Time to stop apologising for my messy house

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I told my friend she couldn’t come over the other day because my house looked like a bomb had hit it.

Crazy, isn’t it?

I would have preferred not to have a lovely afternoon catching up with an old friend and fellow mum of two, rather than let her see the state of my house.

Can someone please slap me?

We were scheduled to have a park play date, but my car broke down as I was leaving.

‘We’ll have to make it another day,’ I apologised to her profusely. ‘I’m so sorry’.

‘Why don’t we just come over?’ she suggested.

‘Come over?’ I thought as I scanned our living room.

About 20 Barbies lay strewn across the floor, there were leaves and petals swimming in four or five pots and pans – the remnants of the girls’ magic potions, and you couldn’t see the coffee table for the art and craft covering it.

My quick surveillance told me there was no way I could let my friend see the squalor that we were living in.

‘My house looks like a bomb has hit it,’ I told her. ‘We’ll have to make it another day.’

My heart sank as I hanged up the phone. I had been looking forward to our catch up.

I scanned our living room again. Yes, it looked like a toy store had exploded, but I have kids. They’ve been playing. The mess was a sign of the fun they’d been having that day.

I called my friend and told her I changed my mind. I wanted her to come over despite the mess.

‘This is nothing,’ she said as she stepped inside.

‘Well, I’ve just done a 10 minute speed clean,’ I said to her red-faced.

‘Don’t look too closely.’

After a lovely couple of hours together, I turned back to the living room. There were toys, crumbs, and leaves everywhere, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care one bit because it was the scene of four kids, who’d had an absolute ball, and where two mums sat among the mess chatting about life.

The mess was surface mess. It was nothing to be embarrassed about and nothing I should apologise for. My house was clean and I knew that.

I clean once a week without fail. The kids may mess it up no more than two minutes after I’ve cleaned it, but that simply makes it untidy, not unclean. I could spend 24 7 picking up after them or I could let it go because ain’t nobody got time for that.

I’ve come to accept that in this stage of my life it’s not worth my time and energy to continually tidy. I’m busy enough as it is and have better things to do with my life than clean all day.

Pre-kids, my house was a like a showroom. Every Saturday morning I’d spend hours scrubbing it within an inch of its life. I would breathe in the cleaning products with glee and delight in how spotless it was. It would stay like that for days too.

But, that was then and this is now.

I no longer have the leisure of spending hours cleaning (spoken like a true clean freak). I need to clean quickly and use minimal energy.

These days I allocate about 1.5 hours on a Thursday morning to a thorough clean, including cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping floors. I credit my ability to do it so quickly to a few simple things I do in the lead up to Thursday.

Clean bathrooms as soon as they get dirty

I may have girls, but their aim can still be off leaving the bathroom smelling like a nightclub toilet at 3am. I rid the toilet and toilet floor of wee stains as soon as I see them. I quickly wipe the seat and bowl and use rim-blocks to help keep the toilets clean and bathroom smelling fresh in between my weekly clean. The solid rim-blocks are great for stain removal and the anti-limescale action helps to make my weekly clean less of a chore. I wipe bathroom bench tops down every night and give the mirror a once over to rid it of toothpaste that somehow manages to be sprayed all over it.

Make the beds

It takes me no more than five minutes to make everyone’s bed of a morning. If I’m lucky Miss Five will make her own without me asking. For a short outlay of time, the effects are huge. The house looks more ordered with made beds.

Clear bench tops and dinner table after every meal

I never leave dirty dishes lying around, especially overnight. I stack the dish washer of an evening and put it on during the night. I wipe all benches down and rid them of clutter.

Put toys away at the end of the day

Each night, I ensure all toys are put back in their place. At least I can enjoy the tidiness for a few hours before the kids bring them out the next day. I’m attempting to get the girls better at helping me do this.

Sweep the floors morning and night

I don’t know what happens at your house, but despite sitting down at the table to eat, the kids get crumbs everywhere. Oh wait, that’s right. They don’t sit down to eat! As for peas, they have a life of their own. Spilt milk and Weet-bix harden into your floors if you don’t get on top of it straight away.

