Organizing Time and Cleaning

Updated on April 23, 2010
A.F. asks from Bellmore, NY
14 answers

My question is it seems like I am having a hard time getting any cleaning done when my daughter naps. Part of the reason for this is that she usually only naps for forty-five minutes at a time. I need some kind of structure or schedule to better organize my time. Cleaning can feel overwhelming when it piles up and it always feels like I am doing dishes.

I do admit that usually my daughter's afternoon nap I will miss because we are out. I need to get out during the day and often times we are out during her nap and she will sleep in the car or stroller. Any suggestions? Thank you!

P.S. I like structure but I also like flexibility too.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

Nothing wrong with paper plates or eating off a paper towel every once in a while, it keeps the mess from escalating.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My family (and all my clients) follow these 5 simple tips.

1. Weekly Menu Planning
If you fail to plan you plan to fail! Food matters.
1. Make a list of EVERYTHING you and your family like to eat (including eating out). Everything, right from eggs and toast to a 5 course family dinner.
2. Separate it into categories, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
3. Using a simple table (word or excel can set them up) create as many family menus as possible from the foods that you like to eat. Just fill in the boxes with the foods you like to eat.
4. Type them (or get the kids to type them), print them, put them in kitchen.
5. Every Sunday (or whatever you day you choose) pull out a menu, (already pre-made!!), make your grocery list and VOILA you have a weekly plan for health.

2. Picture Perfect
For busy families on the go PICTURE PERFECT is the best way to stay organized. Now you have to start from a clean space, so take the time to clean an area to your satisfaction. Then TAKE A PICTURE. Post it somewhere you will see it and every time you walk through that space you will see the picture and if something is out of order, you will know immediately and it will take you a quick minute to put it back in place. **This is GREAT for kids rooms, family areas and kitchen cupboards.

3. 10 Minute Tidy
Everyone in the house picks a room in the house, they can pick different rooms or all work together. Put on some fun music, set the kitchen timer and GO! But only for 10 minutes. Then STOP!

4. Priority File Folders
Every piece of paper that comes into the house either gets filed in “file 19” aka the recycle bin or it gets separated in into Weekly File box (this box has file folders labeled Monday to Saturday. As soon as any piece of paper comes into your home, prioritize it. Determine when it has to be addressed by. If it needs immediate attention, put it in the next day file, if it can wait, pick a day this week that it can go in. Then take 15 mins every day to empty the file folder.

5. 15 Min Financial Fitness
Spend just 15 mins a day getting your finances in check. Input your receipts, balance your check book, pay bills etc. JUST 15 mins a day! Even with one day off each week, you will have a total of 90 mins of financial focus. You will be on track in NO TIME!

Does that help?

Family Success Coach

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

First I have to laugh because I too am ALWAYS doing dishes even though I run the dishwasher just about every day. I also feel your pain with a short nap time. I have a 2.5yr old and 4mo old, both girls. I completely appreciate the need to get out of the house whether it be for fun or errands however my first suggestion is to be home in time for nap time so that you are able to take full advantage of that short nap. If she's still taking 2 naps I realize this is tough. If I need to get out of the house early, which is fairly often, I shower the night before so that I can get out of the house faster.

Organizing - one thing I often fell behind on is laundry. I now have 3 baskets - one for lights, darks, whites. When I have a full load I drop it in the washer first thing in the morning, throw it in the dryer in the afternoon and fold it in the evening. I try not to let it pile up and this has really helped me. Kitchen - I rarely leave it messy before I go to bed now because it makes it that much harder to get out of the house in the morning. I used to hand wash a lot of dishes and now I put everything I can in the dishwasher, especially if it's close to being full and I know it won't handle the next days dishes.

One thing I find myself doing is thinking that I can't do things when my girls are awake. They are often fine as long as they are near me. If I'm in the kitchen I put my youngest in her swing so she can see me the whole time. Find some activities your daughter can do sitting in her high chair while you clean the kitchen. Give her an empty basket with some toys in it while you do laundry. Put her in the bathtub while you clean the bathroom. There are some good books with kid activities you can make at home.

I hope some of this helps. One more note - don't put to much pressure on yourself to have a perfectly clean and organized home. I think your profile said your a SAHM, if you are then remember you are home to raise your daughter, not keep a perfect home. :) I like to think of my house as lived in!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

No suggestion, just that I understand. It seems like every time I have to clean I just get the kitchen done, and than I run out of time, and other parts of the house suffer. It gets so frustrating! I will be checking back to see if you get any good tips I can use as well!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

The only thing I remember doing was TV time, while I wasn't big on TV by any means, I remember watching a ton of it growing up and I am no worse for the wear because that 'priveledge' was always built and given around certain boundaries.

