Writing a clean home hacks post isn’t something I ever thought I would write, simply because it’s something that I have always struggled with. There never seemed to be enough time, there always seemed to be an area of the house that was a complete disaster and to be perfectly frank, it’s something that I would procrastinate doing, I mean who wants to wash the dishes or vacuum the floors? Certainly not me, I’d much rather be watching yet another episode of whatever my latest obsession is on Netflix.
In about October last year I started to feel very overwhelmed by all the “stuff” that was in our home; there just seemed to be too much of it. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t candidates for Hoarders; Burried Alive by any means, but I would open up a kitchen cupboard and there would be items that we had literally not used since we moved into our house more than two years ago. Why were we still keeping them?! And so, call it nesting or just pure craziness but I started to declutter my entire home. I started with the kitchen and then slowly but surely moved onto all of the rooms of the house.
I could go on and on about how and why I decluttered but that’s an entirely different post for a different day. But why I wanted to touch on my little nesting episode is because this is what catapulted me into starting to clean my home differently. Why? Because after all the useless items that were just cluttering our space was gone, I actually felt a new sense of pride for our home, and wanted to keep it in as much of a pristine condition as possible. You see, when you feel proud of something, you want it to stay in the best condition possible, and with less “stuff”, it was so much easier to do. It also had such an amazing effect mentally; I felt more calm, less frazzled and just more at ease in general.
Before I carry on, I think it’s important for me to explain our household dynamic, because it definitely does play a role in how the house is cleaned. I’m sure by now you know who lives in our home, but just in case you’re new around here, we are a family of 5… almost 6! With a toddler and two pups, things are a bit chaotic in terms in the toys and dog hair department and soon we will will be adding a newborn into the mix, eeek! Dan works your typical 8-5, I am lucky enough to work from home. Aria goes to school 3 mornings a week and then we have a nanny once a week. We don’t have any domestic help which many people are shocked to learn but it’s just one of the things that we haven’t found that we absolutely need and rather use that money elsewhere. We do however get someone to help out once every two to three months to do a really deep clean (skirting boards, windows, etc), especially now that I am super pregnant.
Many assume that because I work from home, the responsibility of keeping the house clean falls on my shoulders. While I do tend to do 60% of the cleaning simply because I am at home and I find it useful to do bits of cleaning here and there when I need a break from work, cleaning the house is not considered my job nor is it expected of me, it is rather a responsibility that all three (yes, even Aria) of us share.
Before we get into how we actually keep our home clean, I thought that the first thing I would do would be to tell you about the appliances and products that we use. We don’t have tons of things we use, but the ones that we have work well and I would repurchase them again and again. First up, appliances:
Is it possible to love a vacuum cleaner because I’m pretty certain that I love ours. We use the Kärcher WD 6 Premium multi purpose vacuum and let me tell you, it has been life changing. I know it seems a little bit odd to call something like a vacuum cleaner an investment but I totally feel that it is, especially if you have dogs that drop hair and a toddler that drops food. Since owning my Kärcher I definitely vacuum less than I used to and it takes me a fraction of the time compared to when I had a smaller, less powerful machine.
We don’t have fancy mop, in fact I think it’s actually a no name brand that I grabbed at Checkers one day, but it looks very similar to this Floorwiz Eco Mop. I really like it because once I’m done with the mopping, I can just chuck the material bit into the washing machine and that’s that. The dream is to get a steam mop, I think that they just clean better and it also saves you the schlep of dragging around the bucket of water.
Something that I only got recently is a a hand held vacuum machine (we have the Bennett Read – Swift one); I really didn’t think that there was any need for one but I literally use mine every single day. It’s no where as powerful as my vacuum cleaner but it is a lifesaver in terms of quick little clean ups when you don’t feel like hauling out the big guns. I use it each evening to zip up any tufts of dog hair (you know, the one’s that look like tumbleweeds) and also to get rid of any crumbs and what not that may be on the countertops, instead of dusting them into my hand or onto the floor. It also comes in really handy when Aria spills biscuit crumbs or decides to crumble up a packet of Flings. Definitely a nice to have, but one that I can’t see us living without now.
Now onto cleaning products that we use. I was sent some SoPure goodies sometime last year and have really come to love them. A quick intro if you aren’t familiar with the brand; So Pure is a completely natural product range of household, hygiene, baby and beauty products that are 100% safe and eco-friendly. They are made here in South Africa and are sold on their online store, Dischem pharmacies as well as Faithful to Nature. The cleaning products that we have been using (and that I have been repurchasing) in our home are:
The SoPure Kitchen Cleaner has become my favourite of all of the products that I’ve used. I am an obsessive counter-wiper and the SoPure Kitchen Cleaner makes my whole kitchen smell citrus-sy fresh, and of course it cleans everything like a bomb. A bottle lasts me no less than two months which I reckon is pretty amazing. Next up is the SoPure Surface Disinfectant. This is what I generally use when I give the bathrooms a wipe down and I also chuck some in the water when I mop the floors, although there is the Floor Cleaner if you would prefer something more specific. For more stubborn cleaning up that needs to get done (the stove top or bath, etc), the SoPure Anti-Bacterial Cream is great. It’s basically my replacement for Handy Andy but doesn’t have any ammonia or harsh fumes in it. Now I know this isn’t really a cleaning product, but if you need a new hand wash, I love having the SoPure one in my kitchen. It has a great fresh scent and really makes my hands feel super clean without making them feel dry, a total win.