Put laundry away

As soon as I take a load of washing off the line, I fold it and put it away or put it in the ironing cupboard. I wash regularly, so it doesn’t pile up. I also iron once a week.

These things don’t take long and have become second nature making my weekly clean easier.

I’ve come to accept that my house won’t be a showroom while the kids are young. It will be in constant disarray and that’s okay. It’s a sign that they’re having fun and memories are being made. It may be untidy, but it is clean.

Is a tidy house with kids a myth? How do you keep your house clean? What daily cleaning rituals do you do that makes the weekly job easier?

Launching in Australia in May, Bref provides the expertise to keep your toilet clean and fresh, the easier way.

This is a sponsored post. Mummy Wife Me received financial compensation for this post, however as always, all opinions are my own.

Linking up today with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.

52 comments on Time to stop apologising for my messy house

    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 1:21 pm (1 year ago)

      I think we all should, Leanne 🙂

      Reply
  1. Amy @ Handbagmafia
    May 10, 2016 at 6:45 am (1 year ago)

    Real friends will not give a shit about a bit of mess- don’t stress! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    May 10, 2016 at 6:58 am (1 year ago)

    Forget the speed clean, I’m more of a speed tidy AKA take all the mess and dump it in the spare room and shut the door. Never apologise for that lived in look, it shows that people love living there!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm (1 year ago)

      Don’t you just love spare rooms?! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    May 10, 2016 at 7:14 am (1 year ago)

    Friends with kids have houses that look exactly the same! By having a spotless house when they visit just perpetuates the myth that you can have a spotless house and kids and makes them feel bad about the state of their own house!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm (1 year ago)

      Lol. It’s a vicious cycle!

      Reply
  4. Haidee
    May 10, 2016 at 7:28 am (1 year ago)

    Oh god, I hate how organised you are! That used to me! Lol. Now I am a queen procrastinator. I put it off until I have to do it (particularly washing, I often have three loads waiting to be folded and I rummage through looking for stuff instead). My life is chaos!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm (1 year ago)

      Lol. I can’t stand to have it sitting there. I think I’m OCD 🙂

      Reply
  5. Bec Senyard
    May 10, 2016 at 7:39 am (1 year ago)

    I used to spend much more time cleaning my house too but then we had kids and I get to it on a Friday or Saturday morning. My once vice is the floors. I can’t stand the dog hair and mirky floors. That’s the only thing about having wooden floors. It shows the mess more I reckon.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm (1 year ago)

      Yeah I agree. Everything looks 10 times better after a vac and mop.

      Reply
  6. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    May 10, 2016 at 7:41 am (1 year ago)

    I always apologise for my house too when friends come over but when I think about it I have never judged anyone else for the state of their house. I think we all need to stop apologising!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:14 pm (1 year ago)

      Yep! I think we all understand that at this stage of our lives our houses are just going to be messy and that’s a fact.

      Reply
  7. Jody at Six Little Hearts
    May 10, 2016 at 7:44 am (1 year ago)

    Sadly I have to do your weekly clean, daily in my home! Too many kids and SO much mess! My toilets suffer most with 5 males in the house!
    You should catch up with your friends in amongst it all though.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:14 pm (1 year ago)

      Ahh Jody. You must be cleaning constantly. I hope everyone pitches in.

      Reply
  8. Natalie @ our parallel connection
    May 10, 2016 at 9:25 am (1 year ago)

    I was like you… House immaculate before kids. Now I am happy for a home.. One that everyone is comfortable in and makes them feel special

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 1:21 pm (1 year ago)

      Sounds perfect, Natalie.

      Reply
  9. Kathy
    May 10, 2016 at 9:58 am (1 year ago)

    You are far too good at cleaning for me. Glad you had your catch-up and enjoyed the mess the kids made – as you say a sign of happiness.

