We all live different seasons in our lives with different needs and different schedules. Maybe you thought you didn’t find time to clean when you were a student. But it was so much easier back then than it is now. Nowadays, cleaning routines seem impossible to follow with kids and one or more jobs. There is too much to do and not enough time. What you need is a realistic cleaning schedule for working moms.
How to keep a clean house with a busy schedule
Begin with the non-negotiable
The non-negotiables are the basic needs you have to meet: having something to eat and being clean. So, start your schedule by doing the dishes and washing your family’s clothes.
Regularly cleaning the dishes has advantages; The task is easier when the sink is not too full, and you don’t have to scrub some dried things. So, it would be best to do the dishes daily.
It’s also valid if you use a dishwasher. It washes better when it isn’t overstuffed. Put the dishes in the dishwasher daily and get it running at least every other day.
Concerning the laundry, you have two choices. You can have a laundry day or do a load a day. Both have pros and cons. In the first case, you’ll need time during the whole day but won’t have to deal with clothes until the following week.
If you choose to do a load a day, you’ll have to remember to take care of the laundry daily, but it can become a habit you put into your schedule. This second solution is also preferable if you don’t have a dryer, as clothes need space to dry.
It’s up to you which solution you choose but be careful not to let laundry pile up for more than a week.
Accept the good enough
When you were younger, you had more free time and more time to clean. Now you’re working, and the kids need your attention, so you clean when you can. Of course, you’d love to have a sparkling clean house, but be honest with yourself: do you have the time and energy for that?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. As they say, the better is the enemy of the good. Having a clean enough house where you’ll live happily is a more reachable goal. And once they become adults, your children won’t remember that sometimes, there were dust bunnies on the floor. They’ll remember the time you spend with them.
Delegate and learn to your kids to clean
You don’t have to do it all alone! Even your 3YO can learn simple tasks like putting his bowl in the sink after breakfast. You can also teach your children to put their dirty clothes in the hamper or their toys away when they have finished playing. If they are older, they can help dust or do the dishes.
Your significant other can also do some tasks. Maybe they aren’t bothered by hoovering while you do other chores, or they can watch the kids while you clean.
Simplify your house
Do you need so many throw blankets and extra cushions that end on the floor most of the time? Simplifying your home decor will help you dust faster.
You can also make the tasks easier for your kids and yourself, for example, by getting a big basket for the toys instead of shelves. Another example is to put the cleaning supplies where you’ll use them. That way, when you clean the bathroom, you won’t have to get the cleaner at the house’s other end. While you clean, look for friction points and try to eliminate them.
Create your realistic cleaning schedule for a working mom
Don't have time to create your cleaning schedule?
Grab mine! It’s the one I have used for many years.
And it still works!
List the tasks
Grab a pen and paper and go into every room of your home to list the cleaning tasks. To be exhaustive, you can begin from one side of the door and go around to the other side. Don’t forget the ceiling! For now, don’t worry about how long it will take to clean all of these things.
It’s easy to go all in and end with an unsustainable plan. You want a realistic schedule for the working mom you are, not an endless to-do list that makes you feel bad. You’ll have to find the line between how much you think you should clean and your current schedule, where you may not be cleaning enough. I try to consider when I won’t be able to clean and choose a frequency that allows me to skip one cleaning without things going too bad.
Divide the tasks between the days
Define which days you’ll be able to clean and decide what you’ll clean on these days. Set an equivalent amount of tasks for each day, and don’t put all the demanding tasks on the same day, or you’d end up exhausted. Regroup the tasks by room to be more efficient and set a time for monthly and seasonal jobs. Remember to do these last tasks when they are already in your weekly schedule is more manageable.
How to make it work for you
Tweak it to match your schedule
Even if necessary, cleaning is not your top priority, and you have to squeeze it into your packed schedule. Cleaning a bit daily is a good option to avoid spending too much time in a row. But you might need something else. In that case, you could dedicate more time two times a week to get it done, or even do it all one day of the week and do only the daily tasks the six other days.
Some tasks don’t need to be done so often or don’t need to be done at all
Most of the cleaning schedules say to make the bed daily. I put this in mine because I sleep better when my bed has been made in the morning. But if you don’t see the advantage of making your bed, not doing so won’t change the cleanliness of your house. There may be some other useless tasks in your house, don’t bother to do them. You want your home clean, not Pinterest-worthy.
There can be some other tasks that don’t need to be done soo often. For example, you won’t need to sweep the kitchen floor daily if you don’t eat in the room. I use cosmetics that leave deposits on the shower tray, so I clean it weekly, but you may not have to do it so often. The bed sheets are another example of tasks whose frequency can be adjusted.
Cleaning more often can make you save time in the end
Some tasks, like doing the dishes, are easier when done regularly. That’s also the case for the top stove, which is easy to clean after each meal but will take longer if done only once a week or a month when everything has dried up and burned.
If you spot-clean the kitchen floor, you’ll avoid having to mop the whole room for longer while still having a neat floor.
Define the must-be cleaned and the nice to clean
You must do some tasks in time while others can wait. Decide what tasks are to start with and have them done even if you can’t clean as much as you would. The latter will be a bonus if you have time. My tip on that one is that if you don’t clean something more than twice, make it a must-be cleaning for the following time.
These tips will help you to create a cleaning schedule that works for your busy life. Remember, it’s not about doing everything perfectly. It’s about getting the important things done and accepting that your house won’t be perfect all of the time.
If you have any questions or want more tips, feel free to leave a comment below.