12 Timesaving Housework Hacks to Help Work at Home Mums Thrive
If you’re a new Work at Home Mum, chances are you’re struggling to juggle the never-ending list of jobs and precious little people constantly vying for your attention.
You’ve got a mountain of dishes in the sink that are about to spill over on to the floor…
5 full baskets of washing sprawled over the carpet waiting to be folded…
More toys spread across the floor than you can manage to count, connecting all the way from the front door to the back…
And your kids have begun to emit a funny odour, after smushing leftover food from lunch all over themselves, and then deciding to pour sand over each other’s heads in the sandpit at playtime.
Plus, you’ve also started to emit an indescribable smell yourself, after not having had the chance to shower for at least 3 days!
Ahhh… The joys of being a Work at Home Mum…
And that’s not to mention all of the other important “adult” tasks you’ve got waiting patiently for you, quietly sitting in the corner on your dusty desk – deadlines way overdue, emails piling up in your inbox, and a list of phone calls waiting to be returned.
Or is that just me?! Honestly, this is what my life looks like pretty much every day.
And, as you may have already guessed, housework is actually not my forte. This means I am constantly on the lookout for any ideas to make my chore load lighter and things that little bit easier.
As I personally juggle owning a leading Digital Agency on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and being a Mum to 2 very active and cheeky little girls, I need to take advantage of all the best housework life hacks I can find, and I’m sure you do too.
I’ve tried and tested out loads of ideas to try and save time with housework.
Plus, my beautiful, amazing, energetic 87-year-old Nanna (who still manages to do all her own housework and walk around the local neighbourhood for her daily exercise each day) continues to share her wonderful wisdom and awesome cleaning hacks with me about how to make homemaking easier.
So, let’s now dive in, and I’ll share with you some of my favourite and easiest to implement housework hacks to help you on your Work at Home Mum journey.
Here are my top 12 timesaving tips for getting that long list of chores done that little bit faster, so you can spend more quality time working at home in your professional role and with your beautiful family
Housework Hack #1: Do this simple chore early of a morning
My beautiful Nanna and my amazing mentors, Matt and Liz Raad live by this rule, and I really love this idea.
It’s simple and it will only take you a couple of minutes to do.
Make your bed first thing of a morning, just after you get up or sometime before you start your workday.
Doing this helps to make your bedroom look neater as a whole, and it also helps to set the tone for the rest of your day.
After making my bed first thing of a morning I personally feel a little sense of accomplishment, and it makes me think, “This is going to be a good day.” I even try to repeat that little affirmation to myself in my head when I’m going through the motions of pulling up the bed covers.
If you like this simple start to your daily housework routine, I recommend you also teach it to your kids, and get them to make their own beds early of a morning.
Housework Hack #2: Spend a few minutes in the laundry first thing of a day
This is another one my Nanna taught me.
My beloved Nanna, (who grew up having to spend hours each day painstakingly washing clothes outside in a copper and who still thinks washing machines are one of the best inventions ever), is always telling me to put even a small load of washing on first thing after I wake up of a morning.
As she explains “That way your dirty laundry is being cleaned while you’re busy having breakfast and getting your kids ready for the day.”
And then, voila!
Before you know it, your washing is ready to hang out before it gets too hot outside. Plus, if the weather is good it should be dry before the day ends.
(That’s the ideal scenario, anyway).
Definitely do give this simple laundry housework hack a try.
It has worked wonders for me!
Housework Hack #3: Spend some extra time at the clothesline
This one is also tried and tested by my Super Nanna.
As my Nanna is taking her clothes off the line, she quickly folds each one before she places them in the washing basket to take inside.
That way, they are already neatly folded, ready to be packed away, and you don’t have piles of messy laundry sitting all over the house.
Plus, if your kids are outside with you while you’re doing this, they can enjoy some extra playtime outside in the fresh air, which does wonders for them and for us weary Mummas.
I’ve yet to actually implement this one successfully in to my daily housework routine, but give it a try and let me know if it works for you.
Housework Hack #4: Get organised in the kitchen
This easy housework tip is inspired by homemaking gurus, such as The Organised Housewife and lunchbox recipe leaders, like Laura from MOMables.
These inspiring Mums all recommend setting aside a few minutes one day a week to schedule out your weekly meals on a meal planner, and then creating a simple shopping list to take with you when you go to buy your groceries.
As basic as it sounds, I’ve found that it really helps to jot down at least a rough idea of some meals I’d like to prepare for the week ahead, including when our family might be eating leftovers. It makes it much easier to then prepare a shopping list for groceries to match these meals.
