Ahhh…I don’t think any post has ever made me sound more lazy than this one does. But, honestly, I have way better ways to spend my time rather than cleaning and scrubbing. I mean, I want to actually enjoy my life. That’s what minimalism is all about after all. Minimizing the clutter, mental or physical so that you can live a more purposeful life. Right? At least that’s what it is to me. In fact, one of my major reasons behind wanting to downsize our house was just so I didn’t have to clean as much. Sure I was a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom with a 2 and a 3 year old. But picking up toys from over a dozen rooms in a day is a bit excessive. Don’t you think? Since doing away with all of that extra space, I have also done away with my need to be perfect when it comes to keeping a tidy home. Instead I use several little cleaning hacks each day to keep my home clean without me having to work at it. These are my Minimalist mom cleaning hacks I’m sharing with you. So you can keep your house clean with the least amount of effort.
*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
You had to know I was going to throw this one in there right? If you are feeling overwhelmed every day by the amount of stuff or the amount of space you have to clean, then just be done with it! We downsized nearly two years ago and it has completely transformed our lives. Not only that, but I declutter my house constantly. Having children is just a natural clutter-magnet so I am really diligent at staying on top of it.
Some great decluttering and downsizing ideas:
There are so many small or big ways that you can do away with clutter. You just have to find what works for you! Like I said, if you are feeling overwhelmed by your cleaning duties, especially every day, considering a downsize or a massive declutter might be the best decision for you!
I just started making my bed. I just started washing my face too. It’s like I hit 30 and decided it was probably time to be a grown up. Let me tell you, this really isn’t a shabby way to live. Each day I have more energy, my house stays cleaner and my skin stays clearer. Ok, but back to the bed thing. Making a habit of cleaning your bed first thing in the morning is great way of kicking your body into gear. Here are some other great ideas to have an awesome day before you even get up! By making the bed right away, not only do you start out the day having accomplished something BUT it helps keep your bed nice and tidy so it isn’t such a pain to make! Usually just a flip of the comforter and the tossing of a few pillows and you’re all set!
I sincerely hope most people are already doing this, but I’ll say it just in case. If you have worn a pair of jeans for the day, there is nothing wrong with hanging them up at the end of the day again. This goes for shirts and pajamas too. Personally I draw the line at socks, undies and workout clothes. No way those things are getting put back on my body without a thorough cleaning! Doing this not only lessens your laundry load but it saves water for the environment and cuts back on your water bill!
If you want to re-wear clothes but they usually end up laying on the floor until you get around to wearing them again, try having a re-wearable bin. Tom and I have this in our bedroom for our pajamas. In the morning when I get dressed, I toss my jammies into our convenient little basket and then carry on with my day! This prevents our pajamas from clogging up the bathroom floor and I don’t really have to put them away. Then, when it’s time for bed, they are right there waiting for me.
Just like clothes, you can easily find ways to re-use your dishes too. Simply lick the spoon clean and then put it back in the drawer! No. I’m just kidding. Just checking to see if you’re paying attention. First of all, we don’t use disposable dishes in our house. This tip will probably look a little different if you do, however, I would encourage you to try sticking with regular dishes. What we do, since my two little ones and I are home all day, is give our breakfast dishes a gentle rinse and then re-use them for lunch. This cuts back huge on the amount of times we run the dishwasher and prevents the massive pile-up of dishes in the sink.
Personally, my favorite way to cut back on the amount of dishes I have at the end of the night is to just skip cooking all together! Sure it’s great to have a warm home cooked meal, but there’s also UberEATS that can deliver all my favorite local foods right to my door. So…
When I was a kid I remember watching my friend rinse her plates and simply place them in the dishwasher when she was done. This was a far different practice than we had at my house where I got stuck doing all the dishes at the end of the night. Her mom was a “neat freak” by nature and a genius in my book because her kitchen sink always stayed clear! Teaching your kids to rinse their dishes and load them correctly into the dishwasher is a great way to make sure everybody does their share to tidy up. Then, when the dish washer is full, whomever notices can turn it on!
I literally attended a course all about how to be more efficient around the house without having to actually BE more efficient. This was one of the tips that I really loved. This mother of 4 suggested having a jar in which you write some quick 5 minute cleaning tasks. Once a day, or once a week (whatever works best for you) have each family member draw one task from the jar. Some ideas for these tasks are:
These are cleaning tasks that don’t get done very often but also don’t take that much time. This cleaning hack is very minimalist in my book. By having a clean up jar, everyone shares the workload and you’re done in 5 minutes! Saving energy and time!
So much food goes to waste each day because people just didn’t get around to eating it! That’s why I think it is so important to plan meals wisely to ensure that you don’t have crazy amounts of food waste at the end of the week. I get that meal prepping isn’t something everyone enjoys or is naturally good at. If that’s the case for you, check out $5 Meal Plan. You can get healthy, customized meals for you and your family. Not just the meals, but you will also be given a specific grocery list of all your items. This plan was created by a busy mother of 4 who has perfected the healthy, frugal food budget for sure!
How is food waste messy? To me it not only is just plain wasteful, but I also don’t want to have to go through the fridge or pantry every week throwing stuff away. If you don’t keep up with the food you already have, the cupboards tend to start to over-flow with new products thus creating more clutter.
