We moms are almost always busy. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a working mom, or a work-at-home mom, life gets busy! Cleaning up can be difficult, no matter how much or how little time you have. Having a few tricks on hand can make it a little easier to clean up in a busy home.
Start with a few habits.
1. Don’t step over it. Pick it up.
If there’s a piece of paper on the floor, a tissue in the corner, a stray sock or kid’s toy, don’t ignore it or step over it. Pick it up and put it where it belongs.
It takes all of 10 seconds to pick something up and a few extra steps to put it away, while you’re on your way from one room to another.
Our grandmothers wore aprons for this reason, I think. Aprons had pockets, and they could stick the stray items in the pockets and put them away when they got to that area. I’ve gotten in the habit of trying to have pockets or a bag handy. And at the end of the day, I’ll empty my pockets of hair elastics, paperclips, baby socks, pens, and the occasional coin or battery.
2. Take it with you.
Moms notice the out of place things. And sometimes we even do something about it. But rather than get mad, just get in the habit of taking it with you.
When you are ready to leave a room, look around you for a second. Pick up the nearest item that belongs in the room you’re headed to, and take it with you.
For example, if I’m in my living room, and I’m headed to the kitchen, I’ll grab the nearest cup or glass to go with me. I can put it in the sink, almost without thinking about it, and then go on to why I was in my kitchen in the first place.
I’m not looking to clean up the entire room before I leave it. That’s key here. I’m just looking to take one or two items with me that are out of place.
3. Straighten it when you see it.
You walk by the bookshelf, and you see the picture is laying down. Rather than just continue walking by, set it back up. Or put the candles back together where they had shifted. Or turn that book so the spine faces out again.
It’s the little touches that help make your home feel cleaner and tidier. Having the picture on the wall just a bit crooked, or the throw pillow on the floor isn’t a huge deal, but it adds to the feelings of clutter and chaos. When you take 5 seconds to straighten, contain, and put back in order, you make your home feel better.
And it doesn’t take long to do either.
4. Do cleaning things along with other tasks.
When my children were younger, I would often bathe them all at once, one right after the other. And while they were playing in the tub for a few minutes, I would spend some time cleaning my bathroom. Since there were 4 of them, I would tackle one area per child — the sink with the first one, the toilet with the 2nd, and so on. And when every child was done and in a towel, I’d quick wipe out the tub and shower, before heading off to clothe said children.
When you can combine tasks, you make your life easier.
5. Learn and Clean
Cleaning can often be boring. That’s one reason why we avoid it so much! But you can make the time you spend cleaning less wasted by using technology.
I often will listen to a podcast, webinar, video or audiobook while I’m cleaning something. Washing the floor? I’ve probably got a business podcast playing on my phone on the counter. Cleaning out the fridge? I might listen to a YouTube history documentary.
You can learn a lot while you’re cleaning up.
6. Make it a game.
Set a timer and race to finish before it beeps. If it’s a routine task, like folding laundry, reward yourself if you beat your time from last week, with maybe a chocolate treat or a few minutes spent in doing something you enjoy.
I tend to promise myself an extra cup of coffee after I do just one more load of dishes. And with that cup of coffee, a few minutes to sit and sip, without thinking of much of anything. Bliss.
7. Turn your cleaning into a workout.
I envy moms who spend an hour every day on a workout. I can never seem to carve out the time. But if I want to get my heart rate up, I’ll go on a cleaning frenzy. I’ll set a timer for 30 minutes, and just work it to get as much done as I can in that time. I try to move faster, push harder, lift more, squat more, and incorporate workout moves while I’m wiping, washing and putting away.
8. Therapy clean
A friend of mine taught me this in high school. Cleaning is an excellent outlet for rage and frustration. Got cut off on the highway? School drop off line making you see red? Channel that emotional energy into cleaning. It’s cheaper than therapy, and gives you a productive outlet for those negative feelings.
Best part? When you’re done, you get a nice sense of accomplishment to boost your mood!
9. Dance party clean up
Sometimes, you just gotta turn cleaning into a party. So put on the music, turn it up loud, sing it out and clean up while you’re dancing.
Take that broom or mop and turn it into your dance partner. Rope your kids or partner into cleaning up with you, while you move to the music. There’s nothing like an upbeat tune to make even cleaning fun.
Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a chore.
While there’s no getting out of cleaning, you don’t have to tolerate drudgery. There’s always a way to make it easier and even more fun. And when it isn’t a hassle, it’s more likely to get done.
What’s your favorite clean up trick?