Oh the clutter! Even if you started out the school year with organized folders, perfectly put together bedrooms, and a tidy toy room. You may find that your table has a pile of books, papers, art supplies and other odds and ends. Your kitchen counters have become a dumping ground for the entire household. And let’s not even discuss the basement. How do you keep your house tidy when you’re a busy, overworked and exhausted homeschooling parent?
Keep Your House Tidy with these 15 tips!
I know, this is tough! Especially when you start to throw random toys that no one cares about into the donation/trash pile. Suddenly, that doll with no hair has become your child’s best friend. This happens every, single time I try to declutter my kids rooms. They come in their rooms and see the bag. Instantly rummaging through it to see what I’m tossing. Suddenly, the keep pile has grown astronomically, and the donation pile is essentially nothing.
How do you declutter with kids? Is that even possible? Yes! You can totally get them involved. That way they see what you’re doing – and hey – they might even begin to enjoy decluttering. My kids, they aren’t those kids. So, I declutter their rooms when they’re not home. If they’re with their grandparents or at a movie with their dad. I will try to make an effort to go through the room and throw out the odds and ends. Being ever so careful not to mess with the important toys and things.
Decluttering will make you feel so much better. Teaching, working, and living with clutter around you is just miserable. So, do your best to declutter your spaces.
2. Utilize storage bins and baskets.
Seriously, storage bins and baskets are a life-saver for the homeschooling/stay at home/virtual learning parent. Those books that are sitting on the table? They can have a bin. The barbies all over the house? They can also have a bin. Everything gets a bin! You can label the bins ‘toys’, ‘books’, ‘misc’ and so on. Be strict with yourself and your family about what goes in the bin. Making sure that the label and the contents of the bins/baskets always match.
3. Everything has a place.
Have a book shelf, cupboard, or bin specifically for homeschooling materials. Be sure to have a bucket for all those markers so they don’t end up all over the table top. This goes beyond the homeschooling area. Everything in your home should have a place. When you have random stuff out that has no home, even if it’s just a few items. They quickly turn into piles of clutter that you don’t want around.
4. Create a Cleaning Schedule.
Breaking down house cleaning tasks into small, not so intimidating tasks is so beneficial. Many people think that they need to have a specific day set aside for cleaning. The problem with that is, by the time cleaning day rolls around, your house is so messy that the very thought of cleaning it overwhelms you. That’s why you should break cleaning down into smaller, daily tasks. I totally understand the desire to get it all clean at once, but who are we kidding? The kids will destroy it in less time than it took you to clean it. So instead, keep your house tidy by replacing the intense cleaning day with daily 30-minute cleaning routines.
What a daily cleaning routine could look like:
- Clean upstairs bathroom.
- Vacuum Bedrooms.
- Wash the bedding.
- Clean downstairs bathroom.
- Dust the living room/dining room.
- Wash the towels.
- Clean sliding glass door.
- Organize desk.
- Wash the kids clothes.
- Clean surfaces of kitchen cupboards.
- Organize homeschool materials.
- Wash the blankets on the couch.
- Dust hallway photos, stairway photos, light fixtures.
- Clean microwave.
- Wash your clothes.
- Clean the fridge.
- Sweep/vacuum main floors.
- Mop main floors.
- Wash the outdoor coats and jackets.
- Sort and manage all the random papers/art projects/mail that has accumulated.
- Focus on areas that have become cluttered during the week, aim to declutter.
- Organize homeschool materials for the next week.
Each one of these tasks can have a designated duration of 10 minutes. Which brings your total time cleaning to 30-40 minutes a day. It’s important to remember that you will have daily tasks, like dishes, sweeping, cat litter boxes if you have pets, spills etc.. But those extra ‘big projects’ that maybe stress you out – don’t have to! When you simplify your cleaning to simple routines, it will be much easier to keep your house tidy.
5. Daily laundry is a must.
This is especially true if you have multiple kids. Laundry is one area of life that so many parents feel they fall behind on. It’s just so easy to throw it in a basket and then wait 5-10 business days to wash and or fold. So, throw in a load every day. Towels? Bedding? Clothes? Do one load a day. Having a laundry day is overrated. If you have access to a washing machine, throw a load in on the daily.
