Feeling overwhelmed by the mess? It doesn’t have to be that way! We’ve got lots of ways to keep the house clean as a stay at home mom (that don’t involve spending hours a day cleaning or expert housecleaning skills). Read on for our best cleaning tips for stay at home moms.
When I first decided to resign my job to stay home with my daughter, I thought of all the domestic bliss we were in for.
I was going to cook dinner every night! We would go to storytimes and parks! My house would be spotlessly clean, since we’d be home all day together!
Ha. Ha! Hahahahaha.
What I didn’t realize is that being away from the house all day was keeping our house cleaner, and that staying home with her meant we’d be at home together all day, every day- making messes. And thus, our house got dirtier.
For a while, this drove me absolutely crazy. But over time, I learned how to keep the house cleaner as a stay at home mom.
The trick? Equal parts finding the best cleaning tips for stay at home moms, and lowering my standards.
If you’re also in the phase of life where you’re tired of the messes and want to keep your house cleaner as a stay home mom, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll show you how we kept our houses clean without spending hours cleaning every day.
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How to Keep Your House Cleaner as a Stay at Home Mom
Okay, first things first- please make sure you’re being kind to yourself. Being a stay at home mom is really friggin hard, especially when your kids are little.
Remember that you are just one person, and that you live with tiny little tornados. Messes are going to happen, probably faster than you can get to them.
The key is to divide the housekeeping into two big categories- daily tidying and deep cleaning. You should do a little of both each day, but you can’t do it all in one day.
So let’s talk about how to actually get it done- especially with little ones in tow!
How Clean Should Your House Be as a Stay at Home Mom?
You’re going to hear a LOT of different ideas on this. Some people say cleanliness is next to Godliness, and some will tell you that the dishes will keep but babies won’t.
And they’re all a little bit right, and a little bit wrong.
The key is to first think about how clean your house should be as a stay at home mom. As in, what bothers you? How clean does it need to be to avoid stress for the family, or to allow you to keep up with the things that need to be done?
When it comes to keeping the house clean as a stay at home mom, your first step is to decide what your standards are. You get to decide what you want your house to look like. Then work backwards from there to see what needs to get done regularly– and what doesn’t matter to you in this phase of life).
My personal rule? The house needs to be clean enough to avoid pests and germs, to avoid misplacing items on a regular basis, and to maintain my sanity. Anything else is icing on the cake.
Alright, now that you have your goal in mind, let’s move on to our best cleaning tips for stay at home moms!
Tip #1: Establish Cleaning Routines
This is my BEST cleaning tip for moms. Staying on top of messes and clutter is 90% of the battle. Figure out some routines for certain spaces of the house, as well as tasks that tend to pile up.
Here are some cleaning routines to put in place:
- Tidy up the house daily.
- Focus on deep cleaning one room per week. (We stole this idea from The Fly Lady– I HIGHLY recommend taking a peek at her website.) Do one or two tasks a day in that room, then rotate through each room in your house, then start again.
- Spend one hour a week performing a more thorough clean. I called this my Power Hour. Clean the shower and toilet, then dust, vacuum, and mop. I would do this on Friday so that we’d have the weekend to enjoy a clean(er) house.
Tip #2: Focus on the Kitchen & The Bathrooms
Nothing gives me the “ick” factor like dirty kitchens and bathrooms. If I have to pick just two rooms of the house to have clean, I’d choose the kitchen and bathroom.
I clean up the kitchen each night after dinner before going to bed. Here are my daily kitchen tasks:
- Put away all food. While you’re at it, check the fridge for any leftovers that need to be eaten or frozen.
- Clear off and wipe down the counters. Managing the clutter makes a big difference!
- Wipe down the stove top.
- Empty the sink of dishes and run the dishwasher.
- Plan for the morning. Okay, this one isn’t about keeping things clean. But having my coffee prepped and breakfast planned makes a BIG difference for me.
Here are my daily routines in the bathroom. I usually do these when I’m getting ready in the morning, and takes all of three minutes. Again, it’s heavily influenced by The Fly Lady!
- “Swish” around the toilet bowl with a brush.
- “Swipe” the sink and counter with a clean rag (stored under the sink)
- Refill TP as needed.
- Wipe the edge of the tub.
Related Post: How to Get a Sparkling Clean Bathroom (The Easy Way!)
Tip #3: Establish Priorities for the Rest of the House
You are not going to be able to have a clean house every day. Having the whole house clean at once is incredibly rare for me as a stay at home mom.
