Single Mom Sanity To A Clean Home
Do you dream of a clean home? Being a single parent means all the housework without the second person to help (assuming you had a partner to help). If you have kids in the home it is a catch 22. They can help and do chores but are mostly likely the culprits of the mess in the first place. If you have kids make sure they help. Create chore lists or chore charts for them. It is up to you to decided if they get an allowance or need to help as being a part of the household. If you work outside the house full time it is hard to come home and do the ‘million things before you collapse.’ Dinner, help with homework, cleaning, sleep. If you work at home, or are a stay-at-home mom (some get by without working, ie child support, alimony, inheritance, previous income you are using to survive on, etc) than you still have a lot to do. Since we homeschool my kids are home a lot. Meaning they have more time to make a mess! Thankfully they are now teens (they aren’t as messy as toddlers and can help out more). Regardless of your work situation and the age of your kids… houses tend to get messy quick. Here are some ideas on how to stay sane and have a clean home.
Simple Steps To Keep A House Clean
Gather your supplies. Make sure you have your basic cleaning supplies on hand. That way when you have a few minute to get some cleaning done you can start immediately without running to the store or skipping that chore. I keep my cleaners in the garage (habit to have them in there, out of reach, since the kids were babies). Others prefer a cleaner caddy in the bathroom with bathroom-specific supplies and another cleaner caddy to use for the rest of your house.
Some ideas for basic supplies:
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Cleaning Rags
- Paper Towels (I like paper towels for the bathroom mirrors and the gross parts of the toilet).
- Toilet Bowl Brush.
- Gently scrubber if you have a scratch-able surface, like a glass stovetop.
- Spray Bottles.
- Old Toothbrush (for scrubbing).
- Glass Cleaner.
- Oven Cleaner.
- Stovetop Cleaner.
- Stainless Steel Cleaner.
- All purpose Cleaner.
- Toilet bowl Cleaner.
- Dusting Cleaner.
- Floor Cleaner.
- Vacuum cleaner (Good idea to get a tune-up on it once a year from a local vacuum shop).
When cleaning remember to clean from top to bottom. You don’t want to vacuum first and then dust, right? Stay sane by not repeating unnecessary steps!
Clean Fast For Unexpected Guests
If you have someone dropping by with little notice than you want to do basic ‘surface’ cleaning. Things that make the difference in your house looking like a disaster and looking decent.
- Kitchen. This is the most common room in the house. The room guests hang out the most. Make sure it is clean. Get rid of any junk and clutter on the countertops and table. Do the dishes. Wipe down the countertops.
- Declutter in the main hang-out room. If this is your living room than put things in their place. Cubbies, magazine rack, bookshelf, tv cabinet, etc. Get all clutter off of the floor.
- Bathrooms. Unless your guests are only staying 5 minutes the odds are high someone will need to use your restroom. If you are really short on time only clean the guest bathroom. Top to bottom. Mirror, countertop and sink, toilet, floor. If the tub/shower is dirty close the shower curtain. Remove all unnecessary laundry from the bathroom.
- Vacuum and sweep. Clean the floors from any dust, dirty, pet hair, etc. Not only will the floors look better but you’ll be removing the dirt from your floors.
Regular Daily & Weekly Cleaning
For regular cleaning and deep cleaning make a list. You might set aside 1/2 hour each evening or spend every weekend cleaning. Some people wash and change bedding weekly or monthly. Others vacuum a few times a week or once a week. Make a list with what works for you and plan it. Make your own weekly routine. Make another one for your kids. Sometimes it is easier if kids have daily chores that are shorter. If they go to their other parent’s house on weekends or some evenings make sure their list skips those days.
- Make a list.
- Have the supplies.
- Check off your list (it feels great accomplishing things and putting a line through them).
- Kids can have a sticker chart.
- Delegate when you can!
Don’t stress 24/7 on what you can’t get done. Single moms are doing double duty! Don’t forget to spend time with your kids and enjoy your family. I often wait to clean until they are gone for the weekend or are asleep. My kids have 1 daily chore during school time and in the summer have 2 daily chores. They can be easy ones (unloading the dishwasher) and quick ones (water the front yard). When they want rides somewhere their chores must be done before going. Not that laundry is ‘fun’ but it needs to get done. When I was growing up (single parent household too) we (the kids) weren’t allowed to watch tv unless we were doing laundry at the same time. I’m not that strict but I do think kids should be a part of helping out.
Extra tips for long-term cleaning
- Declutter. The less you have the less clutter there will be. Less to dust. Less mess the kids can make.
- Spring Clean. Once a year I spend a few weeks (in my free time) and go through everything in the house. Cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. I get rid of things we don’t use, clothing that is stained or outgrown, duplicates in the kitchen (the whole reason I started this is I discovered i had 5 colanders in my kitchen). I also feel less stressed if I have a clean, clutter-free house.
- Deep Clean. Once in a while you’ll need to deep clean. Scrub the walls. Clean the baseboards. Get the cobwebs hiding in the corners of the ceiling.
- Ask for help! Especially if you have little kids. Get a friend or family member to watch them so you can clean without distractions.
- Once a year, for my birthday present, my dad pays someone to come clean my house. I want her to do the ‘undesirable jobs’ so I do the simple stuff before she comes, like the laundry and dishes.
- Purge before the holidays. Each year before Christmas my kids have to go through their rooms (with my help) and declutter top to bottom. Clothes they don’t wear (some they outgrew, others they simply didn’t like), toys they don’t use. Books they are done with. It there is something they don’t use but it has sentimental value we do one of two things: Either take a picture and get rid of it or put it in the rafters.
- When you are done with your cleaning find a thrift store that will pick up. Donations are a tax write off.
Save Money With DIY Homemade Cleaners
Why should you use homemade cleaners? Most are organic, they are environmentally clean and they are cheap. VERY CHEAP. Most are about 1/10th the cost of store made cleaners. The laundry detergent (below) comes to about $25 a YEAR. With homemade cleaners you can make them in bulk to lessen the chance of running out. Here are some for all the different rooms in your house.
- Homemade Laundry Detergent (Must Have Mom).
- All Purpose Cleaner (Hello Nature Blog).
- Toilet Cleaner Tabs (Retro Housewife Goes Green).
- DIY Tea Tree Oil Cleaner (Thrify Jinxy).
- DIY Glass Cleaner (Utensi).
- Homemade Bathroom Cleaner (Savings LifeStyle).
- Trash Can Deodorizer Tabs (Retro Housewife Goes Green).
- Homemade Furniture Polish (The Country Chic Cottage).
- All Natural Kitchen Cleaner (Foothills Mama).
- Citrus Infused Vinegar Cleaner (Hello Nature Blog).
Print this. Do one for each kid. Even little kids can help their mom out and do some chores. They might need some supervision but they can still help. If they are really young where they don’t do too great of a job- do NOT tell them! Compliment them. Let them feel they are helping you. You might need to go back and redo the job. But at least they are learning to help. With older kids- forget everything! They can do a good job or redo it! Don’t let them do a half-ass job because it isn’t important to them.
What other Single Mom tips do you have to staying sane and having a clean home?