Keeping a clean house is no small feat… especially when you’re a busy mom with busy kids (who constantly seem to be leaving a trail of toys, crumbs, and dirt around the house).
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Whether you’re wondering, “How DO moms keep a clean house?” or you’re ready to tackle this task and create a game plan to keep your house clean, being equipped with these cleaning tips for busy moms will make your entire house cleaning process a hundred times easier!
I am ALL about keeping things simple. I hate having an overcomplicated to-do list (this is the list I use to keep things simple), and I especially can’t stand the overwhelming feeling I get when our house becomes a mess because I put cleaning off for a week or two too long… again.
I get it, sometimes keeping a house clean simply doesn’t seem like a feasible task. Sometimes it seems absolutely impossible.
If you’re here, I’m sure you’re wondering how to keep a house clean while working full time – whether your work is outside the home or inside the home (yes – raising a family IS a full-time job).
I want to help you learn a couple handy cleaning hacks for busy moms that I have picked up that have helped me keep a clean home even when life gets hectic.
I’m not talking about keeping a spotless home. You know, the kind where NOTHING is ever out of place and you always clean up after yourself as soon as you’re done with something.
I’m talking about a clean house. A house that you’re not embarrassed about when you have guests drop by for a surprise visit. The kind of house that is clean while being lived in.
There are all kinds of tips to keep a spotless house, tips like the one-touch rule where you only touch something once before putting it away. Meaning, you pick it up, and before it leaves your fingertips you put it back where it belongs.
While that is an effective way to keep your house clean and organized, sometimes it’s just flat out impossible. You’re not ALWAYS going to have time to put things away before you put them down, and that’s just life.
And that’s okay.
Today I want to help you learn a few cleaning tips that are practical and possible. Cleaning tips for busy moms that don’t require much time at all (because you’re busy, and we both know it).
23 BEST CLEANING TIPS FOR BUSY MOMS
1. Use a cleaning schedule
I have seen a world of difference since I’ve started using my cleaning schedule.
Before I used a cleaning schedule I would jump around from task to task, never fully finishing one thing before I went on to the next.
I never really knew WHAT I should be doing.
And because of that, I was spending my time very inefficiently.
Using a cleaning schedule allows you to jot down the daily and weekly cleaning tasks that are important and need to get done, then they offer you a guideline to help you get those task done throughout your day.
This way you won’t forget about cleaning the garbage disposal until there’s a horrendous smell coming from it.
You can grab a free printable cleaning schedule here, or if you’re looking for a cleaning schedule that is easy to edit every day or week, this one would be perfect for you.
2. Clean what you can, when you can
In a lot of my other cleaning posts, I talk about cleaning things up AS SOON as you’re done with them – but I know that for busy moms, that’s just not always an option.
You might be sitting in the living room, sipping coffee and reading a book when your baby wakes up from a nap. You go to tend to your child, then after discovering a massive blowout you bath and find new clothes for your babe.
Now, 15 minutes later, you’ve long forgotten about your cup of coffee and that book you were reading.
And that’s okay.
You have full permission to cut yourself some slack.
Instead of cleaning things up right away, take advantage of small moments when you’re not doing anything as a chance to quickly clean up that coffee cup and your book.
Clean what you can, when you can. (And don’t worry if the when isn’t until 10 o’clock this evening.)
3. Use a miscellaneous basket
This is one of my very favorite house cleaning tips of all time. Keeping a miscellaneous basket in different rooms of your house will help you keep all the “out of place” items in one place. (And it will cut down on the amount of time it takes to put them away every evening.)
The beauty of using one of these baskets in the different rooms of your house is that not only does it offer a place to keep items that aren’t in their proper place organized, but it also doubles as home decor.
(Really – look at how CUTE they are -but they aren’t all that cute… yikes!)
I like to keep a miscellaneous basket in three main areas of our house – the entryway, the kitchen, and the living room.
These are the rooms that things tend to get left in the most often, and when I use a miscellaneous basket to keep everything together at the end of the day I grab the baskets and put everything away where it belongs. (It’s a LOT easier than making multiple trips around the house.)
