I love spring. I love the sight of new flowers, and the fact that it gets warmer. I particularly love how, in lighter evenings, I can take the kids to the park for longer, meaning that I don’t have to keep thinking of fun, zany, rainy day crafts to keep them entertained. That being said, the increased sunshine does have its downfalls. The sunlight tumbles into the house and illuminates every speck of dust on the surfaces, every child’s lick mark on the windows, and every smear of food on the walls. There’s a reason why housewives of old used to do epic “Spring Cleans.” It’s because the extra light suddenly makes all the filth and dirt they’d been happily living with all winter even more evident.
Unfortunately, modern parenting life with its endless playdates, parties, after school clubs, and last minute costume making sessions for whatever wacky fun day the school has come up with that week tends to get in the way of housework. Plus, it’s really boring. If you are not yummy mummy enough to be able to afford a cleaner, then you need some handy shortcuts to help you keep on top of everything. Hopefully these will help!
The Living Room
Family living rooms are a magnet for piles of stuff accumulating. There’s toys, books, important documents that you need to go through at some point, but never get the time, your child’s latest craft projects from school, and discarded jumpers that are apparently waiting for a fairy to put them in the washing basket.
Firstly, you need to get a “Monica” cupboard. In the Friends TV series, this was where the neurotically tidy Monica would throw all her junk. Designate a cupboard to throw everything in that you need to sort out later. Out of sight, out of mind, and now you should feel less stressed. Get a good lock for it so no one can ever see your shame.
For toys, get a big basket or one of those giant bags for life. Throw all the toys in it. Tell your children that they will get a chocolate button for every toy they take out of the basket and put away properly. Bribery: the lazy parent’s chosen method of getting stuff done since time immemorial.
Can’t be bothered to hoover? Tell your children that pixies have left them a miniature treasure trail on the floor. Get them to find all the tiny bits they can and put in a bag for the pixies to find and leave a reward in return.
Finally, keep the curtains closed at all times so the sunlight doesn’t show up all the dust. If anyone questions it then just tell them you have a migraine. It’s the parent’s go to illness of choice for when they need to get out of doing something. A bonus spray of air freshener will maintain the illusion of cleanliness.
Plan your meals carefully to avoid creating washing up. For example, a lasagne using only fresh ingredients requires a saucepan for the meat, a saucepan for the roux, a dish for assembling it, plus chopping boards, knives, spoons, etc. A slow-cooked pasta bake made with a delicious sugar laden jar of pasta sauce requires just one pot. Your kids will moan that they are having slow cooker meals for the fifth time that week, but just tell them it’s character building or something.
Take a leaf out of fancy gastro pubs and forego plates all together. Eat stew out of hollowed out bread. Chilli con carnie can be served in wraps. You could also get a dog who will eat up any crumbs that drop to the floor as you eat to save you sweeping.
Put the kids in the bath. Give them bath squirter toys and tell them to aim at the windows for a quick and easy rinse. Cover the tiles around the bath with bubbles and set them a cleaning up challenge.
Whilst they are in the bath, use a wet wipe to give the loo a quick wipe. No need to use bleach unless it’s a bit stinky. Avoid the stink problem by banning all male members of the household from weeing whilst standing up.
Strip the beds when you first get out of bed. That way you don’t have to make it because you’re going to do it later, obviously. Then, casually “forget” about it, forcing your partner to help you make it when it’s night time and he or she wants to go to sleep. Alternatively, invest in some sleeping bags that require much less faff.
Close the doors of your children’s bedrooms so you don’t have to look at them. Tell yourself that it’s good for them to learn about personal responsibility or something.
Refuse to wash anything that isn’t in the washing basket. Remain resolute. This works in two ways. Either your family will resolve to start using the washing basket instead of the floor by their beds, or you will massively decrease the amount of laundry you have to do. It’s a win-win either way.
Put a load on each morning and once finished and dry tip out the lot onto your unmade bed so your partner is forced to help you fold it before you go to sleep.
Never, ever buy anything that can’t be washed at 30 degrees and then baked in the tumble-dryer.
No one cares about ironing anymore, so unless you are going to a job interview for more income to pay for a cleaner, then don’t bother. If anyone questions it tell them the grunge look is back in fashion.
Announce to everyone that you are creating a wildlife haven. Let the garden grow wild. Charge people to come see it once nature has moved in. Use the profits to hire a cleaner.