The Productive Homeschooler: Keeping Your Home Clean

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Housekeeping. ugh.

It’s kind of a double-edged sword when you are a homeschooler. It’s dirtier because you have kids in the house all.the.time. They have books everywhere. There are science projects growing on the counter and in the fridge. They aren’t gone during the day so you can get the work done.

You also need to keep it cleaner… for the same reasons it is dirty. You have to be in that house all day long. You need room to use those books. You don’t want to contaminate the science project. You have to be sane to teach.

I can’t focus in a mess. I feel gross when the house is gross. I’m not a naturally clean person. I am so glad to have found Motivated Moms last year. Some of you who are naturally clean may not need an (awesome, helpful, bite sized) chore planner like Motivated Moms, but others like me, need it.

If you don’t know Motivated Moms, it’s an easy to use chore system that breaks down the tasks you need to do to keep the house clean into easy to accomplish daily chore lists. In about an hour a day, I can keep my house pretty darn clean.

It didn’t happen over night and it didn’t happen without work.

How to make Motivated Moms work for YOU. tips for success

Motivated Moms is not going to change who you are. If you are a slob, after you purchase Motivated Moms, you’re still a slob. A slob with a really, really good chore planner, but a slob none the less (don’t be offended, this was me too!). In order for Motivated Moms to work for you, you’re going to need to dig deep, get Motivated, and make it WORK for YOU.

Don’t Expect Change Over Night

Motivated Moms is fabulous, because it is a bite sized program. There isn’t a lot to do every day. It does work, but Girl, if you are living in a hot mess (like I was) it’s going to take a month or two of diligence to get your home shining. You didn’t make the mess overnight, and you aren’t going to clean it up overnight either. Accept that now, and make a plan to dig in, a little bit at a time.

The system builds on itself, so if you are supposed to scrub the shower today, and your shower is covered in grime, do your absolute best…. and then move on. If it’s not perfect, soon enough it will pop up again on your schedule, and you can scrub even more.

The purpose is to do your absolute best. Sometimes, that means it’s not going to be perfect. Better to roll with imperfection, than burn out too early. Just. Do. Your. Best.

De-Clutter as You Go, Until the Clutter is GONE

This is especially true the first month or two you are using Motivated Moms. Your planner will say something like “dust the bedroom.” Well, my bedroom dresser (which needs dusted) was buried under books, and papers, and laundry that didn’t get put away. I can’t dust without finding a home for those things!

Be liberal with your trash can, and your give-away bin. If that stack of books has been on your dresser camped out underneath last years too-small pajamas, it may be time to find them a new owner who will love them more. If it hasn’t been looked at, used, or missed for the last year, you won’t miss it when it’s gone. Chuck it. Really. Chuck all of it. Get it out of the house before you can second guess it, and feel free to cry to me in a message.

I promise, in a day or two when that dresser is clear and clean and your bedroom becomes the peaceful oasis it should be- you’ll be thanking me (and Motivated Moms). Do this day by day until the clutter is gone as the chores come up on your list.


Downsizing is almost the same thing as de-cluttering. Almost.

The only reason I differentiate is because I am not sure everyone will think of this one. There is a good possibility you have too many clothes. Or your kids have too many clothes. Or there are too many Tupperware boxes in the cabinet, or so many dishes that you don’t have to wash them for days.

Pare it all down. Laundry is easier to do when there are only a few loads to wash. Where the line of “too much” falls is on you- but right now, I am careful to buy coordinating pieces so a handful of clothing can make dozens of outfits. The boys have three pairs of pants each, and maybe 5 or so shirts, and two athletic outfits. That’s it. That’s all they need. (and guess what? I’ve been doing one load of laundry a day, and haven’t had anything in my hamper. It’s all CLEAN!)

I know your excess stuff is probably still in good shape. Don’t keep it just because it isn’t trash. Live with less. Give it away.

Don’t Look Back

Motivated Moms is based on a rotating schedule. Which should make you feel so much better when you miss a day (or a week) or a month. At no moment should you ever think “I missed 17 days….. what’s the point?!”

The point is that you keep going. It’s called Motivated Moms, remember? Be motivated. Jump back in when you get off track. And do NOT allow yourself to be overwhelmed.

If it was on the list for yesterday, just forget about it. It’s a rotating schedule. That chore will be back on the list soon enough. If you absolutely must play catch up, never catch up past the week you are currently on. Again, the chores WILL be back.

Let it go, and focus on getting today’s list done. Just today. Over time, the mess will get better.

Share the Burden

You know what I do? I print off my awesome planner, and I bring out a highlighter. I highlight a handful of chores for Hubby to do, and I have delegated a couple of things to my oldest as well. There is no reason for me to do all the work.

Sure, I do the lions share, but some of the tasks are perfect for the kids! I’ll have more about the kids and chores tomorrow- but definitely start thinking of ways to share the burden around your home. Homeschoolers can and should be cleaning up the house right along side you during the day.

Adapt the Plan

There are blank lines for you to add your own daily chores. Use them! Pay attention to what things get messy in your home, and what things are your biggest annoyances. For me, the window sill by the dining table (where we do a lot of school) often gets cluttered, and school books get left out. Cleaning up school books and putting away things from the window sill are both on my daily to-do.

