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3/20/19 — Hey Mama! Before you keep reading, I wanted to pop in and tell you that I have a new FREEBIE that is pretty incredible. If you are struggling to keep up, if you want to be more productive, or if you are feeling stuck in a rut, grab my SAHM schedule! This is the exact schedule that I follow to enjoy my life rather than cleaning up after it-all preloaded into a Trello board for your convenience! Grab it here!

Cleaning sucks. Let’s just be honest. What sucks, even more, is when you get behind and have no chance to catch up! Cleaning on the weekends or in what should be your “free time” is not ideal, and you shouldn’t have to do this!

As a work at home mom, I understand the challenge! I have finally nailed down an awesome cleaning routine that helps me stay on track and keep my house mostly in order all day long, even with work tasks and kids around.

Today, I wanted to share what I do in case you are needing inspiration for creating your own cleaning routine!

Getting Started

There are chores that I deem important, and chores that go into the “when I get to it” category, and I’m okay with that. I have three kids-7, 4, and 1- which means that the level of grunge around here is much higher than it will be when they are a bit older. We mop every day and wipe things down about once a week. That being said, it’s totally fine if your priorities are different than mine!

However, there are a few chores that I have deemed “The Big Four”, and they belong to the you-absolutely-must-not-miss-or-you’ll-pay-for-it category. I strongly believe that every single household should have a system for getting these done every day! They are the foundation for running smooth days. Let’s get into these.

1. The Dishes

Staying on top of the dishes is crucial! They accumulate so quickly, and if you aren’t careful you will end up spending hours catching up.

That is why I am very deliberate about setting myself up for dishes success every morning, and I think that it is one of the most important things that you can do to keep your household running smoothly. So here are a few tips that I have learned from experience!


If you have a dishwasher, try to keep it to a single load a day! Hand-wash your pans if you must, but unless you are incredibly dedicated, running two loads in a day is setting yourself up for failure.

Putting dishes away once a day is a small nuisance. Twice a day will eventually become a mental obstacle and you will avoid it. Then you will find yourself with a sink full of nasty dishes and a bunch to unload!

It can be easier than that! I’ve trained my family to load as we go. This means that every morning I get up and unload the dishwasher right away.

Then, as we go through the day, we load the dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher. Even my two-year-old helps load her plates after eating!

At the end of the night, right after dinner, start the dishwasher so that it will be ready the next morning.

I also wipe down my table and countertops and call it a day. About 10 minutes is all I spend on the dishes each night!

If you don’t have a dishwasher or need to hand-wash your pans, here is an awesome trick! Run a sink of hot soapy water before you sit down for a meal. Then have your family clear their plates from the table.

If your kiddos are old enough, they can wash their own dishes really quick, or they can just plop them into the sink to soak until you are ready for them. This will cut your washing time down to about five minutes. It’s totally worth taking the time to create this habit!

Overall, having a good dishes routine will seriously impact the amount of time that you have to spend cleaning every day. Make it a priority!

2. Laundry

The laundry monster is real, and it will catch you if you aren’t careful! I have talked about laundry a lot here on the blog, but I have never discussed how I wash my clothes.

Don’t judge me, because I throw almost everything together. Throughout the day we toss dirty clothes straight into my washing machine to be washed together. I was hesistant to get this started, but frankly, I can’t tell the difference from before, when I sorted all of the clothes.

By the end of the day, the washer is usually close to full. I round up any straggling items. Then I use the Delay setting on my washing machine and set it to run an hour before I wake up in the morning. I love this feature!

Since the washer started itself, I can swap the now washed laundry into the dryer first thing in the morning. Then I go about my morning routine.

By the time I am done with work tasks and the dishes, my fresh laundry is ready and waiting for me to sort and distribute! I sort our laundry straight from the dryer. No hampers or laundry couch here, at least not anymore. Then my kids’ clothes go to their beds, and everything else gets put away.

By doing a single load a day, I am able to keep on top of my laundry. Every once in a while I have to wash an extra load, but it isn’t very often and it’s easy to work it in when I’m not DREADING the process.

I have managed to get my laundry routine to take about 15 minutes every day, which still baffles me.

I think this level of success is largely due to my no-fold system for the kids and creating their capsule wardrobes so make sure to check those out!

3. Food

When you have a family to take care of, food can become a chore quickly. Cooking constantly creates a ton of dishes, and takes extra time. My kids eat like six times a day!

Over the years I have learned many tips and tricks to conquer this struggle, but one of my favorite hacks is using MyFreezEasy for our meals.