Instead, I focus on the rooms or areas that make me crazy.
For me, I prioritize the living and dining room. If these areas are cluttered, so is my brain. So I make keeping these rooms clean a priority, and let other areas (like the bedrooms) go.
Tip #4: Get the Family Involved in the Cleaning
Look, you are not the one making all the messes, and you shouldn’t be the one cleaning them all up, either.
I know how hard this is when the kids are little, but there are lots of tasks kids can help with, even at a young age:
- Carrying their plates to the sink.
- Helping load or unload the dishwasher.
- Taking out the trash (bathroom, bedrooms) and putting it in the kitchen trash can.
- Cleaning baseboards with a sock or rag.
- Vacuuming or using a spray mop.
- Making their beds (even if it’s not very well!)
- Putting clothes in the hamper.
- Tidying their rooms.
And not just the kids- it is totally reasonable to ask your partner to pitch in around the house (even if they work outside the home and you don’t). You both work hard all day, and you both live in the house.
Make a date night meeting to discuss who should do what around the house so you are both clear on the expectations.
Related Post: How to Get Your Preschooler to Clean Their Room
Tip #5: Tidy Up Before Calling it a Day
This isn’t going to happen every single day, but I try to tidy up every day before I call it quits for he night.
This looks like:
- Have the kids tidy up their toys just before dinner. (They usually watch a show while I cook, so they have to clean before the TV comes on)
- Wipe down the kitchen after dinner. (See above)
- Declutter and tidy up things after I put the kids down for the night.
- Get set up for the next day. I make sure backpacks and lunches are ready, coffee is made and meds laid out, and we’ve got enough clean clothes to get us out the door.
Tip #6: Stay on Top of Tasks That Pile Up
Staying on top of things like laundry and dishes keeps these tasks from becoming overwhelming. If I tried to do our laundry one day a week, it would truly take the whole day.
Here’s what works for me. Yours might be different, but the important part is getting a plan in place that works for you:
- Clean out fridge: Mondays
- Wash and dry clothes: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
- Fold and put away clothes: Tuesday, Saturday, Monday.
- Change sheets: every other Friday.
- Wash, dry, and put away sheets and towels: Sunday
- Power Hour (Deeper Clean/Tidy): Fridays
Related Post: 7 Things Productive Moms Do Every Day
Tip #7: Deal with Paperwork Right Away
DON’T let papers take over your life! Deal with each incoming pile of papers right away.
My kids empty their folders right away when they get home from school. I separate the papers into a few piles:
- Needs to be Addressed: Order forms, papers to sign, etc. are all done on the spot and put back into their backpacks.
- Events and Reminders: Put in my calendar app on my phone, take a picture of the flyer in case I need more details, and throw away.
- Kids’ Artwork and Schoolwork: This is three categories- one to toss right way, one to save forever (I have a box in each kids’ closet), and one that I’m not sure what to do with. I usually take a picture of these and then mail to the grandparents or throw away.
Tip #8: Hit the Source of the Problems
If you find yourself constantly tidying up bins of toys or avoiding putting away clothes into too-full drawers, maybe you need to address the source of your problems: too much STUFF.
It’s time to seriously declutter your house. Have the kids go through their toys (or do it without them). We have more details on this in our post on how to help preschoolers clean out their rooms.
Do the same with any area that is consistently a problem. Look at the area critically, decide what you could do without, and minimize the heck out of it.
I aim to do one area like this per week, but you could easily set a goal of one area per month or whatever works for you. Here are frequent problem spots:
- Cabinets (under the sink, tupperware, pots/pans/appliances, bathroom, medicine)
- Drawers (junk drawer, silverware, towels)
- Closets (clothes, art supplies, game closets, gift closets, coat closets)
- Flat surfaces (my problem areas are always the top of the washer/dryer and the entertainment center!)
- Paper organizers
- Toy bins
Tip #9: Give Yourself Grace
Like we said at the top, our best cleaning tip for stay at home moms is to give yourself grace- so.much.grace. We promise that this season won’t last forever. You’ll look back at these years as the fondest- and messiest!- of your lives.
Take a dep breath and remind yourself that this is just a phase. Someday you’ll have a clean house again.
Just maybe not today. And that’s okay.
So is your house going to be spotless? No- that’s not the phase of life you’re in. But will your house be cleaner than it was before? YES.
We also know that you are the experts on how to keep your house cleaner as a stay at home mom, too. What did we forget to add to the list? Tell us in the comments!
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