Oh, the clutter! Even if you started the school year with organized folders, ideally 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, exhausted homeschooling parent?
Keep Your House Tidy with these 15 tips!
I know this is tough! Especially when you throw random toys 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 time I try to declutter my kid’s rooms. They come into their rooms and see the bag. I am instantly rummaging through it to know 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 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. Suppose 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 odds and ends. Being ever so careful not to mess with the critical toys and things.
Decluttering will make you feel so much better. Teaching, working, and living with clutter around you are just miserable. So, do your best to declutter your spaces.
2. Utilize storage bins and baskets.
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 bookshelf, 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 tabletop. This goes beyond the homeschooling area. Everything in your home should have a place when you have random stuff with 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 they need to have a specific day set aside for cleaning. The problem with that is that by the time cleaning day rolls around; your house is so messy that cleaning it overwhelms you. That’s why you should break cleaning down into smaller, daily tasks. I understand the desire to clean it all, 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 the upstairs bathroom.
- Vacuum Bedrooms.
- Wash the bedding.
- Clean the downstairs bathroom.
- Dust the living room/dining room.
- Wash the towels.
- Clean sliding glass door.
- Organize desk.
- Wash the kid’s clothes.
- Clean surfaces of kitchen cupboards.
- Organize homeschool materials.
- Wash the blankets on the couch.
- Dust hallway photos, stairway photos, and 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 accumulated.
- Focus on areas that have become cluttered during the week, and aim to declutter.
- Organize homeschool materials for the next week.
Each of these tasks can have a designated duration of 10 minutes, bringing 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, keeping your house tidy will be much easier.
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 so easy to throw it in a basket and then wait 5-10 business days to wash or fold it. 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 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 of your kids and get twice as much completed in half the time. It’s so good for our kids to do chores and learn the primary responsibilities of life. 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 legos, so you don’t step on them when you walk to the bathroom at night.
8. Don’t just cook; clean up!
Some people cook and leave it out all over the countertops for later. That in itself drives me crazy. While I’m cooking, I’m cleaning. I’ll wash it quickly if I just finished using a mixing bowl. If the pasta bag is empty, I’ll toss it in the trash. Cleaning up while you cook is one way to make the clean-up job more manageable. This is important, especially for the homeschooling parents making breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’re the real MVPs!
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 feel gross. Although right now, my daughter has her dolls on them because it’s a secret world. Keeping your kitchen clean is one way to keep your house tidy. A pro tip: Never, ever leave dishes in the sink overnight. I always make it a point to load the dishwasher or wash the dishes while I cook and after eating. Because waking up to a sink full of dishes is never fun.
10. Do it now.
When you walk through the house, you see a random toy lying on the floor. Pick it up and find its home. Don’t just leave it there. If you walk into 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, and make it fun. Dance around with your kids. Teach them that cleaning a house is a gift, not a punishment.
12. Clean the air while you’re cleaning surfaces!
This is such a nifty hack that I learned about in Readers Digest! When you’re vacuuming, dusting or sweeping, the dust and dirt sometimes end 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 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 weekly time 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 ensures your learning environment is clean and organized. This will help 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 can’t get to, like the oven or baseboards. There are many excellent-priced options out there when it comes to cleaning companies. Some are 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 more significant.
15. Know that your ‘good’ is good enough.
It can be tough to think that your home is clean enough, especially when you pop on social media and see a social media influencer’s 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! Is it that bad if your house reflects the fun you all have?