Living in a generally clean house is important to me. This is something I haven’t always realized. I wasn’t a super young newlywed (I turned 25 a month after getting married) but man, was I clueless.
In my older, wiser years I have discovered the secret to having a mostly clean house is routines.
Here are a couple of housecleaning routine hacks that go a long way in helping keep a clean house and having peace as a stay at home mom.
DON’T LET THE LAUNDRY HAUNT YOU
I cannot be haunted by laundry. That’s what I call it when I am surrounded by dirty laundry in piles all over the house or clean laundry that is clean but not folded or put away. I know, I know, you’re tired and you hate folding laundry.
But what I’ve come to realize is that there’s something I hate more – it’s having the clean laundry not only take up half of the couch, just sitting there in a big old wrinkly heap, but take up a portion of my mind, making me feel not at ease because you know there’s something there that you need to do. It’s just not worth it.
So, whether you do one load per day, like I describe in my power hour cleaning routine post, or dedicate one week per day to do all of the laundry as my sister does, just do yourself a favor and finish it by folding all of the clean clothes and linens and put it all away.
If you time yourself doing it, you’ll find that you can fold and put away a load of laundry in less than twenty minutes. In fact, the last time I timed myself it was closer to ten minutes.
Now that’s freedom people – just a few minutes of work and then no more laundry sitting around, staring at you, begging you to get up from the couch.
Not to mention the sorry state of those wrinkly clothes that have been on the couch for two days, waiting for you to somehow find the motivation to be excited about folding all of it.
That makes me want to throw it all back in the washer, and then I’m back at square one. And my kids still don’t have shorts to wear for school.
LAW OF THE DISHWASHER
About 6 months ago, I grew very tired of having to start each morning with a sink (and kitchen!) full of dirty dishes from the day before. What a downer, am I right?
When I realized this was not the way I wanted to live, I committed to spending the 20 minutes or so it took to clean the kitchen each night before going upstairs to bed.
Seriously, if you take the time during the day to clean up meals as you go, it takes about 20 minutes to clean up and go to bed with a fresh start waiting for you in the morning. I really can’t recommend it enough!
Once I realized I wanted to change, I thought through what needed to happen to give me my clean kitchen in the morning. I realized this hinged on a couple things.
One, we run the dishwasher once per day. As a family of 6, we have no trouble filling the dishwasher by the end of each night.
However, I admit that if for some reason (we might go out to eat and use less dishes that day) it’s not completely full, I still run it each night.
If I try to wait for the next day to fill it and run it then, it completely throws off my schedule and I have, at times, found myself playing catch up for days. It’s not fun.
So, 1 – start the dishwasher each night before going upstairs to bed.
Second important element – take 7 minutes each morning (either before or after breakfast, your choice) to empty it. I know people who hate hate hate to empty the dishwasher and I kind of always felt the same way. But then I realized that it didn’t actually take that much time.
And zero thought (living with nearly-constant mom brain) household tasks are great. Not to mention the opportunity i have to turn on some fun music or an interesting podcast to listen to while I empty the dishwasher.
I realized I only really hated emptying the dishwasher while I had a sink full of dirty dishes that I then had to load.
It’s like doing laundry – isn’t it awful to go do a load of laundry only to find clothes already in the washer and or dryer, either rotting away or waiting for you in a wrinkled mess.
I’ve found that if you are proactive in these things and empty the dishwasher before it actually needs to be filled back up it, it takes the sting away. And, it takes less than 10 minutes, I promise.
I actually have a cleaning routine daily that takes me an hour to complete and inside of this hour is where I empty the dishwasher in the morning.
It’s a pretty easy way to start the morning and set myself up for easy clean up that night. I try to keep up with the dishes throughout the day and especially when I’m getting dinner ready.
If I do this, which takes no time at all, my after dinner clean up is even shorter. And that gets me to bed faster which is really what I’m looking for. Right?
What routines do you follow for keeping a clean house? What do you do to stay on top of the dishes and laundry at your house? Is it better than my anti-haunting laundry law and the law of the dishwasher? Share in the comments below!