If you’re keen to try out some of the SoPure products, you can use my discount code m&m15 on their online store at check out for 15% off.
Right, now that we’ve spoken about all the bits and pieces that we use to keep our home clean, let’s get into how we actually keep it clean! I think the easiest way for me to explain it all is to just chat through our routine and then any specific areas that you brought up from my IG Stories a while ago, that I may have skipped over, I’ll just go through at the end.
One of the key things that has helped us keep our home in a clean and tidy state is to do one major chore per day. I have found that tackling one big chore per day is a lot easier than trying to do everything on one day and it’s way less overwhelming. Each of these tasks take a max of 30mins to do so it doesn’t take up the whole day and also doesn’t feel too tedious because honestly, who actually wants to do housework. Our week looks something like this:
Tuesday: Aria is at home with me so I don’t assign any chore to this day, it just wouldn’t get done
Thursday: Kitchen scrub and wipe down
Friday: Bathroom scrub and wipe down
Saturday/Sunday: laundry. The weekend works best for us for laundry because then all of Dan’s work clothes are ready for him for the week.
With the big chores out of the way, it means that there isn’t a huge amount of other work that needs to be done other than dishes and small clean ups which I do twice a day. With a toddler in the house, I made peace the fact that there will always be toys floating around and actually, that’s okay, this is a home, not a show house. If you read this post, you will remember how I spoke about how we have taught Aria from a young age to clean up her toys, it’s such an important skill to teach and it really helps! Here’s a quick breakdown of how our day usually goes during the week in terms of when we clean up:
After getting changed in the morning, Aria makes her bed. She is still little so of course she doesn’t make it properly and Dan and I help her a lot, but it’s important to us that she learns that this is something she needs to do each morning, although we are a lot more relaxed on the weekend. She also knows to take her nappy from the night before and to throw it away.
While Aria eats her breakfast, I pack away the dishes from the previous night, give the counters a wipe down and pack her lunch for school. Aria knows to put her breakfast dishes into the sink once she is done.
I try to do my chore of the day when I get back from dropping Aria off at school. Then it’s done and I have the rest of the day to do my work (or, at this point of my pregnancy, sleep, haha!).
Aria eats her lunch while I do the breakfast and lunch dishes quickly, there aren’t usually a lot but I like to get them out of the way and then I give the counters another wipe down (again…). Once Aria has put her dishes in the sink, we do our first little tidy up of her toys and books. Generally she is quite good at keeping everything contained but sometimes it’s like a tornado has hit, especially if it’s a Tuesday. We pack away everything together and then it’s nap time.
Dan and I have a bit of an unwritten rule: whoever makes dinner, washes the dishes. The other person does Aria’s bath and bedtime routine. It works really well for us and we generally finish at the same time so that we can spend the rest of the evening together. I usually cook during the week and so I do the dishes quickly afterwards, zap up any tufts of dog hair with my hand held vacuum and, you guessed it, wipe down the counters. Ten or so minutes before dinner is ready, Dan gets Aria to do a last clean up of her toys so that after dinner, it’s straight to the bath.
Weekends are obviously a lot more relaxed but we still follow the above routine somewhat.
Okay, now onto the few topics that you asked about, that weren’t covered in the previous paragraphs:
Toy storage: When I did my big declutter last year I donated a lot of Aria’s toys. To be honest, she never really had a lot of toys, we never liked the idea of her having so many that she didn’t even know what she had. The play room is one of the rooms where we still have some work to do but for now, I have storage boxes that everything goes into. Some of them are for specific things (LEGO, puzzles, etc) and others are for miscellaneous goodies. We also have a bookshelf in both the lounge and Aria’s bedroom. When it’s clean up time, Aria knows where her toys go and is generally really good at putting them away. Sometimes she gets distracted or just doesn’t want to, and that’s okay, I get like that sometimes too!
Dog hair: This is my worst and it seems never ending! Getting our dogs groomed once a month definitely helps and zapping big tufts of hair each night makes a big difference as well. I don’t have the miracle solution yet I’m afraid.
Surface clutter: Again, after doing my declutter this has gone down to an absolute minimum. Every single item in our home has a place, and we all make a point of putting things back in their place when we are done with them. Of course there are some days where I walk into the house and chuck bags of who-knows-what onto the dining room table, or deliveries pile up over a few days. I just try to make a point after the evening dishes are done, to quickly unpack everything and put them back into their place. It takes 10min max and is much easier to do then than to sit with a disaster after a week.
Before I end off this blog post, I just want to set everyone’s mind at ease: my home is not always perfectly clean! In fact, right this second it is a complete upside down mess: no dishes were done today (too hot, too tired, too busy), I didn’t get around to vacuuming and our bed didn’t even end up getting made this morning. But that’s okay because like I mentioned earlier, this is a home and not a show house… or Pinterest.
I hope some of these clean home hacks help you and please leave yours in the comments below!