What’s one of the most significant lies cultures tell homemakers? Developing a cleaning routine is simple and easy to stick to. Am I right? But what if you hate cleaning? I got you. Here are three simple hacks for designing a system that works for you and your family.
From my extensive research (read: asking all the women I know which they like better, cooking or cleaning?), people either get the cleaning gene or the cooking gene, but it’s never both. Never, not once, have I met someone who enjoys both.
Do you? Most likely not. (If you are the magical unicorn who enjoys both, please tell me your secret magical ways.) One is always so much more challenging than the other. If you’re like me, then that’s cleaning. So, here are my best and most practical tips for developing a cleaning routine that works.
#1. Clarify Your Expectations
First, you need to set appropriate expectations. What does a clean home mean to you? Is it consistently mopped floors, floors cleared of clutter/toys, or are the floors clear chunks of yesterday’s breakfast? You do you. This is your home, no one else’s.
Tidiness differs from person to person and from parenting season to parenting season. I expect more of myself (and my children) now that everyone is out of the baby and toddler stages. However, my expectations are not equal to a family that has teenagers. My kids are very much in the toy years. It’s unrealistic of me to expect all toys to be put away at the end of every day because toys are life right now. I mean, there’s currently a pretend golf course in the playroom.
So, I don’t expect the toys to be perfectly picked up every single day. If I did, I would correct and scold my children constantly. No one wants that! Instead, we do a big clean-up once a week. This works for us. The toy years are a season of childhood, and that is where we are right now.
#2. Decide How Much Time Do You Want to Devote to Cleaning?
The second thing to consider when developing a cleaning routine is how much time you can reasonably and sanely devote to cleaning. Quick story time: When I was home with a new baby and a toddler, a plumber came to our house to do some work. I *always* tidied up before anyone came over.
He unexpectedly had to go into my closet to access the shower. I hadn’t tidied my room, much less my closet! I quickly ran in there to make sure, you know, there wasn’t a bra on the floor or something. I was mortified! I kept apologizing for the mess. Then this sweet old man turned to me and said, “It’s okay. I use my house too.” Friend! Let me tell you. That plumber set me free!!
We use our home. And what a blessing that is! And I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning. What works for us is doing a quick pick-up after breakfast before starting our homeschool. We do another pick-up before rest time, as the school day is coming to a close. Lastly, I pick up the living room (usually, it’s just the kid’s cups and maybe a random dinosaur or two) at the end of the day after the kids have gone to bed.
Now, I deep clean one room a day. But only if time and energy allow it. I don’t stress if I don’t get to it.
#3 Get the Kids Involved
Finally, developing a cleaning routine became much more manageable when my kids could participate effectively. My elementary-aged kids have morning chores. These include things like unloading the dishwasher, giving food and water to the pets, getting themselves ready for the day, clearing breakfast dishes, and so on. Check out the chore chart I use! My kids love checking off their chores each day.
Here is a good post sharing ideas for kid chores based on age. You can find chore ideas for kids all over the internet. Don’t feel overwhelmed by these (beware the comparison game!). These are all just ideas. Pick and choose what works for you and your family.
I want to know! Do you have a cleaning routine? Share in the comments below to give others ideas and inspiration. If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and sign up for my email list to be the first to know what’s happening here!