Skip Nav
For Moms
Sometimes the Best Parents Are the Ones With the Screaming Kid
Viral Videos
This Doritos Super Bowl Ad Explains Why Some Husbands Really Don't Belong in the Delivery Room
Birth
You've Probably Never Seen a Baby Born Inside Its Amniotic Sac Before — and It's Breathtaking

How to Clean House More Efficiently

Master the Mess: 8 Mom Tips for Efficient Housecleaning

With kids leaving a constant stream of toys, dirty clothes, crumbs, and body fluids in their wake, it's no surprise many moms find cleaning house to be a frustrating, never-ending task. Luckily, Circle of Moms members have shared simple strategies to help you create an efficient housecleaning plan of attack. Keep reading for their best eight tips.

1. Create a Schedule

Many Circle of Moms members suggest creating a weekly cleaning routine, both to keep messes from piling up and to make cleaning the whole house seem less overwhelming. Heather H. shares: “I do have a ‘schedule’ for cleaning. I find, for me, doing a little bit each day rather than trying to set aside a whole day for cleaning helps . . . I have two ‘laundry days’ and other days set aside for things like vacuuming, dusting, etc. . . . I cycle through so that everything gets done weekly.” Lisa D. agrees: “I think that if you had a routine, it might help. Even if it is Mondays is kitchen and Tuesdays is bathroom.”

2. Track What You’ve Cleaned

Prefer a flexible approach over a strict routine? Consider trying mother-of-one Kelly's tracking method to stay organized: “I kept a list of rooms on a dry erase board on my fridge, the rooms were written in Sharpie, and as I ‘did’ them, I would mark them off with a dry erase marker. When I got them all done, I would erase the marks and start again. . . . Keeping the list helped me know which rooms had been cleaned recently and which needed attention — that way I didn't clean the living room all the time while never making it to cleaning the bathrooms.” Jodi K. found this strategy had a surprising bonus: “If I cross off what I've done, my husband will look and see what needs to be done instead of me having to tell him! Things are getting done without me asking! It's almost like having a fabled cleaning fairy!”

3. Clean During Naps, Meals, and Playtime

Naps are an obvious time goldmine to use for cleaning house. But as Bobbie F., mom to a 14-month-old, shared, you can also clean while your kids are awake and occupied: “I found that cleaning while he is self-feeding in the high chair, taking an afternoon nap, or playing by himself gives me time to clean the kitchen and other areas of the house at 95 percent.”

4. Set a Timer

When those rare free moments appear, most moms would prefer hopping in the shower to sweeping the kitchen floor. Julie S. recommends setting a timer to motivate you to work extremely efficiently for a short burst of time: “When the baby went to sleep I would set the timer for 30 minutes and clean whatever I could get done in that amount of time. If the baby was still sleeping I would take some 'me' time, reading, getting a shower, whatever.” The timer method works for Kelly too: “I use a kitchen timer to do 15-minute speed cleans in each room — you can do A LOT in 15 minutes.”

5. Declutter With a Cleanup Basket

Sometimes the dust isn't as annoying as the dozens of oddball items cluttering every inch of counter top and carpet. Declutter quickly by making one sweep through the house with a "cleanup basket." As Emily F. explains: "We just take an empty laundry basket around the house and pick up anything that is not where it belongs. My 2-and-a-half-year-old can do this by herself. Then we'll sit together and sort what ended up in the basket. Usually there’s tons of toys in there so we sit near the toy bins and the girls will run to put things away that belong elsewhere. If everyone is helping it usually takes less than 10 minutes to get the house looking presentable.” If the kids aren’t available to help sort items, you can still collect the items, as Autumn F. does: “Sometimes I'll pick up all the toys in the living room and put [them] in a laundry basket and stick it in my kids' rooms till I can get to helping the kids put it way. It is amazing how much cleaner your house appears when all the kids' toys are out of sight!”

6. Squeeze in a Nightly Clean

The kids are in bed and you’re dying to relax . . . can you wait an extra 10 minutes? As Karen H. shares, regularly squeezing in an extra 10 minutes of cleaning at the end of each day can help keep things under control: “Doing one or two things at the end of each day will keep things from getting overwhelming.”

