!  Not holding my breathe and happy Noone visits with a camera in the meantime!

 

 

 

post #19 of 23

I use Motivated Moms chore planner/ lists. It is very simple. There are recurring daily chores; bed making, dishes, sweeping kitchen, wiping bath, laundry, etc...and then the rest of house is broken into very manageable tasks, including cleaning the fridge, light fixtures, etc... I really like having a premade checklist to work with. 

post #20 of 23


OP, one way you can get your children involved is simply to hand them whatever item you are cleaning. ie when you start cleaning up toys, hand them a block, and they will follow suit and put it away. When you are unloading the dishwasher, have them hand you the dishes or hand them pots and pans that they can put away at a low level. That way they get involved and you don't even have to say anything!


 

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