5 tips to keep your home tidier as a working mom
Or in my case, as a mom who both works from home and outside of the home. There are a lot of us, right, who have our side hustle outside of the 9-5 or part time job with big a big vision of creating our dream life. Personally, I believe one of the best things I can do for myself is have a home that reflects how I want my mind to feel - clean, clutter-free, and inspiring!
Side note, am I the only one who sometimes feels like I have 3 full time jobs? Managing a house (and up until recently, a second rental property that went through a whole renovation after Hurricane Michael) is literally a full time job. And if you’re the one doing the cleaning, the budgeting, and the meal planning and meal preparing, you’re working overtime. It’s MORE than a full time job. Then the kids, and whatever you’re doing for your actual job. Us moms are pretty amazing, really. If you haven’t given yourself a pat on your back today, go ahead and pause, and do that right now. Maybe pick up the phone and schedule yourself that pedicure, too, while you’re at it.
But keeping a tidier home can be simple, if you allow yourself to create systems around what works for your family.
For me, my times of highest stress are when my house is a mess. I feel out of control and incapable of seeing anything or anyone except for the mess that’s in front of me. I’m the person who can’t start cooking in a dirty kitchen, much less concentrate on work or trying to get in 20 minutes of yoga in the living room when the floor needs cleaning and kids toys are strewn everywhere.
Maybe, but it’s me, and while I’m working on both ends to be more flexible with my surroundings, I’m also working on better systems to keep my home tidier.
I know there are more people like me out there - people who feel anxiety when their house is a mess, who have pretty full lives, and who want to come home to a home that feels like a big hug instead of a punch in the gut.
In my 5 years since having children, I’ve found a few ways that help take me from like cat 5 hurricane to afternoon Florida rainstorm level in our home. Here are the methods I use to attempt to thrive in my home:
Have less stuff.
Sounds kind of obvious, right? Honestly, this is a constant battle in my home. Especially since having kids - I honestly don’t know how they accumulate so much junk! Every time I clean out their room, there’s at least a trash bag of garbage to throw away, and at least another bag of toys and outgrown clothes to purge.
This is also the tip that’s going to take you the most amount of time if you’ve lived anywhere for a length of time. Likely you have a closet full of clothes you don’t love, a junk drawer (or 5) that hasn’t been organized since you moved in, and a linen closet that needs some love.
What if, instead of trying to tackle it all at once, you make yourself commit to cleaning out one thing a week? I like to tackle the cleansing by room - just this past month I did my guest room (again) to create a more organized and beautiful workspace. Since my guest room is home to all my doTERRA paraphernalia, I also grabbed the two related boxes from the garage and included that in my guest room organization spree.
Maybe a room feels too overwhelming, and instead, next time you’re putting something into that junk drawer or trying to find an extra battery, you decide to take the 15-20 minutes it takes to just clean out the drawer.
Having less stuff = less stress of putting things away. If it doesn’t have a purpose, make you feel excited about owning it, or fit you like your fave pair of jeans (or yoga pants, let’s be honest here), sell it or donate it (maybe all the stuff you sell will fund your cleaning service?!).
2. Say goodnight to your kitchen.
This is something I always strive to do, but my beautiful friend Ange Peters put a name to it for me. Saying goodnight to my kitchen, for me, means an empty sink, the dishwasher going, the coffee pot set for the morning, with my organic coffee (I use this coffee from Costco mostly) counters wiped down with my On Guard all purpose spray with a drop of lemon essential oil on the rag to keep it supa fresh, the kids lunches made, and the diffuser pumping out some beautiful lemon or wild orange to cleanse and purify the air while we’re sleeping.