Keep your floors and carpets clean and do it politely by having a mat in your entry way for company. This will encourage people to remove their shoes so they aren’t tracking dirt through your house. In Minnesota, this is just an instinct for most people. Without thinking about it, I instantly remove my shoes no matter where I am. In fact, it makes me uncomfortable not to.
Is nothing sacred anymore? If you find each room in your house constantly taken over by toys, then I highly suggest setting up a room that is off-limits to toys. In our house this is our living room. Should a toy ever make it’s way in there, the owner is promptly hollered for and asked to remove said item. Living rooms have always been a place of peace for me. In fact, I wish we didn’t even have a TV in ours. I love keeping it well maintained and clean. Plus, this is the first room people see when entering our house. If unannounced guests should pop in, I don’t want to have to spend all my time casually engaging in small talk while simultaneously cleaning up Legos.
When I first married Tom, I noticed that he did most things for his (our) daughter just because it was easier. I’m not judging him, a lot of parents do this. However, that left her unsure of how to do things on her own. A lot of things!
I will admit, this cleaning hack isn’t really that minimalist in nature because it requires a lot of time, patience and major effort on your part. While it isn’t minimal right off the bat, I promise it will be worth it in the long run! Having self-sufficient children who know how to clean up after themselves pays for itself a thousand times over. It will be easier to maintain a clean house as they get older and will encourage them to be harder workers as they grow into adulthood.
Every 3 months or so I grab 2 bags per family member. One bag is for garbage and the other is for donations and giveaways. Each person goes through their rooms and/or toy room to clear out the things that are no longer serving a purpose. Now, I don’t totally expect each bag to be filled to the brim (and I use small ones anyway) but it’s a good way to make everyone aware of the few little things they may have been hoarding for a while and do their part to clean house.
Little things like this are really what go the distance when it comes to keeping a house tidy long term. If you just made a sandwich on the counter top, take 15 seconds to wet a rag and wipe it down. This will prevent your counters from becoming corroded and will save you serious scrubbing time later on!
I’m sort of joking and sort of not with this one. As I got this post together, I thought of all the different things I do in each area of the house to make cleaning a little bit easier. Then I came to my mortal enemy: sweeping. I have been defeated by sweeping my entire life. I feel like it is all I do. Well, recently we got a new dog. A big, black lab mix and I’ve realized…I don’t sweep as often anymore. Though I suppose if you aren’t a dog person, there’s always a Roomba! In all honesty, they are less expensive than a dog and they still clean the floors just as good. Maybe even better.
Instead of hauling multiple cleaners from room to room during my deep cleaning days, I just stick with one multi-purpose cleaner for the most part. We useDr. Bronner’s castile soaps for our own soap dispensers, cleaning the floors, counters, bathrooms and toilets. You can also use it for dishes, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, mouth wash, laundry detergent, and so much more.
I think I just heard angels sing! The one chore that most people dread is actually putting away the clean laundry. I’m not sure why because really it goes by pretty fast and isn’t that inconvenient. Just one of those things that gets inside our heads I guess. To make it even easier, a friend of mine, who has 4 boys, (YIKES) has found a crazy simple method to cut back on her laundry time. In each kid’s closet they have 3 bins. One for pants, one for shirts and another for socks and underwear. She gets all their clothing together then has them come take their piles and put them away. No need to fold! Now this method won’t work for everyone but I definitely suggest exploring ways you can make it a little bit easier on yourself!
Spending time cleaning out the microwave is a fools game. Get yourself a microwave cover to put over the top of your dishes before warming your food. This will help cover splatters and spills so you don’t have spaghetti sauce covering every square inch of your microwave!
I came upon a recipe to eliminate cat pee stains and smells and tried it out on our mattress after our son had an accident one night. It worked like magic so I continued to use it on any possible stain I could. Throw up, dog droppings, food spills, you name it. Now, I want to share these ingredients with you. Because having this recipe on hand can save you from having to rent carpet cleaners, scrub, soak up pee with your bare hands and can all around save your sanity.
Full disclosure: do not use mixture on darker colored objects.
Mix all three of these together and generously apply to your stain allowing it to soak overnight. Vacuum away any remaining reside! We have used this on mattresses and carpets and have always loved the results!
If you’re like me, you look around see 800 things to add to your “to-do” list and feel that they all need to be done now or you are failing as a human being. Don’t do this to yourself. Designate a day for cleaning those less than necessary cleaning items. Maybe a day or 2 dedicated to vacuuming, a day for bathrooms and a day for a kitchen deep cleaning. Whatever you choose to select for these days, just be sure to get it on the calendar. Then you don’t have to carry the stress with you all week long and everything will still get taken care of.
Sometimes life does just get too overwhelming and there is nothing wrong with getting a little help! Don’t be stressed about the idea of having to pay a cleaner to come take care of your home. The best part is most cleaners are happy to work with what you need. If you just want someone to come in once a month and do a deep clean on the bathrooms, just do that! It takes one chore off your list and is helping keep another person employed! If you still don’t feel you can flip the bill for these services, check with some local families to see if one of their children would be interested in earning some extra cash by helping you out around the house. This could be yard work, housework or something in between. Just be honest with yourself about your limitations and never feel bad asking for help!
Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.