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Cleaning Family Life Hack

Life Hacks: Spring Cleaning Made Easy

As the saying goes, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Although a spotless, meticulously organized home feels great, the process to get there isn’t usually much fun.

Spring cleaning takes effort, time, and money—three things that many working moms don’t have enough of to spare. But either way, it needs to get done. With these spring cleaning hacks, not only will you need less effort, time, and money, but it’ll be more fun than ever before. Here’s how!

Hack 1: Out With the Old

Spring cleaning often seems like a mammoth task, but that’s probably because you’ve collected a whole lot of stuff that you don’t use anymore. Purging unused items is the first step to any successful spring cleaning process.

For example, if you’re packing away your winter clothes for the season, donate what you haven’t worn this winter. Ask the kids to put toys and games they don’t use anymore into a box, and donate those too. The furniture you inherited that’s been gathering dust in the garage? Sell it.

You’ll find that removing the clutter of unnecessary stuff will make the job much easier.

Hack 2: Get Everyone Involved

Many moms (myself included!) feel that tasks get done faster when we just do them ourselves. How many times have you asked your kids to do something, but then they mess it up and you end up having to do it yourself anyways? I get it! But, it’s only fair for everyone to chip in when it comes to spring cleaning. And, if you’re smart about it, your kids can be pretty successful at certain helpful tasks!

First, assign each child a task based on their age. It can be as small as having them make a pile of clothes that are too small, or place unused/broken outdoor toys in a box to get rid of—or as big as cleaning out the basement or the car.

The key is to take the time to show them what you want to be done and give clear instructions. A little family treat afterwards might help (dinner at the kids’ favorite restaurant, maybe?).

Hack 3: Use Multi-Purpose Products

This hack is all about killing two birds with one stone. Ideally, you want a cleaning product that multi-tasks for you, both cleaning and accomplishing another task simultaneously. Whether it’s a furniture cleaner that also conditions or a stain remover and deodorizer, it will save you time and money—especially when doing the deep cleaning that’s required this time of year!

Depending on your floor, you may want to invest in a floor cleaner that washes and waxes. This will help protect your floors and keep them cleaner—or at least make cleaning easier in the long run. You could also invest in a floor cleaner that cleans and shines at the same time, cutting the time you spend on the floors in half, and saving you money since you’ll need only one product.

Hack 4: DIY It!

Sometimes you don’t need all these fancy products to get the job done—what you have in your kitchen often works just as well! Here are a few household staples that can double as cleaning supplies:

Microwave to clean sponges: If you don’t have time to run to the store to get new sponges or simply want to save some money, don’t throw out your old sponges! Soak them in a mixture of water and lemon juice and then pop them in the microwave for one minute to disinfect them.
Vinegar to clean taps: To help remove lime scale and other stains around your taps, soak cotton wool pads in vinegar and use them to clean the area. Say goodbye to lime scale and hello to shiny taps!
Coca-Cola: Perfect to get rid of those oil stains on the garage floor: simply cover the area, let it soak, and rinse off.
Baking Soda: Sprinkle some baking soda on your bed or carpet to deodorize it and eliminate musty, moldy stains and odors.

Hack 5: Scale it Down

Avoid spring cleaning overwhelm by tackling one mess at a time. Clean one room or area completely before moving on to another. Dealing with a single area at once helps you avoid that feeling of frustration and enables you to better budget your time—and as working moms, our time is precious!

Hack 6: Make it Fun!

For many of us, spring cleaning isn’t something we look forward to. So why not try to make it a little more enjoyable? Crank up your favorite music, and feel free to throw in some dance moves while you’re at it! Or, instead of allocating rooms to everyone, clean certain areas together with the family, using that time to bond and maybe even engage in a little friendly competition (who can finish their clean-up faster?!)!

