How to Spend Less Time Cleaning and Still Have a Sparkling House

 

Today I’m excited to bring you an article that inspired me all week long! I have struggled with the house cleaning ever since baby #1, and that problem has increased with every single added birth. You know how people say, “Well, once you pass X number of children, it really makes no difference.” Whoever said that is nuts! Either that, or I just haven’t passed the right number of children…

This post comes from Anna Aamone, who runs a small cleaning company in London. She loves writing about cleaning and decorating. I hope you find this article as helpful as I did.

How to Spend Less Time Cleaning and Still Have a Sparkling House

Everybody dreams about having a spotless home, but they rarely feel the urge to spend hours cleaning. Considering there are thousands of better things to do than brushing the toilet and removing limescale build-up from faucets, it is understandable why so many people want to spend so little time housekeeping. The good news is, your home could still be sparkling even if you dedicate a very small amount of time to keeping it so darn neat. Here are a few tips to make house-cleaning more time-effective.

 

How to Keep a Clean House

Focus on key areas

There are some telltale signs of why your home doesn’t look clean. The first one is your television. It needs dusting on the daily. No matter how much time you dedicate to cleaning, if dust still hangs on your DVD stacks and your television, it’s like you didn’t accomplish anything. It may sound a little “wait, what?”, but it’s not really important to have a clean home but rather a home that looks clean. So it’s wise to focus on those areas that show dirt and stains.

 

Some other key spots to focus on are your book shelves (dust), knick-knacks (dust), toothbrush holder (lots of residue), bathroom floor (soap scum, limescale, stains), kitchen countertops (food stains, crumbs), sinks (soap scum, limescale), space under tables (crumbs, stains), entryway (mud stains, dirt, soil), stove top (grease, burned food).

 

Wash the dishes right away

Do wash the dishes after your family is done with their meal. Dirty dishes look nothing but disgusting, making your home look like a sty. Because what kind of a housewife doesn’t have time to wash the dishes?

 

Get rid of pet hair on the daily

Pet hair can be difficult to remove, especially if you haven’t bothered to deal with it for a whole month. The easy way to cut down on hair and spend less time getting rid of it is to clean it on the daily. Put on rubber gloves and wet them. Run your hands over furniture or your pet’s favorite spot to hang around. Hair will get caught on the gloves and off your domestic surfaces.

 

Do one chore at a time

Because you want to do as many things as possible in the shortest time possible, you often fall into the trap of doing many chores at a time. But this is not okay. Staying focused on one task will make you more effective. So keep it simple.

 

Do small tasks every day

Cut down on clutter by doing small tasks every day. At first it may seem like you have to clean and tidy all the time, but soon you will find out that your domestic chores have been reduced to a manageable level. Because you will tackle small jobs on the daily, you won’t ever have to take a whole Saturday and spend it cleaning the house. Sweeping the floor takes about five minutes, washing the dishes is ten minutes, dusting is ten to fifteen minutes. Combine this rule with the next one to get better results.

 

Focus on a different chore every day

Monday could be vacuuming, Tuesday is organizing the shelves, Wednesday is for dusting, Thursday is doing the laundry, etc. etc. Even better, make a list of all the chores that have to be done throughout the week and distribute them evenly. You will find this to be a very good rule. Waking up knowing there is only one chore to do today makes it seem less burdensome and tiring.

This is the best way to spend less time cleaning and still have that spotless home you are willing to have. SW7 TenancyCleaning wishes you good luck!

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What did I expect this to look like???

jd

BOOM!! bounce bounce bounce

The school day is done, and I was answering blog comments, and I heard this loud noise. Don’t worry. All is well. I ran to check it out. I scanned the front yard. No one there, but it sounded like someone had hit our house with a basketball!  Weird!

Just then, Joshua barged in the back door and proudly proclaimed, “I just kicked a soccer ball OVER the roof! I’ll go get it!”

Big boys. I am lovin’ it. Babies and toddlers are adorable, but big boys are WHERE IT’S AT!

wildcats

BIG week for Joshua: #2! He scored 5 points for his team on Saturday!!

 

They wipe their own bottoms, they still do hilarious things, they can get their own snacks (but then you have to guard your kitchen), and best of all, they only require minimal supervision. No, actually, the best part is that they can even help with their little brothers!!

“Ew. public bathroom. Here, Joshua. Take Daniel to the bathroom with you, and make sure he washes his hands.  Thank you!!!”

