Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in clutter and dust bunnies after a long day at the office? You’re not alone. Maintaining a tidy home can be a huge challenge for anyone working full-time outside the house. But take heart – with a little planning and some smart strategies, you can win the battle against mess and keep your house clean even with a busy work schedule. Let’s dive in!
Make a Game Plan
First things first – make a plan. Identify which chores stress you out most and when you realistically have time for housework. Create a reasonable cleaning schedule rather than letting things pile up into an overwhelming mess.
Take Inventory of Problem Areas
Walk through each room and make note of trouble spots prone to clutter and grime buildup. Kitchen and bathroom counters, piles of mail, toy-strewn family rooms. These regular mess magnets deserve special attention on your schedule.
Block Out Cleaning Time
Map out days and times you can devote to tidying and deep cleaning. Early mornings, evenings after work, and weekends may be your best bet. Schedule in blocks of time for daily tidying, weekly deep cleaning tasks, and seasonal decluttering. Consider setting reminders on your phone so you don’t let cleaning time slip away.
Get your family involved! Schedule chores for kids and your partner if you have one. Assign age-appropriate tasks like keeping their room tidy, feeding pets, or emptying small trash cans. Offer rewards for completed chores to motivate. Hiring a cleaning service, even just once a month, can also provide huge relief if it’s in your budget.
Streamline with Simplicity
Next, simplify your stuff and spaces to make cleaning faster. Reducing clutter is key when your time is limited.
Set aside time each week to declutter problem areas and get rid of things you don’t use or need. Don’t let junk build up! Toss, donate or sell items. For bigger decluttering projects, do one room or one type of item at a time.
Use Convenient Storage
Use baskets, bins and organizers to neatly corral belongings. Store items you use daily within easy reach. Add hooks, shelves and other DIY storage solutions to keep clutter at bay. Say goodbye to piles of paperwork and accessories with the help of filing cabinets and dividers.
Limit Kid Clutter
Help kids keep play areas, bedrooms and toys tidy so their messes don’t take over the whole house. Use labeled bins, shelves and closets for easy cleanup. Have a donation box for outgrown toys. Institute a rule that toys have to be put away before new ones come out.
Streamline Shared Spaces
In high-traffic areas like the kitchen and entryway, have a place for everything. Always return items to their designated spot after using.
Pick Up with Efficient Daily Tidying
Stay on top of tidying instead of letting messes snowball. Quick daily pickups make cleaning days far easier.
Do a Nightly Reset
After the kids go to bed or before you collapse in exhaustion, take 10 minutes to straighten up. Quickly tidy the kitchen, family room and other well-used rooms. Wash any dishes, fold throws, plump pillows – just reset everything to a baseline of order.
Make a Morning To-Do List
Jot down any tidying tasks that couldn’t get done the night before – emptying trash, putting away laundry, etc. Knock these out quickly in the morning if possible. Or do first thing after work.
Enforce a 5-Minute Rule
When you notice any messy area, set a timer and tackle as much as you can in 5 minutes. Amazing how much progress you can make! No need for deep cleaning – just surface tidying.
Assign a ́Cleanup Song ́
Play an upbeat 3-minute song while everyone in the family dashes around tidying the main living areas. Make it fun and get kids excited about picking up. Extend cleanup time for bigger messes.
Clean as You Go
When cooking, don’t leave piles of dirty dishes. Wash, wipe and put things away as you work. After a meal, have everyone clear their own dishes right away instead of leaving them on the table.
Conquer Clutter Hotspots
Target high-traffic areas and family mess magnets with routines to maintain order. These spots need frequent tidying love.
Give Paperwork a Home
Use trays or baskets to corral mail, permission slips, kid’s artwork and other paper piles. File or shred documents before they accumulate. Create a bill pay station to process payments immediately.
Purge Your Entryway
This high-traffic zone easily gets jammed with shoes, bags, coats and other items. Add storage like hooks, shelves and baskets. Toss out old flyers. Tidy daily before heading to bed.
Make Laundry a Habit
Do one load per day if possible so dirty clothes don’t take over your laundry room. Fold right away instead of leaving clean clothes in baskets for ages. Or if you must, contain neatly folded laundry in baskets.
Turn Your Kitchen Into a ́Clean Zone ́
Dirty dishes pile up fast in the kitchen – stay on top of them! Get in the habit of cleaning as you cook and doing dishes after meals. Set up an after-dinner clean routine with family help.
Show Bathrooms Some Love
Bathrooms require frequent scrubbing. Set a family rule that things must be picked up and counters cleared off daily. Give toilets and showers a quick wipe down after use.
Rein in Toy Clutter
Kid’s rooms often explode with toys, books, craft supplies, clothes and who knows what else. Institute toy rotation, storage solutions and daily cleanups. Limit what comes into the rooms and what stays.
