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Are you dying to be a more organized SAHM? Do the piles of laundry that needs to be folded, dirty dishes in the sink and toys strewn about unnerve you but you don't even know where to start?
Ditto and Ditto...
I don't know about you, but I know that when my house is finally clean and organized, it's so refreshing. But sometimes, things just seem to get so out of hand that I'm not even sure how it got this messy. If you're like me, you need an organization system. Like yesterday. I know it's easy sometimes to fall into bad habits. The dishes can wait until morning. I'll fold that load of laundry tomorrow. The bathroom can stand one or 2 more days before I scrub it.
But then, you don't do those things. You're tired. The kids drove you bananas today. And cleaning up teeny little toys and putting the dishes away are the last things you want to even think about after the kids go to bed.
So how do we end these vicious cycles of deep clean and then tons of time before we do it again? How can we avoid things from piling up (for the most part, lets be realistic here!) to the point we feel overwhelmed? Here's 5 things I've found that help (most of the time) keep the house semi-clean and sometimes visitor ready!
Make a To-Do List
I know it sounds simple, but it's really helpful for me to make a list (even if it's just a small one) of the things I want to accomplish that day. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular. But a list of 3-4 things is usually doable for me most days. Sometimes the list is as simple as: wash the dishes, sweep main areas and wipe down kitchen/bathroom counter tops.
Know what your day might entail. Toddler's teething? Just do the basics. Someone's sick? Just wipe down surfaces. Nothing's going on and dad wants to take the kids out? Clean like your life depends on it!
I like to make my to-do list in my bullet journal. (I use a dotted Leuchtturm 1917, but any journal will work if you want to bullet journal!) During the day, I leave it open on my kitchen counter. This way, I'm reminded all day that I need to get my tasks done that I scheduled for the that day. Whatever method will work for you, do it!
Enlist the kids for help
Now, some of you may have an infant and no other children so this advice might not be helpful (at least for now!). It will be one day, so hear me out. I know there's mixed feelings out there about how much responsibility to put on kids, but I'm all for getting my 2 boys to help out around the house.
The toddler? He knows when he's done eating to take his plate to the kitchen. When he spills something, he goes to the kitchen, grabs a hand towel, and wipes up his mess. He helps clean up the toys when we are done for the day.
My Preschooler? He picks out his own clothes and gets dressed and brushes his teeth (with some prompting). I have him wipe the bathroom counter with my E-Cloth Bathroom Cloth when he makes a mess brushing his teeth. Big brother cleans up his toys (again with some prompting!), puts his dishes in the kitchen, and helps me fold laundry. No, the laundry isn't perfect by any means, but he thinks its so awesome to help me fold and put away (and I don't have to do it all!).
I want my kiddos to learn that they live here too and mommy isn't a maid. They make messes, they need to help clean them up. It takes so much stress off of me because I'm not constantly running around doing everything myself because "it's just easier". It's really not. Yes, I've lowered my standards on what a made bed looks like or how underwear are folded. But in turn, my kids are learning valuable lessons.
Turn the TV off (or quit looking at social media!)
Sometimes it's just so tempting to put the kids to bed, plop on the couch and turn Netflix on and play on my phone. There are days where I feel like its just Go, GO, GOOO All. Day. Long. And I don't want to do ANYTHING once I finally get the tiny humans in their beds.
But when I do that, absolutely nothing gets done around the house. Now, yes. Some days, I just need to do this and forget about everything else. Most days, though, I really can spare 20-30 minutes right after the kids are in bed to finish my to-do list. I'm kind of a night owl, so this is the best time for me to get things done. My preschooler doesn't nap anymore, sigh. So even though we have "quiet time", I don't always get a chance to work on my to-do list at nap time. Honestly, I'm usually working on the blog during nap and then clean when they go to bed at night.
It's so easy, though, to get sucked into any kind of media. Especially when you are tired. I normally don't turn the TV on or break my laptop out until I at least make sure the kitchen is clean and most of the toys are at least in the den before I sit down. Sometimes, I won't even turn the TV on when folding laundry (especially if it's a really good show!) because it takes me 10x longer to finish it!
Do chores as they are needed, not because they're on a schedule
While there are some things I have to schedule solely so I remember to do them (like dusting... *insert eyeroll*). They just get done so infrequently I have to schedule it or I'll never remember. Otherwise, I am a firm believer in not having a cleaning schedule. Now, I know that doesn't work for some of you. But to make my life easier, I'm not cleaning something that doesn't necessarily need it just because it's on the schedule.
I'm a person that has a ton of Type A traits, but some things I just can't force myself to do. I'm not doing a load of laundry just because it's towel day on the schedule when there are only 5 dirty towels. My life is sometimes too hectic to waste time doing things that don't have to be done in that moment.
When you're overwhelmed as a mom, I feel like doing chores just because they are on a list you downloaded online is counterproductive. It may be helpful for some, but I feel like many SAHM's I've encountered start to feel overwhelmed by staying that organized that they just give up all together. If the lists and schedules don't work for you, DON'T FOLLOW THEM! You're only making things harder for yourself.
Ditch the "Look, squirrel!" Moments
How often are you running around the house cleaning all day to only feel like you did absolutely nothing? That's because you couldn't stop having "Look, squirrel!" moments. You started wiping down the counters and noticed the trash was full. So you stopped and took the trash out. While taking the trash out, you noticed the laundry needed switching. But before you could do that, you remembered you were supposed to sweep up the Cheerios on the floor.
Then before you know it, it's been 2 hours since you got started cleaning and it looks like you've done absolutely nothing. Sure, you got a few random things done, but overall your house is still a hot mess and you're exhausted. I have found that if I just finish a task before moving on to the next thing I think of, things get done so much faster.
I have left a post-it out and if I do have a squirrel moment, I write that task down. Then, I can get to it when I'm done with what I originally intended to do. That way, both chores get done and I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off!
So, those are my 5 ways to get more organized as a SAHM. While I'm definitely not perfect in my homemaking or organization skills, things have been getting better/easier for me since I started doing these 5 things.