    Reply
  10. Cam @ Gen-Y Mum
    May 10, 2016 at 11:14 am (1 year ago)

    When there was only 1 child I could keep on top of things, home would get a good cleaning one a week. Now it’s more like every 2-3 weeks with two kids and trying to run a business. We can’t do it all, there’s not enough time in the day. I too have stopped apologising for a messy home and I hear my sister (who doesn’t have children) make little snide remarks about the state of my house. I now tell her ‘feel free to clean up if it bothers you that much, I’ve got two young children to look after’

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 1:22 pm (1 year ago)

      Hell to the yeah, Camielle 🙂 x

      Reply
  11. Emily
    May 10, 2016 at 11:43 am (1 year ago)

    I am constantly tidying. I rarely clean though. The bathrooms are done far too infrequently.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:05 pm (1 year ago)

      There’s nothing worse than cleaning the bathroom!

      Reply
  12. Vanessa
    May 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm (1 year ago)

    I let it be their decision. I will tell them it’s a mess or this or that and if they want to see it, that’s their choice haha.
    Old friends I will be like “yeah you can drop by but I’m in my PJs and camping on the lounge room floor with no plans to move” lol. I’m honest, if nothing else!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm (1 year ago)

      Sounds like a great way to be 🙂

      Reply
  13. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    May 10, 2016 at 3:08 pm (1 year ago)

    I’ve pretty much surrendered to the mess. My house constantly looks like a toy shop has exploded over it. I’ve cleaned manically for mother group meet ups then 5 minutes later the kids have emptied all the toys all over the floor again anyway so toy mess doesn’t really bother me anymore. There are odd days though {like today} where I forget I have a little destructo following me around and I attempt to sort and tidy all the toys while she’s awake, this just results in her pulling all of them back out within 2-30 minutes {like I’m watching her do right now} so I really don’t know why I bother.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:07 pm (1 year ago)

      I know! Isn’t it crazy how madly you clean before a playdate only for it to be destroyed 10 minutes later. Argh.

      Reply
  14. Melinda
    May 10, 2016 at 3:37 pm (1 year ago)

    My parents came around pretty much unannounced the other day and I was mortified! The house was certainly untidy, but it wasn’t hoarder-filthy… I need to be a bit more regular with my day-to-day tidying- thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  15. EssentiallyJess
    May 10, 2016 at 8:03 pm (1 year ago)

    You sound so organised! I need to sweep and vacuum more often than I do. Today the mess has been bothering me big time, and a quick vacuum would make all the difference.
    As for friends, I have some I worry about and others that I don’t so much any more. The only thing I really stress about before company is the toilet. No one likes a dirty toilet.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m strict on the toilet too. It’s the first thing I clean before someone comes over.

      Reply
  16. Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    May 10, 2016 at 9:23 pm (1 year ago)

    Here’s a slap from me! Haha – I can’t talk – you have just described me! BUT … I have learnt that people really don’t care. It’s all me and my ridiculous standards! I’ve also learnt a few tricks for that situation – throw things in cupboards to get mess out of sight pronto (when needed) – and fix it up properly later. Love your tidying tips! Lucky for me I don’t have to worry about toys anymore but O.M.G. I can remember them getting strewn from one end of the house to the other! It used to be a daily chore to gather and sort all the toys. Not any more! Yay! 🙂 x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm (1 year ago)

      Hooray!!! And thank you for the slap lol x

      Reply
  17. Sam Stone
    May 10, 2016 at 10:00 pm (1 year ago)

    Yep it’s a myth with kids!
    I pretty much have the same rituals as you.
    And I need to remember that mess isn’t the same as dirt!

    Reply
  18. Mandy @ Barbie Bieber and BEyond
    May 12, 2016 at 8:55 am (1 year ago)

    I always apologise for my messy house. With 4 kids, working full time and everyone with busy lives, keeping the house clean is definitely a myth. Great tips though.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:09 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Mandy. I can imagine there’s scarcely any time for you to clean. Hopefully the kids chip in.

      Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:09 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Mandy. I can imagine there’s scarcely any time for you to clean. Hopefully the kids chip in.

