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Laundry, Dishes, Toilets, and More – 3 Simple Systems To Optimize Your Cleaning Routine

June 15, 2022

Today I am breaking down how I handle keeping a clean house. It can be unbelievably hard to keep up with keeping a clean house when there are multiple children and adults in the house, let alone pets and visitors. The one thing I have come to realize about us moms is that we absolutely LOVE the feeling of a clean house. That feeling of relief we get when everything is done, when or home isn’t calling our name anymore and we can focus on other things, should be something we experience regularly.

Today’s post is going to teach you how to automate the remedial cleaning inside your home. Using these systems to enhance your cleaning routines is a total game changer. Wait until you hear my laundry hack, it’s going to be the icing on the cake. Jump inside to get the full details on how to have the fresh sparkling clean home you love on a regular basis.

I know that so many of you ask questions of me a lot about this, wondering what my systems or routines are for cleaning. I have never considered myself to be an insanely clean, tidy person, but once I was a wife and had multiple children, it just became very important to me and it’s something that I love to do. I love to care for my home. And now I realize that maybe I do actually have some kind of a system, so that’s what I’m going to share with you today. I’m going to be talking about laundry, dishes, and toilets, so let’s go ahead and dive right in!
 
If you are struggling with how to keep your house clean, not tidy (this isn’t an episode about keeping things tidy, it’s about keeping things clean), then let’s do this!
 

Laundry

Here is my system for laundry and what you absolutely need to do. You’re not gonna love it, you’re gonna think I’m crazy, and you’re gonna say, “That’s ridiculous!”, but I don’t care, you need to do it!
 

1. Get smaller laundry bins

Every single person in your house needs to have a small, single-load sized basket in their bedroom. You, your spouse, and every kiddo. I’m talking a small load, not a filled to the brim load to where it can barely agitate and the clothes in the middle hardly get wet. Seriously, a small basket for each person in your house to put their own laundry in.
 

2. Wash by texture

My grandmother would scold me for this one, having grown up in her family-owned laundry company, as she likes to wash things very specifically. As a WFHM, I simply don’t have time to wash things as meticulously as she does, and I know you don’t either.
 
I wash by texture, not color, which works well for this system nine times out of ten, everything in everyone’s baskets can be washed together. Now, I wash my jeans separately, so every once in a while I’ll have a load of jeans to wash, but most of the time your kids are going to have cotton/polyester type clothing and YOU may be the one that has a random hand wash or delicate load that you don’t want to wash with everything else. You’ll know what kinds of textures should go together.
 
Has this system done me dirty? Once or twice. Because I washed my clothes in super hot water and had a brand new, cheap, dark-colored something in there and it tinted my other stuff. Other than those couple of instances, this system has never done me wrong. AND, there are other major productivity gurus out there, specifically Jordan Page who has 8 children and a full-time, massively successful productivity business, who talk about the same thing—separating laundry by texture, not color.
 

3. Let family members help

Implementing these systems can also set your kids up to learn to wash their own laundry. Since most of their clothes can be washed together, they can learn to be able to do this on their own. With using the small laundry basket system, Franki can easily do her laundry by herself, because she just takes it downstairs and puts it in. At 8, she’s still learning what specific buttons to push, but she pretty much can do it on her own now. I give her a little step stool and she can get it in, though sometimes she needs a hand getting the laundry back out.
 
So your kids should be able to do their own laundry and your husband should be able to throw in a load of his laundry. Now, for those of you that do your husband’s laundry, it should be no sweat if you’re using the single-load bin system, especially if you add in my next step…
 

4. Pick specific washing days

Next, you need to pick a specific day, one day a week, for washing each single-load of laundry. Now, if your one-load bin of laundry is filling up more than once a week, you have too many clothes. So the most vital step in this entire concept of getting a grip on your laundry, is you need to reduce the amount of clothes in every single person’s closet.
 
My girls are not on a capsule wardrobe system, they should be and I try and keep them to that, but there are a lot more clothes in their closet than that because people make things for them, people gift clothes to them, and Baylie has tons of Franki Jo’s hand me downs. Now that we’re out of that phase with Franki, she definitely has been moved into a capsule wardrobe system and she LOVES it. It makes doing laundry for her so much easier. She’ll come and tell me, “Mom, I’m out of clothes.” and I can just tell her, “Ok, laundry bin’s full, wash it and let’s put them away together.” and it’s done!
 
And honestly, sometimes we don’t even have to do that once a week. Baylie tends to change her clothes a bit more often between getting dirty and still potty-training with the occasional accident, so it’s typically once a week for hers.
 
I force myself to do my laundry once a week because if I go longer than that, then the folding and putting it away becomes a chore. I have this clean load that just sits on the floor for days and days and days on end because by the time it’s all washed, dried, and ready to put away, it’s become way later in the day and I’m no longer in that time block. When it’s a smaller load it takes me five minutes to get it all hung up, folded, and put away.
 
So that is how I’m tackling laundry and that is what I think you should try to do.
 
Every single person in your house can have a different day of the week for their load of laundry or you can do couple at a time. When I do it every single day, it gets done much more efficiently and I don’t have a load of laundry laying on the floor. When I try and do too much laundry at once I never end up completing the laundry cycle.
 
Try it either way, see which one works best for you. I’ve done both ways and prefer having one day of the week for each person, like every single Saturday is my personal laundry day, Mondays are Franki’s, Thursdays are Baylie’s, and Blaine does his own laundry. He likes it that way and I’m very grateful for that.
 

