A Stay At Home Mom’s Guide To Cleaning
A lot of pressure is put on stay at home moms to have perfectly clean homes. I mean, we aren’t doing anything else all day right? It can quickly reach a point where cleaning is consuming your whole day and you really don’t feel like you’re doing much else. The key to avoiding this is to prioritize. To help you get started I have created a stay at home mom’s guide to cleaning.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information check out my disclosures page.
People frequently comment on how clean my home is. Part of that is because I am a bit compulsive, but part is because I have a good priority method for how often areas of my home REALLY need to be cleaned. I am going to go over my priority list as a guide for you to create your own. All families are different, and all houses are lived in differently. There may be areas I only get to once a month that require your attention more often. Or maybe I clean something daily that you feel gets hardly used. The general take away should be this. You cannot possibly do it all daily. So pick you battles. Decided what is a priority (either because it gets dirty quickly, or just because you need it clean to feel relaxed) and do that daily. But balance that out be finding something else that can wait a couple weeks between cleanings.
What you are not going to find in my guide is a “weekly schedule”. That is because I think they are kinda crazy. I can’t guarantee I will be able to wash my hair on a Thursday let alone the dang windows. The entire point of this guide is to reduce anxiety, not stress you out because yesterday was ironing day and you didn’t do it. Actually here’s a bad mom fact about me. I don’t own an iron. If I can’t get the wrinkles out in the dryer, pick a different shirt. It’s not that I don’t keep meaning to get an iron. One just simply hasn’t leapt into my shopping cart yet.
Anyways, my point is this. A clean house does more than prove your mother-in-law wrong. You are home all day long, and it is simply a fact that your anxiety will be higher if the house is dirty. Your anxiety will also be high if you feel like no matter how much you clean you are just spinning your wheels. The solution is to stay on top of the important stuff so it doesn’t get unmanageable. But slack off where you can so you have time for other things.
A Stay At Home Mom’s Guide To Cleaning
- Load dirty dishes (This is a big one and I really think EVERYONE should have this as a daily task. Don’t let dishes accumulate. They are the gateway drug to a dirty house!)
- Unload dishwasher ( This is more like an every other day thing, but I cannot emphasize enough the perks of emptying the dishwasher as soon as it’s done. Then you can just put dirty dishes in as you make them and they don’t get a chance to pile up. I would say something like “then your family can put their own dishes in the dishwasher” but….hahahahahaha)
- Wipe down kitchen counters (I cannot stand having dirty counters in my kitchen. Partly because my kitchen the main room of my house so I like it to look nice. Also because nothing pisses me off more than setting my hand down into something wet or sticky! Oh man I hate that! )
- Pick up living room clutter (Every evening before bed I make sure that toys are put away and general clutter is picked up. That way when I get up the next morning I am not greeted by a mess)
- Pick up clutter as you go (As you go into different rooms of you house for various reasons, spend an extra 60 seconds to tidy. I’m not talking about scrubbing or sweeping or wiping anything. But if you go to the restroom, toss the empty toilet paper roll and put the nail clippers back before you leave. Or If you are walking through the dining room, snag that empty cup as you go by and put it in the dishwasher. You clean a house one item at a time. Who says you have to do all the items at once)
- Make beds (This is honestly on that is hard for me. I can’t explain why but I really hate making beds. I usually settle for covers pulled back up and sheets straightened. But if you think I’m putting decorative pillows on daily you’re nuts!)
- Laundry (I would like to say I get all my laundry done in one day a week but that’s a big fat lie. It usually takes me 2-3 days to finally fold that last sock)
- Wipe down bathroom counters ( most of the counters are pretty clean other than a little water or some soap so they don’t need daily wipe downs like the kitchen)
- Clean bathroom sinks (you can only let toothpaste build up so long and a week is my limit)
- Vacuum high traffic areas (weekly I vacuum my living room, dining room, kitchen, and hallways. This is important with boys and a big dog)
- Grocery shopping (My grocery store sends out their weekly ad on Tuesdays and the sales start Thursday. Once I get the ad I spend some time Wednesday or Thursday putting a weekly meal plan together and checking on my staples that are on sale this week. Then Thursday or Friday I go shopping. Tips for all you Moms: Most grocery stores have their own apps. Part of these apps are digital manufacturer coupons you can load onto your rewards card so the savings is applied when you have them scan your card)
Every Other Week
- Wash bed sheets (I know some people wash their sheets weekly. Others only get around to it monthly. I like having nice clean sheets, but this is one area I choose to slack off a little on to cut down on my laundry mountain. Again, you have to pick your priorities. Clean underwear trumps bed sheets for me!)
- Vacuum low traffic areas (Bathrooms, bedrooms and laundry room get vacuumed every other week. Our dog doesn’t go into these rooms, and typically shoes aren’t worn into them so there is less dirt and hair to clean up)
- Clean out the fridge (Twice a month I take a few minutes and check my fridge for expired food, empty containers and do a wipe down)
- Clean Toilets (I hate cleaning toilets, but I use one of those Clorox wands with the disposable heads and they make it almost tolerable.)
- Mop main living areas (I have a Swiffer Wet Jet that I absolutely love! Once a month I mop my kitchen, dining room and mud room. The exception is spot treating sticky spills or muddy prints. But again spot treating takes seconds with my Swiffer so it’s no big deal)
Every 3 Months
- Shampoo living room (I like to stay on top of shampooing my living room. It helps prevent the carpet from forming wear spots too quickly. It also helps prevent permanent staining from where my dog lays all the time. Even though he has a really expensive memory foam bed, he spends a lot of the day laying on the floor against my couch or in front of the window in a sunny spot. Eventually there are dirty spots from him and the carpet can start to smell like dog. Also with small children who are down on the ground and eating things off the ground, I want to have piece of mind about what’s down there with them)
- Shampoo dining room rug (While I have the shampooer out of the living room I do the dining room rug also. Between my son dropping spaghetti on in and my dog laying on it in sunny spots it gets a lot of action!)
- Mop low traffic areas (Bathrooms, hallways and my laundry room get a once over with my Swiffer every 3 months unless there are specific messes that need cleaned up. A note about this* My son is not potty training, but you can guarantee that mopping his bathroom will be an every other week task once that starts 😀 )
Every 6 Months
- Shampoo bedrooms (I try to shampoo the bedrooms twice a year to keep them fresh and remove any odor. Usually bedrooms don’t need shampooed more frequently than that. Even if you can only do in once a year it’s better than nothing)
- Shampoo the couch ( Twice a year I like to shampoo my couch while I’m doing the living room. We don’t let our dog on furniture, but my son and husband are allowed and between crackers, peanut butter sandwiches sweaty backs and dirty socks the couch needs a good cleaning from time to time. Plus like I said, my dog lays against the couch all day so the front gets very dirty)
- Windows (If your lucky haha! But seriously, I put this in the every 6 month box because some get washed once a year, others are more often. It just depends on what my son has put his hands all over or my dogs nose art.)
The daily tasks get done each. and. every. day. including the weekends. I try really hard to do the rest of the stuff during the week days. This allows me to maximize my quality family time on the weekends. I want to spend my Saturday playing outside with my family or going to the zoo or something. Laundry and grocery shopping is better for a Tuesday afternoon. I also want to mention my little helper. My 15 month old loves to help me empty the dishwasher, fold laundry and mop or vacuum. Not only does this help me with feeling guilty about ignoring him to clean, but there are some great long term benefits for my son as well. I wrote an article about it here.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments and I will add it to the list!