4. Use a mesh laundry bag with suction cups to organize toys
Kids bathtub toys can take over an entire washroom real fast…
…so using a mesh laundry bag like this one along with one or two of these suction cups with hooks and attaching it to the wall of your shower/bathtub will help you keep all those toys organized and easy to get at.
(Or you can grab this bathtub toy bag made specifically to organize kids toys.)
5. Use a vacuum instead of a broom
There’s something about vacuuming that I don’t like. I would sooner grab my broom and spend 20 minutes sweeping the floor when I could have done it in less than 10 minutes if I had just used our vacuum.
Something I am trying to get better at is using our vacuum more often, since it goes so much quicker and does a much more thorough job than the broom.
If you don’t have a good vacuum, here’s a list of the BEST inexpensive vacuum cleaners under $100.
I haven’t made the switch yet, but MANY moms rave about how much they love this Robotic Vacuum cleaner.
(It would make cleaning our house a whole lot easier…)
6. Prioritize cleaning tasks
Your baseboards don’t need to be cleaned every week and you probably don’t need to worry about cleaning your ceiling fan too often.
Those tasks don’t need to be done on a regular basis, but your garbage should be taken out every day (or every couple of days, depending on how full it gets).
Prioritizing your cleaning tasks will save you a lot of time when it comes to cleaning your house on a tight schedule.
Learning which tasks are important and which ones can be left until you have more time is key, and if you’re struggling to know which tasks are important and which ones aren’t, you can use this to help prioritize your tasks.
7. Clean up where you are
If you’re rocking your baby to sleep and notice the nursery has gotten a little out of control, after putting your baby down quickly tidy up what you can. Grab clothes and put them in the hamper or back in the shelf if they’re clean, pick up toys, and bring old bottles back to the kitchen.
If your baby is a light sleeper and doing this will wake him/her up, make a mental note (or use this if you’re like me and have troubles remembering things) to clean the room when baby wakes up.
If you can find a couple of minutes in each day to do this when you think of it, your house will start to look cleaner without you even having to dedicate much time to cleaning it each day.
If you’re sitting at your desk working and notice you’re starting to get a lot of paper clutter, take a quick 5 minute break and speed clean your desk off, putting important papers where they belong, like in a small portable filing cabinet like this one, and getting rid of the papers that you don’t need anymore.
8. Load dishes into the dishwasher right away
One of the biggest culprits of an unclean and messy house is dishes. Whether that be dishes piling up on the counter or scattered in the different rooms of the house, when I see dishes throughout our house, I instantly think the entire room looks messier.
To avoid this, try to put dishes into the dishwasher or hand wash them as soon as you’re done with them.
9. Get rid of stuff
Having a house full of stuff (clutter) makes cleaning a WHOLE lot harder. To make cleaning easier on yourself, try getting rid of some stuff from your house first.
(This way you won’t have to be cleaning under/behind and dancing around various objects in your home.)
If you don’t know where to start with getting rid of things, here are 20 things you can declutter from your home today. If that’s not enough, here are 25 more things you can get rid of (that you probably won’t even miss).
10. Store disposable wipes in the bathroom
I’m all about being frugal and reusing household items, but some days I just want life to be easier. And those are the days that this cleaning tip comes in especially handy.
Storing these cheap wipes in your bathroom (hidden away in a cupboard so the room doesn’t look cluttered) make cleaning up messes incredibly easy.
If there are pee dribbles on the floor near the toilet or water splashes on the mirror, you can grab one of these wipes and quickly wipe it up in the evening rather than letting it sit dirty like that until the next time you clean the bathrooms.
11. Use a cleaning caddy
Using a cleaning caddy will help you keep all your cleaning essentials easily accessible in one place. This helps you always know where they are (no more wasting 30 minutes scavenging through every closet and cupboard in your house to find the all-purpose cleaner).
(If you’re not sure if you have the cleaning essentials or not, click here to see my list of must-have cleaning items.)
I like to use a cleaning caddy so that when I go to clean our house I don’t have to haul several different cleaning bottles, cleaning rags, and cleaning tools around in my hands. With a cleaning caddy like this one, I store everything in it and just grab the caddy when I’m ready to clean. (Minimal effort!)