7. Get Inspired

If you’re looking for daily inspiration and extra help on creating a detailed cleaning plan, several Circle of Moms recommend Flylady.net. Andrea S. shares: “This site can help you get into good routines. It doesn't happen overnight, but it can help get things under control in time.” Dr. Rosina M. agrees: “She is the queen of helping you get organized!"

8. Cut Yourself Slack

Truly, it’s OK to leave a sink of dirty dishes over night, or to save a huge chunk of cleaning for the weekends. As Kelly G. wisely shares:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,

For babies grow up, I’ve learned, to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”

Source: Shutterstock
Around The Web
Thalia's Wishes For Her Kids
Why 2 Is a Great Age
Rainy Day Activities For Kids
Why It's Hard to Get Out of the House With Little Kids

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

Join The Conversation
ChristinaNeily ChristinaNeily 4 years
I've found that if I keep my bathroom in tip top shape that spills over to other rooms throughout the house...in a good way!! :) Something we've always done in our household is to pick up all the items within your reach or on your way out of each room when u leave it. If my boys are walking out of ANY room empty handed that room better be spotless or they have to go & pick up other peoples belongings & put them away. As helpful as they can be they don't want to be doing each others chores so they make sure they leave with something every trip to & from a room! Commercial cleaning is GREAT for people who don't dvr their favorite programs.
RachaelCartwright RachaelCartwright 4 years
fantastic advice lets put it into practice now
NicoleHussung NicoleHussung 4 years
I am all for a clean home. I hate living in a mess. However, I live with 2 grown men (my brother lives with us) and a 2.5 yr old... It is completely impossible to have everything clean to my satisfaction. Recently I have decided to live by a new rule, Yes a clean home makes a happy mom, but happy children make a happier mom. One day when your children are all grown up and out on their own, your home will be clean to your satisfaction. So why not enjoy the things we can now while our kids are young!! ...Easier said then done because I still have days that I really want the house cleaner but as long as I make an effort, I feel a little better and I stick with it!
CamilleMeservy CamilleMeservy 4 years
Home- clean enough to be healthy but dirty enough to be fun!
EdWhite EdWhite 4 years
1) Never go from one floor to another, or one room to another if possible, without bringing something back that belongs there. 2) If you and your partner split late nights and early mornings, have one do a clean up before they shut the house down at night (ie, load and run the dishwasher), and the other do an early morning pickup (ie, put the dishes away) in the AM. 3) If both together, and nights are long, have one nap when the baby naps and one work on the house. Next nap? Roles reverse.
EdWhite EdWhite 4 years
10 Never go from one floor to another, or one room to another if possible, without bringing something back that belongs there. 2) If you and your partner split late nights and early mornings, have one do a clean up before they shut the house down at night (ie, load and run the dishwasher), and the other do an early morning pickup (ie, put the dishes away) in the AM. 3) If both together, and nights are long, have one nap when the baby naps and one work on the house. Next nap? Roles reverse.
JessicaCardoza JessicaCardoza 4 years
Excellent tips! I'm thinking the timer and basket are going to be tried out tomorrow!
GinnyAxman GinnyAxman 4 years
I love all of these tips, but I am surprised that no one has mentioned commercial cleaning, when you speed clean during the commercials of your show! Or when you get up to go to another room, take something from the room you are in with you to be put away in the room you are going to. These are not major things, but every little bit helps! Keep up the good work!! :^D
KristenColeman99099 KristenColeman99099 4 years
What about the kids helping out?? I grew up with 6 siblings. We did all the house work because both my parents worked. I think not teaching your kids to clean and cook is doing them a disservice. Its not a bad thing to actually make your kids learn how to cook a meal or mow the lawn or say do the laundry.Yikes! Most parents I know hire a house keeper and their kids look at a toilet brush like a monkey looks at a math problem. Find age appropriate chores for your kids and they will take pride in there success and accomplishments.
DebraSmith74612 DebraSmith74612 4 years
Jonelle, I love your game idea! Especially since with the index cards I can give specific instructions - like wash the switchplate! My kids are older, 9 and 11, but I think they will enjoy this game when we play it tonight! I'm getting right to work on my mission impossible assignments!
MadelaineRomero81921 MadelaineRomero81921 4 years
THANKS FOR THE TIPS.. I WILL PUT THEM TO USE!!
JonelleWilliamson JonelleWilliamson 4 years
