Keeping a clean house is rarely an easy task to start with. Adding a baby, toddler, a dog, or any combination of factors can make you feel like you are engaged in a never ending battle. I have often realized that the state of my home is a direct correlation to how my mental health is doing. When I am struggling to get through the day and I am feeling like a glum mom, my surroundings often seem to match my disposition. Finding some hacks to help keep my house clean has been paramount in my journey into motherhood.
If you’re anything like me, then you thrive in a neat and orderly environment. I can easily fixate on the endless list of household chores that never seem to get done. I have, however, seemed to have found a method that works for me. It took me a year to really get in the swing of balancing motherhood with keeping an orderly home. Now I am here to share some hacks with you that I have since discovered!
1. The Dishwasher Hack
Of all the hacks I have found to help keep your house clean, this one is by far my favorite.
Run your dishwasher at night and unload it before breakfast in the morning. Once Princess L was walking, she loved helping me unload the dishwasher by handing me the items on the bottom rack. This has become a part of our morning ritual now. By emptying the dishwasher before breakfast, it allows me to place all the dirty dishes straight in the washer. No dirty dishes in the sink for the win! Woo!
As simple as this hack sounds, I shared my favorite with you first. This hack to help keep the house clean is one I stand by because it helps set you up for success throughout your day! We also recently purchased this toddler step stool for counters recently.
The stool allows her to help unload the top rack of the dishwasher, and it has been a real big hit! Before we were using a chair pushed up to the counter and it was a constant worry so far as safety goes. I love that she can help me now in the kitchen without having to be concerned about her getting hurt!
2. A Load a Day Hack
A load of laundry a day keeps the mountain away. Seriously! I focus on accomplishing one load per day. Trying to do more than that, I rarely get the clothing actually put away. But one load seems small and easy enough to tackle and put away. When it comes to hacks that keep your house clean, this one the hardest for me to keep, but the most important. I loathe folding and putting away laundry. Does anyone else have “that chair” in their room? Sticking to the plan of just one load makes this one doable for me (and keeps me from leaving clothes in the basket after they’re clean).
Props to the fact that Princess L also loves helping me fold clothes by handing me each item of clothing. Getting your little one involved in your household chores not only teaches them responsibility but can also be a fun learning experience! Talk about the colors and textures of what you’re folding. Ask them which shirt is their favorite.
I’ve started letting Princess L put the clothes into drawers now too. This makes her feel so accomplished. Sometimes (okay most of the time…) it gets smushed into the drawers and isn’t as orderly as I would like. However, for her clothes in her room- she gets a big sense of accomplishment from helping out with this chore.
3. Keep Surfaces Clean hack
Wipe down the counters and tables every day. I wipe down our table after each meal, and the counters in the evening after Princess L has gone off to sleep. Keeping these surfaces clear makes this hack so much easier. I don’t allow things to accumulate on our kitchen counters or table. Aside from a couple of kitchen appliances like our toaster and a blender, our counters stay bare. This makes wiping up a snap. Having to try and clean around papers and clutter is a headache. I love Happy Simple Mom’s post about dealing with the “dumping ground” area that is usually our tables or counters. She gives some truly, solid advice on how to conquer clutter once and for all.
I often need to sweep under our table after meals to get all the little crumbs up because our faithful fur companion isn’t much of a vacuum. Am I the only one whose toddler has more food end up on the floor than in their belly?! But seriously, cleaning up after each meal makes such a difference for us in terms of keeping our house tidy. Since we empty our dishwasher in the morning, the dirty dishes go straight in (no sitting in the sink!). Doing a quick wipe up on the table and kitchen makes everything put back together within a minute.
4. Toy Organization and Rotation for a clean house Hack
I have found that allowing for fewer toys, and putting them away when they are done being played with, is the easiest of the hacks to help keep your house clean when you have a toddler. Sounds easy enough, right? But how often do we let our little ones pull out each and every item they own before looking to see there is no longer a discernible path to even navigate through the room? When we finish playing with a toy it gets put up then- not at a later time. This is also made easier by the fact that we rotate our toys out daily. By rotating our toys, not only do they feel more exciting to play with, she does not have access to all her toys at once. This really helps keep some of the toy chaos to a minimum.
Toy organization is always an ongoing task. We keep a book and toy storage unit similar to this one here in our living room. I love being able to both display her books on top, and have room for toys underneath. We swap out the bottom baskets throughout the week to help rotate toys. This is the best system we have found for us.
5. Make a Schedule Hack
Come up with a schedule. Some things should be cleaned daily- like your kitchen(!), but other things such as mopping and cleaning bathrooms aren’t something you’re likely able to dedicate to daily cleaning. By creating a schedule for these areas it makes it so much easier. Some of these things I only work on after Princess L is asleep, or while my husband can care for her so that I don’t feel like I have spent a lot of time neglecting her.
When Mom Guilt Creeps Up
I don’t know about you, but I feel the most mom guilt about spending time cleaning, instead of engaged with my daughter. I realize that the mess will always be there, long after she has grown. However, I can’t play and hold her in my arms forever. I do recognize the importance of a clean home for my whole family. It teaches my daughter that we have responsibilities and that hard work is worth the effort to make everyone comfortable and enjoy the home we have together.
So my tip for you, when you have to clean and the mom guilt starts to creep up on you, is to find a way to make it a chore you can do together. Maybe you can’t carpet clean together… and you should save that task for another day, but can you dust the baseboards together? Windex the sliding glass door? Just find one chore you can do together can make you feel both accomplished and like you have connected with your child and taught them the value of keeping their space clean as well. (It’s funny, but Princess L loves cleaning our sliding glass back door! It is by far her favorite chore and she gets so much enjoyment from spraying the Windex on the glass all by herself!)
Keeping a tidy home is no small feat. But you can do it! Create a plan and stick to it! Make completing some chores a part of your ritual and they become second nature to everyone in the home. I never go to bed with our kitchen and living room not looking it’s very best. These two spaces are where we spend the bulk of our time during the day. I want to ensure that at least when we start our day in the morning, it is in as nice and serene of a state as possible. Plus it’s a bonus to keep these living areas tidy and presentable since you never know when you might have some unexpected company.
I hope some of these tips helped you! Please share any tips and hacks you’ve found to help keep your house clean!