6. Designate chores.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Especially if your kids are older. You can give out a different task to each one of your kids and get twice as much completed, for half the time. It’s so good for our kids to do chores and learn the basic responsibilities of life. Obviously, you will want to keep the chores age appropriate. Getting your child involved in that 30 minutes of cleaning each day will benefit them, and your family home.
7. Do a quick nightly clean.
It’s evening, are the kids in bed? Do a quick 5-10 minute sweep of the floors. This doesn’t have to be extravagant. Just enough to pick up some of the legos so you don’t step on them when you walk to the bathroom in the night.
8. Don’t just cook, clean up!
Some people cook and just leave it out all over the countertops for later. That in itself drives me crazy. While I’m cooking, I’m cleaning. If I just finished using a mixing bowl, I’ll wash it quick. If the pasta bag is empty, I’ll toss it in the trash. Cleaning up while you cook is one way to ensure that you get to make the clean up job just a little easier. Which is important, especially for the homeschooling parents that are out here making breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’re the real MVP’s!
9. Give your kitchen some extra love.
When you’re finished cooking, and everyone has devoured the meal, spend an extra 10 minutes making sure the counters are clean and organized. I don’t know about you, but my kitchen counters need to be clean, or I just feel gross. Although right now, my daughter has her dolls on them, because apparently it’s a secret world. Anyway, keeping your kitchen clean is one way to ensure you can keep your house tidy. A pro tip: Never, ever leave dishes in the sink over night. I always make it a point to load the dishwasher, or wash the dishes while I cook, and right after we’ve eaten. Because waking up to a sink full of dishes is never fun.
10. Do it now.
When you walk through the house and see a random toy laying on the floor. Pick it up and find it’s home. Don’t just leave it there. If you walk in the bathroom and find the towels on the floor, pick them up. Do it now. Don’t leave it for later. If you find that the shoes by the front door have turned into a pile of chaos, do a quick organization of the shoes. Don’t wait, just do it now.
11. Make cleaning seem less like a chore.
Whether it’s during your 30 minute daily cleaning routine, or you choose to do a deep clean of the house. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be a chore! Turn on your favourite tunes, make it fun. Dance around with your kids. Teach them that keeping a house clean is a gift, not a punishment.
12. Clean the air while you’re cleaning surfaces!
This is such an awesome hack that I learned about in Readers Digest! When you’re vacuuming, dusting or sweeping, the dust and dirt sometimes ends up in the air. Soon it will settle back down on your floors and surfaces. So, turn your home’s thermostat to “fan on”. While you clean, keep it on so it can catch all that dirt and dust that’s just floating around. Keep it running for 15 minutes after you’ve finished cleaning. Then be sure to switch it back to auto. You can learn more neat cleaning hacks here: 40 Handy Hints for Cleaning.
13. Sort through school supplies and papers regularly.
Don’t leave this task for the beginning and end of a homeschool year. Set aside time each week to go through homeschooling content, supplies, and random papers. This way they don’t pile up all over the place. Keep reminding yourself that everything has a place. Doing this to ensure your learning environment is clean and organized. This will help both you as the parent-teacher and your child during learning time.
14. Get help.
If you are financially able, hire a cleaning company to pop by once every two weeks for a few hours to tidy those areas that you just can’t get too. Like the oven, or baseboards. There are many excellent priced options out there when it comes to cleaning companies. Some as cheap as $18/hour. Sometimes getting that extra help will be such a relief for you. You can then use that energy on something bigger.
15. Know that your ‘good’ is good enough.
It can be incredibly difficult to think that your home is clean enough. Especially, when you pop on social media and see a social media influencers stunningly clean home. That will make you quickly, and painfully fall into the comparison trap. So avoid that. Your house is clean enough. And you’re doing an excellent job! Not everyone can manage all the tasks that you’ve taken on, but you do it! If your house reflects the fun you all have, then is it really that bad?