Housecleaning is often the bane of a homeschool mom’s existence. When you’re spending your days corralling kids and working on school, at the end of the day housecleaning is the last thing on your mind.
That’s why simple routines and systems are the best way to juggle homeschooling and skill keep your house clean.
It’s taken me a few years to find a manageable routine to keep up with it all, but I promise you can do it too!
How To Keep Your House Clean When Homeschooling
Whether you homeschool or not, there’s no easy way to keep your house clean. The same routine and style don’t work for everyone. Instead, you’ll need to find the methods, tools and techniques that work for you and your family.
However, there are a few guidelines that make this job significantly easier. The vast majority of this I got from a combination of books and other resources.
If I was to advise on purchasing and reading just one it would be The Organised Mum Method (the book is by a British author but the concept applies to homes around the world).
The Organised Mum (the book is by a British author) Method is a structured, manageable and ultra-efficient cleaning routine that ensures all areas of the home are taken care of regardless of how many rooms you have and their size.
The programme is incredibly easy to follow and highly effective effective, better still it ensures that everything gets done in just 30 minutes a day, Monday to Friday … and you get weekends off!
The core principles of this book are fantastic, however, we adapted a few to make it better fit our lifestyle.
Step #1: Clear The Clutter
Before you can really keep a consistent cleaning schedule you need to declutter.
If half your cleaning time is spent picking up clutter, you’re wasting your time! There’s a number of methods and techniques you can follow if you find clearing out items difficult.
Marie Kondo has both a series on Netflix and an incredible book, The Minimalists have a documentary on Netflix and an incredible book and if all that wasn’t enough there’s a whole host of different Youtube channels entirely dedicated to decluttering.
Depending on the amount of clutter you have this may take a day, a couple of days, a couple of weeks or a couple of months.
It’s also going to require a lot of honest truths and discipline to stay the course, however, it’s also incredibly freeing both physically and mentally.
Step #2: Ensure Everything Has Its Place
I really can’t stress this fact enough – everything in your home should have a home. No piles or baskets filled with odds and ends. Find a place for everything. Then, when you use something, don’t put it down, put it away!
Your home will feel cleaner when it’s clear of clutter and it will be easier to actually clean your house with all the stuff cleared out of the way.
Plan a few 5 or 10-minute pick-up periods in your day to keep ahead of the mess. Give everyone a basket and have them clean up their clutter.
Step #3: Let Go Of Perfection
Perfection isn’t the key in this instance. Sure, there are many times where perfectionism is a great asset to have but cleaning isn’t one of them.
It’s impossible to expect you to clean the entire house from top to bottom and homeschool even just one child.
The Organised Mum Method book covers this really well with their concepts, with a cleaning routine of just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Like many who came before me, I figured this was impossible, however, it’s not. Especially if you get step #1 right.
I can’t tell you the difference this has made to my personal life as well as our life as a family.
I spend at least 50% less time cleaning now compared to before, yet the house is just as clean and tidy, if not more!
One example of how I’ve implemented this in our own home is by using a robotic vacuum. Previously I’d vacuum all the main areas of the home (pretty much the entire home) on a daily basis.
This could easily take 20 minutes. On Black Friday last year I picked up one of those robotic vacuums – they really aren’t as expensive as you might think.
The robot is scheduled to go around cleaning once a day starting at 7pm. Then, just once a week I go around with the main vacuum for a ‘deeper clean’.
Again if you’re struggling to let go of your perfectionist ways, check out some Youtube videos or articles on the subject. And if you’re struggling further, consider speaking to a medical professional who may be able to help you further.
Step #4: Create A Morning Routine
Routine, routine, routine! I can’t stress how important creating a few simple routines is. Believe me, a morning routine (and an evening routine) is the first step to managing all the daily tasks on your schedule.
But it’s important not to overload your routine – which will just burn you out and make you fail. Instead, choose the most important things you need to tackle each morning.
For me, that’s getting myself ready for the day (so I don’t stay in my pyjamas every day!), reading my Bible, doing a quick wipe down of the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, and taking 15 minutes to tackle one area of my home.
My evening routine is just as simple: a 10-minute clean-up, loading the dishwasher and doing the dishes after dinner (kitchen counters and sink must be cleared and cleaned every night).
One tip: I don’t do all these tasks myself – my family pitches in too! I’m just the ‘routine keeper.’ I make sure everything gets completed… speaking of which…
Step #5: Get The Family Involved
There’s no reason that you should be doing everything on your own. The family is a team and as a result, should be responsible for completing specific tasks on a daily basis or maintaining an area.