I also find that by doing this I tend not to buy as many things I don’t need at the supermarket. And if I do actually go in store with my 2 little ones (which I try to avoid doing like the plague), at least I have a plan of action in hand and I can get through the aisles and straight to the checkout faster, hopefully all before my 2 girls have their dreaded trolley tantrums.
Housework Hack #5: Make friends with online shopping
Chances are you’re already taking advantage of this incredible resource and huge time-saver that we now have at our fingertips.
Hooray for online shopping!
If not, I recommend you give it a try today!
This became my saviour when I had my first baby, who basically cried non-stop for the first 6 months of life, and made it almost impossible for me to venture out to the shops.
My biggest lifesaver is Coles Online where you can organise to have groceries delivered straight to your front door! And my other favourites are Target Online, and of course the leader of all online shopping stores – Amazon.
Here’s a big tip if you’re new to online shopping…
It can be easy to lose track of how much you’re buying and overspend, because you’re not physically holding each item in your hand that you’re putting in to your trolley, and you’re usually paying by credit card. So, I recommend having a budget in mind before you place your online order.
And, don’t forget that shopping list!
Housework Hack #6: Prep early for dinner
Have you ever had one of those days where you finally reach the kitchen to start getting dinner ready, but then you suddenly realise it’s already 5 o’clock and your kids have well and truly entered the feared “witching hour”?!
Your littlies are beyond tired. They’ve turned into cranky mini monsters, and it’s such a battle to get them to eat dinner and get ready for bed, that you end up feeding them doughnuts you have sitting in the pantry for dinner, just to get them to quiet down for a moment and move that one step closer to sleep time!
I know I’ve been there many a time!
Enter, this simple idea of prepping for dinner earlier in the day.
I grew up watching my Nanna head in to the kitchen at about 3pm each afternoon to start peeling, washing and cutting up veggies. And she still lives by this housework schedule to this day.
If it’s a meal that needs a long time to cook in the oven or slow cook in a pot, you could continue prepping your ingredients until you get them starting to cook. But, if all that’s left to do is quickly fry something up in a saucepan, you could come back and do that just before serving up. Choose whatever works best for you on the day.
I’ve also found that kids’ nap times can work well for doing meal prep, especially if they are good sleepers and you can fit in work time during those few hours as well.
Bonus Housework Tip:
If you’re really quick and organised in the kitchen (and if you wake up early before your kids), while you’re getting breakfast and school lunches ready in the morning, you could even try cutting up some veggies, marinating some meat, or placing a whole meal ready to start cooking in the slow cooker for dinner.
Now that is my ultimate goal!
Housework Hack #7: Get well acquainted with your freezer
I have a good friend, Grets, who is terrific at doing this.
Grets loves to cook, and she loves to help others too. She makes a habit of always buying her meat in bulk, popping it in the freezer straight after she gets home, and when it comes time to cook it up, she always cooks enough for one meal to last for about 4 or 5 days. Then, anything extra she doesn’t think her family will eat over the next couple of days, Grets pops straight in to well labelled clear containers and back in to the freezer.
Then, anytime Grets is feeling too tired to cook, or whenever one of her friends has a baby or is sick and in need of some help with meals, she has a selection of delicious home cooked dishes ready and waiting to go in her trusty freezer.
To achieve the best results, it definitely helps if you have a big freezer or if you invest in a stand-alone deep freezer, so you can really organise the contents well.
Bonus Housework Tip:
Slow cookers and pressure cookers are the ultimate batch cooking tools!
Not only do they allow you to easily prep yummy meals in bulk for a whole family, but they also don’t require much time to wash up afterwards. There is only one pot you need to wash, which means less time spent at the sink washing dishes after dinner!
Just what every tired Work at Home Mum longs for!
Housework Hack #8: Get ready for school the night before
Another friend of mine, Jackie, swears by this housework tip for busy Mums who are trying to figure out the best time management strategies with kids.
She said it helped take the stress out of getting her 3 kids ready for school each day.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing this – even 5 minutes can make a big difference.
Instead of getting everything ready for your kids’ school day that morning, when you’re fighting with them about whether they want to eat Rice Bubbles or Corn Flakes for breakfast. Or they’re running away from you squealing in delight because they don’t want to get dressed for Kindy…
If you have the energy the night before, just after your kids go to bed, when all is nice and quiet in the house, do what Jackie does. Lay out your kids’ clothes that they’re going to wear the next day; get their lunchboxes out and pop in any food from the pantry you plan to pack them for lunch the following day; and place their schoolbags, with hats inside, ready to go at the door.
