As mothers, we tend to get caught up in housework more often than we would like to. There is, after all, always something that needs to be cleaned, tidied or scrubbed.
However, what I like to call the vicious circle of housework truly is never-ending, and if you fall prey to it, you are likely to develop feelings of inadequacy, and start to resent both your home and your family.
Here are my top tips for not losing yourself to housework, but still keeping a clean and tidy home.
1. Do one thing at a time
Instead of trying to clean the place from top to bottom in one go, rather break the task up into smaller, more manageable chunks.
You can make a list of things that need to be done every day: dishes, floors, kitchen surfaces, etc., and spread these out throughout the day. Or you can do a 30-minute blitz and take care of all of them in one fell swoop.
As for the rest of it – I recommend doing one room a day. Yes, that way the house will never be 100% clean and tidy at the same time. But you won’t feel like you are losing your mind either.
2. Tidy as you go
Instead of letting piles of stuff accumulate throughout your home, you can tidy as you go too. For example, when you are going from the bathroom to the bedroom, take that pile of laundry with you. When you’re pouring a glass of water, wipe the kitchen surfaces too.
Talk to the kids about this method as well, and have them move things from point A to point B for you – they can have a bit of a race or competition, and you won’t have to feel pressured by it.
Don’t leave your socks on the floor, place the dishes in the dishwasher when you are done with them instead of loading it once a day, and so on. I swear the little things help.
3. Reach for the usual hacks
Some household items will require a bit more of an effort. Your oven, for instance. However, with the help of a couple of simple hacks, you can take care of this annoying stuff too.
White vinegar and baking soda is great for limescale of any kind – in your kettle for example, at the bottom of pots, or around your faucets.
The same combination can be used for cleaning the bathroom too, and works great on those smears you get on shower doors.
Lemon juice is also very effective for stain and smudge removal, and a baking soda and water mixture smushed into a paste is great for scrubbing.
Whichever method you choose to use, I suggest soaking the offending item in it for a couple of hours (or even overnight, if it’s not too strong). It will make scrubbing easier.
4. Accept wear and tear
All of the items in your home will start to show their age at one point. The table will acquire stains, the stove will get scratched, the toilet will start to go off-white.
This is to be expected, and instead of resenting yourself for allowing this to happen, accept the inevitable, and the fact that all furniture and appliances need to start to look a little shabbier as time goes on.
This is merely the sign that your home is lived in – getting rid of the most obvious dirt, dust and grime is one thing, but trying to keep it as neat as it was on the day you moved in is futile.
5. Make it more fun
I don’t clean unless I play myself some music on my headphones. It makes it feel much less like a chore, and much more like a relaxing exercise that you are less upset about executing.
Get the kids involved as well. Whatever they can do, have them do it. Wiping, dusting, or just keeping you company, a group effort will always work better than a solitary one.
Try to let go of that ingrained feeling that you have to spend X amount of hours a day taking care of your home. Yes, it needs to be clean, but you don’t need to drive yourself insane in order to get it there.
Before we part ways
I do hope cleaning your home and keeping the place tidy is not too much of a frustration in your family. Or if it is, hopefully these tips will help you overcome it, and cut yourself some slack. We only live once – and spending too much time focusing on housework is only keeping us from running around with our kids.