I have lost count of the times I’ve been asked, “How do you keep your house so clean?”
And honestly, my husband and I are laughing as I write this, because we are preparing to leave for Hawaii and our house is a DISASTER (but everyone knows that when packing or unpacking, it doesn’t count, right?!)
My house isn’t one of those places where you come inside, and you feel like you’ve entered a museum- not by any means. Coziness is of utmost importance to me. In fact, maintaining the feeling that “someone lives here” is important to me, and being able to LET GO when my kids are playing, and let the mess happen, is essential to our home environment. Because I believe that having a clean home should not be something that stresses yourself, your children, or your visitors out.
But, I do believe that having a home where your babies can safely play on the floor, where you’re not smelling anything unpleasant, and where you can go to bed feeling peaceful, is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.
So, I’ve made a list of things I do, that you can also do, to keep your house pretty dang clean, without losing your sanity:
Clean as you go.
I cannot stress this enough.
For instance, when I use the bathroom, and notice the toilet could be cleaned, I squirt toilet cleaner into it as soon as I’m done. Then, the next time I come in, I scrub and flush! Instead of sweeping the whole kitchen once a day, I sweep each mess as it happens, or when I notice it. I load the dishes as soon as I’m done with them. When I enter a room, I pick up what clutter I can in that moment.
The reason this piece of advice is so important to my routine is because, if I am doing this, my Saturday’s can be strictly reserved for the BIG chores, and not wasted on the everyday ones like the above-mentioned. Which leads me to…
Don’t make Saturday your “clean the whole house day”.
Each Saturday I choose ONE big chore to accomplish that week- like cleaning windows, floorboards, organizing fridge and pantry, dusting, etc. Don’t try to do them all, because you might begin to hate Saturdays. You will get completely burned out by the fifth chore, and your list will feel unending.
Simplify the cleaning supplies you buy and use, and find multiple uses for each product.
Here are my favorite/most-used products: (I am in no way compensated to talk about these products- I just like them!)
DISINFECTANT WIPES: The best invention ever. Why? Because they eliminate the amount of cleaning supplies under my sink. I no longer own disinfectant spray, paper towels, furniture polish or even a duster! I use disinfectant wipes for pretty much any cleaning job- bathrooms, kitchen, dusting, everything. I buy them in bulk at Costco, and they are much cheaper that way.
SWIFFER WET JET: The other best invention ever. This mop saves so much time. No soapy water buckets, no replacing the wipes on the bottom of the mop. Battery- operated, super cheap to refill, and not that expensive to buy in the first place.
SPRAY ’N WASH (or any type of stain-remover/detergent that comes in a spray bottle): To save money, combine laundry detergent, water and a tiny bit of bleach in a spray bottle. I not only use this for clothing stains, but also for any mess that takes place on carpet or fabric- even my couch!
Store cleaning supplies in all of the places where you clean regularly.
I found that I was very un-motivated to clean when I had to drag cleaning supplies all over the house! So, I made one “bigger” purchase of all the cleaning supplies I use in each room, and now I keep them there. When I’m in a room and notice it’s messy, the supplies are right there, and I can clean up- quick and easy.
-Disinfectant wipes in every bathroom, and in the kitchen.
-A broom and simple mop both upstairs and downstairs (for the bathrooms).
-Toilet cleaner, toilet brush, and extra toilet paper in every bathroom.
-If it’s possible for you, get two vacuums- one for the upstairs and one for the downstairs (no lugging up and down!)
Do laundry everyday.
I’ve tried having a “laundry day” once a week, but then I literally do nothing else on that day and I often fall behind. So, every morning when I get up, the first thing I do is gather up all dirty laundry in my house (ALL of it- I don’t worry about combining dish rags or baby clothes with my clothes. Maybe you care about this, and that’s okay too!) Then I do ONE LOAD, on the SHORT CYCLE, and I SPEED DRY it. All laundry is done by noon. Done and done!
Cleaning is a part of our bedtime routine.
As part of my kids’ bedtime routine, we tidy up their room together. They always wake up in a clean room!
As part of MY bedtime routine, I clean the main area of my home. The kitchen and living room are wiped down, tidied up, swept, mopped, and dishes done before I even go to bed. This way I always wake up in a clean house.
I cannot emphasize enough how much this motivates me to keep my home clean throughout the day.
When all else fails, remember: LIFE FIRST, clean later.
Remember how the title of this essay is “how to keep your home clean WITHOUT GOING INSANE?” Yeah, that’s because worrying too much about this can cause insanity (trust me, I’m a recovering clean freak.)
A long time ago, we stayed with some friends who were kind enough to open their home to us. However, every time one of my children dropped a toy on the ground, our hostess was immediately picking it up. In fact, (and I know she had the best intentions), she went into the room where we were staying several times to tidy it up for us- and we are NOT messy people. This made us feel incredibly uncomfortable, and we felt very relieved to go home.
This was when I realized that it’s important to live life first. Let one room become a disaster zone for the sake of building a blanket fort. Let your children build a mini city out of blocks, or splatter cookie dough while helping you bake. Because if you stress about the mess too much, your life will pass you by, and those around you might feel a bit uncomfortable.
My personal rule is: let the mess happen, and recover as quickly as I can when it’s done.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
Remember that it’s okay to make the sacrifice of a perfectly clean house sometimes in order to be more present with your family, or to reduce your own stress.
Cleaning is a form of relaxation for me. It’s not that way for everyone, but I hope this post has made it seem a little bit more doable!
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