Hey Mama! Do you spend WAY more time than you’d like cleaning?
Does it feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to pursue your passions or tend to yourself?
I can SO relate!
I am writing this post as a recovering clean-o-holic. I used to spend 6 hours a day, 5 days a week chasing the illusive goal of a perfectly clean home. And while it did make me a pretty experienced homemaker, it didn’t necessarily make me the happiest Mama. It’s only recently that I’ve decided enough was enough! I’ve found ways to let go of my cleaning obsession and rely on a just a couple of the most effective cleaning & organization hacks in order to put down that toilet scrubber and finally make time for myself!
I want this for you too, friend! Your interests and passions are important! Let’s find a way for you to say “Enough” to cleaning and “Yes” to yourself!
Get Clear About What You Want
We’ve all fantasized about the things we’d do if only the laundry pile would stop accumulating for a day. Speaking from personal experience, however, figuring out what to do when we are actually presented with the opportunity is the hard part.
I used to spend my days habitually sweeping floors that didn’t NEED to be swept or washing windows that I knew would instantly be dirtied. All of this just because I couldn’t think of a more valuable use of my time. Let me tell you, Mama, there are WAY more valuable uses of your precious time than tirelessly chipping away at a job that will never be done. It all comes back to finding your inherent worth!
Knowing that you are valuable gives you the freedom to find value in doing what you love.
So sit down and figure it out – No really! If I told you I would hold down the fort in your home for an entire week, what would be on your list? Go for a hike, take a nap, complete that home improvement project, get together with friends, start that side hustle? Post your list somewhere you can see it everyday because THIS is your motivation to step away from the vacuum and find ways to actually start doing what you enjoy!
Let Go of Perfect
This tip is probably the last thing you want to hear but I am going to tell you anyway because it’s truly a game changer.
Your house. Will NEVER. Be perfectly clean!
We’ve all had it happen – you hustle all day and get your house looking spic and span and then your kids walk in door and in . 3 seconds flat all of your hard work is undone. I can’t tell you how many years I spent trying to keep up with this vicious cycle thinking that if I just got far enough ahead, or found the perfect system, or beat it into my kids (figuratively of course), that maybe I’d be able keep my house looking clean. I don’t know what finally made it click, but the day I realized that a perfectly clean home is an impossible goal, was the day I found freedom to do other things with my time!
Prioritize Your Efforts
Having a tidy home feels good! It makes our busy lives seem less chaotic and is important to our mental health and happiness. It’s no wonder that we put so much time and effort into striving for clean. Strategically choosing to prioritize your efforts in the places you spend the most time, however, will allow you to reap the benefits of a clutter-free(ish) home without spending all day cleaning!
In my home I’ve noticed that kitchen and dining room is where we spend most of our time. It is the first thing we see when walking in the door, where we spend a good chunk of time preparing, enjoying, and cleaning up meals. It is where I sit down to write, where papers get unloaded after school, and homework gets done. An area this heavily used definitely requires a lot of effort to keep clean, but I’ve found that maintaining just this one small slice of my home allows me to feel happy, calm and relaxed without stressing over perfectly made beds, a spotless playroom, and (dare I say) even perfectly placed living room pillows and blankets.
The most used areas of your home might be different from mine, but taking time to figure out where you can get the biggest bang for your buck will allow you to let go of the areas that aren’t worth stressing over while still enjoying a tidy home.
“The less stuff one has, the less stuff one must clean.”
That’s Newton’s First Law of Cleaning, right? Well, maybe that’s not a thing… but it definitely holds true! In fact, I would go so far as to say that decluttering is the double whammy of cleaning hacks because it not only results in less stuff to pick up, but it makes it a million times easier to put away (and access, for that matter) the stuff that you do really need, use, and love.
Decluttering is not just a one time job but rather a continual process. In fact, as I sit here writing this, my brain is churning over all the areas of my home that are probably due for a little refresh. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by this often daunting task but the best thing to do is just pick a spot and dive right in! If you are in need of specific decluttering advice, I highly encourage to you visit my girl, Allie Casazza’s website! She has tons of resources to walk you through the process of decluttering, and let me tell you, it will SO be worth your time!
A Place For Everything
I am a firm believer in this principal because it not only combats clutter, but it allows you to ask for help!
When my kids walk in the door, they know exactly where their backpacks and shoes are supposed to end up. Toys and art supplies have specific bins with specific spots on specific shelves. I have organizers to catch the influx of papers that need to get sorted and there are baskets at the bottom of the stairs to toss the miscellaneous toys and belongings floating around waiting to get put away.
Having all of these systems in place doesn’t mean everything is where it belongs 100% of the time, but it does meant that when something is out of place, it doesn’t take much thought or effort to put it away.
This weekend on Instagram I shared our weekly Saturday morning disaster. Somewhere between having my house mostly clean on Friday afternoon, and waking up Saturday morning, the weekly storm hit. Our kitchen was piled with dirty movie night dishes and from-scrach French Onion Soup makings (my husbands undertaking). The entry way was cluttered with miscellaneous items on their way into/out of the house and the staircase was loaded with a mountain of belongings that needed to be taken upstairs.
It seriously looked like a bomb went off, but before I panicked I realized that most of the mess was a just matter of putting things back where they belong. Within 20 minutes my house was back to tidy once again. The best part was my I was able to recruit the help of my kids an hubby and nobody had the excuse of not knowing where things belong. And THAT, my friends, is worth it’s weight in gold!
Allow Others to Help
I already hinted at this in the last tip, but it is worth stating on it’s own.
Asking for help is a HUGE game changer when it comes to making time for yourself!
There is a whole family people living in your home contributing to the inevitable everyday messes of life. It is not your sole responsibility to clean up after it! It may be true that the weight of it falls disproportionally on your shoulders. Certain seasons of motherhood definitely require us to cary a heavier load, but asking for help from your family members (even if they are too young to be effective helpers) makes all the difference down the road!
My children are 6 and 8. Little by little I’ve expected more of them as they’ve grown and just recently I’ve turned over the responsibility of cleaning up the “kid zone” (bedrooms, bathroom, and loft) entirely to them. Once a week(ish) they’re asked to pick up their belongings, vacuum the floors, and scrub their sinks, counters, mirror, and toilet. Is it done to my standards? Nope! But it takes a HUGE chunk of cleaning off of my plate and is teaching them important life-skills and responsibility at the same time!
Kid’s ( and husbands 😉 ) are capable of a lot more than we might give them credit for. By simply asking for help and – here’s the kicker – openly receiving it even when it doesn’t fully live up to our expectations, we can free ourselves of a lot of the burden we unnecessarily cary!
These few changes have really helped me to let go of perfectly clean and find more purpose in my life. The best part is, while I have certainly embraced a little more mess, my home is not falling apart! This change in approach has allowed me to see that I can have a reasonably tidy home AND make time to pursue my passions. I really hope this post had inspired you to take a look at your cleaning routine and find ways to prioritize yourself a bit more. You are worthy, Mama!
You deserve to say “Enough” to cleaning and “Yes” to yourself!
Thanks for dropping by and until next time,