A Writer’s HOUSEwork is Never Done

Housework header

I’m a neat freak. Before my children and my writing career, my house was spotless. But now that there are three little kids and I write full time, my house is not so clean anymore. And I’m okay with it.

To make time for my writing, I’ve had to strip my housecleaning routine to it’s bare minimum. My house is still clean, of course, but there are a few things I don’t worry about as often. Here’s what I do:

1 – I don’t fold laundry – at least not all of it. One day, I got so fed up with the amount of laundry my kids required  – and how almost immediately after I spent 2 hours folding it they threw it all on the floor anyway – that I went over to Wal-Mart and bought them each a big laundry basket. Now when the laundry is clean my oldest has the chore of separating it out into their baskets. There’s 2 hours of writing time for me! (Nice clothes still get hung-up and put away – this is for everyday stuff, jammies, underwear, socks, etc…)

2 – I wipe down the bathrooms once a week and do a deep clean once a month.

3 – Vacuuming, dusting and mopping also got reduced to once a week or when company is coming.

4 – Every night everyone helps clean up toys and my husband or I do the dishes/clean-up kitchen (sweep, wipe down counters).

5 – Base boards, ceiling fans and blinds get dusted  much less often – maybe a couple times a year.

6 – I ignore the scuff marks on the walls and doors.

7 – When I have a few minutes or need some “thinking time,” I do those random small chores like wiping off cabinets or the washer and dryer, etc.

8 – I also have my kids do little chores like wiping off doorknobs and light switches, emptying the bathroom garbage, etc. As they get older, I’ll be able to pawn off more work (insert maniacal laugh).

I also do everything as fast and efficiently as possible – it does’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done. The best part is my house really doesn’t look or feel any less clean.

So writer-moms – ignore all those crazy cleaning lists and schedules on Pinterest and just get done what matters most. Writing is important for us. And if we work hard, maybe one day those royalty checks can help pay for a little help with our house cleaning 🙂

Please share any other writer-mom cleaning tips in a comment. What helps you get done as fast as possible and back to the computer?

SHARE NOTES: @TeriHarman, #writermom


6 thoughts on “A Writer’s HOUSEwork is Never Done

  1. wow, Teri, I wished I had worked that out when my kids were small! I carried around a truck load of guilt because our house was messy, and it’s only in the last couple of years that I haven’t worried, if someone has come in and the house is in a messy state. We live in it.
    One tip that helped me, was to stop ironing. I haven’t seen my ironing board for the last two years.
    When I take my clothes off the clothesline, I hang them up straight away on the hangers. I’ve found that not long after putting them on, you can’t tell if they were ironed or not.
    Your cleaning schedule looks really practical and I’m looking forward to giving it ago.
    thanks, Carron

  2. My one rule (tip) is lateral surfaces must be clean and clutter free, it automatically makes the house look cleaner! So floors, counters, tabletops and sinks are a top priority here!

  3. I think these are great tips for anyone! Who needs to spend 2 hours folding laundry when you could be doing something you love? (Well, unless you love folding laundry, in which case, can I be your friend? And can you fold mine?) I try to abide by my mother’s “touch once” rule; rather than pick something up and set it down somewhere else to be “put away” later (like setting stuff on the stairs to pick it up again and take it up or down “later”) I try to just “touch once” and put things away right away. It seems to help cut down on the clutter and general messy-ness of my house and takes a lot less time than letting things get super messy and then trying to clean it all up at once.

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