I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago regarding disciplinary actions she had in place for her then 3-year-old son. One of the consequences for “serious offenses” was to have him sit on the steps with a toothbrush with instructions to clean in between the corners of the steps with the toothbrush. Although I knew such measures would have never worked with my then 3-year-old, I was still very impressed with the dual goal of punishment as well as deep cleaning being met.
Whether you stay-at-home, telecommute, or work outside the home, there is always something to clean up. I enjoy a clean house, but I prefer living in a HOME. We have all been invited into that house where as soon as you step inside, you feel as though you need to turn back around before you get in trouble for touching anything that may leave a mark. That’s not a comfortable place to be, neither is it realistic for you to feel as though you are not a good enough parent unless you maintain the cleanliness in your own home to that level at all times.
The day you bring home your twins is simply not the right time for you to concern yourself with the fact that you do not remember the last time you moved your couch and vacuumed underneath it. When I came home with my twins, I also had a two-year-old to contend with, which forced me to come to terms with my expectations. I realized quickly, though reluctantly, that I needed to change my approach to deep cleaning inside our home.
Doing the deep cleaning yourself without losing your sanity is still doable, even with twins in the house. Before you begin, you will need to break down which zones are in need of deep cleaning, and further break down each of those zones so that you can tackle them in little bite-size bits, instead of all at once.
How to Deep Clean Your Home and Still Enjoy Your Family
Create a system for your deep cleaning success. There are many websites and apps out there that can help you with this, but the main thing to keep in mind is that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither did your home get dirty in one day (at least, not to the point of needing a deep cleaning) and therefore, trying to tackle your deep cleaning job all at once is not realistic, neither is it necessary.
Start with the area of your home which most irritates you. I’m going to use the bathroom as an example, because perhaps you are sick of seeing rings inside the toilet bowl, or you wonder what was the color of the tile on the floor of your shower.
Now, break down this area into little bite-sized bits. For example, your bathroom sink, floor, toilets, shower/bathtub, and mirror.
The following is how I approach cleaning my toilets.
- Before bed, I sprinkle some baking soda into each of the toilet bowls and around the seat. I leave gloves, the toilet brush, dishwashing soap, vinegar, and a sponge (one with an abrasive side to it) beside the toilet.
- In the morning before all bodies wake up (which means I wake up about 20 minutes beforehand), I use the toilet brush to scrub inside the toilet bowl.
- Then I wet the sponge with a little vinegar to scrub around the seat (use the abrasive side of the sponge).
- Then flush the toilet and rinse off the sponge with water and squeeze out the water from the sponge.
- Add a little soap to the sponge and wipe around the seat and other areas for a bit more of a fresher scent and shine. This literally takes me about five minutes per toilet in my house, which is why I normally do all the toilets in my house at the same time.
I approach cleaning my shower/bathing areas in a similar way. Since my husband usually showers in the morning before he leaves for work, after he leaves, I do the following:
- I will sprinkle baking soda onto the wet shower floor and on the walls until it forms a sort of paste and let it sit until it dries (I DO NOT scrub, I only sprinkle).
- A few hours later when it has dried, I will then make 30 mins “distraction time” for my children (e.g. nap time, tv time, playdate time, or some other distraction).
- During distraction time, I add vinegar to the areas of baking soda. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda causing it to bubble and do half the scrubbing for me.
- I let that sit for about 5 mins then use the scrub brush to deeper scrub the grimy areas for an additional 5-10 mins (depending on the grime).
- Then, I turn on the shower, or if I’m able, I’ll take a shower to rinse off the baking soda solution. When I come out of the shower, I’ve not only cleaned the floor and walls of my shower, but I have also actually taken a shower (win-win!).
- Even if I don’t take a shower at that time, I will often clean the other bathtubs in my house simultaneously so that all my bathing areas are complete with only 5-10 mins of scrubbing time for each.
- Those of you who have a glass shower door as I do, an extra 5 minutes is what I need to clean this as well. I ensure that the glass on the shower is dry first. Then I take my old cloth and wet it with water from the tap as hot as I can take it. Wringing out the water, I will then wipe the glass, removing any scuffs that are on it. Then I’ll then take my micro-fiber cloth or a dry paper towel and wipe off the glass until it’s clear.
Another 15 minutes would enable me to clean the floors in each of my bathrooms, and an additional 15 minutes to clean the sinks, both of which I would normally tackle in the evening after I put my children to bed, or the following day.
By breaking down the areas to be cleaned into smaller cleaning jobs, I am able to focus and deep clean the area, but not stress myself out trying to get a big job done within a short window of time and miss spending time with my family. As long as you create a deep cleaning system without the added stress of unrealistic or overwhelming expectations, you will be able to deep clean your home, and save your precious time to enjoy the way you want to.
Andrea Ormsby helps twin moms learn how to laugh more and stress less. Sign up for a strategy session with her via bit.ly/getmomcourage, or find out more about her and her services via www.andreaormsby.com