Our Cleaning Routines And Habits

 

Someone once asked me how I "do it all".  Five young kids seems like a lot, and I think they were wondering how I keep the house running, homeschool the kids, and still find time to blog and read and all that.

My answer to the "how do you do it all" question is the same now as it was then - I don't.

At that time especially, I let certain things around the house slide in order to fit everything all in.  But the other day someone made a comment about how I manage to keep my house so clean, and I realized that somewhere along the way I got back on top of the housekeeping. For the most part.  I still feel like I don't keep the house as clean as I would like it to be, but for having five kids it's not too shabby.



(I would show you better pictures, but the thing that has to slide now is this blog - taking pictures takes time!  Maybe I'll do a quick house tour on Instagram later this week.)

Anyway, I thought I would share a few of my (very basic) cleaning routines and habits that have helped our house not be the disaster you might expect it to be with five little kids!  


Sweep the floor and do the dishes every day.

For me, I feel pretty good about the state of my house if there isn't visible dirt on my wood floors, and if the kitchen sink and counters are reasonably clear.  After every meal I wash the pots and pans immediately  and clean out the sink, and I think that helps me never have too much of a disaster in the kitchen.  I usually end up sweeping once a day, usually sometime in the morning while the kids are doing bookwork.  There is a lot of dirt in the mountains!  These two things are the bare necessities of cleaning for me.


Have the kids pick up their toys at set times during the day.

Every morning before breakfast I ask the kids if their rooms are cleaned up and if their beds are made.  I also ask them to clean up toys before lunch and/or nap time (I only have one kid who still naps, but nap time is still clean up time).And then I'll have the kids pick up before dinner so everything is reasonably clean before bed.


Straighten up clutter before bed.

Before Derek and I head up to bed each night, we usually start the dishwasher, pick up any toys that were missed, and straighten up the living room.  I'll straighten up the books in the school room, put any stray dishes I find in the kitchen, and just generally do a quick declutter.  Since we do this every day it usually doesn't get too bad, so this takes us maybe 5-10 minutes.


Vacuum and clean bathrooms around once a week (or as necessary).

Over the course of a whole week, I'll usually do a quick vacuum job and rotate through cleaning all three bathrooms.  Sometimes these things need to be done more often, but I get to these chores at least once a week.


Dust and wash windows every 2-3 weeks as part of a whole-house cleaning day.  

These chores are usually part of a whole-house cleaning day every 2-3 weeks.  Some people rotate through different types of chores each week on a looping basis, but I like to have the whole house clean at once in a while.  So every few weeks I'll do a good declutter and try to clean as much of the house in one day as I can.  I try to do this before we have guests over for dinners too (though that doesn't always happen).



Do a little bit of laundry every day.

Laundry is the one chore that never ends.  I usually throw a load in at least once a day, and then the clean/dry clothes sit in baskets until I get a chance to fold them.  I hate folding laundry, so I'll usually save it up and do it all once a week, when I have a mountain to deal with and it's very overwhelming (but at least I can do it while listening to an audiobook, right?).  Thankfully Derek helps me so much with the laundry though - when he has time he will fold a bit of laundry each night, so sometimes I don't have to tackle my weekly mountain of laundry!

And one final thought that helped me a lot...


Realize that real people live here.

When I was first married, I used to get very uptight about keeping the house looking good all the time, until I realized that I do not live in a show home.  A real family lives in this house, real people.  Real children eat at that table and spill their food sometimes, those real books stacked in the corner are really being read, a real dog leaves his hair all over everything, a real toddler is potty-training.  Though I still breathe easier in a tidy house, and I try my best to make sure our home environment is generally clean and comfortable, I've loosened up my standards somewhat.  Better a happy family in a messy house than a stressed-out family in a show home.  There is a little made-up proverb for ya.



How do you handle housekeeping routines?





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Sarah said...

I cannot go to bed if the kitchen isn't cleaned up and the living room in order. I don't want to see messes first thing when I wake up! My family does not appreciate this like I do!

Jenna Miller said...

I’m so glad to see someone else with a similar housekeeping mindset! I try to start the dishwasher each night, and I usually have to vacuum at least every other day because our golden sheds like crazy. the European washers and dryers are smaller here, so laundry is never ending! I love what you said about a real family living here. That’s such a good reminder when someone stops by unexpectedly or I find myself getting too upset by the clutter.

Bekah said...

Thanks for being real about this!! We make our bed every day and keep all the clutter picked up at all times (hello, two Type A people in the same house) and that really helps the clean feeling! Other than that, I do a chore a day, rotating them. Laundry some days, floors other days, bathrooms other days, etc. That way I don't have to have a full cleaning day. There's no time for that anyway, since we sometimes work 7-9 day stretches at a time, and our work days are all day and night.

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