Mom and son handwash dishes together
House & Home

How to Clean Your House When You Have No Time

Know you need to clean your house … but feel like you have no time? Try these handy tips to help create a cleaning plan that will work even on your busiest days!

Woman wearing work clothes and rubber gloves mops her living room floor

If you Google “How to Clean Your Home When You Don’t Have Time,” you’ll find lots of articles that help you manage daily chores.

  • You could make chore charts.
  • Or get into a daily cleaning routine.
  • Or focus on basic cleaning jobs.

But what if your home needs a lot more cleaning than basic maintenance cleaning and routines offer? What if your home needs a major overhaul and you have absolutely no time to dig in?

While creating and sticking with several non-negotiable daily chores is a fantastic starting place – and it’s the backbone of my own cleaning approach – if your house is already a major mess, there’s no way simply making sure your dishes and laundry are washed will make a dent in a home with piles of stuff.

So how DO you really clean a home if and when you don’t have time?

The answer is so very simple – yet so very difficult.

How your family can affect your clean house

I used to think that caring for my home was difficult because I worked all day, every day. And with a 40-hour a week job, it felt impossible to manage work, care for my home, and have any sort of a life.

I figured if and when I ever became a stay-at-home mom, everything would change. The 40 hours I spent at work could be spent with my children and definitely tending to things at home.

Except that when I did become a stay-at-home mom, nothing changed.

In fact, as my infants turned into toddlers and my toddlers turned into children, I found any intention of cleaning was ruined. My house was messier than before and, surprisingly, I actually had less time to do it.

(Don’t believe me? Erma Bombeck said it best when she quipped, “Cleaning the house while the children are home is like shoveling while it’s still snowing.”)

Mom helps young son and toddler daughter with a messy craft project.

The reason had nothing to do with my availability of time or energy. It had everything to do with adding people to my living space – with all of their messes and mess-making tendencies.

When you’re a wife and a mom, being a homemaker – or housekeeper – isn’t at the top of your list. No, the people God has placed in your life – your family – take a higher priority than a clean home.

The added challenge is that caring for a family and showing your husband and children your loving attention doesn’t instantly happen. It takes time and intention to pour into someone else.

When you’re trying to be a loving wife and mom, your family needs you. And as much as you may want to spend some free time picking up around the house, you simply may not have enough time to obliterate huge messes.

You can clean your home — and keep it clean! You just need to know what to do and then follow through with a cleaning strategy that works for YOU and your home.  From Mess to Success can help!

Woman cleans a countertop with a spray bottle

When we really don’t have time to clean

In all reality, it doesn’t matter if you work full-time or part-time or stay at home with your family. As long as you are not a full-time homemaker and don’t have eight hours a day to devote to the upkeep of your home, you probably won’t feel like you have enough time to care for your home.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we already know our feelings are right. We really don’t have enough time.

And instead of trying to find a miraculous cure to create more time or a cleaner home, we need to admit to our constraints:

  • Our homes get messy.
  • The more people who live in your home, the messier it will be.
  • As long as you’re anything but a full-time homemaker, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever feel you have enough time or energy to keep up with your home.

These challenges are fairly universal, but we still need to find time and make time to clean our homes with the little time we have.

So how should we do it?

Step 1: Prioritize

Once you fully realize you may not have enough time to take care of the mess in your home, and once you admit that the mess won’t clean itself, it’s necessary to make cleaning your home a priority.

For the record, cleaning your home might not ever make your list of the top things you really want to do on a weekend. But it’s a lot like other things you may not want to do in life … you need to do it, anyway.

  • Going to the dentist for checkups may not be fun, but it’s necessary for your health.
  • Exercising several times a week may be one of the last things you want to squeeze in your routine, but you will be better off for doing it.
  • Grocery shopping may feel like one of the last things you need squeeze in to a busy schedule, but if you want to eat, you need to buy food.

Similarly, we need to make cleaning and caring for our homes a priority.

It doesn’t have to be a top priority at all. But keeping up with our homes should be a regular part of our daily and weekly schedule. (Like it or not.)
Woman holds pile of clean laundry.

Step 2: Know what to clean

As we understand that caring for our homes and making time to clean our homes should be a priority, we need to know what we actually need to clean.

Maybe you already know what room you need to tackle first. Or maybe, when you look around your home, every room could use some attention.

By making a list of what needs cleaned – either mentally or physically on paper or in your schedule – you can give yourself direction in what needs cleaned.

It might start off with something as general as cleaning the kitchen. Or, you may know that your kitchen looks fairly clean, but you need to spend ten minutes cleaning all of the unintended science projects out of your refrigerator.

And if you’re feeling really inspired, prioritize what rooms or messes need cleaned first.

A word of advice … unless you’ve set your mind to complete a single task, like vacuuming all the floors in your home, try to focus on one room at a time to make some great progress.

For example, if your bathroom is looking pretty filthy, spend the time you’ve set aside for cleaning just focusing on your bathroom. Scrub the sink and toilet. Wipe down the mirror and bathtub. Clean the floors.

However detailed you’d like to get, figure out what you need to clean so when you make the time to work on your home, you’ll have an excellent game plan of what to do.

Feeling completely lost in this area? I’d love to help. Simply subscribe to No Place Like Home to get weekly e-mails that will help guide you through caring for your home. Click here to subscribe and get my free guide, 3 Things to Do Every Day for Homemaking Success.

Step 3: Find the time

Once we embrace the fact that cleaning our homes should become a priority in our lives, we need to find the time to do it … or make the time. Even if and when we’re busy.

During the busiest seasons of life, you may need to survive with completing a few Non-Negotiable Daily Chores.

But when life slows down to a slower pace, it’s time to dig in and get some work done.

You may not want to spend every weekend or vacation deep cleaning. And I don’t blame you! When life is busy and you’re working hard, cleaning is one of the last things you may want to do when you have some time off.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to wait until the absolutely perfect time to clean. You don’t have to wait until all of your children are sleeping soundly or your schedule miraculously clears.
Mom and son handwash dishes together

Clean when you can, no matter who’s around.

And as you clean when you can when others are around, enlist their help. There’s no reason you should be solely responsible for all of the cleaning in your home – unless, that is, you’re the only person living in your home.

Share the work! When everyone in your home pitches in (willingly or unwillingly), they’ll start to take some ownership in the way your home looks. And they might be mindful of their messes. Plus, they can learn how to actually clean. (Are you unsure how to clean something or teach someone how to properly clean something? Look it up on YouTube!)

It may not seem like a major ah-ha moment, but finding pockets of time and spending that free time cleaning is how you can actually start to make a dent in your mess.

Looking at the long game

Chances are you won’t completely clean your entire home in one cleaning session. (If you’re like me, you may not even get an entire room cleaned.)

But instead of getting frustrated with your limitations, try to look at a clean home as a long game. If you currently have a big mess, you won’t conquer it in a day. Or even in a weekend.

You’ll need to invest some time – and keep investing time – to work through it, messy spot by messy spot. Room by room.

But as you do this, you’ll be able to clean your house … even when you have no time.

Tired woman hand washes dishes

Feel like you have no time to clean? What do you to squeeze in homemaking?

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Images courtesy of Deposit Photos and Adobe Stock.

Hilary
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