I am like most of you, I involve my children. This not only helps me, but teaches them to be responsible for their things. But we make cleaning fun! I turn it into a game. I am always changing the "game" up so when its time, they are always excited to see what new "game" mommy has created. One game is in the form of a MIssion Impossible! They are secret agents and get assigned a certain area. They are given their missions in the form of an index card with a specific and detailed list of a certain area of the house. Then we gather in the "lab" and they can select their "weapons!" We then tell each other "good luck" and get busy squashing out those nasty germ nemesises! When they have completed their mission and it has been inspected by the "Director of Operations," (that's me), we celebrate with a snack or a dip in the hot tub. Sometimes I will take them to the dollar store as each "mission" is also assigned a dollar amount so they can make money! It sounds like a lot of work, but if you take the time to use the index cards and list specific tasks, you can reuse them in other ways as well. This allows the children to understand clearly their duty and what is expected so their version of clean and yours matches. The possibilities are unlimited when you look at cleaning with your kids as a game and use a little creativity!
TraceyNewton20898 TraceyNewton20898 4 years
I treat the cleaning as part of my workout routine: vacuuming and mopping can be great cardio, especially if there's some great music on your ipod.
KymmDurocher KymmDurocher 4 years
My husband and I both work fulltime and have a 5 mo. old and a 3.5 year old. We took a serious look at our finances, decided to get less take out, and pay for a cleaning lady. it has been wonderful! Of course, we still have to "pick up" for her, but it gives us mire time to be with our kids. My older son still has responsibilities like picking up his toys and bringing his dirty dishes to the kitchen.
KymmDurocher KymmDurocher 4 years
My husband and I both work chlorine and have a 5 mo. old and a 3.5 year old. We took a serious look at our finances, decided to get less take out, and pay for a cleaning lady. it has been wonderful! Of course, we still have to "pick up" for her, but it gives us mire time to be with our kids. My older son still has responsibilities like picking up his toys and bringing his dirty dishes to the kitchen.
LiyanaSampol LiyanaSampol 4 years
great tips.. but instead of doing the house chores alone, we(my kids + me) do it together... i asked my kids to help me to keep the house clean.what i did was: asking them to wash their own bathroom(which they eagerly wanted to help)..and they also love to vacuum their own room..but this method applicable for 3yrs and above this is not to abuse them but to train them :)
JaeParker JaeParker 4 years
RebeccaKnoop RebeccaKnoop 4 years
This is great advice.
AdaAlvelo AdaAlvelo 4 years
This always work for me , but my severe OCD lol I had to take up a notch !! but their great tips !!!
CindyGoodison CindyGoodison 4 years
Evaluate your needs vs. your wants! Are all the extra toys, clothes, shoes and socks that you pick-up on a daily basis really needed. If you don't own it, you won't have to clean, sort, stack, fold or store it...now there's a time saver that saves money!!!!
NoemiGonzalez NoemiGonzalez 4 years
very good, good tips.
AmandaFries AmandaFries 4 years
The suggestions are great but what about moms who work full time go to school full times and have to take care of the family full time not including a brand new baby that is only 6 weeks old and doesnt like to sleep thru the day and but does sleep all night?
lindalopez59350 lindalopez59350 4 years
These r great ideas. But it seems like u r spending every moment u hve to cleaning. Im all for a clean home& to teach Ur children to b responsible& to put up what they take out. U cannot do it alone.....involve the family.
LaurenSpeas LaurenSpeas 4 years
I started handing my kids baby wipes at the age of three to help me clean - baseboards and we make it a game - scrub a dub dub - wipe down the kitchen table after a meal, and put dishes in the sink. My kids are now 13 and 9 and very self sufficient. Friends kids who did not think that was 'right' - well they still are picking their kids clothes out and the house is a mess. Talk about killing the ability of teaching your kids independence and cleanliness......
KimberlyFarr7788 KimberlyFarr7788 4 years
When the kids are preschool and lower elementary, it's toys and laundry that can quickly pile up to your eyes. When they get a bit older, it's school work, clothing and shoes. One of my lifesavers was to make the rule that no one could turn on their music, tv, computer or be with friends until the kitchen was clean. So two of us would clean the kitchen and the other two would put all the clutter back in the room of the owner. Then during commercials we would have 2-minute tidy ups when we would put everything away. It helped develop some good habits and make things not so overwhelming for me.
Latest Moms
X