What’s even better is if your kids are in a cooperative mood and you can get them to help you do these things before they go to bed the night before school.
Let’s make things that little bit easier for ourselves, and try and avoid one more morning battle, by getting some school essentials ready the night before.
Housework Hack #9: Spend some time de-cluttering
This particular housework efficiency tip can be a very personal and emotion invoking one and can be a game changer when it comes to working from home more effectively.
We all have a different level of attachment to things, and we can each manage to cope well with a different amount of tangible stuff around us.
Some with a little.
Some with a lot.
I think I fall somewhere around the middle, but my house is still full of stuff, and a lot of it I probably don’t need…
But I do believe that if we clear important spaces in our home of clutter, especially places where we spend a lot of our time, like the kitchen and our work desk. Then it can provide more clarity, a sense of calm, and it can also save a lot of wasted time, as you don’t have to spend as long hunting around to find things.
I have read many different books about housework tips for busy Mums, organising your home and de-cluttering, but the best resources I have found are “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy”, 2 books by Japanese organising expert and author, Marie Kondo (or KonMari for short).
KonMari’s methods can seem a little strict and ruthless at times, but her approach is the most practical, easy to follow, and successful that I have found and actually managed to implement myself.
Even if you only take away a few favourite strategies and tips from KonMari and apply them to your own space when you are de-cluttering, I think it will really help you get started and give you some direction, especially if you are starting to feel overwhelmed about the whole de-cluttering idea and process of actually doing it successfully.
Bonus Housework Tip:
If you’re now wondering, “How do you declutter like Marie Kondo?” Marie now has her own show on Netflix, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. So, if you don’t have the chance to sit down and read her books, just turn on Netflix and you can see and quickly learn from her famous Marie Kondo method in action.
Housework Hack #10: Tackle the big issue with toys
This sounds like a no-brainer, but this one didn’t actually click for me until I read an article by Simone from The Montessori Notebook.
Like a lot of Mummas in first world countries, I’m constantly trying to organise the ever-increasing collection of toys my little girls keep receiving, and it feels like my entire house has been overrun by toys most of the time. Plus, I feel like I’m forever packing these toys away, only to have them creep back out on to the floor a few moments later!
I took Simone’s advice and decided to buy a big, functional cupboard to pack toys away in to, and it has made the biggest difference. I actually have 2 oversized cupboards that I use for toy storage in each of our living rooms where the girls spend most of their time playing.
I also have a number of toy boxes, where we pack away certain groups of toys, such as dolls and Duplo.
You can pick up some great, affordable storage options from stores like IKEA and Kmart.
Another terrific tip I picked up from Simone is to rotate toys around. Simone suggests doing this on a weekly basis.
If you only have a handful of toys out for your kids to play with at any given time, and the rest of their toys are packed away in the cupboard, then there are many benefits. It lessens the clutter. It takes away the confusion for your kids and makes it easier for them to choose which toy to play with. And another big benefit is that there is less to pack away later, saving you time and frustration in the end.
The following week, once your kids have lost interest in certain toys, those ones get packed away in to the cupboard, and a few different toys that they may have forgotten about are brought out for them to play with. To your little ones, this will even feel special, kind of like Christmas.
Now, both you and your kids are happy!
Bonus Housework Tip:
It definitely helps if you try and teach your kids how to pack away their own toys from the youngest age possible.
You can pack away toys together at first, so you’re teaching by example, and over time and after lots of repetition, they will get better at doing it by themselves. My 12 month old is actually now better at packing away things than my 4 year old!
I’m amazed at how good my littlest girl is at following simple instructions and how keen she is to help. She is already able to put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket for me, throw things in the rubbish bin and pack away her toys in to a box. At least at this age she doesn’t carry any negative feelings towards housework, so I’ll keep trying to make it fun and incorporating simple housekeeping activities in to our daily routine.
On top of that, if you have a special little tidying up song you sing together while you’re doing this, it might even make it fun.
At pack away time my girls and I love singing the song appropriately called, “Pack Away” by Lah-Lah.
Housework Hack #11: Make chores fun
Okay, so no matter what we do, I admit that it’s hard to make some icky chores like cleaning toilets and scrubbing dirty dishes a joy, but I do have a little housecleaning secret that can help.
If you’ve been asking yourself, “How do you make house chores easier?” then this could be your solution.
Turn on your favourite music up loud and have those fave tunes of yours playing while you’re doing your housework.