Things like “vacuum the main areas” don’t really apply, because I don’t have carpets, but I know when I see that I can’t just ignore my floors because it doesn’t specifically say mop. I mop when it says vacuum. Maybe that’s common sense, but adapt when needed to make the chore work for you!

Damage Control

This actually may be the most important tip for making Motivated Moms work for you. Every once in a while- you need to do damage control. If you wake up on Saturday morning, and see that your two-year-old dumped ALL the toy boxes on the floor (again!)…. pick them up. If something is really bothering you, get it done. Motivated Moms can’t read your mind, or your home. It’s a fantastic worthwhile tool, but every once in a while, you need to do some damage control. Saturday is our day to buckle down and clean for about an hour as a family. This little bit of damage control on the weekend means I can follow the basic chore list during the week!

Motivated Moms Feel a New Kind of Peace

I’m not going to lie to you. I’m still a slob. But these days, my house can be company ready in about half an hour at any point. ALL my laundry is done. ALL my dishes are done. Last week, I sat down and sent Susan of Motivated Moms a quick thank you email.

You know what I said?

For the first time ever, using Motivated Moms, my house is clean enough that I can sit down, and have time for myself without feeling guilty. There is nothing more I need to do that I haven’t already done in my home. I can watch an episode of my favorite show. I can mess around online. I can take a real BREAK because everything I should be doing is done, and my home is a place where I can be at peace.

This is a huge 180 from the person I was a year ago. The guilt is fading. It’s amazing.

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  1. I’ve been wanting this forever…as I look around at my stacks of papers throughout the kitchen and dining room.

  2. can I put down everything. I wish I was like my mother in law she had all her chores down to a science. she was great.

  3. I homeschool my 5 yr old while having my 3,1,and 4wk old underfoot. I constantly struggle with starting and finishing tasks. It gets messy again qithin an hour so its hard to be motivated to get it done.

  4. I couldn’t wait-ok, I could have, but I decided that this is something we need. I got it last night and posted it on the refrigerator. It seems easy enough and reasonable. Thank you for sharing! I will try it out for a while and I may post about it too!

  5. I struggle with sticking with it! To actually continue doing it regularly. Instead, I tend to clean excellently for a few days and then “crash and burn” and not want to lift a finger for about a week afterwards, lol!

  6. My biggest challenge is keeping my husband and kids from undoing all of my work when I leave the house for a few hours!

  7. I really struggle with staying on track. I will start to clean/organize something but than I see something else that needs to be done and will go attempt that. I really need something that helps me come up with a plan of action!

  8. Laundry is a daily struggle even with designated “cubbies” in the laundry room for clean clothes instead of dressers. The kitchen is another though one….it gets out of control very quickly.

  9. Clutter!! It’s everywhere and hard to get past it. But this planner sounds like it would help….tasks for the day instead of getting overwhelmed with the big picture!

  10. I always get overwhelmed by my mess. It’s paralyzing! I need someone to give me a starting place. This sounds perfect!

  11. I struggle with all the “stuff” that comes with having a small home (under 1000 square feet) and having nine children. Even when they leave home and marry, they leave “stuff” behind so it seems like there will never be any room. Living in chaos is really difficult.

  12. Where do I begin? We homeschool our amazing collect everything daughter, my husband has paperwork stacks you can sit on, I’m a painter & sewingaholic so there are piles of fabric, books, sketches… You can stir our house with a stick and when I look at it, I run hide my head in a book :-/ this might be just the job!

    1. haha!
      We could be great friends! If it helps, I still have a messy room. I have an office in this house, and it is MINE. My paint is there. My brushes are everywhere. My notes for this blog are everywhere. There are books on the floors, and boxes all over. Hubby can’t stand to look at it, and for heavens sakes, cleaning THAT space (MY bubble) actually makes it harder for me to do anything creative. Perhaps you need a space to be wild, crazy and creative in, and have a game plan for the rest of the house? Maybe collector girl also needs a corner (a shelf? a book case? a closet? her room?) to be directed to store things in?
      I’m sure there is a solution for everyone out there- it’s just a matter of finding it. In the meantime, hang in there!

  13. Laundry seems to be my biggest struggle. I also struggle with the deep cleaning chores. I could really use reminders from Motivated Moms!

    1. Motivated Moms makes me clean my microwave. Who thinks of these things??? It’s really nice to not have everything smell like last years pasta sauce…

    1. I hate to be told what to do. So much. But- this is small enough, and I got to the point where I really couldn’t live in the mess another moment. So this ONE thing….. I follow the routine. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it to me. So- I suppose the answer is how bad do you want it 😉
      I bet you could also adapt it to “flying.” My husband never does his highlighted chores on the day they are “supposed” to be done. Maybe you could use each week as a “big picture” plan and do your own thing with it.

  14. One thing I cannot stand is a cluttered home. My house isn’t spotless all the time, but if there is stuff in the walkways it’s like running nails down a chalkboard! What a great giveaway!

    1. Do y’all have storage where you are at? The clutter makes me crazy here. The sad thing is we don’t even OWN much…. its just that there is no place to put it. I am getting rid of as much as I can, because I can’t take the mountain in the hallway any longer!!

  15. I work full time and homeschool. My house it always cluttered and dusty. My husband doesn’t like any kind of schedule so it’s hard to get him to help if I give him jobs. It has to be his idea. haha!

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