Keeping a clean and organized home is a priority for many families, but the hustle and bustle of daily life can often make it challenging to find the time and energy for deep cleaning. However, fear not! We’ve curated a list of 10 time-saving cleaning hacks that will help busy families maintain a tidy and welcoming living space without spending hours on end cleaning. Let’s dive into these effective strategies that will streamline your cleaning routine!
The 1 Minute Rule
Implement a rule to help your family get in the routine of keeping clutter controlled; if it takes less than a minute, do the task right now. Whether it’s putting a toy away, or doing a chore, taking 1 minute to clean up or put an item back will help a lot to maintain a clean home. That goes for both adults and kids! Things like washing a cup you just used or putting it in the dishwasher instead of leaving it on the countertop or in the sink will leave less work for later, and you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning in the long run.
Designated Cleaning Caddies
Create cleaning caddies stocked with essential cleaning supplies for each major area of your home. Having all the necessary supplies in one portable caddy saves time and keeps you from running back and forth for items. Make sure you have all the cleaning products, cloths, and tools that you need in each room to make it easy and quick to clean up messes. It doesn’t have to be fancy; even just keeping everything contained in a box under the sink will help! If you aren’t able to keep cleaning products in each room, make a central caddy with everything you need so you don’t have to spend time hunting for cleaning products.
Make the most of your time by combining tasks. For example, while waiting for dinner to cook, wipe down kitchen surfaces or unload the dishwasher. Have a donation bin near your laundry or closet for quick clothing edits during laundry time, rather than a big declutter all at once. When moving from room to room, do a quick check to see if there’s anything you can bring with you to put away. Every small effort adds up!
The 10-Minute Dash
Set a timer for 10 minutes and challenge your family to see how much cleaning they can accomplish in that time. Often, the race against the clock can make cleaning seem like a fun game! You can also do a quick 5-minute cleanup throughout the day to help keep your home tidy. After lunch/before naptime and after supper are good times to do a quick tidy with your family. It’s also easier to get kids on board when everyone is helping, so make sure to make it a family event! If you need more help getting everyone on board, make it a competition where the winner gets to choose a movie for the family to watch together, or gets to choose what’s for supper the next day; make it fun!
Do a Load of Laundry Each Day
Many of you with young families might be drowning in laundry and are laughing about the suggestion of doing a load each day, but finishing an ENTIRE laundry load from washing to putting away will help keep things under control. The key is making sure you do the entire process! Start a load in the morning, switch it in the afternoon, and fold in the evening.
If you don’t want your wet clothes to sit all day while you’re at work, lots of newer machines have a delay option so you can set the load to finish washing when you get home. Once you’re home, switch the load to the dryer then fold and put away the clothes before you go to bed. If folding is just too much by the end of the day, embrace the chaos by having bins that you can toss your clothes into instead of folding or hanging items. Especially with things like tiny baby socks and kids’ clothes, it won’t matter if they’re a little wrinkled or mismatched if it helps keep your home more organized and peaceful.
The “One-In, One-Out” Rule
Implement a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule for toys and belongings. For each new item that comes into the house, one old or unused item must be donated or discarded. This keeps the clutter in check. Throughout the day as well, if family members are done with an item, they must put it away before taking out something else. That includes kids and adults!
Do Less Work With the Right Products and Techniques
Let cleaning products do the work for you! For example, to easily clean your microwave, place a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of water and lemon slices inside, then microwave it for a few minutes. The steam will loosen the grime, making it easy to wipe away. Do you have mineral buildup on your taps or showerhead? Wrap your taps with paper towel or a cloth soaked with vinegar for a couple of hours, or fill a plastic bag with vinegar and tie it around your showerhead to dissolve any limescale. Does your oven look like a pan of bacon grease exploded in it? Spray it down with oven cleaner and stick saran wrap or any plastic garbage bags to the sides and on the grates so it can keep the product from drying out and give it more time to work. It’s our favourite trick for making ovens much easier to clean!
Load your dishwasher strategically by placing items of the same kind together. This makes unloading quicker and more organized. Use a silicone spatula to your advantage as well, and scrape any food remains into your compost bin instead of rinsing your dishes to save water and help keep your dishwasher filter clean. If you hand-wash dishes, fill up the sink with hot water and soap after you’re done cooking supper so your family members can quickly wash their dishes when they’re done eating.
Control the Dirt Coming into the House
Have a designated area near the entryway for family members to leave their shoes, coats, and bags to keep outside dirt contained. If you have pets, having a paw-wash station for muddy and rainy days will help keep your floors cleaner longer as well. We have a paw-cleaning cup that we like to use at our house that has silicone fingers on the inside, and all we have to do is put some water in the cup and twist it around our dog’s paws to get them clean. We have a “dog towel” at the door to dry his paws off as well so there are no more muddy footprints around the house. If you have young kids who love to get dirty, consider putting a laundry basket by the entryway to catch any wet socks, muddy pants, or stained shirts before they get abandoned elsewhere in the house.
Divide cleaning tasks among family members based on age and capabilities. Delegating chores not only lightens your load but also instills a sense of responsibility in your children. Young kids love to feel grown-up by doing “adult” things like washing dishes, so use that to your advantage (start with letting them wash only plastic dishes to avoid broken plates when they inevitably drop them). Everyone has their preferred chores as well, so find out who likes doing chores that others don’t, and have a rotation for the tasks everyone hates doing.
Last Tip: DON’T EXPECT PERFECTION!
Maintaining a clean home doesn’t have to be a daunting task, especially for busy families. We know that it can be hard to keep up with cleaning, especially when you’re trying to be a parent, employee, partner, etc. so don’t overwhelm yourself by following every tip at once. Building a routine can take time, and not all tips work for every family, so find one thing at a time that works for you, and add more things in as you can. If you still have trouble implementing these tips, that’s OK! Even just a few little things can help you feel a bit better about your home, and as you gain control of little areas, it will motivate you to do more. Our goal is to get you to enjoy your home, so reach out if you need help with cleaning to get to a maintainable state, or if you need more cleaning tips!