I am a single mom, so when my guy was little I would enjoy his nap.. I would either sleep too or do something for myself (be out somewhere)but I allotted two 30 minute slots one in the morning and one afternoon where I would put something on tv (baby einstein) or just some music, that was his "alone" time every day, I cleaned. I'd talk to him as I did stuff sometimes but I kept moving, I get very efficient at thinking ahead and getting ALOT done in 30 min time. As he got just a little old and could understand and maybe talk a little I would ask for his help. I.e. if I needed to fold laundry, "do you wanna help me" I would give him a face cloth to hold as I was folding and he thought he was helping. If I was loading the dishwasher, I would give him his plastic bowl and he could load and unload as much as he wanted, I managed to get it all done and he was still entertained. He's 4 now and he loves doing laundry and the dishwasher. There's always a way for them to 'help' and you to 'accomplish' Good Luck.



answers from New York on

Thanks so much for posting this question! I struggle with this daily and my house is always a mess. I feel like I neglect being a "mommy" b/c of it. Thanks for letting me read your suggestions. =) Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Barbilee's suggestions are awesome!! =)

Right now, my kitchen is totally trashed, but that is partly because I just made a delicious dinner--so worth it.
Laundry and dishes are just two of those things in life that are never done...and they never will be.

I find, with cleaning, that eliminating all unnecessary items in your home makes cleaning easier (because you don't have to move stuff around to clean), AND makes your home look bigger. Clutter isn't just paper, it is anything that you don't use regularly that takes up your valuable living space---it can be clothes you don't wear, furniture you don't need, decorative items, anything!


answers from New York on changed my home forever



answers from New York on

When my girls were little, I would focus on cleaning the most important areas of the house first, the kitchen and the bathroom. If there was a maze of toys on the floor, a stack of paperwork to go through, the beds weren't made, these things didn't matter. Yes, they needed to get down eventually but spending quality time with my children was more important.

Try changing your schedule so that your home when your daughter naps. Or try changing her schedule so she naps when you are home.

Good luck.



answers from New York on

Your only daughter? I have been struggling with keeping my house clean forever. After 3 children, a full time job, and a baby boutique my life is pretty insane. Don't beat yourself up, do what you can, when you can. I usually focus on one room at a time. When my children were young, I cleaned late nights (while staying home on maternity leave and on Friday/Saturday nights). I made sure I was very quiet, had a good cup of coffee and cleaned away. It was a great feeling waking up to a clean house. Some may find it weird, but it worked for me. Of course, I didn't clean the bedrooms late at night! I then took afternoon naps with my baby to catch up on my rest.

Again, don't worry, just enjoy your baby and take care of yourself.




answers from New York on

Who needs a clean house? - LOL. Use the nap as your free time!

I agree with the idea of cooking or doing dishes with your daughter in her high chair in the kitchen. You can talk to her and she can entertain you while you are working - make sure she has stuff to play with/draw with while you are doing this.

You can always drop laundry at a wash-and-fold place (although putting it away does seem to be far harder than washing it).

Flylady does have some good ideas, but I haven't really checked it all out yet. Also, I am a huge fan of bare feet and she has this rule about shoes so I have to disregard that altogether. One very simple thing she does recommend is just quickly spot cleaning things in the bathroom any time you go in there - clean the mirror one time, the sink the next, these are not in depth scrubbings, but if you do them on a regular basis, everything looks nice and clean - and the Real cleaning will take less time when you choose (find time) to do it.



answers from New York on

I am struggling with this too. FTWM, 3 yr old son...I've taken VACATION days to just clean and after two days was sooo annoyed it wasn't all day. Anyway. For everyday stuff I find this routine to be good...everynight make sure the sink is empty and the diswashing is full and running. In the a.m. put the dishes away as soon as possible. This way you wake up to an empty sink then all day have an empty dishwasher to just put dishes in as you go. It also helps to have the dish drain out all the time and just wash things as you go. My son plate that had toast on it doesn't need to go in the dishwasher. Laundry...washing and drying it isn't a problem - its PUTTING it away. So I keep dirty laundry baskets and clean laundry baskets so that the clean laundry can be put in its own basket and stuck away until I get to it - which is usually at night either after my son goes to sleep or while he is hanging with daddy. Its not easy though and I feel like its never perfect...but I can't stress about that.



answers from Joplin on

Not going to write it all down, all you need to do is FLY! FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself and it is so awesome!!!! There is a website all you have to do is Google FlyLady. She also has a FB page. The program sounds overly simplistic and you may question some of the "habits" she asks you to adopt, but I have to say it has changed the way I is the best thing I have EVER discovered on the internet...and it is FREE...hope you look into it = )



answers from New York on

It's not ideal but my time to do dishes is first thing in the morning. I put LO in her high chair and give her some toys and move it to the kitchen. She likes to play and see me and I get some dishes done.

As for vacuuming my LO loves her bouncer and sits in that while I vacuum around her.

Doing "deep" cleaning like windows (I have really old ones that are a pain to wash and it requires a ladder, removing screens, storm windows and patience!) gets done a little at a time or when someone is around to entertain baby while I work.

Just remember our LO don't care if the house is spotless only if they have had quality time with us. They are only little for a short time so if something doesn't get done exactly when you want it to because your with the LO then your creating the future. The windows, dishes, floors will all be dirty again tomorrow but by tommorrow our babies may not need us like they do today. My middle baby starts preschool in September and 4 years has flown by. I will be the one to cry after she happily heads for her teacher! The baby is almost 9 months od already and is crawling, climbing, has 5 teeth with 3 on the way and I still think I only blinked!
God Bless! A.

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