When you have one child on your hip and another holding on to your leg, it’s quite a challenge to find time to mop the floors and keep the counters sparkling. Your time is valuable, and as a parent or nanny most of it is spent caring for the needs of your children.
It is possible, though, to keep your home in tip-top shape with time-saving tips that allow you to involve the kids in your daily cleaning routine.
Go Natural When Cleaning
Instead of spending all your time spraying down counters and tubs with harsh chemicals, opt for natural solutions that will save time and money. The experts at Vine.com, an online shopping destination for natural, organic and sustainably-made goods, recommend the following:
-Use grapefruit and salt as a tub or stovetop scrub: This do-it-yourself trick removes thick grime and dirt rings off your shower area and does amazing work on cast iron tubs. It’s a quick and easy alternative to labor intensive and time consuming scrubbing.
-Clean drains with baking soda and vinegar: Ditch the lye-based drain cleaners and opt for a natural do-it-yourself trick instead. Simply pour one cup of baking soda down a dry, empty sink followed by two cups of boiling water down the drain. After a few minutes, pour one additional cup of baking soda down the drain and add one cup of white vinegar. Plug up the drain immediately. You will soon see bubbles foaming. When the bubbles have died down, add the remaining boiling water down the drain.
-Remove Hard Water Stains With a Lemon: You don’t need harsh chemicals to tackle hard water stains in the shower. A fresh lemon will do the trick with a quick swipe and rinse
Instead of planning out an entire day of cleaning that interferes with your time with the kids, Lauren McCann, brand manager for the Rug Doctor, recommends spending a few minutes cleaning each day. “It might not seem like a lot, but taking a little time out of the day to do this will eliminate long, daunting tasks toward the end of the week,” she says.
It helps to tackle one room at a time, too. Designate the kitchen for Mondays, the living room for Tuesdays, etc., to ease your mind and your to-do list each week. “Who says you have to do everything at once?” says McCann. “Having a sole focus every day or week will leave you not feeling rushed to get through it all.”
Let the kids join in the daily cleaning tasks as well. Ask each child to make a list of cleaning preferences. If your 13-year old prefers to sweep and your 10-year old loves to dust, delegate these tasks to give them a sense of responsibility and free up your time throughout the week. “Remember, the more people on hand will mean less work for you – getting you a clean, refreshing home in no time,” says McCann.
Make Cleaning Fun
Most people dread the task of scrubbing floors or vacuuming carpets. Make the tasks fun and get the entire family involved with creative cleaning strategies. Turn on some music and launch a dance/cleaning party as you and the kids make your way through the house. Launch a competition to see who can finish cleaning his or her room in the least amount of time or set a timer and see how much all of you can accomplish in 30 minutes each day.
When the kids know that cleaning will not take up too much time, they will be more willing to join in. You can also offer rewards for a speedy result. If each child participates in 30 minutes of cleaning each day, plan a special trip to the park, a walk through the neighborhood or a play date so they have something to work toward.
Creating accessories for your daily cleaning can also pump up the family, says Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Green Cleaning. Create a work apron for all of your helpers. “Just like a carpenter, you need all your tools with you while you are working so you save time and don’t retrace your steps,” she says. Stock each apron with cleaning cloths, spray bottles and dusters so they are prepared and armed with the necessary tools.
Even though cleaning will take up some of your time each day, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. Save some time and aggravation by recruiting the kids and pacing yourself. With some extra helpers and positive attitudes, cleaning won’t be so much of a chore and everyone will have more time for quality play.