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As busy moms (and dads)–whether working, staying home with the kids, traveling, taking on school activities–generally the last thing we have time for is constantly cleaning our homes. Even if we’re able to make significant time periods for cleaning or organizing, it’s not really something most parents want to do.
Keeping up the house is one of those mundane tasks that never end. Even if you’ve got a great system going and no matter how clean your house was yesterday, chances are it gets completely undone by kids, activities, cooking, or any number of other things. For most parents, this is a struggle and sometimes even a fight we deal with day in and day out.
Especially working from home, watching my two toddlers and all of the other day-to-day chaos most parents deal with (school, events, meals), keeping everything picked up consistently is just not possible unless I want to skimp on family time, work or sleep. I am able to do a quick pick up before bed most nights or set aside a day from time to time to go nuts, but otherwise, I simply just do not have the time to keep things at the level I would like.
So I turned to some organizational/self-help books, learned a few things from other busy moms, and stumbled upon great services to cut back on the cleaning stress for both me and my husband. Here are my 3 top tips for stressing less about cleaning and getting more done.
1. If you can do it in a minute or less, do it right then
This may sound silly or too simple at first, but you’d be amazed how much time this saves me in the long run. I originally found this piece of advice from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, and I’d recommend her whole book for making your life lighter and happier in general. This one-minute-or-less tactic can lead to some borderline A.D.D. moments for me, but overall, if I see something or think of something and know it can be done in a minute, I do it. No excuses. This means I don’t have to take a 30-40 minute chunk out of my day later to do all the little things at once. It also means I’m completing tasks as I run across them versus trying to remember them later or going out of my way to get them done.
2. Use Google Calendar for everything
If you’re going to breathe, schedule it as a reminder on Google Calendar. At first, I was opposed to this one but can’t give you a logical reason why. Maybe because it meant I had to think ahead or I hadn’t really used Google Calendar prior… I don’t know. However, it has been one of the best kick-in-the-butts ever. Big or small–scheduling an event or responding to an email–I schedule a reminder for it in Google Calendar. Since doing this, I’ve become so much more organized and efficient. Plus, when I actually have a scheduled reminder to do something, I do it instead of procrastinating… mostly because I want to check it off but also because I know I have another reminder coming up.
3. Use a cleaning service, like Cleanify
Stay with me on this one, because I used to be the “I will never hire someone to come do chores I can easily do myself” person, too. I was her. It was hard for me to get past that point until I was literally making myself sick trying to do it all. And also got in fights with my husband over laundry, over dishes, over picking up because we’re both so busy that making time for these mundane tasks was the last thing on our lists, and it was falling by the wayside, drowning us. It took me a while to learn I have to prioritize, and for my family, one of the last things on our list is cleaning. That means it doesn’t get done when everything else takes over, but we also realize we can’t live in filth or take whole days out of our schedule every week to catch back up. It’s just not plausible.
So, we finally have reached a point where my husband and I realize that it’s smart to have someone come in for a reasonable, budget-able price to do the things we don’t have the time for, cause stress, start fights, or cut hours off our sleep so that we can focus our time and energy elsewhere. I would highly recommend Cleanify. It’s a very simple layout that focuses on your location, and the price range shows you others’ ratings and gives you the option to specify what you want. Whether it’s one hour, four hours, a deep clean, or just a tidy-up, Cleanify is a great way to find several options in your area.
What are your tips for staying tidy and sane?