I get asked this question a lot. I'll admit, I love a clean house and I have a pretty high standard of clean. I'm also not uptight about messes (despite what many people think). I know the difference between messy and dirty. I don't mind messy, I mind dirty. I figure as long as the floors are clean underneath the toys, the laundry, and the cheerios, all is well. Plus Maci and I suffer from allergies and asthma, and I know dirt and dust can aggravate those things tremendously. So I guess cleaning is one of my forms of preventative medicine. (ha. ha!)
So to answer the aforementioned question, how do I keep my house so clean? Here are my tips and tricks.
1. The more you clean, the less you clean. No really. If you clean your bathrooms well every week, you spend less time scrubbing as the weeks go by because there is less build up which means less heavy duty cleaning to be done. Trust me. Even dusting isn't much of a task because I dust once a week (not a lot of dust accumulates over a week).
2. Let your kids do projects that will make it get messy. This could buy time for you to clean a different area of the house (i.e. wipe downs the cabinets in the kitchen, dishes, vacuum, or, my usual go to when they're painting or doing some other sensory activity on the floor, MOPPING).
3. Teach your kids to help. My kids are 3 and 1 and already have an interest in cleaning. I give them wet rags to help me mop up the floor or tables. Maci loves to help me dust and Isaiah loves to help me vacuum (the extension is so cool to him). Sometimes it makes things go slower but they're learning a very important skill and having fun while they're doing it. Their future spouses will thank me later!
4. Get rid of stuff. If the kids don't play with it, pack it up and move it out. I'm sure they have plenty of toys anyway. If you don't wear it, let someone else. If it doesn't fit, don't wait for it to. Buy yourself something new when you drop those extra pounds. Extra stuff is just that: extra! Which leads to extra clutter, extra dust, extra washing, extra organizing, extra things to put away. Do you honestly have time for all that extra? Probably not. Donate it! I purge 2-4 times a year. Yes, really.
5. Last, and this is the big one. Keep a cleaning schedule! And make sure it's a realistic one. I've seen countless cleaning schedules that are simply impractical (and that's coming from someone who has a pretty high standard of clean). Sorry, but I'm not going to clean my windows inside and out every week. Not when there's dried smoothie on the ceiling and half of that morning's meal still on the floor. I like clean but I'm also realistic. Here's the schedule I follow:
This schedule originated from one I found on Pinterest and switched up a little to make it work for me. Mondays are bathrooms and we have 3. This always feels like the biggest chore day of the week so it tends to be our "home" day, which is simply a day where we hang out at home. The kids relax from the busy-ness of life and rediscover the toys they haven't had time to play with all week and I can clean all the bathrooms, which somehow makes me feel like my whole house it put back together. :)
The other chores throughout the week don't take as much time and I usually do them in the morning or after naps. I rarely clean during naps - I want to relax too! As for laundry, I try to stay caught up by putting a load in every morning but usually I'll end up doing 2-3 loads in a day twice each week. I wash and dry it throughout the day and save the folding for after the kids go to bed. I actually enjoy it because my hands are busy so it's a great time for me to talk to God, reflect on the day, chat with my husband, or watch one of our shows without being able to pick up the ever-buzzing and beeping smart phone.
The deep cleaning chores at the bottom are more for "when I get around to it." I can't guarantee I'll get to them every week or even every month. That'll just set me up to get behind. What I did is print out this schedule and I have it framed and hanging next to our desk in the kitchen, with dry erase marker I write the date of the last time I did the deep cleaning chore.
Another thing that's great about the cleaning schedule is that it allows my husband to see what needs to be done that day. He appreciates the cleanliness of our home but he doesn't always initiate the first scrub. This chart helps him help me out, and when he cleans that makes me happy. Happy wife, happy life, right?