Lifestyles are busier today than ever before. Most families have two working parents and kids with their own busy schedules. Keeping your house clean and guest-ready at a moment's notice is a real challenge. Housekeeping for a family can be a full-time job, just ask any stay-at-home parent who takes on this task every day. So how do you do it when it's a responsibility that is added to your other full-time commitments? Here are tips that might help you out.
Have a System
There are household chores that need to be completed on a daily basis, some that need to be done weekly, and others that only need to be attended to monthly or even a couple of times a year. When these necessary maintenance tasks are neglected due to a busy schedule, the cumulative effects can add up quickly. A cleaning system that keeps you on top of what needs to be done and when can be a life-saver. There are a lot of resources that can help you develop a system that works for your unique situation. A quick search on Amazon will reveal books and tools for home organization and cleanliness that can answer cleaning questions from how often you should clean the Keurig to how to get pee out of a mattress. The internet can offer some specific help with coaching sites like FlyLady or Clean Mama. A good system will help you break your cleaning tasks down into achievable tasks and help you stay on top of cleaning so that your home's maintenance doesn't slip between the cracks.
Share the Load
In a family where everyone has their own full-time responsibilities like jobs and school, home maintenance shouldn't become the responsibility of one person alone. When it does, it can foster resentment and overwhelm that can negatively affect the family dynamic. Keeping the house clean should be a shared responsibility, and when done with the right frame of mind can even become a family bonding activity. When splitting tasks between partners, start with open communication about what tasks each person doesn't actually mind doing or which tasks fit one person's schedule better than the other's. If you hate cleaning toilets, but your partner doesn't mind it, then that's one task that can go in their column. If your partner leaves for work an hour before you do every day, maybe breakfast cleanup can naturally fall to you. Then figure out a way to fairly divide up the tasks that no one wants to do. Have some fun with it; paper, scissors, rock is great for this purpose. Don't forget to get the kids involved. Home maintenance is a skill that they need to learn for the future, and the concept of shared responsibility within the family is an invaluable lesson. Even small children can take on age-appropriate cleaning chores that will contribute to keeping the house fresh and clean. You can teach them healthy habits by instituting a 15-minute clean-up time every night before bed when they pick up their rooms and any items they may have gotten out during the day. Most children can take on the task of making their own beds in the morning and taking the responsibility for their own laundry. Older kids can take on making a family meal once a week and heading up pet care.
There are wonderful robotic cleaning aids today that can really help with some of the routine home chores. There are robotic vacuums and mops like Roomba or Bobi. There are also robotic devices to take on window cleaning, a chore that everyone hates. If you have cats, you can save yourself a lot of unpleasantness and get a self-cleaning litter box. There are even automatic shower cleaners. Most of these devices are not great for the deep cleaning that needs to occur on a monthly basis, but they can really help out with the day-to-day cleaning that chips away at your time.
Having a home that is perfectly spotless is not a realistic goal for most families, but having a clean home that can be gotten guest-ready in minutes is a possibility. Make a plan and get started today.