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Keeping house clean right after having a baby is no easy task. Here’s how to make it a little easier!
#1: Establish what absolutely has to be clean
The first step in cleaning up house is knowing what you need to do. Write it down, take a picture, make a to-do list in your journal if you want to. But you need to know what to do. If you neglect this step you may find yourself getting distracted while cleaning. (I know that if I don’t take note of what needs to be done, I often end up cleaning less important things. When your cleaning time is limited because you need to care for your baby, wasting time is not a luxury you can afford.)
When you are making this note, try not to make a massive list of things that could be done. Again, that’s too distracting. Make a list of things that ABSOLUTELY have to be done. It should be a short list, for example:
- Do a load of dishes
- Run laundry load of whites & jeans
- Pick up living room floor
See how short that is? It’s only the things that ABSOLUTELY have to be done. After you’ve accomplished those and baby is still happy, you are welcome to do more. But DON’T deviate until then.
Now that you know what you need to do, here are some tips to help get those things done:
#2: Pick up while baby plays
This requires getting to know your baby and knowing how they like to play. My daughter loves colorful playmats and literally spends hours gleefully kicking on them. If I would have discovered this sooner after she was born, I might have had my house in a little bit more order!
So sit down with your kiddo. Do they like playing on the floor? Maybe they like their rocker or stroller better?
One thing that babies love across the board is a MamaRoo. It’s an automatic swinging chair with a mobile in front of their face. You can check it out here. For the rare occasion that my daughter doesn’t like her playmat, the MamaRoo is a lifesaver! (Seriously– best baby investment ever. My little one slept in it for the first couple days and I got more rest at home than at the hospital with nurses taking care of her! It calms kiddos like it’s magic!)
#3: Turn as many things into routine as possible
If you can automatically toss your clothes in the hamper, rinse your plate and put it straight into the dishwasher, or whisk laundry away as soon as it’s clean, then you’ve got a big leg up. Establishing those automatic reactions and routines cuts HOURS off of your cleaning time. I have had much more time to relax since I’ve added routines and automatic cleanups to my home care. Here are a few ideas:
- Do smaller loads of laundry more frequently. I have found that instead of doing all of my laundry on Fridays, if I do it on both Monday and Friday, it’s much more manageable. It is a lot easier to find time to put away smaller loads of laundry. Because even if you’re doing laundry more frequently, it means that the folding can be done quickly (while baby naps!).
- Try to wake up 10-30 minutes before baby in the morning. Take care of yourself and then spend the last few minutes cleaning up.
- Clean up dinner immediately after eating. Again, it is easier to fit in a bunch of quick, small chores, than to make time for massive projects.
#4: You don’t have to sleep when the baby sleeps
I know this sounds like sacrilege, but if you feel okay you don’t HAVE to nap. I’m not a huge napper, so when Emm came along I felt better napping just once a day. Don’t stress yourself out lying in bed. If you can’t sleep while the baby sleeps, it’s okay! Find the rhythm that works for you and your baby.
#5: Ask for help
This one is particularly difficult. Sometimes it’s tough to admit you aren’t supermom. But if you have relatives or friends that are willing to help, take them up on their offers! Call your bestie and ask if she would do some laundry for you. Ask your man to start the dishwasher when he gets home from work. Anything helps!
You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings for asking. If anything, you will make them feel a ton better, because people want to help! I know I feel so grateful when my friends are willing to ask for my help and I can offer service. It makes the helper feel like they’ve eased your burdens 🙂
#6: Bring baby with you
Where possible, your baby probably wants to hang out with you. Emm loves to sit and watch me fold laundry. You can prop baby up next to you on the couch while you fold, or put their swinging chair in the kitchen with you while you wash. I have found that this extends the baby’s patience significantly, and you will have more time to get things done.
What do you do if you just can’t keep up with the mess?
#7: Get a candle warmer
Thanks for reading!
Is your house spotless? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below!
#Bonustip: If you have extra cash, invest in an automatic vacuuming robot. I was lucky enough to purchase one early on and it has saved me a ton of time vacuuming!