Let’s get cleaning today!
I often have people ask about how I clean. They ask how I manage to clean with such a large family, busy life, people home all the time, and even while pregnant.
I find that being efficient is the secret to cleaning with a family. It takes some planning since a lack of planning generally leads to a lack of cleaning, but the planning is easy and well worth it.
Here are my best tips and tricks for cleaning with a family.
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To keep my home clean, I find it more efficient to do these things:
- vacuum all at once
- save bigger projects like window washing to do all at the same time
- just putting clutter in a basket to put away later
With a family there is always clutter, but if I were to focus on putting away clutter when I was cleaning the house, I would only be tackling the clutter and never even cleaning!
Clutter drives me crazy on a daily basis, and with kids around it is just part of life. Controlling clutter keeps me sane, and if you’re looking for some ways that I hide clutter, I wrote all about it in Five Simple Strategies for Hiding Clutter. When cleaning, dealing with the clutter always has to come first in order to clean, but it isn’t the focus. This is why the clutter just goes into the baskets.
The main living areas that we are to address today are the areas that I, or we since my kids help, clean every weekend, usually on Saturday depending on if we’ve got games and other things going on. I have a lot of black furniture so the dust is always visible, and it really does extend the life of your carpet to vacuum it at least weekly. So, these are the things that get done every week in our living room and school room.
My bathrooms are something that I do on a different day than the rest of the cleaning usually. I talked about my bathroom cleaning process in 12 Minute Bathroom Cleaning Plan. In that post, I talk about how my bathrooms are an opportunity to multi-task. I have had little ones who take baths for the past 14 years. When I’ve got kids who are old enough to sit up and play around in the tub, I am cleaning that bathroom (minus the tub) while they are playing around. I’m in there anyway, I might as well do something productive, right?
Once my little one is out of the tub and dressed, I quickly move on from the kids’ bathroom to the master bathroom and clean that one in the same way as I talked about in the bathroom cleaning post. When I am done, I come back to clean the kids’ tub.
I’ve got a half bath off the kitchen, and in keeping with the same multi-tasking idea, I clean that one when I’ve got some extra time in the kitchen during the week. Then I’ve also got a bathroom with my laundry room, so I clean that one when I’m waiting for the washer to finish sometime throughout the week.
As you can see, my bathrooms are not really cleaned on a specific day of the week, but they are cleaned once a week as I can fit it in during a time that is most efficient. I find this to work best for me.
My kitchen is something that I normally clean in pieces, and it is again because I clean my kitchen when I am multi-tasking. My goal is to get it all done in the same day, but I’ve only got small amounts of time in which to do it when I am not setting aside a specific time but trying to fit it in when it is most time efficient.
For instance, while I’m waiting for my mixer to mix up some dough for five minutes or so, I’ve got time to clean the stove. While I’m waiting for the water to boil for some pasta, I’ve got time to wipe down the tile backsplash and cupboards. While I’m waiting for the pasta to cook, I’ve got time to wipe down the appliances. The counters are usually left until after the kitchen is closed for the evening. That is also when the floor gets washed, otherwise there is just too much traffic.
I will say that many of these smaller jobs are on my little ones’ daily chore lists (like wiping down the appliances), but when I clean the kitchen they actually get done with cleaner. I wash the floor in certain busy areas several times a week, but on kitchen cleaning day the whole floor gets done with the dining room chairs removed, rugs shaken out etc.
The nice thing about doing little mini-cleans throughout the week on the appliances, cupboards, and floor means that it goes very fast on cleaning day, too, which is really nice. Our chairs also get wiped down by a younger child after every meal, but on cleaning day I make sure the entire chair is good and clean.
My bedroom usually gets cleaned only every other week since there just isn’t much traffic in there. It’s always a pretty easy and straightforward room to clean. I put away any clutter that needs to be addressed throughout the day as I can fit it in, then it is just a matter of a quick dusting. When all the bedrooms are cleaned, we vacuum them all at once.
In my home, the main living areas are always the ones that I want to address first, so I love that we are starting there today. I know tomorrow we will be focusing on our kids’ rooms so be sure to warn your kids that they will be rolling up their sleeves, too. It is important for kids to learn to clean, but also that they learn to be the ones responsible for their own rooms.
When cleaning any room, I love setting a timer for how long I think it will take me and racing it to see if I can get a few minutes of free time to put my feet up. I find my timer to be amazing motivation to really get in there and get it done. If you’ve never tried it, I highly suggest working with a timer, I use it for so many things!
Looking for how a typical schedule looks in my home? I lay out how my whole house gets clean in a week, tackling a few things each day in only 30 minutes in A Cleaner Home in 2015. This is the nuts and bolts of how I clean on a regular basis. You won’t want to miss it.
As we clean our main living areas, let’s also focus on cleaning out our hearts of any negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions as I spoke of in Cultivating a Heart of Contentment. In doing so, you are getting more bang for your buck – a clean home and a clean heart – it’s a win/win!