Upbeat songs are the best for this, and you could even create your own housework playlist.
I personally think music makes everything better, and if you sing along and dance around with your kids while you’re doing your chores, at least you can have a laugh at the same time and it makes the time go by faster!
Housework Hack #12: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are overwhelmed
Let’s be honest….
We weren’t made to do it all alone, including housework if you’re a busy Work at Home Mum.
Hats off to you if you can, but the million and one things that are involved in being a Work at Home Mum add up to an incredibly huge burden for just one person, and I don’t think it’s a burden that we’re meant to carry on our own.
When it comes down to it, we’re actually tackling many separate jobs at once, all as just one person!
Simultaneously we are:
- The Housekeeper
- The Nanny
- The Cook
- The Personal Shopper
- The Home Doctor
- The Teacher
- PLUS, your Title at your adult job that brings in money for your family.
Feel free to add in any roles I have missed!
If we were to employ and pay 7 different people separate wages for doing each of the above jobs for us, imagine how much that would add up to! Let’s just say, a lot!
As Mums, I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for all the amazing things we manage to do on a daily basis.
…without completely losing our marbles! (Though it’s totally okay if you have days where you fall to pieces too! I’ve lost count of how many of those days I’ve had!)
Sister, you are doing a seriously awesome job!
But remember, it’s ok to reach out for help in any area, at any time you need to.
Step 1: The first step would be to ask your partner or hubby to start helping you out with certain chores.
Step 2: The next step would be to get your kids involved in the housework, and start teaching them how to do simple chores from an early age. Giving them pocket money for every chore completed is a great incentive for them to start helping out more around the home.
Step 3: And the final step, if you feel comfortable and if you have a bit of extra cash flow, would be to hire some help. Even getting a professional cleaner to come in once a fortnight or once a month, can really help to lessen your chore load significantly.
In my case, while I’m busy building websites for businesses, and looking after my 2 adorably jubilant little girls, my husband is working insane hours at 2 full-time jobs and is basically a figment of my imagination. Alone, it takes me a full day to vacuum through my house and clean my bathrooms properly with kids in tow, so I decided to hire a lovely professional cleaning couple to come and help me for 2 hours once a fortnight.
Denise and Dave now quickly zip around my house vacuuming and mopping my floors, dusting the dirtiest spots, and cleaning my bathrooms for me. In just 2 hours they manage to do everything and more that usually takes me about 8 hours to do in between wrangling 2 kids.
For me, this is money well spent, and it has really helped to alleviate some of my stress.
So, don’t forget to reach out and ask for help to your immediate circle of family, friends or professionals in any area you need to.
It doesn’t make you any less capable, and it will help you sleep better at night, and your household run even smoother.
Win the Work at Home Mum Housework Battle
Tackling housework as a Work at Home Mum is a battle…
A battle against time.
A battle against lack of motivation.
And, a battle against other priorities.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve discovered that being a Work at Home Mum is far from pretty or glamorous. You often need to let go of perfectionism as a work at home mum.
It’s messy, smelly, relentless, hectic, exhausting, and to say the least, incredibly challenging.
It often feels like you are constantly going around in circles, like a little hamster running frantically on a wheel. But I believe it’s also going to be absolutely worth it in the end.
As a Work at Home Mum there are always going to be a million and one things to do. But it is my hope that these 12 easy housework tips I’ve shared help make your burden lighter, and help you get through another day with more ease, joy and grace.
Once you’ve tested out even just a few of these quick housework tips and found which ones work best for you and your family, I’m sure one more layer of stress will be lifted from your shoulders, you will start accomplishing more in your professional job, and it will give you back more quality time to spend with your loved ones.
No matter how hectic and crazy things get, as Work at Home Mums, we are forged to be strong and resilient, we don’t give up easily, we never lay our swords down in defeat, and we can accomplish anything we put our minds to.
You have time with your beautiful family and time spent working in your professional role that you need to prioritise. Don’t spend any more time than you need to on never-ending housework.
So, when you’re ready to get back in to the arena, arm yourself with these time saving housework hacks and continue the good fight.
You’ve got this!
Melissa Dyogi is a leading Web Designer, certified Digital Marketer, and the Founder and Director of Cutting Edge Web Design, Gold Coast. She is on a mission to stamp out stale and ineffective business marketing campaigns, and make boring, non-converting business websites sparkle and produce fantastic results. Melissa loves helping busy small business owners build amazing websites, create their perfect online presence, quickly attract their ideal customers, and grow their dream business and revenue with ease. You can say hello to Mel on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.