The kids have been home for months. You and your significant other have taken over the dining room and turned it into an office. You feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of cleaning, putting things away, vacuuming, cooking, cleaning again, picking up toys for the 50th time, and, well, you know where I’m going with this. It feels like life has become rather redundant and there’s nowhere that we can really escape (unless we lock ourselves in our bathrooms with a bubble bath and wine…lots of wine).
I like to think of Quarantine Cleaning as spring cleaning but more frequently, because my family loves to leave socks everywhere (cue more laundry) and my kid can make a mess wherever she goes in the house…or the back porch. I have daily tasks and once a month, things get a deep cleaning. By keeping up with things on a weekly basis, the deep cleanings become less deep each time because things don’t get as dirty in between cleanings.
DECLUTTER & ORGANIZE
If you are like me then you are decluttering and organizing every other day. I can make piles appear out of nowhere. Mail, my daughter’s school work, magazines…you name it, I can pile it up. Before you even start making a cleaning schedule and delegating who will do what, you need to take a day to just go through ALL of your papers and throw out what you don’t absolutely need. Then make a filing system that works for you to keep the important papers organized and easy to find in case you need them.
Now that the piles are gone, those closets aren’t going to organize themselves. I have one day every other week where the refrigerator and pantry get cleaned out and organized, but it’s a good idea if you haven’t done this in a while to go ahead and get in a good cleaning and organizing of both the fridge and pantry. Seriously, I found wayyy old leftovers, expired snacks, and stale taco kits from last year when I cleaned mine out! Wipe down the shelves in the refrigerator, clean out the drawers, and don’t forget to go through the freezer, too.
To keep your refrigerator and pantry organized (and closets), check out these baskets from Amazon that I use in my pantry and master bedroom closet!
Hallway and bedroom closets can also be a daunting task. This would be a great time to get the kids involved with organizing. Find a few boxes/crates/bags and label them DONATE and THROW AWAY. Things to keep will obviously get put away in the closet, but things that you want to donate or throw away can be sorted as you go. Find old towels and bed sheets that could be donated to a local animal shelter. If you’re like me, your child is almost 10 but still has size 7/8 clothes hanging in her closet…it’s time to clean those out. See if there is an organization in your area that accepts clothing donations or take them to Goodwill.
Once you do the big overhaul on your refrigerator, pantry, closets, and piles, you won’t be doing it that extensively again for quite some time. Your cleaning schedule should help keep things orderly and from getting too out of control before the next declutter/organization day.
MAKE A CLEANING SCHEDULE
While it’s tempting to save the bulk of the cleaning for a weekend day, being home all the time means that I don’t have to save the cleaning for Saturday anymore. Teaching from home allows me to clean a little bit each day so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed on the weekend. Also, I have pets…pets that shed. I cannot go more than a few days without sweeping or vacuuming.
Making a cleaning schedule has been a lifesaver. From deep cleaning days to laundry days, creating a schedule is a great way to check off your to-do list without spending your weekend doing it. You can also put the name of the person in the household who is responsible for that task so there is no confusion or “I didn’t know I was supposed to clean that.”
How to Create a Schedule
1. I have a paper planner that has a monthly and weekly calendar and I use both. The monthly calendar is an overview of my whole month. The weekly calendar is where I can detail what is getting done each day and WHO is doing it. You can also create one on the computer and print it out (see my example below. I have a family of 3 so it fit on one page but you can easily create a calendar on two pages in a word doc!)
2. The first day of quarantine cleaning is deep cleaning day. I’m talking baseboards, cobwebbed corners you haven’t seen in years, and dust balls tumbling under the couch. Download this Deep Cleaning checklist to help you.
3. Designate a day of the week for each task that you have. I would suggest having 3-4 days a week that each person has something to clean. *Every family’s needs vary, so compile a list of tasks that you MUST have done around the house (sweeping and/or vacuuming, mopping, cleaning windows, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, laundry, etc).
Here’s an example of my family’s weekly schedule:
SETTING UP A ‘FAMILY HUB CENTER’
Find a spot in the house where the whole family has access, like the kitchen, for your Family Hub Center. This space is where you keep track of all family business. It’s important that everyone have access to it so that they are all on the same page and aware of what is expected. All you need is some wall space and a small table or desk. If you’re tight on space, hanging everything on the wall works! Check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.
Here are some things to include:
- Wall calendar
- A spot to post important family reminders and notes
- Grocery list for adding to throughout the week
- Meal Planner- so no one asks “what’s for dinner?”
- Job chart for checking off tasks as they are completed
- Pens, markers, or other writing tool for marking on calendar and job chart
DELEGATE HOUSEHOLD NEEDS
The kids have been making you crazy. Between homeschooling, the never-ending snack demands, and the abundance of laundry that seems to have appeared, you’re busy enough with the kids. For children who are old enough, delegate a few of the household cleaning needs to them. This could be anything from watering the plants. washing dishes, or dusting. A little training can go a long way too. Show them HOW to clean so that you aren’t going back over their work.
For your spouse: Whether your spouse has been leaving the house to go to work each day or now has a dining room office, talk to them about finding a time that works to help contribute to the household needs. It may be grocery shopping (and then the kids put groceries away) or working on a home improvement project. They are trying to do their job the best they can in this new normal so be understanding of how they have to spend their time. Maybe weekends will still work best for your spouse, so take advantage of that and make it a couples project or get the whole family involved.
For the little ones: giving them the task of keeping their toys picked up is enough for me to consider it a WIN! It’s never too early to instill good habits like cleaning up when you’re done with something. This could be teaching your toddler how to choose a few toys at a time to play with, then putting them away and trading them in for a new toy to play with. It may take some time but once they get it, you will be thankful!
Check out this article about making chores fun for kids. Hey, they sound fun to me, too!
DON’T SPEND EVERY SINGLE DAY CLEANING, ORGANIZING, AND DOING THINGS!
You need to rest and that includes resting from prepping and planning as well. If need be, SCHEDULE IN one day a week where you do nothing. NADA. Zero things. Other family members can handle the household needs that day or it can be a Family Day Off type of thing where everyone spends time together without working. Go to the park for a picnic. Play some video games together. Take a walk through the neighborhood. Go exploring and find a new trail to hike. Set up the sprinkler and run through it! There are still six other days for the cleaning to get done and the memories that will be made are totally worth it.
What is a tip or trick that has helped you keep up with the demands of the household during this quarantine? Comment and tell us what has worked for you. Share your knowledge mamas!