This is my top pick for cleaning caddies.
12. Keep cleaning supplies where you use them
Better yet than using a cleaning caddy is simply keeping your cleaning supplies where you use them.
It seems like a common-sense solution to the problem of drudging through the house to find cleaning supplies, but surprisingly enough, very few people do this.
To do this, you do need to stock up on cleaning supplies so you can keep one of each in each place they get used.
So, if you have 3 bathrooms in your house, you would want to keep toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, and all-purpose bathroom cleaner in each bathroom.
You could also keep your kitchen cleaner under your kitchen sink.
This does make cleaning easier, but it is a more expensive option.
13. Keep mealtime simple
Mealtime is usually one of the most time-consuming tasks of the day, so if you can work to keep mealtime simple, you’ll free up more time to put towards cleaning.
The best way I have found to keep mealtimes simple and stress-free is to use meal plans to plan our meals.
(Meal planning has also saved us hundreds of dollars each month, but I won’t get into that here. If you’re interested in using meal planning to save money, you can see how we do it here.)
Meal planning is simply planning out all your meals for a given amount of time, I like to do one week, then going shopping and getting everything you need for those meals.
You can do meal planning in a variety of different ways, but the one way that I recommend (and that has helped thousands upon thousands of families) is using these Eat at Home Meal Plans.
14. Wash laundry every day
If laundry isn’t getting washed regularly it piles up WAY too fast.
And you’re stuck wondering how on earth your family could go through so many clothes in ONE day.
When I get behind on laundry I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the mountain of clothes and linens staring at me. It’s enough to send me running for the hills – or at least out the door to try and avoid (forget about) it.
Creating a laundry schedule is quite an effective way to stay on top of things, and to keep your laundry from becoming overwhelming.
(If you spend just 10 minutes each day loading the washing machine, switching the laundry to the dryer, and then folding and putting that laundry away, it will be MUCH nicer than spending an entire afternoon – or day – at the end of the week JUST DOING LAUNDRY.)
15. Wash toys in the dishwasher
Have you looked at your kid’s toys and realized that they could probably use a clean… but put ended up putting them right back where you picked them up from because you didn’t have time to clean them right then?
Did you know that you can wash your kid’s toys in the dishwasher?
Yup – it’s totally possible and safe to do! (As long as you use caution, of course. If a toy is clearly not dishwasher safe, you shouldn’t wash it in the dishwasher.)
All you need is a small mesh bag like this (some people say you can use lingerie bags as well), then you stick the toys into the bag and stick the bag in the top shelf of your dishwasher, then put your normal detergent into the dishwasher and turn it on as if you were washing a load of dishes.
And just like that, with very little time invested on your part, your baby’s toys will be squeaky clean.
16. Use a shoe rack
Shoes worn throughout the house do two things:
- They drag dirt EVERYWHERE
- They usually end up getting left in random places
To make it so you don’t have to vacuum your floors as often, and so that you don’t need to be hunting throughout the house to find that one missing shoe, grab a 3-tier shoe rack and keep it by your door to keep all your family member’s shoes in one place and out of the way.
This is the lightweight shoe rack I recommend.
17. Dust with old dryer sheets
Don’t throw your dryer sheets out when you’re done using them! Instead, place them in a small container and save them to use while you’re dusting. (Really!)
When you use dryer sheets to dust around your house, they actually leave a residue (don’t worry – it’s not visible and it isn’t bad for you) on the surfaces they touch that repels dust.
So, when you dust with dryer sheets you’re not only getting multiple uses out of one sheet (using it first for your laundry, then second for dusting), but you’re also creating less work for yourself – making it so you have to dust less often.
18. Store sheets inside a pillowcase
This is one of the smartest cleaning hacks I’ve picked up over the years, and it saves a lot of time when it comes to looking for all the matching pieces of bedding for a particular bed.
All you have to do is fold your bed sheets like you normally would, then fold one of the pillowcases and place it on top of the folded sheets. Then, grab the other pillowcase and place the folded sheets and the other pillowcase inside the unfolded pillowcase, and store it like this in your linen closet.