Depending on the age you might want to have the children be responsible for both an area and specific tasks that contribute to the running of the household.
Your children will start to treat the home with more value if they are invested in keeping it clean.
This is where having step #2 down is key. Your children are unlikely to clean as well as you, however, provided that the cleaning is just enough it’ll significantly reduce your workload and allow your children to learn these essential skills and gain responsibility.
There’s a number of different ways you can implement a cleaning schedule, however, I’ve found a chore chart works best for our family. None of the children are allowed ‘free time’ until all their daily chores have been completed.
‘Free time’ includes playing video games, playing with toys, playing on the tablet, watching TV or having friends over.
If you’re going from no cleaning schedule or structure then this change may take some time to implement with your family.
However, the key is to be consistent and to start small and build. Getting into a routine as a family with these tasks may easily take six months in some cases.
Step #6: Find A Cleaning Schedule That Fits Your Family
There are a whole host of different cleaning schedules available online. I use a combination of different techniques that I’ve found work well for us over the years.
Of course, different seasons of your families life will require different schedules. With small children, your plate is pretty full just trying to keep up with the mess and corral the kids.
As kids get older they can help out around the house more but you’ll probably also be busier with more outside activities.
Each of those seasons will need to be managed in different ways. However, when you have a solid cleaning routine and expectations in place it’s much easier to tweak it to fit your current needs.
You can read more about this in my article, Simple Systems for Home Management which includes additional cleaning schedule examples and tips.
Creating A Homeschool Cleaning Schedule
Once you’ve cleared the clutter, decided that perfection isn’t your goal, and gotten the family involved, it’s time to choose the systems that will help you keep the house clean.
Here are some ways to fit housecleaning into your busy schedule:
After School Clean-up
When homeschooling is done for the day, take ten minutes to clean up the homeschool clutter and other random things around the house.
I like to use bins (we each have one for our daily homeschool supplies) and baskets (one for each child).
- First, grab your bins and clean up the books and school supplies.
- Then everyone grabs their basket and goes through the house and picks up their own belongings.
- Then the baskets are emptied, putting things in their proper place.
If you need to, repeat this process as part of your kid’s bedtime routine. You’ll love waking up to a house that isn’t filled with random toys and clutter.
We have two chore charts for each child, one daily and one weekly. We’ve added an hour into our schedule each week on a Friday for ‘deep cleaning’ where the kids complete their weekly chore charts, this is perfect as we only have a four day school week.
Meanwhile, all the children are expected to complete their daily schedule either before or after homeschooling before they are allowed to have any ‘free time’ as discussed above.
I created these chore charts by simply listing what I wanted each child to do every day. For ideas, inspiration and to learn what chores are suitable for what age I suggest checking out this article.
Make sure you put the child’s name on the top of the chore chart so you know who’s is who’s. Then grab either some of these reusable erasable pockets or laminate the sheets. That way the child can use a drywipe pen to cross off the chores as they complete them.
Be sure to update the chore charts annually so that each child takes on additional responsibility as they get older. If a child is struggling to complete their chores, assist them with the tasks or adjust them as necessary.
Systems for Daily Tasks
As an adult, some chores won’t end up on your chore list but still need completing regularly. Things like meal planning, laundry and running errands.
Laundry: When you think your children are old enough, teach each child to do their own laundry and assign them a day.
For the remainder of the laundry, plan one day a week to tackle it all or do one load a day. Have the younger children (who aren’t old enough to do their own laundry) help you sort, fold, and put the clean laundry away.
Errands: Try to organize your errands so you can take care of them all in one day – it will save you time in the long run. This is exactly why I enjoy having a 4-day school week, as we can take the extra day to run errands and catch up on other things.
Meal Planning: Find what meals work for you and rotate them regularly, keep the meals simple, however, having plenty to choose from should avoid the food getting boring. We use MyFreezEasy for affordable meal planning & batch cooking on weekends.
This programme was lifechanging for us as a family and has cut down the amount of time I spend cooking and washing up on weeknights by two thirds!
While a daily chore list addresses those tasks that need to be maintained on a consistent basis (like cleaning floors, washing dishes, scrubbing the toilet, etc) other things don’t need to be done so often. Those items go on our deep cleaning list, this is divided by myself and the children on their weekly chore charts – as discussed above.
Not all of these tasks need completely weekly, instead, we’ll loop through different tasks as and when they are required. Some are weekly, but others are monthly, every six weeks, every six months and in some cases every year.
While none of these tasks will give you a completely spotless home, remember, we’re letting go of perfection and focusing on liveable and good enough. Including these types of tasks will certainly help you get there!