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Happy New Year, friends! Even though we’re already into the second week, I’m just getting back into the routine of things. Thanks to 3 inches of snow in the south, #1 just returned to school. Which means back on schedule for everyone…which means naps…which means mommy has time to write 3 sentences worth of a blog post. 😉
A new year means a fresh start for all of us. And given that I’m a month and a half into this blog thing and have promised to share some of my favorite mom hacks, NOW seemed like the perfect time to start. Here we go.
There’s nothing that says ‘let me bust my tail only to watch my work go up in smoke’ like cleaning a house with kids in it. But eventually, it’s got to happen. And when it doesn’t, remind yourself we are all just trying to raise healthy, happy children and not make it into the Martha Stewart Hall of Fame, so don’t apologize for it .
This advice is less of a ‘hack’ and more about how I manage to keep my sanity AND keep my kids from contracting Hepatitis off of my floors. So nearly 7 years into trying to keep a house of children clean, here’s what I have learned works best.
1. Stick to a Schedule
I am a lover of routines. And a lover of putting a big fat check mark in a to-do list box. So this totally works for me. Any stay-at-home mom can tell you that even though we don’t stop working, sometimes at the end of the day it’s hard to put your finger on what you actually accomplished (outside of being the most important person in the world to tiny humans, of course). And when those tiny humans are extra small and extra needy, sometimes it’s hard to even gather your thoughts enough to know where to start. This helps with all of that.
I’m attaching the schedule our family uses here:
And because I love you so much, click here for a free printable version:
But let’s be real. Do each of these things happen EVERY. SINGLE. TIME? No, silly. But it certainly helps! And even sometimes if they happen every other week I swear I can feel my cape flapping in the wind. 😉
Feel free to adjust it to fit your family’s needs. That brings me to the next important point.
2. It’s a Family Affair
Notice our cleaning schedule is titled ‘FAMILY’ cleaning schedule, not mommy’s to do list. Anybody responsible enough to move a vacuum back and forth and understand directions can pitch in. If you have kiddos old enough, and want to get all Martha Stewart meets Tiger Mom, make it a game of sorts. Laminate the cleaning schedule or put it in a page protector. Assign each kid participating a marker color and each task a monetary value. When someone completes a task/chore, mark it off with their assigned marker color and they can watch their allowance add up!
Added bonus is the lesson in earning money, and the freedom they feel like they have in choosing their chores. #everyonewins. For us, pay day is Friday and then we start all over again.
The other great part about this is it sets an expectation for the day, and then eventually it becomes second nature. And before anyone puts on the football game and sticks their hand down their pants, for example, while you’re still checking off lists and taking names, you can refer them to the schedule. #happywifehappylife #cleanhousesaresexy
3. The One Minute Rule
This one is legit. I’ve recently put this into practice and I can see why it is a thing. If a task takes less than a minute, do it now. Which is cool because someone needs me at least every 30 seconds, so I have a 50/50 shot of completing that task. I mean I’m no math major, but am I right?!
I am really good at walking past something simple and thinking ‘I’ll get that later.’ And then at 11pm I find myself cursing all those ‘laters.’ This is part of my ‘now‘ resolution coming into fruition.
4. The Sweep
No I don’t mean the broom. I mean the last thing we do in the evening before the bedtime routine starts. Everyone starts by the front door and goes room to room looking for anything out of place that belongs to them, and then takes it to its home. We do this in every room, with the last room being the bedroom. And we have lovingly named it ‘the sweep.’ It sounds stupidly simple, but it works. It allows everyone to enjoy playing freely with their things without mommy building up tension in her shoulders wondering how late she’ll be up to tidying up. I find myself nagging less and eventually, the kids realize if they put things back when they are done with them, their last chore of the night won’t be such a, well…chore. Ha!
So there you have it. But let me be clear on 2 things. 1: When deeper cleaning is needed, I certainly kick my husband and kids out of the house and tell them “don’t call me, I’ll call you.” And then play any music that isn’t a Disney soundtrack really loud. We all have our limits. 2. Don’t ever come to my house expecting it to be without fingerprints on the windows or crumbs on the floor. Our house is a home and we live in it. But all of these tips help my inner OCD seize the crazy, instead of go crazy.
I hope it will do the same for you.