In fact, I believe in natural cleaning so much, I made you this eBook. It’s 6 simple recipes you can use with your top 10 essential oils that most people start with, and is the perfect complement to saying goodnight to your kitchen. I even included how much each refill costs to show you how cost effective cleaning with pure essential oils can be! You can grab my guide, Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes for the Modern Mama on a Mission, right here. If you have your first kit of oils, you’ll most likely have all the oils to make these! They’re so easy even I make them ;)
3. Make your bed every morning.
Before I leave my bedroom, before I grab my water or my coffee, my bed gets made. My husband is usually up before me to head off to his 5am workout, so I don’t have a husband in my way, typically. If he sleeps in, I make sure it gets done before we leave for school drop off.
There’s something about making your bed that gives me a sense of pride, of accomplishment, and peace in knowing that at least one part of my home is organized. Plus, when you dump all your clean clothes on your bed to fold and put away, it doesn’t get mixed in with all the sheets so that process is less frustrating.
Keeping a clean bed means I’m more likely to put my clothes away, who would have thought?!
4. Get a nice vacuum.
I don’t know what took me so long to invest in a vacuum. Scratch that. Yes I do; it was the price and probably more accurately, feeling I wasn’t worthy of spending money on something like that for myself, and that cleaning should be difficult and believing that there’s no way a vacuum would make my life better.
I was wrong. A vacuum does make my life better. Now, instead of having to drag out a crappy, broken, barely suctioning vacuum cleaner and running them over floors that haven’t been cleaned for 3 weeks, I can now take daily action and grab this vacuum quickly and easily. Literally yesterday, as I write this, on Father’s Day, my husband grabbed the vacuum out and then proceeded to say, “this was the best home improvement purchase for our home ever.” Big claims, people.
It doesn’t matter how often you have cleaners coming - if you have kids and/or a dog, this one thing will make your life so much easier.
I have this Dyson, again from Costco, that I found there when it was $100 off.
5. Hire out what makes you crazy.
Do you have that one thing that drives you crazy? Maybe it’s the laundry, maybe it’s the weekly house clean, maybe it’s the food prep.
Is there a service that will come do this for you, or a college student home for the summer or who lives close by, or a local laundromat where you can bring your clothes to and they’ll wash, dry, fold, and iron for a price per pound?
I can pretty much guarantee if you ask this question on social media, you’ll find yourself an answer. (“Does anyone have an awesome person who comes over and does your food prep?” / “I’m hiring!! I’m seeking out an organized, resourceful, consistent person who can come over twice a week and help me prep my meals! If you know someone, have her email me at xxxx”)
Or possibly you’re just not quite there yet, but you hate doing things like grocery shopping o actually leaving your house and buying an air conditioner filter that seems like it always needs to be changed. Try instacart, or wal-mart grocery pickup, and add your air filter to amazon subscription.
And to keep on Instacart for a moment - the reason I love this service is because it eliminates hours of shopping from my week! So while the prices on Instacart are likely a tad higher than in store prices, I find myself so grateful to be able to plan out my menu for the week, add only what we need to the list, and then under two hours later, someone delivers it for me! It’s such a time saver, and honestly - I know I’m saving money when I use it because I’m not impulse buying random snacks we don’t need anyway.
So if this intimidates you - start small! On my vision board is a cleaner once a week and someone to come a few hours a couple times a week to help with laundry, food prep, and general straightening up.
Generally, I believe our home should feel welcoming. Not only to me and my family, but for anyone who walks in the door, I want them to feel comfort and peace and help themselves to some oils (or a beer from the fridge, let’s be real here) and just be.
Sometimes that means inviting friends over even when it’s a mess. Sometimes that means saying yes to company instead of tackling the piles and piles of laundry. Sometimes that means having the cleaners come an extra time in a month and figuring it out later in the budget.
A final tip though, before I close this out - make sure, whatever you do, that it aligns with your values (cleaners that will use your own natural cleaning products, for example), and that it aligns with your financial goals. Having a major crush on essential oils for natural health benefits and having just paid off all our debt, having some boundaries before you decide how to implement any of these is super important.
I’d love to hear what you do! Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if this helped you!