Let’s face it, most of us wouldn’t say we love cleaning, although I am sure we all do love the feeling of a clean home! As a busy mum of two I have tried many ways to cut down my cleaning ‘workload’. In this blog I will show you how I changed my cleaning mindset to find peace with our mess and created a routine to get through all my cleaning jobs in less than 2 hours a fortnight.
Make an empowered choice
Mindset shift number one: Remember you have options! You can do the cleaning yourself, outsource to a paid professional, and insource (that is, delegate to other members of your household). You may choose to do it yourself so you can spend your money on other things, or you may choose to outsource so you can free up your time. Both are OK. And it’s equally OK, as a leader of your family, to ensure you are insourcing jobs to other members of your household. By making a conscious choice about how you do or don’t clean your home, I have no doubt that you will feel better about it. And let me just say this: Being a stay-at-home parent does not automatically make you responsible for all the cleaning (if you don’t want it to be).
In this season of our life, outsourcing to a professional cleaner doesn’t fit our budget, so I had to figure out how to organise the cleaning in our household to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for our family.
The problem with cleaning schedules
According to Pinterest, life would be much easier if we followed a routine cleaning schedule. I diligently downloaded a pretty free printable wrote a list of cleaning tasks for each day of the week, as a way of keeping on top of things. But then I went on a play date and suddenly I was a day behind!
This approach certainly appealed to my highly-organised Type-A personality, but ended up feeling very restrictive and like I had failed if I didn’t get to something in the allocated timeframe. So it didn’t work for me. What I really needed was a mindset shift, not a better schedule. I had to make peace with our mess, and the occasional chaos that goes along with raising a young family.
Make peace with mess
Spending every day at home means you are constantly confronted with mess. But it also helped me realised that mess and cleaning is really just part of a continual cycle and is never a ‘once and done’. I used to think “I’ll just stay up late tonight and get these jobs done, and then they will be done and I’ll be happy”. It was a lie. I would just end up tired and extra grumpy when the mess reappeared the next day. So please, make peace with your mess, and accept that it’s just part of a normal, vibrant family life. When you have little ones, no two days let alone weeks are the same. If a highly-structured cleaning schedule is stressing you out, then dump it.
Develop your own rhythm
I am finally in a place where I feel really comfortable with my cleaning routine so I am going to share with you my top strategies for cleaning the house in under two hours a fortnight. Sometimes I do it all in one day, other times I split it around whatever else we have going on. But please don’t take this as gospel. Each family and home is different so please use this blog as inspiration to find your own rhythm and develop a routine that works for you.
My two-hour fortnightly cleaning routine
- Bathrooms | 50 mins. We have two. I wipe clean the bath, showers, basins and mirrors. I also do the glass doors around the house. I use Enjo cleaning fibres and water. No nasty chemicals and so simple to use.
- Toilets | 10 mins. Again, we have two. I scrub the toilet bowls with Organic Choice dishwashing liquid (the same I use for my dishes) and a square toilet brush, and I use white vinegar (for it’s antibacterial properties) in a spray bottle and Who Gives A Crap recycled paper towel to ‘spray and wipe’ the toilet surfaces.
- Dusting | 20 mins. I wipe the furniture, surfaces and ceiling fans with a damp microfibre cloth. I usually rope the kids into this one too, everybody gets a cloth! To be honest, I don’t do this every fortnight, but rather when I notice things are getting dusty.
- Kitchen | 20 mins. Each day I do the dishes and take out the bins so I don’t count this as part of my fortnightly routine, but each week I will conduct what I call a ‘kitchen reset’ which takes me about 15 – 20 mins. I clean and put away appliances, tidy the pantry and fridge, scrub the sink etc.
- Car | 20 mins. I clear out and vacuum the backseat of my car which becomes a graveyard for discarded snacks, stray socks and happy meal toys. If my husband reads this he will laugh and call me a liar because more often than not he will do this for me.
And that’s it. A total of about two hours of cleaning per fortnight. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of all the cleaning jobs I do, but you get the idea. I am a big advocate of spot cleaning as required, so I will often run the handy vac around if there has been a big spill, or we have visitors coming.
Don’t forget to insource
What about the regular ‘vacuuming and mopping? I hear you say. Nope, not my job. I believe mothers (working or not) take on far more than their fare share of the household chores (this belief is backed up by plenty of research) so that’s something hubby does now. He’s also super handy with the laundry, car washing and yard maintenance. Thanks babe!
Insourcing the cleaning jobs in your household is one surefire way to save your sanity. While it takes time and patience to get the kids cleaning up after themselves, I feel like it’s a worthwhile investment. My kids (2 and 4) help put away their folded clothes, make their beds, unpack the groceries, vacuum the floor after spills, water plants and pack away toys.
A fresh perspective
I think what’s helped me most is the realisation that I can get my cleaning jobs done in under two hours a fortnight and that’s not much time in the scheme of things. Now, when it comes to cleaning, I feel much more relaxed and less overwhelmed.
I’ve also learned to pair mundane tasks like folding or ironing laundry with a favourite TV show or treat to make them more enjoyable. I love watching Netflix on my iPad while I do the dishes.
I can now proudly say I do the bare minimum. Sure it would be nice to have a spotlessly clean home day-in-day-out, but in this season of our life it’s just not realistic, or all that important. I would be missing out on way too much. We have been cleaning fortnightly for four years now and no one has died and people usually visit us again.
We hope you have gained some new ideas to shake up your own cleaning routine and find a fresh perspective. We’d love for you to share with us your own ideas and methods using the comments tool below.