      Reply
  19. Ashlea | Glamour Coastal Living |
    May 12, 2016 at 9:27 am (1 year ago)

    Luckily without kids I don’t get the barbies and crumbs. I do however get Hubby’s mess and also alot of dog fur which acts as tumble weeds sometimes, blowing down the hallway! I have a similar cleaning style to you (which funnily enough was this morning – Thursday, like you!) I like to get in and get it done and between that, just kep on top of it..making beds, wiping the toilet down and always trying to keep kitchen benchtops clean. Clea benchtops = a clean house to me xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:10 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, me too. Let’s get rid of that clutter x

      Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      May 12, 2016 at 2:10 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, me too. Let’s get rid of that clutter x

      Reply
  20. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    May 12, 2016 at 10:59 am (1 year ago)

    I try to follow these tips too but it’s SO HARD because I’m SO LAZY! Great post xx

    Reply
  21. kit@lifethroughthehaze
    May 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm (1 year ago)

    I try so hard to keep my house tidy and I can all day long until there are other people in it lol. My daughters I seriously don’t know what happens in their room they tidy it beautifully every afternoon and the next morning it looks the cat in the hat house exploded in their room and they start all over again when they get home from school!

    I never used to fold the laundry and it would build up as if taunting me but I can honestly say it really does make me feel better and I simply don’t let the kitchen get out of control. The kids rooms I can close the doors on so I frankly don’t care they have to live in them and they have to have their friends in there.

    I have decided to manage what I can and that is the common areas of the house and the other areas i have let go. But then my kids are just a little bit bigger than yours so it is a bit easier to put the cleaning of their areas back onto them.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      May 13, 2016 at 6:17 am (1 year ago)

      Lol. That darn cat and the hat is always up to something 🙂

      Reply
  22. Jo @ You had us at hello
    May 13, 2016 at 1:17 am (1 year ago)

    I have no weekly schedule as such but I’m forever cleaning after my kids. I’m actually doing the Organised Housewife 20 day challenge at the moment, again. I actually feel happier and more organised when the house is display home clean but that happens rarely. I burn some lovely incense we discovered on holiday at a Tasmanian Beach house. That’s my reward when everything is done 🙂 My close friends I welcome in a messy house, and they do vise versa. Glad you changed your mind and had a lovely visit with your friend xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      May 13, 2016 at 6:18 am (1 year ago)

      That sounds like a great challenge. I might have to look into that. x

      Reply
  23. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    May 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm (1 year ago)

    I am a bit stuck having to have a clean and tidy house as clients can drop by any time. It was difficult, but now it’s part of my daily routine, I don’t find it too difficult. I do relax a little more on the weekends though, and so Monday morning is a big clean up to catch up. I’m glad you enjoyed your friend and didn’t let your house dictate the catch up. xx

    Reply
  24. Maria
    May 20, 2016 at 9:01 pm (1 year ago)

    These are awesome tips for a clean house. My room I clean once in 3 days, it is clean but its very messy looking because of the newspapers and bags with old clothes I am to send to orphanage. Still!! … its ok… lets not stress too much on house tidyness, lets relax and have good time and clean when possible… its not possible to keep home always clean especially if you have 4 kids who mess things up!!

    Reply
  25. Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum
    May 30, 2016 at 3:32 pm (1 year ago)

    Good tips. I like the idea of a clean house but it takes me a lot longer to get there these days and when I finally do I only have a few moments to breathe it all in before the mess is back 🙂

    Reply
  26. Kit@lifethroughthehaze
    May 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm (1 year ago)

    Years and years ago when my kids were tiny I used to follow this lady called fly lady. She was all about the 15 minute fling, spend 15 minutes in a room a day but in that allocated time deal with everything on that surface don’t simply move crap to clean underneath. You need to physically deal with it so if there are a pile of papers on the bench deal with every single one of them in the 15 mins i.e. file, toss, pay etc. Or her 1hr sink shine I love, love, love a shiny sink!

    I try so hard to clean as I go and I have become really good at tossing things I would toss a lot more but I have been told to stop!

    Reply

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