I am a terrible housekeeper. At least I feel that way.
Part of my struggle is simply time. As a working mom with two daughters who dance 8 hours a week, I am rarely at home, unless I’m sleeping. I’m sure you can relate.
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Over the last year (and now that my girls are older) I have been able to start really sorting and purging our home. I’ve pared down some of my clothes, and a lot of unnecessary kitchen items, but it’s still very much a work in progress. My hope is to get to the point where the amount of stuff we have is not greater than the amount of storage space we have to keep it in.
And now I am working on keeping our stuff tidied away, and spending more time cleaning and housekeeping so I don’t feel like I live in a chaotic space all the time. (I do live in a chaotic space all the time, but it’s slowly getting better.)
I have recently managed to get into a routine of being a better homemaker, so I’m going to share a little of what I’ve learned with you.
I don’t do this. Well, not in the way you’re likely thinking when you hear “meal planning.” But I do have standard meals that I’ll make in a week that I always have the fixings for. For instance we make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce when we make it, and I freeze it in dinner sized portions so it’s ready to take out of the freezer in the morning and eat in the evening.
I would love to be that family who spends a weekend prepping an entire freezerful of dinners (for the slowcooker or whatever) but we’re not there yet. We’re trying to get there, but we’re not there yet.
Take advantage of timer settings on your appliances
I have a front load washer that will let me wash a load up to 10 hours after I’ve put it in. Sometimes I put a load in before bed and schedule it to wash and be finished at a time that works best for me in the morning. I use this the most in the summer when I want to get clothes out onto the clothesline. I’ve also been known to throw a load in before work and set it to wash in the hour right before I come home so the wet clothes don’t sit in the washer all day.
Our dishwasher also has this setting. It’s less exciting that the washing machine, but sometimes I set it to wash overnight when the electricity is cheaper, or when no one is trying to have baths or showers (for the water pressure.) Then I can use the clean dishes in the morning for breakfast and there’s less to put away when I finally get around to that job.
Use your dirty towels
This is a weird tip, but I’ve been doing it a lot more lately. (Not sure why I never thought of it before…) When I gather up the towels for a load, I grab one (usually the bathroom hand towel, or a washcloth the kids have been using) and wipe down every surface in my bathroom. Same goes in the kitchen – clean the sink with your current dishcloth and then throw it right into the washing machine. It saves sponges and paper towels, and it keeps the dust and toothpaste mess at a manageable level. Obviously this doesn’t replace a proper full clean of the bathroom or kitchen, but it can help you stretch out time between deep cleans.
Get the kids to help
In my house, if the clothes aren’t in the hamper, they don’t get washed. Also, no tv until the dishwasher is empty (or filled.) By involving the kids, not only do you get free labour, you also teach them that a household doesn’t run itself. As soon as they are tall enough to reach the settings on my stacked dryer they will be doing the laundry as well! (Full disclosure here – my kids are VERY resistant to helping out most of the time. The dishes works most of the time, but Emma routinely has clothes on her floor, and eventually I will pick them up and wash them. But I always make a big deal out of it!)
Try to do some work every day.
I know, when you get home at the end of the day it’s the last thing you feel like doing. But if you’re making dinner, throw the dishes in the dishwasher (or hot water filled sink) as you finish with them during prep and cooking time. Or gather a load of laundry up while the kids are having a bath, or pre-bed reading time. These little bits really add up over the week.
If you need a little more help learning how to be a better homemaker you should check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. The bundle contains tried-and-true resources created by women who understand the roles and responsibilities you’re juggling, and have found solutions to make life simpler.
I also asked my friends and readers to share their best homemaking tips. Take a look at the great suggestions I got!
Anna from Abrazo and Coze
We have a laminated checklist of chores that need doing. As we do a chore we check it off. Everyone can see what needs to be done, so it’s easy not to duplicate efforts. And one person isn’t always being asked what needs to be done.
Julie from Fab Working Mom Life:
I’m a terrible homemaker, my best tip is to hide my clutter where I don’t hang out! (I love this tip – I’d be lying if I said I’ve never done it!)
Claire from The Frugal Family:
Less Stuff Now shared this great tip with me:
Keep a box for clutter to donate and add 5 things to it daily. Get rid of the useless and unused stuff first. Get rid of the box asap and reward yourself afterwards.
My Money Mission 2018 had this to say:
Sandy from The Kosher Tomato:
Use a plastic broom to scrub all corners of the bathtub and surrounding areas – the long handle helps to not kill your back and get it done quickly. When finished, just air dry upside down!
Sarah from Our Happy Imperfection:
A steam mop is worth its weight in gold! Mopping becomes a snap when you don’t have to lug around a soapy bucket and the floors get so much cleaner! Anything that speeds up the process and gets better results is invaluable with soon to be 3 kiddos 5 and under.
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I got some less than serious answers of “hire a cleaner.” While I don’t disagree that this can be a perfect solution, in my home we have too much clutter right now. We actually had a cleaner in once and they were able to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, but the rest of the house got a very mild go-over because we have too much stuff!
While I feel I’m slowly getting my life in order, I am still open to any and all other helpful tips and suggestions for being a better homemaker. Share with me in the comments!