How to Create a Cleaning Routine for Your Busy Schedule


Use a Chore System

Use a chore system to save you time and energy
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Have you ever thought, “Ugh, I don’t have time to be doing the dishes right now. There are other important things I need to be doing!” Then you need to get some help. Just because you are the mom doesn’t mean you have to be the maid.

You can learn how to start your chore system. First, write down all the chores you do in the house. Next, use Brian Tracey’s ABCDE prioritization method to organize what you need to do, what’s most important, and what others can help you with. Mark each chore accordingly:

A: A chore that’s important you do (then label them A1, A2, A3 according to their daily or weekly importance).

B: Chores that you “should” do because it’d be nice.

C: Chores that it’d be nice to do but no one would probably get upset if you put them off.

D: Chores you need to delegate.

E: Chores you need to eliminate off your list by hiring someone to do.

Now, you have a plan! You can create a checklist for you to follow and everyone else. Nothing feels better than checking things off a to-do list, right? Make a list for everyone in the family, laminate it at your office supply store (or buy a lamination machine), then think of incentives. This includes you! 


Teach Your Children How to Keep a Clean House

Teach your kids how to keep a clean house
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It’s amazing that although you and your family don’t spend all day at your house it looks like you spent all day at your house. Those toy tornadoes come so quickly and without warning! If you want a cleaner house so your schedule isn’t filled with so much cleaning time, discipline your family. Here’s how to put in time and effort to teach them how to clean up after themselves.

Dedicate the following month to teaching your family how to keep a clean house. Before announcing this you’ll need to set the foundation. You’ll need to find a home for everything in your house. Set a timer this weekend to do just that. Tell everyone in your family what you’re doing repeatedly. “I’m putting your things in their home, where they belong.”

You will also need to think of incentives. How else are you going to make this work? Make a list of things you can give everyone in your family when they start cleaning up after themselves. This can be things like:

  • Long hugs and a thousand kisses
  • Telling them why you loved it that they cleaned up after themselves
  • Little games you picked up at the dollar store and store in a special treat box
  • A trip to the park
  • Points that will add up to them getting a gift card to their favorite stores.

Look for things your child loves and think of how you could give them what they want if they give you what you want, a cleaner house.

Next, find teachable moments. When your child comes home from school and drops their stuff on the floor resist picking it up. Take your child by the hand, bring them over to their items and instruct them on how to put away their things. Last, break out the incentives to congratulate them on a job well done. The incentives don’t have to be dished out every time. Have fun with by making them unpredictable.

Be sure to run this program for one month, then see what happens. This is extra work for you, working mom, so you don’t want to burn yourself out. Knowing there’s an end in sight will help you get through this.


Get Your Spouse to Help out Around the House

How to get your spouse to help around the house
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If your spouse isn’t the helping type, this is for you.

Since you have prioritized the household chores you know exactly which ones you wish your spouse would do. Armed with this list, use the assertiveness technique, the A-E-I-O-U model to get the help that you need. Here’s an example.

Let’s say that you do seven loads of laundry per week and you want your spouse to start washing their own clothes plus the towels. Here’s the A-E-I-O-U method in action.

A: Acknowledge their positive intentions. Show your spouse that you appreciate all the work they do around the house and in their job.

“I know you do work around the house. I love that I married such a handyman.”

E: Express how you feel about the request. Using the phrases “I think” or “I feel” tell your spouse what you need or how you feel about the chores. This is your chance to explain why you need their help.

“I feel overwhelmed with the abundant amount of chores I’m doing. I never get to sit on the couch with you, relax with the kids, or just do something I want to do because I’m constantly cleaning up after everyone.”

I: Identify a plan or suggestion. Here’s when you suggest the change in chore assignment

“I’ve made this list. I plan on giving these chores to the kids. And these chores I’d love your help with.”

O: Outline your plan. Now that you’ve asked for help, share what you need help with.

“I’d love it if you’d wash and put away your own laundry as well as the towels. You could have the kids fold the towels if you want.”

U: Understanding and open for discussion. Now you talk about your request. Bring back in that you appreciate all the work they do already and the hope you have that if they help you out you’ll be a happier person.

“I know I’m asking for you to take on more responsibility, but I’m just at my wit's end. These tasks would take less than an hour for you to do over the weekend, but it’d give me an hour back of my time to do something I’d like to do. What do ya say?”

There, you’ve put it out there. Now, believe that they will respond back positively. You’ve shared how you’ve felt without making them feel bad. By acknowledging that you understand you’re both really busy you aren’t making them feel like they aren’t pulling their weight. This is a great method to try whenever you’re trying to get what you want.


Get Everyone to Help With a 15-minute Clean Up Every Night

Start the 15-minute clean up
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After everyone has cleaned up after dinner, announce that it’s “Round Up Time”! Set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes, but before you hit the start button yell, “On your mark! Get set! GO!” and turn a nightly cleanup chore into a game.

The object of the game is to have a clean living room and dining room. This means no toys, clothes, or paper on the floor and the kitchen table needs to be cleared. Here are the rules:

  1. If you run, you’re cheating.
  2. Everyone picks up their own things first, no arguing because they’ll waste time.
  3. When everyone is finished, meet back at the timer and celebrate.
  4. For every minute they have left over they get that time back with stories, a longer bath time, etc.
  5. You need to restrain yourself from giving directions. Allow your kids to prove themselves.

After Round Up Time, everyone retreats to their rooms for the evening where they can plan and not re-enter the rooms you just cleaned up.


Assess Your Cleaning Equipment

Assess your cleaning supplies
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That mop that you have? Are you doing twice the work because it’s old, not efficient, or your mom recommended it, so you just bought that? Do some research and get really good cleaning equipment that helps you clean efficiently and quickly. This may be a steam mop, a better vacuum cleaner, or new scrubbing brushes. If you feel like you are doing double the work to make up for your equipment’s poor quality, it’s time to upgrade.

Are your cleaning supplies the rights ones to pick up the messes in your house? Everyone’s messes are different so it’s up to you to find the right brand that works for your home. While experimenting with different brands don’t be afraid to return cleaners that didn’t do what they promised. Keep your receipts when trying a new cleaner and proudly return ones that didn’t pass the test.

Give yourself a month to assess your cleaning equipment and your needs. Do you have all the right tools to get the job done? Start a list on your whiteboard of equipment that would help you clean quicker so the next time you go shopping you know what you need.


When You Are Tired, Clean From Left to Right

When you feel overwhelmed start left and go right
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When you are exhausted but you know you need to clean look at the left side of the room and then scan to the right. Think to yourself, I’m going to start on the left and finish on the right. This gives you a plan to follow. With a plan, things seem a little easier. You have a place to start and a place where you’ll end. Teach this to your children as well so they don’t feel like cleaning up their room will take forever.

Also, use a timer. Give yourself “x” amount of time to clean. Once the timer goes off, you are d-o-n-e, done. No matter what, just stop. If someone is around to finish up the rest, you’ve given them a head start. If no one is around there’s always another day. No one is coming to visit you. You’ll have more energy tomorrow and hopefully more support from your family. You gave it a good shot and deserve a high five, mama!

With these suggestions, you’ll feel better about the state of your home. Your family will feel they understand your needs better, too! Your kids love to please you (whether they know this or not) and a happy wife (and mom) makes a happy life. 

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