One of the challenges of having little ones is keeping the house clean, or at least guest-ready. This doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility. Here are five ways that clean freak moms keep their homes clean.
1. Get the Whole Family Involved
Even toddlers can do things such as pick up their toys, help make their beds, carry their dirty clothes to the laundry room, and even set the table with unbreakable dishes. It is true that someone will probably have to follow them around and do the job properly, but the idea is to get them into the habit of cleaning. Be sure to praise them for their efforts!
Kindergarten-age children can make their beds, dust the table tops set the table, and put the groceries where they need to go. As the child ages, their skill sets increase. By junior high school, kids can do everything a grown-up can do save paying the bills. This means that they have a day or two out of the week where they plan and cook family meals. They also make their own beds, do their own laundry, wash the windows, screw in light bulbs, vacuum either with a regular vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum, and mop the floors.
Kids who are brought up to know how to cook, clean, and help take care of their own home tend not to find it a big deal, may find it fun, and develop a sense of pride in their own skillfulness and creativity.
2. Make Checklists
Checklists are simply reminders of what needs to be done every day, week, month, and season. They not only let everyone know what has to be done, but who is charged with doing it. Checklists go into a loose-leaf or spiral notebook, and the spiral notebook goes to a central place, such as the kitchen or the den, where everyone can reference it. This organizer not only has chores but also emergency numbers, contact numbers of friends and family, and other valuable information. Checklists can be entered into computers, but putting them in a notebook is more convenient for those few people who are not computer-savvy.
3. Cultivate Good Habits
Experts claim that the way to build a good habit is to decide one thing that needs to be done and do it for 21 days without fail. Getting up at 8 o’clock every morning is one habit. Going over the checklist once out of bed is another. Add these good habits to more good habits such as swabbing the kitchen floor and wiping the kitchen counters after dinner, and a clean house is inevitable.
4. Have the Right Tools When Cleaning
Cleaning goes so much easier when the right tools are at hand. For cleaning the bathroom, for example, one needs an apron with roomy pockets and a carryall tray. This carryall tray should have:
- A mild powdered cleanser
- At least one scrub pad
- A spray bottle or glass cleaner
- A spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner
- A toilet brush
- A tile brush
- A lamb’s wool duster
- A whisk broom
- A spray bottle of diluted bleach
- A spray bottle of tile cleaner
- Lots of cleaning cloths
Other rooms may need other equipment and cleaning them should ideally be done in one clockwise trip around the space. The bathroom is different in that it requires two trips, one is for wet work and the other for dry work. But for experienced clean freak moms, even a big bathroom doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to clean. This is largely because she has all the equipment at hand.
5. Not Dirty? Don’t Clean It
It is impossible to stress how important this rule is. If the wall cabinets in the kitchen have only a few fingerprints around the knobs and everything else is clean, wipe off the fingerprints, then move on.
Having and keeping a clean home is a simple matter of organization and force of habit.