Feeling overwhelmed with housework, any tips please?(47 Posts)
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I just can't seem to get on top of it. I'm not life's most naturally tidy person but I really try. We have 2 small children and I feel that I'm drowning in housework. Once I've done endless washing and empti d the washing basket, its all there to be ironed and put away which takes ages. I'm constantly tidying up toys in the living room and kids bedrooms for them to be all over the floor 5 mins later. The bathroom seems to need cleaning every 5 mins. I know everyone with children is in the same boat but everyone I know seems to be on top of it and I never am. Please give me your best tips!
You iron? Complete and utter waste of a life ironing.
Do you do tidy up time with the kids, are they due a full of toys maybe? They can start putting things away quite young.
Stop ironing. At one point in my life, I thought people who didn't iron were mad. Then I just stopped.
There's no need to do it if you hang things up properly...my MIL uses coat hangers on the washing line. I have a drier and that removes the worst wrinkles.
The only things I DO iron now is things like party dresses before a party...I iron as needed only. So if I want to wear a linen shirt, I iron it the day I plan to wear it or the night before.
Put a couple of baskets in each room...throw the bits and bobs in them at the end of the night and train the kids to return their things to their own rooms. Even 2 year olds can do this. Make it fun.
Start letting the kids know that if they want another toy out, then the last one must be put away. It takes a few days and then they do it.
I'm the same as you OP. I just never stop am it's never good enough. No excuse. I'm a sahm. Just can't keep on top of it.
Can you get their dad to watch the kids at the weekend while you dedicate a solid hour or two to housework? Or the other way round - get him to do it while you keep the kids out the way.
No more ironing... Unless it's completely essential! Only things we iron are smart shirts and trousers. Everything else is fine as long as you fold it neatly straight away. Invest in a tumble drier if you don't already have one. Even if it has to fit in a totally random place!
Keep wipes in the bathroom to quickly wipe down taps, sink etc in between bigger cleans. Keep bleach nearby in the loo (hidden from small child view/reach of course) so you can squirt a load down and leave it, hey presto the loo is magically clean when you come back to it.
Have boxes for each type of toy (Duplo, cars, whatever) and print out labels with a picture of Duplo or whatever goes in that box. Get the kids to help you tidy their toys away. Even if they won't, at least it makes it easier for you to see where things go too. As they get older try and encourage them not to get every single toy out at once... (easier said than done but worth trying!)
Save up and buy a Roomba / robot vacuum cleaner. All you need to do is tidy up a room and let it loose, half an hour later it's spotless. Kids will probably find it entertaining too. I actually use it as an incentive for my toddler to tidy up his toys "Help mummy tidy away all your toys and then you can press the button on the Roomba!" ... for some reason this is exciting for him
We've all been there OP... firstly lower your standards. You'll never have a pristine house.
Stop ironing. Seriously, either iron as you go or don't iron at all. I only iron work and school uniforms. It saves hours!
If you can clear the backlog of clean washing then start afresh and try and wash, dry, put away as soon as. It drives me mad to have piles of clean washing hanging around. My kids are older (8/11) so they have their own piles to put away ( neatly lol!)
Lots of storage. Boxes for different things. IKEA and wilko are fab for these. Utilise under the bed boxes and vacuum packs.
Toy boxes labelled .. pics too then the kids can help tidy.
Have a big clear out of clutter. Then it's far easier to sort out the bits you want to keep.
Ok do you have a partner? Are you SAHM? IMe it is a lot harder to keep the house tidy when you're at home every day.
What works for me is:
Dedicated places for toys/books. Show these places to DC, tell them this is where their toys live. Make a rule that they have to put first toy away before they can take next toy out. Before every meal and before you leave the house you say "let's see who can tidy up the fastest" and make a game of bunging all toys into their "house".
Dishes: straight into dishwasher after every meal and wipe table. Dishwasher goes on overnight so clean dishes for every day. Empty in the morning while kettle boils. Every night before bed wipe counters and table so clean for morning.
Laundry: a wash on every night, hung in the morning. Don't iron. Just iron as needed. I don't do more than one wash a day no matter how back logged I am as I don't have space to dry it and it overwhelms me.
