Tired of cleaning up after everyone and doing all the housework? Check out these reasons you can’t keep up with cleaning your home.
If you’re like me, your home was immaculate before having kids. You vacuumed every week and polished the windows for a sparkly shine. You returned the dishes to their proper places and kept the floors mopped and swept. Managing your time was a breeze.
And if you truly are like me, that all went down the drain once you had kids.
The biggest culprit we all share? Lack of time. We have too many responsibilities with the same time we’ve always had with less motivation to do them. That much is true.
But could you be guilty of other, not-so-obvious reasons you’re overwhelmed with household tasks?
6 reasons you can’t keep up with cleaning your home
Because as little time as we have now, that doesn’t mean we have to live in a messy house. We can still maintain a clean, organized home without feeling overwhelmed.
The trick is to take a look at your current bad habits and re-frame your old standards. Let’s take a look at six surprising reasons you can’t keep up with cleaning your home. As parents have said about the article:
“I love this article. It cuts to the chase and bottom-lines everything.” -Sarah
“Omg I’m so glad I found your article. I have been going nuts trying to keep my house clean with my hubby and 2 year old. But having all the house chores alone is tiring and making me depressed. You totally pinpointed my problem.” -Mar
1. You don’t have a chore list
Creating lists is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable. Hanging a visual to-do list of your chores is an easy way to know what you need to do and by when. Instead of cleaning aimlessly, you’ll know which parts you still haven’t cleaned.
A simple way to make a chore list is to write weekly or bi-weekly chores you want to do. Cross them off once you’re done, then switch chores with your partner or kids if you want to take turns. Include a due date so you know when you need to do them as well.
You can also print a chore list for daily tasks, like remembering to wipe dirt from the bathrooms or recycle junk mail. You won’t have to remember everything you’d like done for the day.
Free printables: Join my newsletter and grab your Printable Chore List templates to help you and your family organize chores! Get it below—at no cost to you:
2. You deep clean too often
Yes, deep cleaning too often can make you feel worse than if you didn’t do this so much.
Daily deep cleaning with kids in tow just isn’t as possible as it used to be. Choose instead a daily cleaning routine and sanitary standards. Loading the dishwasher, wiping kitchen counters, laundry, and mild vacuuming come to mind.
Save heavy duty cleaning for special occasions, or limit it to seasonal milestones or even once a month. No one is going to notice the streaks in your window or the dust in the vents.
And make cleaning easy. Build a system so it’s easy for you to put things where they belong:
- Put a coat rack near the front door. Right now, your only choices may be to toss your coat on the floor or walk all the way to your bedroom to hang it. Make it easy by putting a coat rack right by your front door. You can keep the floor clear without having to walk all the way to the bedroom.
- Place a hamper in the kitchen to toss dirty bibs and napkins. It’s tempting to clutter your kitchen with dirty cloths when your only option is to walk to the hamper. Put a hamper nearby where your dirty bibs and cloths can go.
- Organize books in a cubby by your kids’ reading area. Instead of tossing books everywhere, place a book cubby near common reading areas. After you’re done reading, you’re more likely to place the books back in a bin than leaving it lying around.
These are a few examples of how we can make it easy for ourselves to maintain a clean home. Build systems so the everyday messes become easier to avoid.
3. You maintain high standards during difficult times
Our lives go through challenging seasons when high standards need to be put aside temporarily.
Changes like a new job or having just given birth means it’s okay if appliances have grease or the living room is a mess. Doing too many chores when you’re pregnant gives you a complete pass to not sweat the stains on the couch or that the towels and pillows aren’t organized.
Now isn’t the time to worry about keeping your home spotless. Putting that pressure on yourself adds stress and burnout to your mental health. Acknowledge that things are hectic and will get back on track when they settle down. You don’t need to maintain the same level of standards all the time.
One simple trick in the meantime? Keep little items in storage areas.
Your home is probably filled with random knick knacks—plastic toys, the random superhero book, or the slinky found in a goody bag. Your kids like them too much to throw away, but they’re an eye sore and never in the same place.
To combat the mess, fill shelves with cubbies or plastic containers to house random items. Toy boxes hold toy trains or little figurines, and stuffed animals can go in a mesh bag.
Storage areas keep eye sores away and help your toddler learn which toys belong where, like putting crayons in the box and building blocks in the cubby.
Read more on how to avoid parent burnout.
4. Your partner doesn’t do enough
How equal are you and your partner with childcare and household tasks?
When you have sole responsibility of cleaning the whole house, you’ll feel burned out. This doesn’t mean you do everything 50/50. One parent might be more available than the other and have a better chance to pop loads in the laundry.
But both parents should do something to contribute to your home. Let’s say your partner usually does the “once in a while” tasks of fixing a leaky pipe while you do daily chores. But how often does the pipe leak versus dirty dishes that need cleaning?
You have the burden of doing daily tasks that take more time than his or her once-in-a-while tasks. Both parents need to pitch in whenever they can so one person doesn’t feel like he or she is doing more than the other.
