Lost in a sea of housework whilst trying to balance it with parenting and working? This post maps out how you can create an easy housework routine that will really work for you and your family. Remember – just because you’re the one organising it, it doesn’t just have to be you doing the housework.
I have finally got an easy housework routine that works for me as a working mum.
I started motherhood as the queen of domestic dummies, who barely knew one end of the vacuum from the other.
But I’ve learnt the hard way if I don’t do a few simple things every day I spend more time … much more time! … sorting out the consequences.
Hunting for stuff in the mess.
Piling up dishes before I can even start making a meal.
Rewashing laundry for the third time because I forgot to take it out.
This pushes me into a realm of grumpiness that you do not want to witness.
Now, knowing that a routine would help is one thing.
Finding an easy housework routine that actually helps and that you can stick to when you’re trying to balance working with parenting and getting the housework done, is quite another!
An easy housework routine that works for you
There’s loads of routines out there but the big thing I’ve learnt is that one single routine cannot work for everyone.
We all have different houses, different lifestyles, different things that matter to us AND different bad habits!
I reckon, you have to work out what personally drives you crazy in your house and what you can do – realistically – to fix it.
Or else you won’t feel the benefits of the routine and you won’t stick to it.
Plus I found it really helps to arm yourself with some psychological tricks.
These tricks – used in successful quit smoking programs – are to:
- Recognise there’s a problem and want to change it
- Identify personal benefits of change
- Plan change
- Refine plan to set realistic targets
- Motivate & reward yourself
- Be prepared to fail a little – or even a lot – and keep going
Well this all sounds very airy-fairy doesn’t it?
And not so helpful when your house is a tip.
But to use these tricks to plan and start a routine that you actually keep up, just follow the simple steps below … they really do work …
Plan out an easy daily housework routine
- Write down 10 things that drive you most crazy about your house on a daily basis
- Write by each item a very quick action that could fix it
- Number list based on which problems have biggest consequences for you
- In a few words write down 3 big benefits for you of getting on top of housework
- Go through your list again & make the actions even quicker – aim for 2-3 minutes
- De-clutter house as much as you can in 1 week – get rid of what you don’t need
- Invest in simple storage – try to have a place for everything
- Give house a big clean – as much as you can in 1 week
Start the daily routine
Now some of you will think this is motivational mumbo-jumbo.
But if you are as much of a domestic dummy as I was, you’ve got to seriously rewire your brain to turn your actions into easy habits.
- Write down most important action on two post it notes
- Stick one post it note where action will take place
- Stick other post it note by your bed
- Tell whole family what action is and why it’s important
- Make sure any supplies needed are in right place
- Before bed say “Tomorrow, I will [ACTION] because it will [BENEFIT]”
- On getting up say “Today, I will [ACTION] because it will [BENEFIT]”
- Do the action whenever most convenient
- Repeat 6, 7, 8 for next two days – focus on a different benefit each day
- After 3 days move onto next action and repeat 1 to 10
It helps to focus on one habit at a time.
But if you don’t move quickly through them you’ll get bored and lose motivation.
If you focus on 10 actions for three days each, you can cycle through them all in a month.
Some will stick better than others the first month, but if you reboot every month more and more will stick each month.
Keep the routine going
Now you’ve mapped out your easy housework routine, you need to make sure you can keep it going.
First off, reward yourself for doing well … yes a glass of red would be lovely 🙂 then …
- Don’t obsess about timing, just fit action in when you’ve got 3 minutes free
- Do what you can every day
- Don’t despair if you do nothing for several days – just try again tomorrow
- Remind yourself of benefits every day
- If any action takes more than a few minutes cut it down
- Identify simple barriers to success (e.g. bin bags upstairs was revolutionary for me!)
- Swap out any actions that are less important than you thought
- Keep going with all 10 actions but every 3 days focus mind on next action
My personal routine
To give you a practical example these are my 10 actions, the consequences of not doing them and the three big benefits for me of following the routine …
|1. Load, run & empty dishwasher||Dishes stacked all over work tops & sink|
|2. Empty bins & compost crock||Bins overflowing & stinking!|
|3. Keep towels in bathroom||Soggy towels in bedroom; more laundry|
|4. Put clothes in laundry basket or hang up||Messy bedroom, bathroom; more laundry|
|5. Make beds||Bedrooms look like tips; beds uncomfy|
|6. Wipe work tops & sink, brush up crumbs||Unhygienic; takes longer; crumbs in carpet|
|7. Wipe round basin, bath rim & loo||Bathroom grim; needs big weekly clean|
|8. Get clothes & bag ready for tomorrow||Running around like a nutter in the morning|
|9. Open & file post & e-mail||Gets out of control; worry about contents|
|10. Two minute tidy||Breaking your neck on stuff all over floor!|
Three big benefits of maintaining a daily housework routine
- It saves me time
- Makes me calmer and less grumpy
- It’s easier to get rest of family to help
There you go!
That’s it – give it a go and let me know how you get on.
And if you found this helpful do check out our other cleaning posts … they are full of simple, planet friendly, sanity saving tips that help even us domestic dummies keep on top of it all, at least some of the time!