There are so many other life hacks to make spring cleaning easy, but these six tips are a good place to start. The key is not to get overwhelmed—so accept some help, break it down into smaller tasks, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Cleaning Life Hack Working Mom

3 Simple Kitchen Time-Savers for Busy Moms

When I was younger, I remember my mom getting me to help with household chores by saying, “the maid’s off today!” (Hint: We never had a maid!). Now that I’m in charge of my own household (re: cooking, cleaning, and seemingly everything else), I can definitely relate to this sentiment! Sometimes, it really does feel like the “mom” hat is interchangeable with the “maid,” “chef,” “chauffeur,” and so on.

This is especially true when it comes to our kitchens. Even those of us with helpful spouses or little ones know that having them prepare a meal for you often comes with hours of cleaning up afterwards.

As working moms, we’ve already got a lot on our plates. That’s why I’ve put together these time-saving life hacks to keep your kitchen clean, the dishes done, and the family healthily fed without leaving you feeling like hired help.

Tip 1: Start Small

Especially if you feel like your kitchen has gotten a bit out of control (i.e., you’re not actually sure if there is a counter under all that paperwork anymore), try to start with a small cleaning project that you attend to regularly. This doesn’t need to be something big—you may even start with a task that only takes five minutes but has a huge impact, like checking for expired food in the refrigerator once a week.

The main point is to focus on cleaning up this one area regularly rather than spending hours on an overwhelming deep clean of the entire room.

Some suggestions include:
Clean the counters with a washcloth or Lysol wipe every evening before going to bed
Sweep the kitchen once a week
Wipe down the refrigerator once a week
Clean out your fridge once a week
Close all cabinet doors and drawers every morning
Wipe down the microwave at least once a week

Once you have one area down, start adding on new tasks, and you’ll be able to see those kitchen counters again in no time. You may even get the kids involved with these age-appropriate chores.

Tip 2: Make Lunch Packing Easy

While all of us end up deferring to school lunches every once in a while, it can be hard to swallow their higher costs and relative unhealthiness. We know intuitively that it makes more sense to pack lunches for our kids, but it’s sometimes difficult finding the time on busy mornings to get even a sandwich made.

That’s why I’ve started automating my lunch making. After cleaning my fridge once a week (Tip 1, check!), I decided to put together a school lunch “section” of my refrigerator. Each Sunday evening before the rush of Monday comes, I make some sandwiches, salads, soup, and other main course items to last my kids for the entire week. I put them in plastic containers with a little note to “take one.”

I then put some fruit and veggies, pre-cut and ready to eat, in a bin next to them with the note “take as many as you’d like” (after all, I can always cut more!). Similarly, juices or milks, desserts, and chips (in the cupboard) also get a “take one” note because kids can be sneaky.

This system allows my kids a sense of independence—they get to actually choose which food items they take each day, within reason. It also means that I have these ten minutes back each morning to do check the news and drink a cup of coffee. #coffeesolveseverything

You may also find that using a larger tub labelled “snacks” and filling it with healthy foods allows your kids to help themselves when they get nibbly—and saves you the whining when they can’t find something to snack on.

Tip 3: Turn Chore Time into “Me” Time

We all have those chores that we just hate doing. For me, it’s the dishes—for some reason, I absolutely loathe this task! But still, my family always seems to manage to leave the dishes in the sink without me catching them. I used to be a little bitter about always having to wash everyone’s dishes until I realized that there was no rule that said I couldn’t do something fun at the same time.

So I started listening to podcasts and some of my favorite music when doing dishes. All of a sudden, I was able to catch up on the news and stay up-to-date on my friend’s podcast while still getting credit for keeping my kitchen clean. Over time, I’ve really come to love this practice—now I actually look forward to it!

Hack Your Kitchen

While you’ll still have the occasional big mess or mid-week meal to cook, these tips will allow you to spend your average day doing fewer chores and spending less time cleaning. Plus, you’ll likely come to enjoy the time you do spend on these tasks by listening to music, catching up on the news, or tuning into your top podcasts.

Turn chore time into “me” time and recruit your children (and spouse) as clean-up helpers. You may even end up having some actual down time on your hands!