Let me start by saying, I like cleaning and I know that’s not the case for everyone. I find cleaning a good way to clear my head! I get a lot of good thinking in while I’m scrubbing the tub. In fact, that’s where this blog post came to be. During this second round of staying at home with Lucas, I’ve learned that one of the never-ending tasks is cleaning. Below I shared my cleaning schedule and how I help other mamas do the same.
My Cleaning Schedule - as a stay-at-home mom.
I clean the kitchen once a day. I start the dishwasher at night or after breakfast then empty it sometime after Luke’s lunch. Only dirty dishes are in there by dinner so there’s no excuse for dishes not to be put directly there. This is my least favorite task and so I make it a point to keep the kitchen clean. I make sure things are in order before I start cooking, that way I can clean up as I go or immediately after dinner. There are nights when I leave things in the sink and I’m SO annoyed with myself the next morning. Ugh, dishes.
I sweep the living room/dining room floors on in the morning and before dinner. We have a long-haired German Shepherd who sheds and sheds and sheds. He’s an angel but that hair ends up on or in everything. Since we have a toddler who will drop any food/pacifier/toy and put it right back in his mouth, it’s become a necessity. I sweep our bedroom floors once a week.
I mop the floors once a month. I’d love to do it more but honestly, why? Major spills get picked up on the spot and it gets dirty almost the very next day.
I pick up toys twice a day - that’s recently changed to once because mama is getting big. Usually, I do this once before nap and once after dinner. After dinner, we don’t bring out any toys that can’t be easily put away and most of the time post-bath activities include books and/or the beginning of a musical (Rio, Frozen, etc.).
The bathroom gets cleaned twice a week. I clean the bathroom mid-week because it gets a lot more use when you’re at home most of the day. At the end of the week, I deep clean (meaning I add baking soda the tub with my favorite cleaning solution).
I dust the apartment once a month or so. If I notice something particularly dusty and within Luke’s reach, I clean it. That “put everything in my mouth” phase lasts much longer than I imagined.
We take 95% our laundry to a wash and fold! The laundromat charges $.75/pound and the clothes come back neatly folded, separated, and in clear bags. Our laundry at home costs $3.50/load. The problem there is it may or may not be dry and I have to fold it. I still wash Luke’s clothes and linens because his skin is too sensitive for the laundromat's detergent. Tom’s work shirts and miscellaneous things (mostly towels/sheets) get thrown in too because these days it could take us a couple of weeks to get back to the laundromat for pickup. I change the sheets on the beds at the end of each week.
If you own a washer/dryer, I don’t suggest doing more than two loads in a day. The chances of more loads being picked up, folded, and put away within a day or two, with kids - slim to none.
So what about when I was working full-time? Did I clean this much? Absolutely not!
My Cleaning Schedule - as a working outside of the home mom.
I’d start the dishwasher before I left for the morning. I’d put away the clean dishes before cooking dinner. I try to clean pots/pans as I go. I really hate being stuck cleaning late the kitchen late into the evening.
I’d sweep the floor once a day, after work, before starting dinner. The floors were still mopped once a month. The bedrooms floors were once swept every other week. SN: our dog went to daycare and when he didn’t he’d spend most of his day sleeping, not following us from room to room, spreading hair everywhere.
I picked up toys after dinner while Luke is getting a bath. Again, nothing that has a million little pieces come out after dinner.
I deep cleaned the bathroom once a week (usually a Saturday or Sunday).
Still once a month.
95% still done at the wash and fold. Still washed Luke’s clothes at home. Beds were still changed weekly.
I think everyone should have some personal rules around cleaning and I just have a couple.
Hiring help isn’t all or nothing. I’ve learned this just by paying for our laundry to be done. (We’ll also add grocery delivery to the list before Baby H2 comes.) If you can afford to offload some of your tasks to a service, do it! If you can afford a postpartum doula or mother’s helper, hire one! If you can find an inexpensive wash and fold laundry service, I highly recommend it. If you can’t or simply don’t want to, don’t stress and do what you can.
I don’t do all the chores while my son naps. Lucas understands, “those dishes are dirty” (so he doesn’t pull them from the dishwasher), “help mama clean”, and “can you bring me the dustpan?”. He also knows where the silverware goes and can put it in the correct drawer. He couldn’t have learned that in his sleep! It’s just part of our regular day. I don’t let him watch me scrape the smashed Play Doh from the floor because it’s not a tool he can use. I don’t iron around him (yes, we are old and still use an iron); he understands “hot” but still wants to touch it. One day he’ll share the responsibilities of cleaning up with us. For now, the best I can do is show him that cleaning up is just a normal part of our day.
When I’m helping someone create a schedule, we start with the task they dislike the most. I incorporate it into the schedule at the most convenient time possible. We often procrastinate doing the task we really hate. “It’ll still be there” usually means it will haunt you until it’s done. Having a cleaning schedule is really helpful for creating routine - which just makes it all easier. Once you’re used to the schedule, you can change the days of activities based on your plans. I wouldn’t recommend foregoing everything when you get off track, if you can help it. But the schedule isn’t all or nothing. We’re human. We get sick. We get tired. We just can’t even. On those days, I ask for my husband’s help or I let it go until I’m up to it. I’ve learned to there’s no “right way” to clean something. If you’re have a hard time letting someone else clean or not liking the way something is being done, remind yourself: done is done and done is better than dirty.
Those are my tips, tricks, and schedule! I hope you can take away at least one thing that makes cleaning easier, simpler, or less stressful for you!