They earn their keep for sure.

dangerousplay

It’s a hazardous role.

babyhugs

but oh, so rewarding

One thing that is often mentioned in my comment section, especially yesterday, is that I am too hard on myself.

This is true. I am waaaay too hard on myself. I’m going to try to give myself a little more grace. Even my kids pick up on this.

Joshua looked at me the other day, as I was struggling to teach through the bronchitis, and said, “Mom! Go lay down!”

I adore them. Hang in there, Moms of only little bitties. Our work will pay off!

batcave

Are you afraid they will fall? 😉 They didn’t.

 

It’s ridiculous that we are so hard on ourselves, because if you step back and look at it, it’s all pretty cute and hilarious. I mean, the kids are cute and hilarious. Actually, our expectations are too!!! (She thinks she can home school 4 boys, update her blog daily, AND have a clean house, isn’t that cute and hilarious!??) Or maybe it’s just me….surely someone can relate…

We are raising four boys here. What did I think that would look like????  Ha!!!

jd

Seriously, Mom. What did you expect?

 

As I was writing this, John David needed attention, so I stopped and sat with him on the porch. I love the little balcony I have in my bedroom, and so does J.D. I asked him if he’d like to read, and he did, so we went inside to the book corner. I pulled out several books.

He insisted on Old McDonald Had a Farm. It has good pictures. Plus, I sing that one.

I finished, and I tried to move onto Richard Scary. Nope.

JD scowled and handed me back Old McDonald. I sang it again. Daniel heard and came running. He wanted Oh, David next, so we read that.

JD scowled and handed me back Old McDonald. I sang it, half hoarse, thanks to the lingering bronchitis, for the third time.

That made Daniel think of his Old McDonald game, so he begged me to get it down for him until I finally did so.

JD scowled and handed me Old McDonald.  The only way I was finally able to get out of singing it for the sixth time was, “Hey, JD, do you want to go eat a snack!?”

Food works for everything. Food is our most powerful bargaining tool as parents, well, I mean, besides guilt (also effective bwaaahahahaha). I am not ashamed, besides, it was 3:00, and I was starving.

Three o-clock has to be snack time. Who in the world can go from 11:30 pm to 5:30pm without eating?

Well, it isn’t good for your metabolism either. 🙂

Apparently, JD was hungry because he consumed a ton of Greek yogurt, which he, of course, insisted on feeding himself. I’ve just recently let him do that, and he is really good at spoons now!

Cheeeeese!

As I sat there, just watching Daniel and JD eat yogurt, I couldn’t help but notice the yarn strewn across the floor. Caleb had been “building” something. The school books weren’t put away yet. The sink is still full of dishes. I unloaded the bottom rack of the dishwasher, but I didn’t make it to the top rack before someone needed something. Two baskets of clean laundry to be put away stared at me from the stair landing.

Most of all, I noticed their adorable faces, the way the yogurt falls from their spoons to the floor sometimes, and most importantly, the way they smile at me. They love and appreciate me with their whole little hearts!

It all made me think of this blog, and yesterday, and how uptight I probably sounded. Ha! Clutter! Mess! Yogurt faces….

What a beeeeeeeautiful mess. Glorious. It all means one thing. It means that I get to spend all this time with my four favorite little boys, and at the end of the day, my favorite man comes through the door.

Wow. I am so blessed. WHY am I being so hard on myself? How ABSURD! People often use the term ‘hot mess,’ and I think that more applies to a young, attractive person that doesn’t have their act together yet.

What we have here is abundantly more exciting than that. A house full of growing children. 

Now that’s what I call success. 🙂 That is what a beautiful mess actually looks like, and I LOVE it.

Perhaps I need to chill a little bit and embrace these gifts.

 

 

“See it how I see it.”

Do you ever get messed up in how you see things? You work, and you work, and you work, but you are never done, and after awhile the sky seems to be falling, you’ve forgotten to take time for fun, and suddenly all of the joy that should be in your heart is snuffed out like a candle on a birthday cake.

Well, that’s been me for…well, since we moved, I guess. I just keep telling myself that if I just make it through this year, things will get better.

I love my children. I enjoy teaching them. I don’t even mind cooking dinner, but there is one part of this whole stay-at-home, home-schooling, blogger-mom gig that causes me very great stress.

Housework.

Where the school day ends, the house work begins, and with a house of 6 people, that “career” is enough to keep me busy all by itself. Then there’s the whole question of dinner. I’m out of the habit of making realistic dinner plans, so I’ve been pulling that together at the last minute.

