Keeping a clean and tidy house feels almost impossible with a one-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. They still need constant supervision and are nowhere near the same nap schedule. It’s a miracle if I can get my daughter to nap, and my son will either take one nap that is three hours long or three naps that are only an hour long each.
The majority of my cleaning is done when my son is asleep as I can leave my daughter unsupervised (with the use of a baby monitor) for short periods of time with her tablet. The rest is done when my husband is available to watch the kids, although most of the time we switch, and I rest while he finishes the cleaning. Chores are 50/50 around here, and I can’t wait for the day when my kids can pitch in with cleaning their rooms.
- Pick up living room. This includes putting away toys, cleaning up any trash, vacuuming the couch of any crumbs (I use a small hand vacuum for this), and fixing and fluffing the couch cushions.
- Clean the kitchen. I scrub dishes and wipe counters and appliances. I recently started using H-E-B brand soaps and they’re great! I was using Mrs. Meyer’s soap, and while it worked great, the soap is coconut-based, and I’m allergic to coconut, so it was hard on my skin. I do dishes by hand in this order: silverware, baby bottles/cups, cups/mugs, small plates, big plates, small bowls, big bowls, skillets, then finally pots. Our washer and dryer are in the kitchen so after I finish the dishes I use Method All Purpose Spray and a microfiber cloth to clean the counters and wipe the stove, washer, dryer, and fridge.
- Sweep whole house. I use a straw broom and start in the dining room then go to the bathroom, hallway, and living room. I sweep it all into the kitchen and into a dustpan.
- Mop whole house. I got one of those mops that has the twist handle to save my back and hands. I pour Fabuloso’s Passion of Fruits into a mop bucket (Just enough to cover the bottom) and fill with warm water. I mop the dining room, kitchen, bathroom, hall, and living room. I usually sit outside for a breather while the floor dries.
- Finish all other picking up that needs to be done. This includes any random things just sitting around, picking up the toys in the kids room, and putting away clothes my kids stripped off and threw somewhere.
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- Clean the bathroom. I use Method Antibacterial Bathroom Spray in the eucalyptus and mint scent, as well as the toiler bowl spray. I always spray my tub first so it has time to sit and help loosen any hair that gets stuck in the non-slip mat. Then, using paper towels, I wipe the lid of the toilet then the seat, under the seat, top of rim, backside off toilet, and then the top. I grab new paper towels after every section as they are usually really wet and don’t clean as well. I then scrub the tub using a little wire brush I picked up for $2 in the cleaning isle. After I’m done scrubbing (it only takes me a couple minutes), I turn on the shower head and use it to rinse the tub out. Then I spray and wipe the sink.
- Clean out the fridge. I go in once per week and clean out any old leftovers or out-of-date food. Then I organize what’s left. Let’s be honest — trying to keep the fridge organized with other people in the house is near impossible!
- Clean the bedrooms. I normally do this during laundry day. After I’ve folded and put away clothes, I pick up any trash, put away any bows that didn’t get put away that my daughter used, put shoes back on the rack, hang up jackets and hats, change the bedding, and sweep and mop.
Monthly Chores to Stay Clean and Tidy
- Clean out the pantry. I check for any expired or stale foods, throw them out, and organize what is left.
- Wipe down tables. Thankfully, the house isn’t all that dusty, so I only have to wipe down end tables, entertainment centers, etc. once a month. When we lived in our old apartment, I had to do it every couple of days.
- Clean couch cushions. I have couch cushions with removable covers as well as separate covers that go over them. Once a month I take all the covers off and throw them in the washer along with the throw pillows. Then I vacuum the couch and replace the cushions.
Marie Kondo Method
I have always loved organizing things, but could never figure out the best way for me to get rid of stuff I didn’t use or need but also couldn’t get myself to let go.
Then I heard about Marie Kondo and her Netflix show Tidying up with Marie Kondo. My husband and I watched one episode, completed the tasks in that episode, and repeated for the entire season. It took us a couple weeks to complete.
Every word she said just clicked and “sparked joy,” as she likes to put it.
- Commit. If you’re not prepared and committed to tidying up and finishing the process, it will make the journey a lot harder and less fun and rewarding.
- Imagine. Picture what you want your house and lifestyle to look like, then accomplish it.
- Discard. By tossing what you don’t want or need, you make organizing easier.
- Start with what, not where. Her organization process goes in stages by category instead of area: clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and then sentimental items.
- Follow the order. Try not to get discouraged or distracted. If you need to take a break for a couple days, do it. It’s a long process, but so worth it.
- Does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, it may be an item you can discard.
If you follow the process completely and are consistent with upkeep, staying organized and having less clutter is easy as pie.
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Here are some additional principles that helped me stay organized:
- Using clear plastic or glass containers to store things in a garage, closet, or pantry is super helpful as you can clearly see what is inside of each.
- “Filing” folded clothing items (instead of stacking) keeps each item visible and prevents you from having to dig through piles.
- Everything should have a home.
- Vertical storage is a God-send! Shelves and hanging coat racks save floor space and keeps things within reach (just don’t use too many or it’ll make your space feel cramped).
- Labeling opaque containers and pantry shelves helps us know what and where everything is.
- I also follow a “15 seconds rule.” If I spot something that needs doing, and I can spare the 15 seconds to do it, do it. For example, if you spot trash on the floor or counter, throw it away right then. Picking up as you see it saves time and effort later.
- Remember you’re only human. Give yourself some grace. You don’t have to do all the things, all the time. Let the dishes sit an extra day. Mop in a couple days. It’s okay to let some things slip.
I hope this helps, mamas! Lord knows it ain’t easy. But you can do it!