Cleaning tips for busy moms to keep your house “drop-in” ready

The doorbell rings unexpectedly – what is your first thought?  Is it “My house is a disaster!  Who is at the door?!”  Well, you’re not alone.

Let’s face it, as busy moms we certainly don’t have time to clean the house all the time!  It’s hard enough to keep it “drop-in ready”, let alone truly clean 🙂  At the same time I don’t really want my kids growing up remembering the house to be a disaster all the time either, so it’s trying to find the balance between taking time for what I want to do and cleaning the house.

If you can remember your high school science, you may recall learning about entropy and that the level of disorder in the universe is always increasing (my inner science geek is coming out).  Things will naturally find their way to chaos.  Can you relate when it comes to the household chores?!  It’s like we’re fighting a constant battle because our houses WANT to be in chaos and sometimes after a long day we just don’t want to fight it anymore.  Before you know it, you’re so far gone that it seems like you’ll need a whole weekend just to get the house back to normal.

I had a friend drop by just the other day since he happened to be in town and my husband and I hadn’t seen him in years.  My house was certainly not spotless but at least I wasn’t embarrassed when he came in because it just looked “lived-in”.  When you have kids in the house that’s pretty much the only way it can be haha.  A few years ago, this wouldn’t have been the case.  I probably would’ve asked him to wait on the step for 5 minutes while I frantically ran around stashing things in closets and throwing dirty dishes in the dishwasher, just to have to go around and clean my “clean-up” later.

I also hear of a lot of people who have a cleaning lady come in and clean once a week or so, but they have to spend so much time cleaning the house for the cleaning lady.  That doesn’t seem right, does it?  If that sounds like you, this post will hopefully help you get rid of that mad rush to clean the house altogether since it will always  be “cleaning lady ready” 😉

So what’s the secret?  Well, if you do these few things each day, I promise it will help you feel in control of the cleaning without spending all your time cleaning.  But you are going to have to make yourself do these things in order for it to work.  I think of it like a quick job and I know when I’m done I can enjoy my evening and feel good about it without having a nagging feeling about what I should’ve done before I sat down for the night.  Let’s face it, having a house and kids is a job and there are certain tasks that come along with that that we just have to do whether we like it or not 🙂 

  1. Dishes washed and counters clean – A clean kitchen makes the whole house seem cleaner.  This is usually where clutter happens, dirty dishes pile up, etc.  My hubby and I will take turns with this.  One of us will go and bath kids while the other cleans up from supper and gets the kitchen back in order.  It really only takes about 15 minutes or so.
  2. 10 minute tidy – This step is HUGE.  Set your timer if you need to, and go around as quickly as you can picking up things that don’t belong.  Kids’ toys that have found their way to the living room, throw cushions on the floor, that pesky pile on the stairs to take upstairs, etc.  If both of you are doing this, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish in just 10 minutes.
  3. Laundry – try to do a load a day.  Go around and grab the clothes that are laying around and throw them in the machine.  I’m not one for sorting laundry, except towels and sheets in a separate load.  I literally put all types and colours of clothes together and have never had an issue with anything getting wrecked.  I put my laundry in at the end of the day when the kids are settled.  Just don’t forget to put it into the dryer or you’ll wake up with wet smelly clothes in the washing machine 😉  Laundry can be such a sore spot for a lot people, so I have an entire post just on laundry and how I try to keep up with it.
  4. Wipe down bathroom sink(s) – I can’t get over how quickly the bathroom sink gets dirty.  Between the kids washing their hands after playing outside (or just playing in the sink as my daughter will do), my bathroom sink needs a good wipe down every day!  I store lysol wipes right there so it’s quick and easy.
  5. Vacuum – this probably doesn’t have to be done every day, but I know at my house with a golden retriever and kids running in and out of the house, my light coloured floors get pretty gross very quickly!  I try to vacuum my main area every two or three days to keep up with it.  I prefer vacuuming over sweeping because the broom just tosses the dog hair around and when I’m done, it looks as though I’ve done nothing to the floors!

If you focus on your main living area, you can know that your house is ready for unexpected guests.  They won’t be heading into bedrooms or into the laundry room, so if you keep your daily tasks to these areas, it will be manageable.  Then on the weekend, you can hopefully find an hour or two to do the other chores like changing beds, vacuuming the rest of the house, cleaning the other bathrooms, etc.

I do have to give my hubby a lot of credit for helping to keep our house drop-in ready, but we both work full time, so it’s definitely just as important for him to help out at home too.

I hope these tips have inspired you to make a few quick changes to your daily routine and get rid of the cleaning frustrations once and for all!  Let me know how it goes.  Happy cleaning!

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