Living in a messy house stinks
Y’all, I’ve figured something out that I wish I would’ve known when my oldest kids were little. Living in a messy house stinks. It’s awful. Seriously. It makes me angry and stressed out and the people who pay are the small humans who share that messy house with me.
I wish I could turn back the hands of time and go back to when I was a new mom. I was blessed with these beautiful babies, my husband had a very fulfilling and fun job, we had just bought our first house, a tiny cute little starter home. And it was a mess, most of the time. I hated it.
I got it together and cleaned things up when we had friends coming over but, if you dropped by my house on a random Thursday morning, chances are, you were going to find a disaster.
Fast forward two more babies, and lots more years of marriage and I’ve discovered a great secret. What’s the use of having a beautiful house, fussing over the furniture and the throw pillows and the lighting and the art on the walls if it’s always a mess???
My power hour
That’s where you beautiful people come in – I’ve figured a secret to having a generally clean home and I want to share it with you guys. It does take a small bit of effort but it’s completely doable. In one hour a day, you can have a clean house.
Your house will be clean enough, so that if your neighbor drops by unannounced for a minute to chat, you can happily invite them in and have a merry chat on the couch with your babes playing close by. I call it my power hour and I’m going to share the secrets of cleaning and of the universe with you here.
This power hour works best when used in the morning but its effective anytime you can scrape together an hour to fly through the house. And you are flying. To finish in the hour, you’re working fast. I actually really love the focus and direction it gives me.
I use my power hour in conjunction with my dishes routine (see post on the law of the dishwasher here) which is another big secret in my arsenal. More on that later. This hour of power also includes laundry. This is big people – if you can commit to one hour of focused work a day, you can live in a pretty clean house.
Then, you can freely spend the rest of your waking hours on things you really want to. Like sitting on the couch, binge watching the latest show on Netflix. Or endless scrolling on facebook and instagram. I mean, no judgement here.
And sidenote: does anyone else get lost in instagram stories? Lost as in, I look up an hour later and have no idea where all the time went??? I really do love some of the people I follow on instagram and in a way it does rejuvenate me, (feeling a little lonely as a stay at home mom happens!). But really, I’m losing hours of my life here. Yikes. I think that’s a topic for another day.
Start with laundry
Back to our power hour. There’s only one thing you need to do to prepare for your power hour and that is throw a load of laundry into the washing machine. Since I choose to do this in the morning, as soon as I wake up and head downstairs (usually before the kids are awake, if I’m on my game!), I carry down a load and quickly stick it in the washing machine.
Then I’m able to make breakfast, pack lunches and just generally lead the troops to battle/school. Once I get everyone off, the washing machine cycle is done and I can get started. This is key because the first step of our power hour is to switch the laundry to the dryer. Here’s the rundown:
- Laundry switch to dryer- (5 min) 8:00am
- Unload dishwasher, breakfast dishes (or leftover dishes from last night that didn’t fit) loaded – (8 minutes) 8:05-8:13am
- Wipe countertops and sweep kitchen floor, if necessary (my kids are animals when they eat!) – (5 minutes) 8:16-8:21am
- Make beds – (5 minutes) 8:21-8:26am
- Daily room (see schedule below) (25 min) 8:26-8:51 am
- Fold laundry and put it away (9 min) 8:51-9:00 am
There are a couple of practices I follow that make this work for me. As I said earlier, the law of the dishwasher is big here.
For laundry, I have a big picture idea that I only want to do one load a day. To accomplish that, here’s the general idea: As I said above, this needs to be started in the washing machine before your power hour starts. This is usually the first thing I do when I wake up and come downstairs. I carry a load down with me and it is immediately put in the washing machine before I do anything else. It’s easy, requires almost no thought and is pretty key to this idea that one load of laundry a day is enough, even for a large(ish) family of 6. No laundry overwhelm here! Once the washing machine is done and you can switch your clothes to the dryer, you can start your hour of work.
And for that one load, I refuse to let it hang around all week, haunting me. Mismatched socks, piles of fresh clothes lying on the laundry counter in the laundry room or on the floor of the living room. Or the kitchen counter. There’s nothing worse than this, am I right??
