Cleaning is a necessary task in life, whether it's your house, your room or your car. We all have to do it, but it's not always easy to whistle while you work. Is it just me, or does cleaning become a heavier chore when children are involved? From one wonder woman to another, we will probably agree that our powers are stretched thinner than ever before. Even if you're including them in the chores line-up, cleaning up with children always seems to take more time and energy than it did when I was single and alone
Recently, when I was feeling bogged down and guilty of procrastinating the tasks that lie ahead, I realized that there had to be an easier way. We may not be able to lessen the laundry load or keep the house spotless (EVER) but we can definitely make a plan that will help us in the clean up process.
1. Let robots do the work for you. If there is an automated gadget that will do it for you, FIND IT, BUY IT, and USE IT. Furthermore if you have a pre-programmed woman from Stepford, let her move in and take over the cleaning and chores. All jokes aside, there are some interesting products out there like automatic vacuums for the floor and for the pool, and dust-zapping static electricity-powered gizmos. My most loyal helpers are the dishwasher and the washer/dryer.
2. Delegate! If there is a spouse, a babysitter, a child or an available friend, give them a simple and foolproof job to do while they are hanging around the house. If you are in a financial position to employ teenagers in your neighborhood or a cleaning service on a weekly or monthly basis, take advantage of this option. If the use of a chore chart would be beneficial to you, make it happen ASAP.
3. Frequent, light cleaning is the trick of the trade. If you do bits and pieces as you go, it will be so much easier to keep up with cleaning. Letting things pile up or letting the bathroom go for months without a cleaning is the recipe for disaster. The bigger the project, the harder it is to make time and get motivated to tackle it. Light cleaning on a consistent basis will maintain a satisfactory condition and it will seem much easier.
4. Adjust your standards. Things will never be the same again now that you have children, (and/or a man-child) and maybe even pets. Don't stress over the details. Make a conscious decision to ignore the areas that don't matter and focus on sanitized kitchens and bathrooms, and clean countertops and floors. The pillows do not need to be fluffed, and dusting your decorations is only necessary if there's an allergy problem in your household. Give yourself the freedom and flexibility you need during this time-consuming, chaotic stage of life. You will have time for silverware polishing later, when your nest is empty.
5. Get in the mood! Like other things in life, you can make cleaning more enjoyable if you set the right mood. Give yourself a stress-free block of time so you don't feel hurried out the door with hands that smell like bleach. Also, blast your music and open the windows (or blinds, if it's cold out) so you can feel energized and motivated. Set a timer and attack one mess at a time. The best way to handle a messy area is giving yourself a reasonable time limit so you will naturally prioritize as you go, and won't spend too much time on the small stuff. (Please don't fold the underwear. Please don't iron your pillowcases. Moms are not about that life.)
The writers at American Baby Magazine are on the same page (no pun intended) because I found an article a few days ago on this exact topic. Written with new moms in mind, there are tips on how to tackle an area in ten minutes or less. Or if you have more time, follow pointers to freshening up the entire place in 40 minutes.
American Baby is also running a Prep Your House For Spring sweepstakes. Getting free, useful advice and a chance to win $25k towards home improvement doesn't sound half bad. The $25,000 Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. CT on 02/01/14 and ends at 11:59 p.m. CT on 06/30/14
Having a clean house and clutter-free space is important to me and there is no denying that I feel more inspired, happier and free when my environment is clean and orderly. However, taking a new approach with that same goal in mind is necessary when you go through certain stages in life. Put on the gloves, crank up the music, and show that kitchen who's boss!