- Your sleep
- Your me time
- Your job
- Doing fun things as a family
- Get in a good routine
A good routine can be a lifesaver. The trick is finding one that works for you and your family, so switch a few things up and see what sticks. Here are some routine changes you might like to try:
• Go to bed early and get up 3 hours earlier to work, do housework, or have uninterrupted me time.
• Clean a little bit each day.
• Avoid cleaning on weekends so you can spend that time as a family.
• Dedicate Sunday mornings to get on top of your cleaning.
• Get clothes and lunches ready the night before.
• Have a set 6-monthly routine for deep cleaning (like shampooing carpet or steam cleaning couches).
• Clean before your children wake up or after they go to bed.
• Use the time delay option on your washing machine so that one load is already done when you wake up the next morning
• Start with your washing, dishes, and kitchen. This will help you feel under control straight away. Then work through one room at a time.
• Put your washing on as soon as you wake up. • Fold your washing straight out of the dryer or off the line so you don’t have to iron.
• Create a cleaning schedule for big jobs so you know when they need to get done.
- Use lists and planners
Sometimes having everything written down and planned out can really take a load off. Because mums have to think of a lot – it’s a huge mental load. Here are a few methods you could try:
• Get a daily planner or wall planner with your schedule and tasks
• Use Google calendar (it’s free). Plan out your week, including all the tasks that need to get done. Block out time so you know when you’re free, and when you’re not. This will help you stay on top of things and feel a lot more organised.
• Use a task manager or online list-making tool like Trello or Asana (they’re free). They’re great for planning shopping lists, cleaning tasks, ideas, birthday present ideas, and more.
- Share the load You don’t have to do it all yourself!
Here are some ways you can share the load
• Enlist your partner (if you have one). Make sure you split the housework fairly between you. Sit down and talk about what needs to happen and get clear on who is responsible for what.
• Give your kids age-appropriate tasks to do. If they’re older, make sure they take care of their own bedrooms, laundry, basic cleaning, and lunches. Empower them to take charge and do their bit – it’ll be better for everyone.
• Get the village involved! If there’s anyone else in your life who you can share the load with, do it! Your parents, siblings, or even your next-door neighbour might be willing to help out.
- Use technology
Fortunately, there are some really great tech gadgets that can help you get things done more efficiently. Here are a just a few ideas:
• Robot vacuum cleaners: some families love their robot vacuum cleaners, so they can get the floors done while they’re at work or asleep.
• Dishwashers: of course, use your dishwasher if you have one! Consider ditching stuff that can’t be put through the dishwasher if you find it just sits out on the bench for days at a time.
• Carpet cleaner: because sometimes clean carpets are worth it… especially if you’ve got kids around!
• Washing machines with timers: so you can put a load on while you’re at work or asleep and have it finish at the perfect time.
• Dryers: so you can dry clothes at any time of day.
• iPads: some mums even use the tech to distract their kids! If you need to get some cleaning done, don’t feel guilty about letting your kid (if they’re old enough) play a game on the iPad. Sometimes, it’s just worth it! 😉
When you realise you can outsource stuff and you don’t have to do it all yourself, it can be a game changer! Here are some ways you can start outsourcing your life: • Hire a weekly/fortnightly cleaner • Get a personal concierge to help with errands or decluttering
• Ask the grandparents to help with a specific task/duty
• Get a gardener/mower to take care of the lawn
• Hire a nanny or Au Pair (sometimes it’s even cheaper than day care/vacation care)
• Sign up for a meal delivery service
• Shop online and get your groceries/presents/clothes delivered to your door
Accept that you can only do so much, and something is going to have to give, even if it’s just temporary. So, choose to prioritise what’s most important for you, like:
• Having a family day every Saturday
• Doing a shop for fresh groceries twice a week
• Making the beds (or not)
• Loading the dishwasher every evening and emptying it in the morning
• Getting on top of your laundry once a week
• Clean floors once a week
• Clean toilets every Monday …or whatever it is that matters most to you and your family.
Accept your limitations and focus on accomplishing the stuff you NEED to keep things running, even if it’s ticking one main thing off your list each day.
- Messy is fine, dirty is not
While we’re on the topic of prioritising, let’s talk about the difference between mess and dirt. You should try to aim for a clean house… but (as a mum) you might have to accept a certain level of mess. Let me give you some examples… Mess: it’s fine to have toys on the floor and too many things out on the counter – it might make you twitch a bit, but you’ll survive. Dirt: it’s not fine to let crumbs, dirt, and smelly things hang around for too long – that’s a health hazard.
- The right products
The right products can help make your life a lot easier and more organised. When your kids are little (and especially prone to making mess), I’d recommend the following:
• Extra tablecloths and throws. Put them on everything. That way, you can chuck them in the wash when they’re dirty, instead of dealing with stained couches.
• Leather, vinyl, slate, and wood furniture. That way, you can easily wipe, spot clean, and vacuum up just about any mess your kids make.
- Set boundaries for your kids (especially with food)
It’s a lot easier to keep your house clean when you set clear boundaries for your kids. Tell them where toys go and enforce it (this’ll get easier as they get older!). And always sit them at the dining table to eat. If they eat food all over the house, the mess will spread much more quickly! Keep a packet of wipes, a face washer, or a chux cloth nearby so that you can clean them up straight after.
It’s much easier to maintain your house when you have less stuff in it to maintain or keep organised. Many mums swear by Marie Kondo’s Konmari method on tidying and decluttering (read her book if you get the chance). But to sum it up for you in a sentence… if you only keep stuff that’s useful and sparks joy, and give everything a spot in your home, it’ll be easier keep things tidy. Improve your storage.
- Improve your storage
Once you’ve decluttered your home and got rid of stuff you don’t want/need, you can look at good storage solutions. If possible, keep your kids’ toys in one room (their bedroom or a playroom). And invest in some good containers so that everything in your home belongs somewhere and gets put away each time. That way, you’ll always know where things are.
- Meal plan
A huge part of parenting is food. Choosing it, planning it, buying it, making it. So, if you can simplify and streamline your meals and snacks, it can free up a lot of time and energy. Here are a few great tips for organising your family’s food:
• Cook in bulk and freeze your leftovers
• Eat simple and nutritious meals
• Give your kids sandwiches or fruit and yoghurt for dinner occasionally
• Rotate a set menu plan every few weeks
• Buy your groceries online
- Make like Elsa and let it go.
Look, there’s only so much of you to go around…so maybe it’s time to accept that you just can’t do everything. Make like Elsa and let it go. Your kids won’t remember a messy house, but they’ll remember the times you got down on the floor and played with them. They don’t want you to make beds – they just want you. Besides, they’re only small for a short time… and the cleaning will always be there for tomorrow. So, just do your best and let go of the rest. Deep down, we all know that one day, we’ll wish we could go back to these days of mess and chaos.
Just Wait. If you’re in the thick of it, especially if your kids are little, even if you do nothing… things will get better as your kids grow. Do the best you can right now, but don’t stress about it! Even a year or so can make a HUGE difference to your family (and the amount of mess they make) – before you know it, everyone will be in a better routine, you’ll have a little more time to yourself, and a whole lot more sanity*! *no guarantees about that last one though… Over to you…
Hope this helps give you some ideas, or at least some reassurance. You’re not alone in the struggle, mama! But it will get better. And trying a few different things can go a long way to helping you feel more organised and on top of it all. You’ve got this!
P.S. Let’s build on this resource! If you’ve got a cool tip, trick, hack, or even just some words of wisdom, please join the conversation and leave a comment below. 🙂