I love not cooking dinner every night, and it saves me a ton of time cleaning, too. Meal planning is one of those things that takes consistency to work, and MyFreezEasy makes it so simple. It will probably save you money, too. I love it so much that I wrote an entire review post. Read it here.

Regardless of whether you use a service or decide to go it on your own, batch prepping your food will reduce a massive amount of stress, and it can really cut down your time cleaning.

I estimated the time that I save on cooking alone to be about 7 hours, but my cleaning is cut to about a quarter of what it was because I’m not constantly dirtying the kitchen! If you do nothing else from this post, just start batch cooking! I promise it will change everything.

4. Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is all about creating a functional system and then maintaining it. It is key to cutting clutter and staying on top of tasks that come along with those little envelopes.

Every day I sort my mail in my laundry room which is where I have my system set up. I shred junk mail right away and file important papers and any keepsake papers for the kids.

If I can, I take care of anything that needs action right away like paying a bill or making a phone call. I usually do this right after I pick my oldest up from school. It’s a natural progression from the mailbox to my command center, and Parker can give me any keepsake papers or things that need to be signed right then. It just works for us!

By having a place for all of the paper to go, it doesn’t clutter up my counter-tops or table like it used to. It doesn’t get colored on, spilled on, or ripped up. We can eat dinner without spending 15 minutes clearing it off.

It is amazing how something that can be such a struggle to deal with, like paper clutter, can be avoided altogether in just five minutes a day.

Everything Else

So those four chores are my priorities. They happen first, every time and since they take less than an hour, it’s pretty tolerable. Past the big four, I do my best to stay on top of things without cleaning 24/7.

We do a 10-minute team power clean every night before we eat dinner, and this is incredibly effective! The kids’ job is to get all of the trash, dirty laundry, and toys out of our main living space.

While they do that, I typically get my floors swept and mopped. I focus my efforts on the worst place and go from there. If we had a rough day, I help the kiddos with picking up instead, and then spend the ten minutes sweeping and mopping after bedtime. By the time ten minutes is up, almost the entire house is usually in order.

So what’s left? Well, the bathroom is always needing attention. A lot of the time while my kids take a bath, I will clean it. It’s a great time to multi-task because they occupy each other, and I can still make sure nobody is drowning! I clean the bathroom several times a week at this point, but it only takes me about ten minutes. It’s no walk in the park to keep a clean bathroom with boys!

Otherwise, we have bedrooms left. Part of my kids’ bedtime routine is to put away their laundry and pick up their toys. We use a modified toy rotation system that has really worked for us. This also makes it fast and easy to care for their floors right after picking up, and they do the clean-up pretty easily because it is part of the norm. This usually takes about ten minutes.

About once a month, I will take a week to deep dive a room in my house and declutter. I spend about an hour a day making sure that everything is in order, getting rid of things that I don’t want or need anymore, and wiping things down. This has made it so that maintaining our home is so much easier!

Using A Daily Cleaning Routine Is So Helpful

Using a daily cleaning routine has made all the difference in how much time I spend cleaning each day. I used to spend hours and hours a day trying to clean my house. Once I caught up on one thing, the other was behind and it was a vicious cycle.

There wasn’t any time left for my goals, or to even really enjoy my life! I felt overwhelmed and like I would never catch up.

Since I learned how to prioritize my cleaning tasks and get my family involved, it has been so much easier to have a clean home and live a little. I’m not saying that my house is perfect all the time, but it’s clean at least twice a day, and that is good enough for me.

If you are wanting to create a cleaning routine, I highly recommend working smaller tasks into your other routines and focusing on the big four. This routine is a key part of how I am able to work from home(with my kids!) without completely losing my sanity!

I have been using the courses and ebooks in the Ultimate Productivity Bundle when I need some routine inspiration. There are some seriously good resources in there if you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed! Check it out here.

Want to come back to this article? Save it to your favorite homemaking board on Pinterest!

Do you need a great cleaning routine? This routine has worked great for me as a stay at home mom, but I think that it is so simple that working moms could easily fit it into their schedule as well. Stop living in filth or spending all of your time cleaning. There can be a balance! #productivity #cleaning #routines #homemaking
A good cleaning routine is essential for stay at home moms. Stop spending all day long trying to keep up, and instead work your tasks into your schedule with these cleaning tips and simple routine. #cleaningtips #productivity #sahm #homemaking
Check out this daily cleaning routine.  It is perfect for working moms, or work at home moms that need to fit their everyday chores into a very busy schedule, or for stay at home moms that are tired of cleaning 24/7!

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