This way when you’re looking for all the matching sheets and pillowcases for a set, they’re all together inside the pillowcase. (Genius!)
19. Use Norwex dusting cloths
I’ll admit, I was skeptical about Norwex cloths at first.
(They are antibacterial, you only need to use water when you clean with them, and some people claim that they are “self-cleaning”, meaning that if after you have used them, you hang dry them for 24 hours all the germs on the cloth will die.)
The reason I was skeptical about them was because they sounded too good to be true, and they were expensive. (The prices aren’t outrageous, but they’re a lot more than I would normally spend on a cleaning cloth. Check the current prices here.)
But, when I got given a set of Norwex cleaning cloths for my bridal shower and started using them, I was sold!
Whether or not these cloths truly are “self-cleaning”, I don’t know. But what I do know is that they work INCREDIBLY well for cleaning everything in our house.
And I only have to use water.
(Which means I don’t have to buy cleaning products anymore! Yay!)
If you don’t have time to get all your cleaning supplies out to clean your house, these Norwex cloths are awesome since all you need for cleaning anything is the cloths and some water.
There are a lot of different options for these cloths, but these are the two Norwex cleaning cloths I use.
20. Use vinegar as a natural cleaner
If you’re in a pinch and you have run out of your all-purpose home cleaner and you don’t have any Norwex cleaning cloths on hand, you can use white vinegar as a natural all-purpose cleaner.
Vinegar is an acid, so it can kill bacteria and get rid of dirt without the use of any chemicals.
All you need when it comes to using vinegar as a natural cleaner in your home is a bottle of this vinegar and an empty spray bottle.
Mix the vinegar with a bit of water and use it to clean any surfaces you need.
(Keep in mind: Vinegar works best at full strength, meaning when it is not mixed with water. BUT this can cause a very strong smell, so it’s best to mix it with a bit of water. Be cautious when you use vinegar at full strength on wood or natural stone surfaces as they can get damaged.)
21. Plan – but be okay when that plan changes
One of the best cleaning tips for busy moms is to have a plan. Along with your cleaning schedule, having a plan of what you want to achieve is a good way to stay focused on what you’re doing.
Maybe your house is in a disastrous state and you’re not sure how you can get it cleaned up – if that’s the case, make a plan of attack. Look at the trouble zones in your house and see what they all have in common.
Are they all commonly-traveled areas? (The entryway, the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, etc.)
Is that why they are so dirty?
Set a goal that you want to achieve, this could mean you want to have a certain room in your house cleaned by the end of the week, or maybe you want to focus on cleaning the basement for a week straight, then start making a plan of how you will achieve that goal.
(Big achievements start by doing small tasks!)
22. Have everyone in the family clean the house for 10 minutes every night
Before you send your kids off to bed, set a timer for 10 minutes and have everyone in the family clean the house until the timer dings.
This is when you can grab those miscellaneous baskets we talked about earlier that have been filled up with out-of-place objects throughout the day and put all the items back in their proper place.
You can get someone to grab the vacuum and give the kitchen floor and entryway a quick vacuuming.
You can use the disposable wipes in your bathroom to quickly wipe the counter and the toilet rim and base.
This is also a good time to put all the kids’ toys back where they belong. Load up any dishes into the dishwasher or wash them by hand. Put clothes in the laundry hamper.
With everyone in the family involved in this cleanup, it shouldn’t take any more than 10 minutes, and it will allow you to start the day off tomorrow with a sparkling clean house.
23. Keep it simple
Last, but certainly not least, is a reminder to keep it simple.
You’re busy, you’re exhausted, and you work hard.
Don’t beat yourself up if your house isn’t spotless. You can’t do it all – just do the best you can do.
Keep your cleaning schedule simple and use these cleaning hacks for busy moms to help you do small cleaning tasks every day. Doing this will help you keep your home clean enough.
Do you have some cleaning tips for tired moms that you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you!
Do you struggle to keep a clean home? Are there just not enough hours in the day to do it all? I hope that you’re able to use these house cleaning tips to keep your homes clean and organized even when you’re busy.
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