When Jude was tiny we had a cleaning service, and it was a life saver. However, as he got older and easier, it became clear that we had no good reason not to clean our tiny house ourselves. This meant we could save some money and teach our vacuum-fearing child the importance of caring for our home.
Having a cleaning service taught me a number of valuable lessons. The biggest lesson was that a house that is cleaned from top to bottom, all at once, stays much cleaner than one that is tackled in phases. When you dust one day, vacuum the next, etc., you are never not cleaning, and the house is never very clean. With that in mind, Cleaning Sunday was born.
Every other Sunday this little family cleans the whole house from top to bottom, and I thought I'd share a few tips on how to get it done quickly and effectively with a toddler in tow.
1. Create a fun routine. We know that if we let ourselves off the hook for one Sunday the whole system fails, so we have a few things to make it "fun." Namely, loud dance music and a reward of going out to lunch when we're done. This also helps differentiate the activity for Jude. When he hears Lady Gaga at top volume and sees the vacuum, he knows it's time to bust out the duster, not a huge pile of blocks. (The vacuum robot eats all toys left on the ground, making for a fast and furious toddler clean up.)
2. Have your little one help, but stay focused. Jude likes to dust and even mop, but while he is working, so are we. And if he stops for a union break, he won't find anyone to join him. We just keep plugging along, and he either gets bored and starts playing with the toys I just excavated from behind the couch, or he follows me around until I'm finished.
3. Tag team. I strip the beds, dust, vacuum, and mop, while Jason scrubs the kitchen and bathroom. Jude "helps" me, and I don't have to scrub the toilet, score bonus! I'm not sure this method would work without the help of my husband, but when we all pitch in, it's a slam dunk. Happy wife, happy life.
4. Think like a cleaning service. Cleaning time is not organizing time, if you get sucked into the junk-drawer clear-out, you'll never finish the chore at hand. Just pretend it's not your job to organize, but to get every surface clean as quickly as possible. Plus, cleaning with a toddler is doable, but organizing is another matter entirely.
5. Use natural cleaning products. The last thing you want to worry about when a little one is helping you clean is whether they are going to get into something toxic. Pinterest is a great resource for DIY solutions. And I love Method Floor Cleaner, it smells amazing and the squeeze top makes it so that Jude can help with minimal disaster.
For even more awesome tips for cleaning with kids, check out this post.