a lazy mom’s guide to a clean (enough) house

LAZY MOM GUIDE CLEANINGI’m convinced that cleaning schedules on Pinterest are designed to make me feel bad about the state of my house.

I know I’m not the only mom who has hung a lovely little printable cleaning schedule on my fridge in a fit of delusion. These typically include crazy ideas like vacuuming every day. Or vacuuming any day.

But I don’t typically make it very far. Why? Because those guides are NOT designed for lazy moms.

And I am a card-carrying lazy mom.

But can I let you in on a secret? I’ve learned to keep my house pretty clean. I even welcome unannounced guests. (They keep me on my toes and sometimes bring wine.)

Guests may stumble upon a load of clean (or dirty) laundry, find some stray toys or spot some dust.

But I think my house looks pretty darn good – and other people tell me it does, too.

So I thought I’d share some of my tips to keep your house presentable (nearly) every single day.

Instead of tons of cleaning, I established a few quick habits that I do throughout the day. They take very little time and have become second nature.

What does this mean? I rarely have to spend a lot of designated time cleaning, because our space stays presentable despite everything my family throws at it.

Don’t worry about doing everything now. Take a lazy mom’s approach and start integrating these habits into your day. You may find, like I did, that you can keep your house clean and still be a little lazy. 😉

Make your bed.

Lazy girl guide make your bed QCMB

If you are going to make one habit, make it a bed-making habit.

I know you are rolling your eyes.

Seriously. Stop rolling your eyes.

Here’s what I’ve found about making my bed:

  • It takes less than a minute. This isn’t House Beautiful. Just pull up the sheets and comforter and give the pillows a quick fluff.
  • It gives me control over one thing. Because God knows that my toddler just drew all over my sofa with a Sharpie (again).
  • It makes my room look clean. Even if the dresser is covered in dust and jewelry and there’s a pile of laundry near the closet. The neat bed draws your eye away from everything else.

(P.S. The same goes for your kids’ bedrooms. A quick bed made – by you or them – is a surefire way to make the room look neat.)

Do your dishes. Immediately.

Lazy girl guide sink clean QCMB1

I’m a bit of a dish Nazi.

At our lazy house, there are (almost) never dishes in the sink. They get washed or they get stashed in the dishwasher (when we have one).

My scientific studies have found that a sink full of dirty dishes actually multiplies. Rapidly. It’s science.

But seriously – when there are dirty dishes in the sink, they seem to build and build and build. And eventually, it’s so overwhelming that it seems positively IMPOSSIBLE to do the dishes because it will take forever.

Instead, I wash our breakfast dishes when we are done eating breakfast. I wash our lunch dishes when we are done eating lunch. And my husband washes our dinner dishes when we are done eating dinner. (Holla at the awesome husbands out there!)

And I rarely have to cower in fear or scream in fury at the state of my sink pile.

(P.S. You are NOT allowed to tell me you don’t have time to wash your dishes after breakfast or lunch. I timed myself and it took me 2 minutes and 32 seconds to clean up after lunch.)

Wipe down the bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks.

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In the bathroom and kitchens, make a habit of wiping down counters with a wet cloth or antibacterial wipe.

I’ve found that a quick wipe-down can hide many a sin. It also ensures that gunk gets cleaned off before it gets hard and impossible to clean.

I do this several times each day after using areas – and it honestly takes seconds. When I use the restroom and wash my hands, I wipe down the sink and counter top. When I wash my face before bed, I wipe down the sink. After I do the dishes (because I actually do them right now), I wipe down the counters around the sink.

An added bonus is that it forces you to keep stuff off your counters. Ha. It’s a sneaky trick. Your house looks cleaner because there is less stuff on your counters because you are lazy and don’t want to move the stuff when you wipe them down.

Extra tip: A folded towel on the vanity is a great way to keep your counters clean when you are getting ready in the morning. I fold a towel on the sink when I’m doing my hair and makeup. It catches any stray makeup or hair products, and then I just use the same towel to wipe down the counter before throwing it in the laundry bin.

Focus on maintenance.

Lazy mom guide shower spray QCMB

Making your bed, doing the dishes, and wiping counters are all maintenance items. Instead of spending more time later, I spend a few minutes right now. If it takes less than 5 minutes, I think it’s easier to do now than put it off until later.

