I love a clean house, but I don’t love cleaning, and I’m always trying to find ways to slash how much time we spend on the chores. Here are 10 ways (from a clean freak in recovery!) to simplify your cleaning routine, so that you’ll have more time and energy for the fun stuff…
1. Have a cleaning schedule
Instead of trying to do all of your cleaning at once, try to tackle a few things each day. Not only does this make everything seem more manageable, but it will help to keep the jobs at bay so that your house is never too grubby. Plus you’re much more likely to stick to a routine that takes 30 minutes each morning, then a long list of chores that will eat up most of your day once a week.
2. Set a time limit
As someone who’s a bit of clean freak, I speak from experience when I say that if you let it be a big part of your life then you’ll spend more time cleaning your house then enjoying it. (Especially if you have kids!) Life as a parent is really busy, so set a time limit and stick to it. I actually think that having a time limit makes me clean faster – it’s amazing how much you can get done in 20 minutes!
3. Focus on one task at a time
We’ve all done it – you’re cleaning one thing and you notice that something else needs to be cleaned, so you deviate from what you were originally doing to clean that too… You’re cleaning the dining room table and notice that the skirting boards look pretty grubby, so you start cleaning them. While you’re down on the floor, you notice that your floor needs mopping… it could go on and on. Stick to one job at a time, and if you come across another chore put it on your list of jobs to tackle another time.
4. Get the kids involved
Reward the kids for their efforts, and you’ll soon have everyone helping out and doing their bit. My two kiddies hoover and dust their own rooms, and help with chores like getting the washing in and putting it away. They might not always do the best job, but it’s important for them to play their part and it’s amazing how much lighter the load feels with a little help.
5. Don’t do everything every week
It’s incredible how quickly a week passes – our days busy with work and family life. Don’t feel like you have to do every chore every week without fail. Some jobs may only need doing every other week, or perhaps even once a month. This is something I have had to work hard to follow, and it’s given me a much better balance. I recently started dusting every other week instead of every week and, surprisingly enough, the world hasn’t ended! 😉
6. Use smart products
Good cleaning products can really slash the time it takes to get the chores done. For instance, a decent limescale remover (I love Viakal) can make light work of cleaning the bathroom, and a steam mop can make tiles and floors shine with very little effort and no mess at all. The equipment and potions you use can really speed up the job, so find the things that will make life a bit easier, and you’ll reduce the time it takes to clean your house.
7. Tidy up every night
We spend about 20 minutes each night making sure the house is tidy for the next day. I ask the kids to walk around and put anything that belongs to them away in their bedrooms, while I pick up elsewhere and make sure things are back where they should be. Starting the following day with a tidy house is so much easier, and doing a little every day stops it from becoming a huge, overwhelming task.
When we overfill our homes with ‘stuff’ everything becomes a little bit harder. For instance, wiping the worktops when they are littered with belongings means we have to tidy before we can clean; and dusting when our surfaces are covered with ornaments or paperwork means we can’t get started before we’ve cleared it all. When the surfaces are clear, cleaning becomes much quicker and less of a chore. Letting go of the things you don’t need is a great way to speed up the housework.
9. Make it more fun
Cleaning is never going to be the most fun thing to do, but it needs to be done, so why not try to make it as enjoyable as possible? Put on some music, make a cuppa and reward yourself with something yummy to make it a bit less of a chore. Jobs like folding the washing can always be done in front of the TV too; be kind to yourself and the housework becomes a little less miserable!
10. Lower your expectations
If you have kids I can tell you, with 100% certainty, that your to do list will never be done, your house will never be perfect and trying to achieve the impossible is no good for anyone. This I have learnt the hard way! As a total perfectionist, it took me a long time to learn to let go, and focus on the things that really matter.
I like to keep a minimalist, clean home, but I now have realistic expectations. No-one will ever look back at their life wishing they’d spent more time cleaning, so learn to be happy with the things that you were able to accomplish, instead of worrying about the jobs that didn’t get done. Tomorrow is another day and life is far too short to spend it in marigolds!