Bathroom: flash wipes!! I'll say it again FLASH WIPES best invention ever. Have them sitting by the loo. Grab one as you spot the grime and wipe, throw in bin. Done! They're so easy. I do my en suite every evening as I'm brushing my teeth. Takes a minute.
If you have a partner, tell them to pitch in more. And DC can be trained to tidy as they go along. This really is the key. Makes all the difference.
Thank you! Lots of great tips there. I would love to ditch the ironing so glad to hear that you all don't do it!
We just seem to have so much stuff. A cull of toys and clothes is probably a good idea. I would love to be a complete minimalist in theory but it's just not me. And a good organisation of everything sounds in order. Yes the kids could help more and I know I should make them. Maybe linking it to pocket money would work. Thank you
I got a great trip here about entering/leaving rooms & putting away one thing when you do it.
Great ideas re toy boxes & getting the kids involved, when my DS is older I'm doing that!
Agree with cleaning wipes/bleach in the loo, makes a clean of the bathroom really quick.
I always clean my kitchen before bed so I never wake up to it being dirty. I put the dishwasher on regularly and usually empty it while I cook dinner.
How is your house for storage? My DH always had several jackets and liked to put them on chairs when he got in instead of putting them in the wardrobe, It drove me bombers as he wore a different one every day! We bought a coat rack which has made it much tidier but he can still leave jackets nearby!
Have less stuff - seriously - if there's a cupboard that you have to lean against to shut - there's too much stuff. Get everyone involved in a clear out - at least a bin bag each.
Don't do it too often as its quite draining as well as giving you a good feeling - but guaranteed there'll be stuff that you can give/throw away.
Don't iron - go back to ironing if you must once the kids are older - but you probably won't. My DH used to send his work shirts out to iron as that was the only thing that needed ironing.
My DH always had several jackets and liked to put them on chairs when he got in instead of putting them in the wardrobe, It drove me bombers as he wore a different one every day
My DC do this!! I can't stand it. Coat sleeves trailing on the floor so you trip over them. I'm buying hooks on pay day.
Just echoing everyone else. Stop ironing, it doesn't matter.
Get a tumble dryer if you don't have one.
Dishwasher has changed everything too.
Not sure how old your dc are, but mine are 3 and 5 and I've manged to reduce the amount of toys massively. Anything tatty or broken or has bits missing, just bin. Anything not played with to charity shop or eBay. They're old enough to play in their rooms so I've put kallax and other shelving in there. Only 4 kallax storage boxes downstairs now. There used to be about 12!!! Plus they have to tidy up themselves now.
Also second the bathroom wipes. Quick wipe round and bleach in the loo.
Basically reduce the amount of stuff! I'm always clearing out wardrobes.
Make a decision and deal with any paper that comes into the house instantly. Put dates on calendar and bin, file documents etc.
Sounds a bit lame, but a place for everything and everything in its place!
Declutter is the key. I get rid of any toys that don't hold my dc's attention for 10 minutes. Sounds brutal but I don't have space for stuff they lift fleetingly then abandon again.
If you have a DP get them to do their share.
Do little but often. Wipes are great for bathrooms, kitchen counters etc for a quick clean up.
I have a rota on the fridge for cleaning, it helps break things down and I never soend more than 30 minutes a day on cleaning:
Monday - wash towels/wash bedding (alternate Mondays), sweep and mop floors.
Tuesday - clean bathroom, tidy up living room.
Wednesday - clothes wash. Clean kitchen (deep clean, not wet wipe), tidy bedrooms.
Thursday - sweep and mop floors, go over bathroom.
Fruday- clothes wash, general tidy up.
Saturday - clothes wash (DS has clothes from school that go with him on Monday and stay there all week), clean kitchen.
Sunday - tidy and chill out.
Once you have done one big clean of, eg kitchen, top-up cleans will be easier. I clean the actual oven every couple of months. The splash back every time something splashes up!
I find doing smaller chunks on set days really easy to follow.
I also tegularly go through ds' toys and bin/give away stuff. He has a lot of drawings that i cull every couple of days (like 20 pages! We couldnt possibly keep it all), broken toys, outgrown toys, kinder egg crap - that sort of thing. We also tidy toys together and set my phone to beep after a minute r something, it is fun for him (5yo).
