I like to pretend like I don’t care when my house is a dumpster fire and I like to tell myself that I am not going to let it bug me because there’s more important things than having a pristine house.
But you guys, it bugs me. Like a lot.
I feel like I spend all my time cleaning and/or feeling overwhelmed about all the cleaning I need to do.
My kids are getting older and have chore lists of their own, so it stands to reason that my lists would be dwindling down, but that is not the case. Now I have to supervise chores, stop fights over who gets to put away the silverware, and point out the places missed by the vacuum cleaner.
It was easier when I did everything myself.
The struggle is ridiculously real, but have no fear, I’m here to help you with 10 tried and true cleaning hacks to make your life easier if your house is a dumpster fire like mine.
Put a vinyl tablecloth UNDER the table when your kids are playing with play dough or (insert cringe) kinetic sand.
My kids know they aren’t allowed to play with these things or do messy crafts unless we have the “messy floor cloth” underneath the table. After they are done playing (read:making a huge mess), I simply fold the tablecloth into itself, pick it up and shake it into the trash can.
Better yet, you could keep some cheap, plastic tablecloths from the dollar store on hand and just wad those suckers up, throw them away and pat yourself on the back; no actual cleaning required.
Line your fridge with mats.
This is genius, if I do say so myself. I use very thin, plastic cutting boards from the Dollar Tree in my own fridge, but place mats would also work and could even make the inside of your fridge look kind of cute.
When there is a spill, or when the vegetables your kids wouldn’t eat start to ferment, just remove the liner (and the offending foods). Place the dirty liner in the dishwasher, or simply rinse it off with hot soapy water, and put it back into the fridge.
Use your vacuum cleaner on everything.
I’m talking counters, the oven, the fridge, the table, your kid’s shirt, your dog, anywhere you find crumbs, play dough, glitter, shreds of paper that mysteriously show up out of nowhere. Just pull out the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner and suck the debris right up; you will have clean surfaces in seconds.
Bonus tip within a tip: use that same tool to suck up the Legos your kid leaves laying all over the place. Maybe next time he will think twice before walking away without cleaning the little bricks of death up off the floor. Just saying.
Layer waterproof sheets on your kids’ beds.
We have all been there, it’s two am and your child is waking you up because they wet their bed. The last thing anyone feels like doing in the middle of the night is changing the bedding.
If you layer a waterproof sheet on top of another fitted sheet, all you have to do is pull the top sheet off and put your kid back to bed, no wrestling with a new sheet in the middle of the night or dealing with a wet mattress.
Store extra blankets under the bed so you can quickly replace the wet ones. To save even more time (and laundry), after changing them out of their wet clothes, put an extra blanket on their bed in lieu of pajamas and just like that, everyone can go back to bed in less than 5 minutes. (Plus the hour it takes your kid to get resettled, but you know what I mean.)
Paper plates are your friend
This one probably isn’t exactly economical to use all the time. However, if something is coming up and you just do not have time to be continuously doing dishes, or when you’re sick and/or tending to someone else who is sick, being able to have all the dishes done without even lifting a sponge is better than dessert–but you can totally have your cake and no dishes, too.
Have a kid bathroom. Because kids are disgusting.
Do not allow the kids to use any other bathrooms, and keep the door to their bathroom closed. Make sure their shower curtain is not transparent; store all their bath toys and whatever random stuff you find on the bathroom floor in their bathtub and simply shut the curtain.
Don’t worry about the shampoo that fell down, or that wet, slimy washcloth hanging on the side. You can pretend it isn’t there and your guests won’t be any the wiser.
If you can’t give them an entire bathroom, Try buying clear soap and toothpaste. The goop will still be on the counter, mirror and the sink, but if you squint, you might be able to imagine it isn’t there.
“Mop” after your kids take a bath.
We all know that kids cannot keep the water inside the bathtub, let alone on their towel after they get out. Don’t let that water go to waste, grab a mop (or the towel your kids allegedly used to dry themselves off with) and shine up that floor. Inevitably, the kids will have gotten soap suds on the floor during their bath too, so you don’t even need to bother with floor cleaner.
Better yet – give your kids fuzzy socks and let them clean your other floors, too.
Podcast While You Clean
This has honestly been an absolute game changer for me. I love listening to audio books and podcasts while I clean and organize. I get so into the stories that sometimes I end up getting more done than I planned on and I am able to finish things a lot quicker, too.
The real trick here is that I limit myself to listening only when I am doing something productive, this helps me feel motivated to get stuff done. I also stay more focused with headphones in and find I get less sidetracked. The best way to get things accomplished is to find something that motivates you and helps you to enjoy yourself, even when you’re folding laundry or cleaning freaking kinetic sand out of the crevices in the floor.
Turn off the lights
Sometimes, when the kids go to bed, your feet hurt and you’re covered in spit-up, all you want to do is forget the mess for one night, take a warm bath and then curl up on the couch with Netflix.
On those nights, you just go right ahead and light yourself some candles (not too many, you don’t want to actually be able to see your surroundings), turn off the lights (wear slippers when you stand up because legos) and relax while imagining everything around you is spotless.
Let’s be real, it was only going to be clean while everyone sleeps anyway.