You finally got it together enough to launder the clothes (hello supermom!) but then it is ever present in your home, wherever you look. No thanks!
I like to get it done and then put those fresh piles away while they’re still fresh.
Now some of you may have your kids properly trained in the art of putting clothes away. For that, and many other reasons, I bow down to you.
Personally, I am a self proclaimed control freak and I would love to let the kids put their own clothes away, but there’s a high probability that they won’t do it properly (I’m telling you, I’ve got issues with control!).
So, for now, I do it. I realize there will come a time in the near future when it’s appropriate for me to pass this torch on to them, but for now, this works for us and I’m sticking to it. And what it means is that I’m not being stalked by either clean or dirty laundry in my own home. Talk about freedom!!
One more note on laundry: in our house all of the bedrooms are upstairs. In the hallway outside of the bedrooms, we keep a large three bin laundry hamper.
The bins are labeled with whites, lights and darks. That way, the kids can ostensibly sort the dirty laundry as they put it in the hamper, simplifying my efforts to get that one load done a day without having to take the time to sort.
I just grab whatever is in the fullest bin and that’s the load that gets done that day.
On towel day, I just sort of run through the bathrooms and grab all the towels I see and stick them in the washing machine at the start of my day.
Some nights I think to gather this into a pile before I go to bed so I’m ready in the morning. Whatever works.
Another key element of my power hour abilities is location, location, location.
I keep all of my cleaning supplies together in one spot (save the clorox wipes that I try to keep below the sink in each of the bathrooms).
I know where everything is because virtually all of it is in one place.
So when the 25 minutes of concentrated daily room cleaning is upon me, I don’t waste any time trying to find a clean rag, the dusting spray or the bathroom cleaning supplies.
I use an over the door shoe holder for everything used to clean, in my closet downstairs. Including the rags, the magic erasers, everything.
This is also the closet that I keep the vacuum cleaners in (multiple vacuums, sigh, there’s a story here….) – it’s basically all there. Makes it pretty easy to get stuff done.
When I was initially trying to get a cleaning schedule in place I read a lot online. Then I made a schedule for myself that worked.
I’ll happily share that below but I encourage you to figure out what will work best for your house and your situation.
Keep in mind, though, that if mine works for you, no need to reinvent the wheel!
Here’s the list of the “daily room” that I direct my attention to each weekday. Doing this makes it so my house is fairly clean on a regular basis.
I appreciate the calm that comes with a clean house (and HATE the chaos that a dirty room delivers, especially in a house already full of 4 beautiful little loud babes).
To make this list your own, you simply need to take a few minutes and think about your family and your schedule to find what will work best for you.
We have lived in other places with younger (and less!) kids where we had friends over for Sunday dinner most weeks. That isn’t the case now, but if it was, I might consider moving the bathroom cleaning to Thursday or Friday so I knew it would be clean (possibly needing a quick once over on Sunday afternoon) for our guests.
Same goes for the kitchen, but with my dinner dishes routine in place, my kitchen actually stays fairly clean throughout the week.
The kitchen cleaning on Monday is when I scrub the sink and behind the faucet, clean the microwave, wipe grease from the stove and the backsplash behind the stove.
But my goal each night as I do up the dishes and put food away in the fridge is to leave clean counters and a clean sink behind to greet me the next morning.
Being greeted early in the morning by a clean kitchen is a gift.
It’s one of the reasons I started searching out cleaning routines that would work for me.
Because my house was a hot mess and I found myself spending a good half hour or longer each morning, cleaning up the mess from dinner the night before. And even then, my house was still a mess. Just without dirty dishes in the sink. I decided I could do better and I have. And so can you!
Use this schedule to put your cleaning routine on autopilot. Find other better things to fill your day with!
Here’s a free printable list for you to post on your fridge or on the inside of your cabinet so you can refer to it and use it to guide you through your daily cleaning. Get your cleaning done and then get back to instagram girl! Or facebook. Or pinterest. You know, whatever works.