Deep Clean Efficiently
For heavier duty cleaning, streamline tasks to save time. Knock out multiple jobs in each room on cleaning day.
Assemble Your Tool Kit
Gather all your cleaning supplies – vacuum, mop, duster, cleaning caddy, etc. Then you’re not wasting time tracking down tools. Bonus if you can store them in a central closet.
Zone Out Your Space
Assign each room a day and thoroughly clean on that set schedule. Or if really short on time, split your house into zones – upstairs, downstairs, bedrooms – and tackle one zone each time.
Work Top to Bottom
Start high and work down when cleaning rooms – dust tops of door frames and ceiling fans first, then counters and floors last. Otherwise dust just resettles on clean surfaces.
Multitask as You Go
Work efficiently by combining tasks that make sense, like dusting and vacuuming a room together. Clean mirrors when you scrub the shower. Fold laundry while watching TV. Maximize your time.
Get the Whole Family Involved
Enlist your kid’s help to make cleaning day go faster. Give each child an age-appropriate chore. Crank up some tunes and make it fun! Offer rewards for good work.
Outsource What You Can
Hire out deep cleaning tasks when your budget allows – scrubbing bathrooms, washing windows, cleaning out the garage fridge of science experiments. Bonus productivity with no effort on your part.
Embrace the ́Good Enough ́ Mindset
Aim for tidy not pristine. Spot clean problem areas instead of exhaustively scrubbing everything. Your sanity is worth more than a little dust you can’t see anyway. Celebrate any progress!
Maintain in 15 Minutes or Less
On your non-cleaning days, just do surface level maintenance tidying in key spots when you have pockets of time.
Speed Dust Common Areas
Use a lint roller on upholstery and a duster on tables and shelves. Spot wipe fingerprints from walls and doors. Shake out throw rugs outside.
Do a ́Mail Triage ́
Sort mail over trash can right away. Toss junk immediately, shred docs to shred, and file or act on keepers. Don’t let mail pile up!
Sweep High-Traffic Zones
Sweep up crumbs, pet hair and dirt that accumulates in entryways, kitchens, dining areas and other well-traveled spaces as needed.
Spot Mop as Needed
Quick mop obvious grimy areas or spills on hard floors. But no need to mop the whole floor if it’s not bad. Just tackle problem spots.
Disinfect Germy Spots
Spray bathroom and kitchen sinks, doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles and anywhere else hands touch often. Let sit briefly before wiping.
Shine and Declutter Surfaces
Return stray objects cluttering sinks, tables and dressers back to their homes. Then do a quick wipe down.
Voila! By sticking to daily tidying habits, blocking out cleaning time, and following these schedule-friendly methods, you can realistically keep your house in order while working full time. It may never look magazine-worthy…and that’s perfectly okay! A little mess never hurt anyone. Just consistently chip away at chore chaos to uphold livable cleanliness. You’ve got this!
Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping A Clean House While Working Full Time
How can I find time to clean when I work all day?
Block out pockets of time on evenings or weekends and schedule cleaning tasks then. Doing just a little bit daily like a quick tidy-up before bed makes a difference. Enlist family to help speed up cleaning too.
What are the best cleaning hacks for busy people?
Decluttering, loading the dishwasher and doing laundry immediately, cleaning as you cook, and doing speed cleanups of high-traffic areas. Also using convenience tools like roombas, soap-dispensing brushes, etc.
Should I relax my standards for a clean home?
Yes, you’ll drive yourself crazy if you demand perfection! Focus on tidiness and just surface cleaning the most visible areas if time is tight. Good enough is great when you work full-time.
How do I stop clutter from taking over everything?
Regularly declutter problem areas and rooms, don’t bring unneeded items into your home, and give everything a designated storage spot. Contain clutter instead of letting it spread.
What are easy daily cleaning habits I can build?
Do a quick tidy before bed, wipe counters while waiting for coffee, put items away as you use them, sweep up messes right after they happen, and do dishes after meals. Little daily tidying habits make a big difference!
How can I get my family to help clean?
Give each family member age-appropriate chores, set clear expectations, and enforce consequences. Make it a routine habit. Doing cleaning as a family can also make it more fun – put on music, offer rewards, etc. Kids thrive on structure.
What areas should I focus on if I only have 15 minutes to clean?
Target visible clutter hotspots like kitchen counters, tables, entryway floors and surfaces. Quickly tidy and wipe down the most high-traffic areas that make the house look messy at a glance.
How often should I wash bedding if I work full time?
Aiming for every 2 weeks is reasonable for washing sheets. Wash pillowcases and lightweight blankets weekly if possible since we lay on them. Use mattress protector and shower before bed to keep bedding cleaner.
What cleaning can I outsource?
Consider hiring a cleaning service even once a month to do deeper cleaning like bathrooms, floors, windows, etc. Yardwork, laundry services, meal delivery kits and pet waste removal are other tasks you could outsource.