As a busy mom, I decided to embark on a journey toward efficiency and ditch perfection at the door. I have two high energy, spirited toddlers only 16 months apart. As they get older, they want to play with momma on the weekends or in the evening after work. I do want to play too – even though yes I feel like I can only play Toy Story so much. BUT this is a season of my life and it is one that I would prefer to spend intentionally living versus picking up after life.
Let’s face it as a busy mom of two, who works full-time, teaches American Sign Language, and is growing a business my philosophy with cleaning is less is more. It takes some time, strategy, and habit changes to do just that.
Hold on to you seat and be prepared to be amazed at some awesome sauce knowledge I am about to throw your way!
Clean the Dishes as you go
Yes, I know you are hungry and thinking about how you have to feed the kids, get them in the bath, do story time, and then bed. The to-do list is running, but I want to help you reduce the effort you put into cleaning. Spend less time here, have more time there. Simple math.
Before you sit down to eat your meal, toss your cooking dishes in the sink with warm soapy water. I put all the food into jars that will later go into the frig. This will prevent the food from baking onto the dish and all of the scrubbing later. Aluminum pans do need some time to cool or this method can cause some warping of the dish.
Wash your rugs in the washing machine
Rugs with rubber backing can be tossed into the washing machine. I do recommend shaking them out or giving them a quick once over with the vacuum first to prevent build up of nasty things in your washer, but this is a highly effective solution. Helps eliminate stains and odors!
Note I am super lazy and like instant gratification, so I also like to toss the rug into the dryer. However, over time this will break down the rubber backing and cause cracking. You can air dry to improve the longevity of the rug.
Invest in the Magic of Magic Erasers
These little stain fighters can be used on almost any surface! They remove unwanted markings on your floors, walls, counters, or even dishes. These are boss when it comes to removing soap scum and even marker or crayons when your children get a little wild with art time.
Empty the Vacuum Cleaner
Yes, we all know it needs to be done. BUT it really should be done far more routinely that most of us probably do it. I recommend emptying the vacuum weekly or every use depending on the amount of hair, pets, etc that you have in your home. I also recommend wiping the vacuum out with a wet cloth and washing the filters (if possible). This will help your vacuum work more efficiently!
Clean your Appliances
Your dish washer, coffee maker, and washer need to be cleaned routinely. Think about the amount of food particles, soiled materials, etc that run through these appliances. YUCK! If not cleaned, you will find that your clothes may smell or your dishes may not be getting cleaned. Even worse, your coffee may not taste as awesome.
You can simply run white vinegar through all of these machines. For the dish washer, add vinegar to a cup and place on the top rack. Use the wash cycle and clean the washer. Do this without any dishes in it, if possible, for the best results.
For the washer, add vinegar to the machine where you would add soap. Clean without any clothes in it for best results. You could also try a bleach load or consider purchasing the laundry cleaner recommended for HE washers.
For the coffee maker, I recommend adding a cup of white vinegar and brewing like you would a cup of coffee. Run through the machine 1 – 2 times. Then I run water through the machine to ensure a nice rinse before your next cup of coffee.
Clean the Oven and Cover the grates
I like to clean the oven with the Vinegar and Baking Soda. The paste is crazy effective and leaves your oven sparkling.
Then cover the grates with tin foil or a grill mat. This will prevent the bigger mess. Reduce the amount of time you will spend cleaning the oven, thinking about cleaning it, or smelling that burned cheese that has been there for weeks.
Organize your Frig
Clean it, organize it into bins and then cover the shelves with place mats or shelf paper. When something spills, you can easily pull out the mat and clean it. You can remove the bin and wash it. Much less time than it will take you to scrape off that sticky mess that has spilled onto every single shelf.
Intentional Living Tip:
House Maintenance is TOUGH! Cleaning is a necessary evil. But it should not take you away from what you want to do. It should not take you away from your living. Create strategies to do it more efficiently, cut corners sometimes, and live a little.
Go ahead get the work done and then go play outside like a seven year old.!