I do find the toys a problem. We have quite a bit of storage in the living room for toys (but Often not contained where they should be) and also some in their rooms. One of my friends has no toys at all downstairs, they are all in the children's bedrooms but this would never work for us, my kids sometimes play in their rooms (age 3 and 5) but they generally want to be with me and dh so will want to play or draw etc in the living areas downstairs. It would be nice to have a playroom but our house doesn't have space for that. I could definitely do a toy cull though.
I do have a tumble dryer but o let use it for sheets towels and socks as I had a shrinking incident a few years ago which scared me off tumble drying clothes. Maybe I need to start tumble drying clothes, do they not come out creased though?
I also have a tidy DH who will sweep and mop while i'm walking the dog, or clean the bathroom before he has a shower without having to be 'asked'. He is an adult. So naff off with your one line comments bruce .
Train kids to help
Completely random, but have you tried moving your lounge about? Mine constantly used to look messy and untidy and it was not helped by me not being a natural "homemaker" about 10 days ago I got my teenager to help me move all the furniture about - other than the kallax that is attached to the wall everything moved to a new place. Lo behold my lounge is looks tidy with minimal upkeep, it is usually "visitor ready" which with my old layout it never was!
Oh and I have to iron too - hate it. We don't have a tumble dryer, and I can't afford to run one even if we did.... I do try to iron less stuff though, so pj's etc are no longer ironed! School Shirts are hung up immediately to dry to minimise ironing time, or are ironed straight out of washing machine if I have timed an ironing session right. Maybe on the washing front it would be easier to do a load of stuff that isn't needing to be ironed and can be put away straight away and then do loads like school/work shirts and stuff that need to be ironed together and co incide it with an ironing evening once or twice a week?
Don't know how old your kids are, but I can do ironing in the day with my 2.5 yr old. She has an Ikea table and chair in kitchen and she sits at that with play doh/magic sand/lentils etc whilst I iron....... She loves play doh so is happy to play with it so it just comes out whilst I am doing jobs
I don't iron either, nor do I have a tumble dryer. I was it as soon as it comes of...small loads. Not economical but less likely to be creased and you're only putting away a couple of clothes at a time. Toys get put away when finished and if they want more stuff out they have to put the other things away out first. No toys at all in the living room just for my own mental health. Brutal about paper...you cannot keep every masterpiece or pen stroke ever created. All shoes and coats put away as soon as we get in etc. I just do one job a day as well as keeping all sides tidy. Also make sure you have a clean sink before you go to bed, it's a nicer way to start the morning. Sorry I know this probably reads like a massive list I'm no the app.
Yes I have tips (3 kids here and a hardworking DH who has no time at all for any kind of housework, not even emptying the dishwasher )
1. Storage. Make sure everything has a home. Throw out incomplete or broken toys. Charity shop or sell grown-out clothes. Get baskets for shoes, coat pegs for coats, big laundry hampers without a lid are great for children's rooms for keeping bigger toys together and off the floor.
2. Wipes (as PP have said). They keep the bathroom going between bigger cleans, I even do the floor with them. I use Dettol or Tesco own anti-bac wipes for bathroom. Don't flush them down the loo!
3. Clear as many unnecessary clutter, ornaments etc away as possible. They collect dust. Sell or pare down what you have out. You really want to see as much floor space as possible, so things like stools, occasional tables, bigger children's toys that they don't play with any more - get rid...
4. Only iron essentials (shirts etc) anything jersey or stretchy usually just needs folding after the dryer.
Hope this helps! (works for me).
Oh yes, basket at the bottom of stairs and same at top. Every time you lift something that needs to go upstairs chuck it in basket and take up with you when going up. Same with one upstairs.
I think we've got too much stuff for our house definitely. We jussi don't have enough space to keep everything tidy. I can feel a big clear out coming on. Thanks all. Doing a shopping list now with bathroom wipes on!
I think most houses with kids have too much stuff TBH. It's just the nature of having a growing family, their interests, and clothes sizes change so quickly that it's hard to keep on top of everything they have acquired.
In your shoes I would set aside an hour a week to have a mini declutter. Just pick a room, pick a box or drawer and get busy. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve in a short space of focused time.
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