5. You save your chores for when the kids are asleep
At first, this makes sense. How else can you get chores done efficiently and quickly when you have kids to attend to? And for many chores, nap and bedtimes are the ideal times to do just that.
But not all chores need to be done when the kids are asleep. Saving up all your chores will leave you frazzled and short on time. Instead, involve the kids with your chores:
- Play peek-a-boo with the baby while you sort through a load of laundry.
- Set up a play area in the kitchen while you load the washer.
- Make putting toys away a game.
- Teach your kids how to spray and wipe surfaces (or give younger ones a clean rag to wipe).
- Vacuum the floor while the kids play nearby.
Some chores are better done alone, like bleaching the sink or mopping the floor. But don’t feel like you can’t get anything done until the kids are in bed.
6. You have too much clutter
Piles of paper. Outgrown clothes. Wires to electronics you don’t even use. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. I just described a few of the items strewn around my home. Left unattended, these things can clutter living spaces and make it more difficult to clean.
They’re an eye sore with no purpose and can add to your already long list of chores.
Go for a minimalist lifestyle and only buy and bring into your home things you want or need. Rotate toys and store some in the closet so only a few are visible at a time. Donate or sell outgrown or unflattering clothes and toys as well as gadgets and decor you no longer use.
Keeping your home free of clutter not only makes it more welcoming but lessens the time to clean it. Every few months, go through your home and declutter things you no longer use. You can either:
- Throw away
Start with one area, like your closet. And even within your closet, focus on one part, like shoes. If you haven’t used the shoes in a year, more than likely, you can part ways with it.
Continue with other areas of your home, even hidden ones. You might find a box of paperwork from your maternity leave or garden tools you forgot about. Sort through those and decide whether you still need to store them in your home.
Get more tips on how to practice minimalism with kids.
Maintaining a semblance of a clean home may not be like how it was before you had kids, but it is possible. Keep realistic expectations and standards of your home. Involve your partner and your kids. Organize your chores into lists and remove clutter as much as possible.
Your home may not look magazine-worthy all the time, but you’ll be able to relax, enjoy and yes, keep up with cleaning your home.
Get more tips:
- How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up After Themselves
- Why Too Many Toys Can Be Bad for Kids
- Awesome Mess Free Activities for 2 Year Olds
- How to Make Time for Yourself (Even If You Have Kids!)
- How to Actually Get Things Done with a Baby
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your Printable Chore List templates:
Yeah I can’t do very much at while the kids are awake – in fact there seems no point. I’m a single mum with no support who had a tonne of stuff dumped on me by a hoarding parent who threatens to 4 year old twins. I have them
24/7 and I’m fed up. I hate housework as I feel like it’s s never ending cycle that is a waste of energy.
Nina Garcia says
I can imagine, Carly! I started with simple chores, like washing a dish or two, or putting away toys while they played nearby with something else.
I have been married for 18 years & I pretty much do all the house cleaning & took care of the kids. My husband is on ‘light duty’ he does few dishes here & there & a quick mop ‘just our tiny kitchen & a hallway but he never moves anything or tire himself out. I now have two teenager they help a bit but sometimes they just ignore me so I end up doing all the work! I do put cloth in wash every other day. I fold cloth every day at 8:00PM. Kitchen is done everyday! I assigned a day for each bathroom for deep cleaning but a quick counter wipe is after I brush my teeth. There is nothing better than waking up to a clean bathroom! Sometimes things are not perfect if my husband complains I just say ‘I am a human after all’ & I just don’t have the energy like I used to. Meaning ‘HELP’ if you don’t like how our house looks.
Nina Garcia says
Hi Samantha! Yes, as repetitive as cleaning can be, it can also be a boost to the mood once it’s done 🙂
Omg I’m so glad I found your article. I have been going nuts trying to keep my house clean with my hubby and 2 year old. But having all the house chores alone is tiring and making me depressed. You totally pinpointed my problem. I deep clean too much, but I also spot clean too much, always looking for something to wipe or clean. I need to chill out and rewrite my list, let things go a little longer, I’m not gonna die over it!
Nina Garcia says
Exactly, Mar! So glad the article resonated with you. It’s so true: it’s not worth the fuss and stress! Definitely slow the pace once it gets too hectic 🙂
I love this article. It cuts to the chase and bottom-lines everything. In short, stop expecting so much of yourself (not a good way to live–always behind the 8-ball). Stressful, and stress can lead to exhaustion.
From now on, I am going to do just this: Stick to smaller jobs; do them even if I can’t do the big ones, and when I have time, do a big one. I will also make sure that I am happy and well-rested when I do the big jobs. I will continue to do the little ones even when I am really tired. That way, I at least keep up in a small way and get ‘something’ done.
Thanks for this and for letting me off the hook. I had become extremely depressed, because I simply couldn’t keep up.
‘Keep it simple. Do the small things.’ will now be my motto.
Nina Garcia says
I’m so glad the article helped, Sarah! Thanks for letting me know.