I often see these meme’s and posts suggesting that you can’t have a clean house with kids still living in it. Or that the house will only be clean for a few seconds. Or the pile of laundry starts consuming your soul as it’s just never-ending.
But I don’t think that’s true. Yes, my house is relatively clean and neat. Yes, I have a preschooler AND a baby. Sure, my house doesn’t look like it’s been made up ready for a photo shoot or an episode of the TV show, Cribs. But it’s livable. Everything is in its place, where it belongs, even all those small pieces of Lego.
“What’s my secret?” I get asked frequently after I tell people I’m bored being a stay at home mom and have nothing to do. “Are the kids at school the whole day, that I have so much free time?” NO. “Do I have someone coming in to clean?” NO. So how?
Well, here’s a rough weekly routine of how I manage the household chores. We have a 2 bedroom apartment, roughly 190 sqm. So yes, it’s not huge. But we all know that the smaller the space, the bigger the mess really looks.
First of all, Bunny has to clean his own room every day. He can make as much of a mess with his toys during the day as he wishes. But before bedtime, it has to all be picked up and packed where it all belongs, otherwise it gets thrown in the bin. In the morning, he knows he has to make up his own bed and open up the curtains before he comes out of his room. We started with this on a gradient and age appropriate. It teaches him to take responsibility for his own things. And it is also a sense of contribution to the household. And yes, kids do want to contribute.
That’s one less thing to do.
Since Monkey can only lie around and shuffle on his back, he’s exempt from cleaning, for now. But I’ve also planned to not have a million toys for him yet. He has a few things and they are all attached to his play mat, so in actual fact, it’s just one thing to pick up. Then he has a swing and a Jumperoo. He’s nearly 4 months now, so what else could he possibly really need?
Now for the big things.
I do washing twice a week. But the biggest trick is to hang it up in such a way that you barely need to iron it. At this point, I only need to iron hubby’s work clothes and his t-shirts and shorts. Most of my clothes were cleverly picked to be of such material that they don’t need to be ironed – genius I tell you. And both kids washing fall in the same category.
I hate ironing. Hate it with a passion. So that burden I only do once a week. To make me feel less depressed, I’ll iron while watching a series or a movie. It makes the time pass faster.
Then, the rest of the house… Whenever, I’m in a room, I put away the items lying around; ie. walk from kitchen to bedroom, grab the shoes that are just lying there. Walk back to the kitchen to start making lunch, take those water bottles or glasses back. And after a few trips like this, you’ll be amazed at how neater your house already looks.
Along with that, when I’m in a specific room, I take an extra 5 or 10 minutes and quickly clean up there.
Go to the loo and have a few extra minutes where the boys don’t need my immediate attention; well grab that cleaning spray and cloth and quickly wipe down all the surfaces, clean the bath and mirror. Throw in some toilet cleaner and let it soak until the next time you have to flush the loo. And there you are. Done with the bathroom.
While making lunch or supper and you’re waiting for the stove or oven to heat up or the onions to fry; grab a cleaning cloth and wipe down the counters. Granted, I cheat; as I only use the dishwasher. But every time I am done with a plate or fork, it goes straight into the dishwasher where it sits until full and I switch it on to wash over night. I don’t let it pile up before I put it in the machine.
And then all that is really left is the general dusting, which is very needed here in Qatar and then washing of floors. And that I do when baby is sleeping and the pre-schooler having a few minutes in front of the TV so I can be sure he won’t stepp on the wet tiles.
It’s all about finding a routine. And for me, doing it by bit. That way it doesn’t feel too much like a mountain to tackle.
Hope this helps you too!
PS! Hubby contributes too. He unpacks the dishwasher in the morning, cleans the patio, always makes breakfast for Bunny and most importantly my first cup of coffee in the morning.
(If you have any other tips, add them here)