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Do you love having a clean house but just can’t find the time to get everything done?
I enjoy cleaning and love the refreshing feeling of admiring vacuum lines, sparkling mirrors, and squeaky clean floors. Unfortunately, with two kids and a farmer for a husband who tracks in dirt like it’s his job, I don’t have the time to devote to deep cleaning my house on a daily basis.
Cleaning has become a waste of time, considering that my daughter loves smashing her breakfast (raspberries, blueberries, and a banana – a little rainbow mashed into the clean grout). Meanwhile, my son loves using his window markers on my clean sliding glass door. My dark carpet thankfully hides crumbs, although the kids aren’t the culprit eating in the family room (my husband tends to make bigger messes than the kids).
Instead of fretting over a dirty house (or stressing because my clean house gets dirty faster than Lightning McQueen can race around the track), I’ve had to make a few changes to my cleaning policies. While I hesitate to call myself lazy, desperate times call for desperate measures! Here’s a list of my favorite “lazy mommy” cleaning tactics.
1. Get the kids to do it
In addition to training your kids to pick up their own toys, get your kids to help. My kids Swiffer the floors to earn their toys back, and we spend quality time together as they help fold laundry and dust. Give kids their own age-appropriate chores that they can do themselves, like making their beds, setting and clearing the table, and collecting the garbage.
2. Only clean what’s absolutely necessary
Today, I had the brilliant idea to wash the mirrors in my home. As soon as I was done, my daughter walked up to the clean mirror and gave her reflection a giant, sloppy kiss. When my brother was little, he walked around the house behind my mom as she washed the windows “helping” (his version of helping was spitting in the windows and then wiping them with his sleeve). Not only did my mom need to rewash the windows, but she also had to do more laundry!
Wash things like windows as infrequently as possible. I wash the windows in my house before Christmas and before my son’s birthday in June. Other than that, I only wash windows if necessary, like when the kids color on them (and even then, we “enjoy” their artwork for at least a week).
3. Have the proper cleaning supplies
Invest in quality over quantity
I don’t recommend running out and arming yourself with every cleaning tool created (that’ll just add to the clutter). Quality tools go a long way to making your job easier, though. I love this mop. Although it may cost slightly more than other mops, it lasts forever and the heads can even be tossed into the washing machine.
Use multi-function/dual purpose tools
Multi-function or dual purpose products are handy. Swiffer dusters can be used to clean the ceiling fans in the bedrooms, and then run along the baseboards and door frames. In minutes, the bedrooms are dusted.
Instead of buying millions of products that you’ll only use on one thing, try to find multiple uses for the same product. I use straight vinegar to clean windows, glass, and the TV, a vinegar and water mixture to clean the floors, and then I also use a spray bottle of vinegar and Dawn dish soap to clean the shower. My house may smell like a salad, but at least it’s clean (or clean enough).
Store your tools where you use them
Keeping products within easy reach is also a necessity. While there’s something to be said for reducing the number of cleaning supplies that you use, the convenience factor weighs out in this round. If I have a spare second, I like to be able to quickly wash the bathrooms. I use Lysol wipes, which I keep under the sink in every bathroom. My bathroom can sparkle in minutes! It may not sparkle as well as it did pre-kids when I actually had more than 30 seconds to devote to cleaning, but at least I know the splatters from my son’s toothbrush escapades are gone.
4. Work in shifts
Cleaning in batches is a huge time saver. For those times when you actually need to clean the windows, I find that doing a couple at a time if you have a spare 15 minutes can make a big difference. I start with the kitchen window, and then do others whenever I get to them.
I also do this when cleaning the entire house. Since most people don’t go in the bedrooms, focus on the main living area and leave the bedrooms for another day.
5. Limit the dirt that comes into your house
We have a no shoes in the house policy, which helps to reduce a lot of the dirt, leaves, and germs entering our house. I shudder when I think of all the places that I wore my shoes (public bathrooms, doctor’s offices, and farms aren’t exactly appetizing ingredients to have on a kitchen floor).
This rule also applies to clothes after the kids have been playing in the sandbox or the farmer cuts the grass. Everything has to come off before entering the house (just remember to keep a spare set of shorts near the door if you have guests over 🙂 ).
I’ve also found that sweeping the garage and front porch regularly helps to reduce the amount of dirt entering our home. Especially when the leaves fall off the trees (for those of us who live in a four-season state), it makes such a difference when you have a clean entrance to your home.
Cleaning is a necessary evil, but there are ways to minimize the time you spend doing it. It’s nice to view your home as a sanctuary, but that’s difficult when you can’t walk across the kitchen floor without squishing Cheerios or crunching across dried leaves. When you have kids, any amount of cleaning improves the situation. Clean your house the lazy mommy way and be done with it!