Other examples of maintenance items:

  • Spraying the shower with shower spray every day instead of scrubbing the shower every few weeks.
  • Hanging towels after use instead of throwing them on the ground.
  • Sorting through mail when you get home instead of piling it for later.
  • Putting away toys before moving onto another activity instead of doing it at the end of the day.

The more you can focus your time on maintenance items, the less time you’ll spend cleaning.

Find a place for everything.

I find that a big part of having a house that feels presentable is having less stuff cluttering every surface. And once you have less stuff, you have to find a home for it all. And the home is never on counters or on the floor.

In our house, paperwork, toys and electronics are the biggest sources of clutter. So, we make sure there is a designated spot for each.

A few examples of our clutter busters:

A simple home for some of my son’s toys ensures I don’t trip on them in the middle of the floor. There’s plenty of room for everything and, while not perfect, I think it looks presentable.

Lazy girl guide place for everything QCMB1

 

Bathroom countertops are a magnet for stuff. Instead of letting the counters gather toothbrushes, makeup and other supplies, I always have a spot to stow baskets. It’s much easier to hide away all the clutter, but it’s also easily accessible.

Lazy girl guide bathroom storage QCMB

I also have a wall-mounted system for mail, bills and other paperwork. This keeps it from cluttering the counters.

Lazy moms guide paperwork storage QCMB

 

Embrace the lazy.

There are some things I simply ignore on most days. These are the things that most people don’t notice – like scrubbing grout lines with a toothbrush or dusting shelves that no one can see.

And I’ve learned to minimize the time I spend doing things I hate – like vacuuming. So now I have a Roomba – a robotic vacuum that automatically vacuums each morning and then docks itself. It is an investment, but I find that my house stays so much cleaner because it does it automatically every day.

And I’d prefer to invest in this so I don’t dread the other tasks as much. Because before the Roomba, I would avoid everything because I really just didn’t want to vacuum.

It may not always be possible, but think about ways to minimize the time spent doing the tasks you dread the most – involve your spouse, your kids or even a cleaning service.

In other words, you don’t have to do or love everything. But maybe by making a few simple habitual changes, you’ll look around and find that your house looks great.

And you can still retain your membership to the Lazy Mom club.

What are your best lazy mom cleaning tips?

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6 Responses to a lazy mom’s guide to a clean (enough) house

  1. Erin March 5, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Love this, Kim! These are such great simple tips to work in. I am bad at cleaning up one thing before moving to the next. I am constantly going back to the lunch dishes, or cleaning up after a craft, or putting away books, etc. This post has inspired me to do better! Thanks!

  2. Erin March 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    Thank you for the tips. I found this to be so helpful. I am a mother of 5 and I seem to be always cleaning. I hope to free up some time using your method. One question though, where did you get your bill/mail organizer?
    Thanks again, Erin

  3. Nikki Sughrue March 10, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. After 40 years as a well organized single lady cleaning machine, I have spent the last 3 years trying to figure out what the heck happened and is there really a floor under all those clothes & toys?

  4. Bethe March 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    Such great tips! And I totally agree about making the bed and doing the dishes immediately (although God is laughing at me because my dishwasher broke EIGHT WEEKS AGO and I have been in hand-washing hell ever since… so dishes have unfortunately piled up because apparently three people go through 80 million dishes every single day). But in real life, when my dishwasher is working… yes, I agree, do the dishes immediately.
    I wrote an article with other lazy mom tips (I called them Life Hacks) over on the Fort Worth Moms Blog: http://www.citymomsblog.com/fortworth/2015/02/16/life-hacks-for-busy-moms/

  5. Jenni March 15, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    These are fantastic! Cheers to lazy (but actually smart and efficient) mamas everywhere! One lazy tip that saved me years ago when my boys were babies, was choosing Monday as my laundry day. Sunday night before bed I sort in piles on my floor (my kiddos bring me their baskets) and then starting Monday morning I do.all.the.wash. Including folded right out of the dryer and put away. I might need to throw a load of towels or bedding in one other time mid week, but otherwise giving the laundry its day makes it feel DONE. Because I hate doing laundry!
    Plus I just know that it’s a day that I plan to mostly be around, so I can catch up on tv shows, or call my mom, or other home bound errands. I also try to keep a bag near my dryer so that as I’m folding if it’s something that needs to be donated it goes right in.

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