When we first entered this stage of life that Covid has catapulted us into I had no idea how much cleaning would become a major point of frustration. Yes, I’ve worked from home for the past 5 years or so and I did have the kids with me all summer, but the transition to fall and school has had a much bigger toll than I’d expected. The reason for this I believe is because not only are we all at home all day making messes everywhere we go we are now beholden to the weather, my kindergartener’s online class meetings, and we are all working overtime. Time efficiency and multitasking are critical.
The little things you do will compound into bigger wins for the day as a whole. Learning to find areas and times where you can multi-task, increase efficiency, and foster independence in your children will help make your day so much easier. I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately and the one entitled Tiny Habits has had a profound effect on how I interact with myself and my family.
- Wake up before your kids. Even if it’s 10 minutes before they get up. Giving yourself just those few minutes to brush your teeth, meditate, brew your beverage of choice, or squeeze in a mini-yoga session will help you set your intention for the day, whether you’re actively setting an intention or not. You’ll also feel great that you did “you”.
- Make the first thing you do each day a selfish act. This goes directly in hand with the above. For me, this means I put on my makeup. I don’t need to do this… I’m not going anywhere. I wasn’t going anywhere before the pandemic, but something about looking in the mirror and feeling like I could go anywhere makes a huge difference in how I feel, and it saves time which is what this is all really all about.
- Braid your hair or find a quick updo that you can live with. Ladies this is not red carpet time. If you have the free time and the kids are napping by all means go for that if that’s what you feel like doing. The goal of this is to pare down what you need to do every day. When I put french braids or other twist out styles in my hair they typically last from 3-7 days long. Considering it takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to detangle my hair that time saved every day is a major win.
- Only clean what you have to at that moment. This is pretty simple. If you know that your kids are going to have a snack 2-3 hours after breakfast and they weren’t that messy at breakfast then don’t wipe down the table or sweep. Do it later sure, but don’t do it after every meal because you’re wasting your precious time.
- Don’t do things twice. I do little things like wipe each child’s face down with the same washcloth after meals and try to grab a different side of the cloth. Then, I crumple it in on itself and wipe the table down. It saves me 2-3 trips back to the sink to freshen my towel and wring it out. Besides, families that stick together get sick together.
- Only eat at the table, during mealtime. Crumbs are stealthy little ninjas. They are all over my kitchen after one measly little snack. Even a string cheese is cause for watching your back in my house. Keeping the crumbs as centralized as possible makes them much easier to catch.
The fastest way to save time while cleaning is to use better tools. Since we are all stuck at home making a giant mess you may as well have a way to clean up quickly and prevent messes in the first place to ensure that you can actually stop and smell the roses. A pandemic isn’t really a fun thing to go through, but the time we get to spend with our families right now is unprecedented. For better or worse we have a lot of time together. So we may as well minimize the mess and maximize the fun!
- Get your kids an alarm clock that tells them when they can get up. We use the My Tot Clock Toddler Clock. It’s amazing how a sweet little song and a sunshine light can change your child’s routine so drastically. In my house, it has made bedtime and wake time feel so much safer and definitely more cleanly. Before our alarm clock my eldest would get up at any hour he felt like and wander around the house. While that’s not a huge deal when your child is older my son at the time was three. So, needless to say, I did not want him getting into things while I was still asleep.
- Get a light slim vacuum, a wet/dry vacuum or maybe even a Roomba.
- As for the deep cleaning needs get an automated scrubber. I need one, you need one, let’s face it everyone needs one of these. Getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing a bathtub after a long day’s work is not a fun idea.
This is just a starting point. If any of you have any other great ideas for speeding up your daily tasks let me know in the comments and I’ll add your contributions to the post!