Plus, every where I turn, we have another ant invasion. That’s right, our whole neighborhood has the most insane ant problem I have ever seen in my life. There are lines of them, eating-I can’t-figure out what in all of our bathrooms. With the rain, they have come into our home in record numbers.

Basically, around 3 or 4 everyday, I feel so completely burned out and defeated, that what I truly wish to do is get in my car and just drive until I find a restful place to stop.

The other day, in the depths of feeling as melancholy and hopeless as ever…

(I get that some of you have no idea why I would feel that way. Well, I’d take pictures of my house to explain it, but I’m afraid that would cause me to be judged by others of you, so I will be sharing no such pictures at this time.)

My messy house makes me want to cry. It sucks the energy out of me. People think of me as laid back, but I’m totally not. I’m actually a polite, high pressure, control freak that smiles a lot. There I said it.

Today I had 20 or so things on my mind, I was desperate to get out of the kitchen and escape somehow for a minute, and just as I thought I might go sit on the love seat and pout for just a second…Daniel spilled juice all over himself and the kitchen floor. At that EXACT SAME moment, JD knocked over a BOX of vanilla wafers, which at the bottom of the box, was more crumbs than wafers.

Did I mention that I had JUST swept and mopped the floor, not 30 minutes prior to this incident?

Did you also know that JD is so tall–almost freakishly so–that he can reach the kitchen countertops?

Somehow I didn’t manage to find all the crumbs to sweep up, so the floor is wet and crunchy. Daniel, Caleb, and JD are all taking a bath. That sounds nice, except I’m going to have to summon energy from SOMEWHERE to get them all dressed again.

When I say that I want to cry every single day, that is a gross understatement. I actually do cry most days. I have no idea how to catch up on all of the housekeeping, so I’ve taken to keeping one room of my house completely immaculate. I just started this a week ago.

It makes me feel like I have some sort of control over SOMETHING in my life. What room did I choose? The smallest room in the house: the laundry room. I’ve been working so hard on that room this week. It’s all I have time for! The washer and dryer are crud and dust free. The floor is spotless. The shelves are dusted. Nothing is in that room that doesn’t belong there–well, except for those photos that I haven’t hung yet.  But seriously, when?? When will I hang pictures?

So if you can’t find me……that may be where you will find me. NO, not hanging pictures, but cleaning my laundry room, so that I can feel like I’ve got something under control.

Do you think this is an awful lot of whining about house cleaning? It is! The cleanliness level of my house directly affects my mood–even if that should not be so.

Wednesday, as I was laying flat on my face, crying and whining to God in my prayers about how hard it is to teach these boys, never leave the house, and whoa whoa whoa whoa wheaaa wheaaaa wheaaa wheaaa wheaaaa….. I said, “I should just go get those boys right now, and put them back to work. Lord, what in the world should I do?”

“See them how I see them.”

No, don’t worry, friends, I do not hear the audible voice of God, never have, but I promise that he speaks to my heart.

I went to the boys’ window, and looked down at my three biggest boys, on the trampoline. JD toddled along beside me.

There they were. They each sat on a different side of the trampoline, Indian style. They appeared to be having some sort of meeting.

“Oh, right,” I thought, “They are just darling little children. I’m so thankful they have each other.This time on the trampoline together is good for them.”

I need not destroy the magic of their childhood with my own anxiety problems. Yes, I put too many demands upon myself. That’s not their fault. They are just children. 

So I have a goal, a very important goal. I am going to ENJOY the trip to Alabama this year. I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding, so I have that going for me. Yes, I have to fly with four children, but at least this time Alan gets to go with us.

I’m going to try to enjoy the plane ride and visiting the way that the children do, because normally I don’t, and that makes the trip less fun for everyone else.

Is this phase of homeschooling while also taking care of a toddler and a preschooler the hardest thing I have ever done?  YES. Aboslutely YES. I did home school Joshua in K4 and part of Kindergarten. That is  not the same at all as home schooling three different ages. Joshua and Caleb are so big now, that I don’t want to mess this up.

The really sad thing is that I’m letting all of these  pressures that I put on myself steal my joy. Why? I want everything to be perfect, and that is not an achievable goal.

Who likes perfect people anyway?

I’d better go take the boys out of the bathtub, remind myself to see them how God sees them, and try not to rain on everyone’s Christmas. 🙂

I feel like I’m giving my Eeyore-self a pep talk!!

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'”            James 4:6

 

 

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