Busy moms have an endless “To Do” list. From keeping the house clean, assigning chores, helping with homework, pursuing a career, mediating disagreements, balancing the budget and planning family vacations, moms wear many hats and have more skills than any other being on the planet. While moms these days are more like superheroes, it remains a mystery how they don’t go stark raving mad. Shouldn’t there be special facilities built for moms who crack from crossing something off their list only to have it reappear five minutes later?
Luckily, this tragedy can be averted by following our simple guide to getting things done. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and pining for a round the clock maid won’t help the situation. Instead, we recommend that you take a deep breath and read how insanely busy moms like you can easily get their housecleaning done.
Clean on the Go
If you’re running late, we get it. Otherwise, clean up the breakfast dishes before dashing out the door. Throw your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of across the room and encourage family members to do the same. Tripping over shoes in the hallway? Get up and put them away. By taking care of messes along the way instead of telling yourself you will get to it later, your house will remain cleaner and tidier. If you have one or more children at the age where they undo everything you do – like pull clothes out of the drawer you just organized or spill juice on the floor you just washed – and create endless baby bombs no matter what path of destruction lie in front of them, there is nothing we can do for you. We can only recommend getting help – before it’s too late. You can read about getting help further down this list.
Get the Kids Involved
Teaching kids from the get-go to clean up after themselves will save you a lot of headaches down the road. However, it’s never too late to start. Teach children to put away toys after they’re done using them or at the end of the end day, whichever works best for your family. Teach them to wash their hands before and after they eat. You know those sticky marks all over the glass doors and windows? Odds are, they’re all over your house and can be easily prevented with regular hand washing. Using a responsibility chart or chore chart that provides an extrinsic value like watching a favorite TV show, having a treat, or picking something out of treasure box will help get kids motivated to clean up.
Schedule a Thorough Cleaning
Get everyone involved and clean the house. Clean it from top to bottom. Try to do this at least once a month and you’ll see how much easier it is to keep your house clean all the other days. Use this time as an opportunity to get to the things you have been putting off, like going through stray socks, reducing clutter in the closets, cleaning the dust off baseboards, polishing bed frames, and more. Assign different areas to different members of the family. Everyone can be responsible for their own areas plus one or more areas in the house.
Divide your Time
Breaking chores into compartments is a good way to get housework done without feeling overwhelmed. For example, pick a day to do the laundry and do all of it. This way you won’t have to search the house for this shirt or that pair of pants. Everything will be clean, crisp and ready to go for the entire week. And then you get to do it all over again!
Everything has a place. By instituting this rule in the home, organization can only follow. Use shelves, storage bins, and redo the closets if you have to – just make sure that Susie’s stuffed animals have a toy chest to sleep in and the spices have a rack to sit in.
Donate and Throw Stuff Away
Get rid of clutter! It only takes up space, and it adds to feelings of frustration and feeling overwhelmed. At least twice a year, go through everything in the house – and the garage – and get rid of what you don’t use anymore. Old clothes, toys, books, and more can be donated to those in need or simply tossed in the garbage dump, freeing you from feeling overwhelmed. Having a yard sale in another alternative. It can help to raise some extra money to pay a bill or go on a weekend get away. Take a friend and leave the kids at home with Dad or Grandma and Grandpa.
Keeps Things in Easy Reach
To avoid creating clutter, you need to have easy access to things. For example, if you tend to help your child with their homework at the kitchen table, give them a drawer where they can keep stuff like pencils, pens, erasers, paper and a calculator.
Here’s a great related tip we received from Marcio Benedetti, owner of iQ Cleaning, a well-respected Washington D.C. maid service – “Instead of lugging cleaning products from one floor to the next, keep an extra batch tucked away under a bathroom sink or in a hallway closet on each floor.”
If your husband refuses to let you hire a full time maid, consider getting part-time help. Seek out a mother’s helper in the neighborhood. There are many responsible teenagers looking for extra cash and who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Also consider calling in a professional cleaning service who can come as often as your like. Even a once a month visit from a maid service will take a huge load off your shoulders.