As a mom it’s incredibly difficult to keep a tidy house with small kids, that’s particularly if you’re in a cleaning funk! Here’s how to get out.
Have you ever been in a cleaning rut?
The type where – no matter how dirty your house seems to be – you just don’t have the energy to clean it? Or, you clean it once and then after a bit you fall out of any routine or system to keep it tidy?
No? Me neither.
A funk is defined as:
(n) a dejected mood.
(v) to be afraid of
(v) to shrink from.
I won’t go so far as to say I’ve been frightened by cleaning… but I have certainly felt dejected about the state of my house.
Oh yes, ladies, I do believe the majority of us get in cleaning funks. You know what I mean. You’re very pregnant, have a newborn, get out of the habit, have a busy season of life, and find yourself living in a sty that is mocking your former self.
“You used to mop the floors every week. Mwaha. Your table has peanut butter stuck to it from a month ago. What are you waiting for? A sanding block?”
I am always pretty tidy, but go in cleaning spurts. I will put every throw pillow in its proper place and blankets lined up according to their pattern, but only deep clean the bathrooms when… they are disgusting.
If you tend to get into cleaning funks like me, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s how I get out of a cleaning funk and into a good cleaning system.
All Hands On Deck
When I’m in a cleaning funk and start feeling resentful about the house, I’ll make a big list and get all the kids ready to help. I can divide up the chores by age and skill level, and we can spend 30 minutes to an hour knocking things off the list.
The whole house won’t get clean, but it’s a start. And that start gives me some peace of mind.
Room By Room Chore Checklist
These checklists include all the tasks that need to be done in various rooms so that your little one can use pictures or text to help them complete a group of chores in one area.Learn More
Phone a friend
After we stopped having a biweekly cleaner during one stressful pregnancy, I never quite got into a good cleaning routine. I came off maternity leave, went back to work from home again and – fast forward a few months – the state of the house was embarrassing.
Luckily, I have a dear friend who keeps an immaculate house. I called, she answered.
We cleaned all the major areas of the house and sat down to discuss her systems. I realized part of why mine (which was characterized by random bursts of energy here and there) didn’t work was I didn’t have all the necessary tools. She helped turn the house around so I could maintain it, instead of feeling behind as I attacked one room at a time.
Would you help one of your friends? If so, your friends will probably help you.
Hire a cleaner
If your budget allows and your schedule is manic, you can hire a cleaner. I would encourage you to not let this replace your own children helping out with the tidying. Your kids can still have a lot of chores and have a cleaner come do deep cleans on occasion.
You may have a weekly cleaner or someone you call on to help you with deep cleaning episodes, but either way this is something to keep up your sleeve if you are able. You may need the house clean, but you don’t always have to be the one to do it.
Get a caddy
A cleaning caddy helps you feel organized which will help get you out of the cleaning funk. Instead of having to try and gather supplies from various rooms or areas, which creates resistance, get a caddy.
In the caddy put things you need to be able to clean up certain areas. Here are the things I currently keep in my caddy to give you an idea. Sometimes I make all-natural cleaners, but I must not use enough essential oils because they don’t leave surfaces smelling quite as nice.
- Basic sponges (for dusting, wiping services, etc.)
- Floor cleaner
- Anti-bacterial cleaning wipes
- Mirror and window wipes
- All-purpose spray cleaner
- Bathroom and tile spray
- Gel toilet cleaner
- Plastic sponge
- Steel wool
Get rid of your junk
I am a huge fan of downsizing. I truly believe one of the best ways to get out of a funk in the house is to get rid of things you no longer need.
- Get a large garbage bag or container and fill it with clutter, excess and things that you step on everyday
- Then put it in a closet for a month or two.
- After you’ve learned to live with less you may bring a few of those items back and donate the rest.
Motivation isn’t easy to come by when the house is piled with stuff. If the surfaces aren’t visible it’s hard to keep them clean. It feels impossible to tidy when there is nowhere to put all the junk. I do a clean sweep a few times each day and it never takes more than a few minutes to put everything away.
Everything. A few minutes. Yes! That’s because we have baskets for toys and not many of them at that.
Room-By-Room Decluttering Binder
The first step to getting rid of chaos is to simplify, simplify, simplify. This guide can help.Learn More
Get a tidying system
Most of us are affected by the cleanliness of our house. One surefire way to help maintain cleaning habits is to have a simple, no brainer tidying system.
This isn’t rocket science, but here is what we do.
- The kids are expected to do some basic tidying in their rooms each morning, after playtime, and each evening.
- No screen time, swimming, outdoor play, snack, etc. until their rooms or common areas are clean
- When things get messy, I’ll call an ‘all hands on deck’ and we will all do some cleaning to get things a bit better.
You can do this, mama
Take a day or two and try to knock some cleaning tasks off your list. The cleaning funk sets in when the house keeps being dirty but, when we make some headway, we’ll feel much better.
- Involving kids in household tasks has a positive impact later in life
- Chores are associated with self-competence, self-efficacy, and prosocial behavior
- Longitudinal Harvard study shows chores are bigger predictor of good mental health as an adult (moreso than social class, family problems, and other factors)