A working mom’s job doesn’t stop when she leaves the office – she’s got a full-time assignment at home as well. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, and cleaning house, which has to be done over and over and over, can seem like your own personal version of Mission: Impossible. But if you set realistic goals, it can be done, and here are some hints to help every working mom on her own path to a squeaky clean home.
Clean As You Go
Setting aside enough time to clean the whole house from top to bottom isn’t always an option. One way to help keep the house clean is to put things away as you use them and clean up as you go. A great place to try this approach is your bedroom. Make your bed each and every morning. It only takes a few minutes, but it gives the room a fresh, clean appearance. This is also true for clothes: hang them up or put them in the hamper as soon as you take them off. Wipe down the bathroom sink and shower before you leave for work, put away the things you’ve used there, and this is one less room to think about when doing major house cleaning. In the kitchen, don’t let dishes pile up in the sink – the extra few minutes you spend doing this in the morning will make dinnertime prep and cleanup go much more smoothly, leaving you more family time in the evening. Try to do one small cleaning task before you go to bed: you’ll feel much better in the morning, waking up to a clean house!
Clean Out the Clutter
Clutter is often a bigger problem than dirt in many homes, and it’s hard to know where to clean when there are big and bigger piles of stuff in every nook and cranny. De-cluttering is an important step in house cleaning, so set aside a week when every family member throws away or donates at least one thing each day. If you can, also go through one cabinet or closet every week (and maybe an extra one on the weekend) you’ll be clearing the decks for a cleaner house – just don’t move stuff from one place to another! When you receive junk mail, toss it right away in the recycle pile. Try to keep flat surfaces (tables, counters) clear of clutter; you’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your home will look just by doing this! Set aside a place for important papers (a nice basket should do the trick) and go through them at the end of each day, getting rid of anything no longer current. Give away toys and clothes your children have outgrown, or have a garage sale – but don’t bring anything that doesn’t sell back inside the house!
Make Kids Part of the “Clean House Crew”
As soon as your children are old enough, they should be given regular chores that will help in keeping the house clean. These can be specific to their own rooms, or you can get them involved in more general house cleaning tasks like laundry, after-dinner dishes, or outside garden and yard work. Make this effort to clean house a team effort and a way to spend more time with your children once you’re home from work. Teach your children to put their own things away, and be certain to enforce this important rule. Remember to praise them and, when appropriate, reward their housecleaning efforts, which will make it easier to get them to do it again.