Dishes

This one’s really fun! If you have a lot of people in your house, I’m going to encourage you to take an extra step in this system. There’s only four of us and the crux of this entire system revolves around one thing and one thing only: every single morning, your dishwasher needs to be ready to receive dirty dishes. Every morning, from now on.
 
What does that mean? For those of you with a lot of family members, that means every night you need to run your dishwasher. For us, we could run our dishwasher every single night, absolutely, and maybe you’re fine with that even though it’s not full. But for Blaine and me, we like to save on dishwasher pods and water, so we don’t wash until the dishwasher’s full.
 
Let me walk you through this system because this has been really successful for us. We don’t do it 100% of the time. And when we don’t do it, we get caught up in the stupid cycle of dishes in the sink, tons of dirty dishes, and I hate it. But I’ve been doing this specific system long enough to know that when we do it, it is unbelievably successful! And like every system that I teach, you have to DO the system for it to work. It doesn’t just work for you.
 
I’m still working on getting everyone on board with this system, specifically because there’s four of us contributing to the dirty dishes and two of those people are kids and Blaine is not home all the time. But here’s how it goes, you start out with a brand new, fresh, clean kitchen. There’s no dirty dishes anywhere. You have a small, and I’m talking tiny, dry rack. I have one that’s maybe 12 inches squared that looks like a little square of grass that I absolutely love, and everything needs to be put away out of it. If you don’t use a dishwasher, that’s fine, you still can do this exact same system. Start there at the dry rack with a clean slate.
 
Then there’s one rule and one rule only to this entire system, and everyone in your family has to understand what this new rule is. You are not allowed to put a dirty dish in the sink or on the counter. Ever. It does not live there. If it’s dirty, it either goes in the dishwasher or it’s a hand wash item and it gets washed immediately and gets put on the dry rack. Done.
 
This is what I say, “You’re not allowed to set it and forget it. You cannot put it in there.” Blaine’s favorite thing to do when he’s done with his coffee cup is to rinse it out and set it in the sink. And what that does is that cues to everyone that this is a holding basin for dishes. And the next person comes along and they put their dishes in there too, and the next person, and the next, and then you have a monstrosity of dishes sitting in the sink and there you are in that cycle.
 
So the person that is responsible, the person that starts the chain reaction whoever that is, like when Blaine puts his coffee cup in there, if somebody else comes behind him and puts dishes in there too, Blaine is responsible for washing every single dish. This is the game we play in our house. That triggers people to think, “I don’t want to wash everyone else’s dishes, I just want to wash my one dish. so I’m gonna wash my one dish or it’s going to go in the dirty dishwasher.”
 
Here’s the other reason why I said this whole thing hinges upon you having a dishwasher that is ready to receive dirty dishes, because if you have a dirty dish and it belongs in the dishwasher, but the dishes haven’t been unloaded, where are you gonna put it? You’re gonna set it in the sink. So you have to make sure that every single night the dishwasher is either going to be clean in the morning and you’re going to unload it or there’s room to put dirty dishes in it the next day.
 
So how do you make THAT happen? How do you make sure that every single night this happens? Because you go through dinner and it becomes hectic and it becomes a hassle, what happens then?
 
So, this is what we do. When I’m cooking dinner, I ALWAYS clean dishes as I go. I’m constantly cleaning dishes while I’m cooking, the entire time. Then, this is what you need to do friends, you need to implore little helpers. Your husband and your children should be helping serve the food and set the table. That should be their job. And guess what I’m doing while they’re doing that? I’m cleaning the kitchen. So that way, whenever we’re done, the only thing left is for every person at the table—my 3 year-old does it, by 8 year-old does it, my husband does it, and I do it—we get up, we take our dishes, we hand wash the ones that need to be hand washed, and we put the other ones in the dishwasher. They DO NOT go in the sink.
 
And then, if there’s a few pots, if there’s a few pans (which there normally are because there’s a little food left over), we put up the food in a container. And while everyone else in the family is putting the table back together, cleaning the crumbs off and picking up from dinner, I’m washing those pots and pans. BOOM, done! There are no leftover dinner dishes. I’m not coming down after we put the kids to bed to clean the kitchen; that’s not what we’re doing.
 
Then you’re either going to start the dishwasher because it’s full and it’s ready, or there’s plenty of room for you to go another day of putting dirty dishes in there.
 
Now, you say, “Chelsi, every single morning the dishwasher has to be ready to receive dirty dishes. I just ran the dishwasher, I’m gonna wake up in the morning to clean dishes. Now what? Now you’re telling me I have to unload the dishwasher every morning?”
 
I am.
 
I am telling you that. But I’m not telling you that you need to do it alone. Divide your dishwasher into zones by how many people you have in your family. If every single night you are running your dishwasher and you have four kids, divide the dishwasher into four zones. You have the top shelf, the bottom shelf, and the silverware, right? So maybe the hardest or the fullest (ours is always the top shelf because it has all the little random things) can be divided into two. So two kids get to do the top shelf, another kid does the bottom, and another does the silverware. Done. That’s their job in the morning.
 
And guess what? There is incentive for them helping out with things like that. For me, it’s the incentive of how I help them get through their morning. If I know that something’s hard for them, like getting dressed or making their bed, I’m more than happy to go help them with something because they helped me with something. That’s the way we build super supportive, real equal relationships in this house where it’s not mom telling you to do it, but mom needs your help with this and you need mom’s help with that. How awesome!
 
We communicate, we talk about it. And I don’t force chores on my kids, which leads me to the third thing.
 

You need to break down your house, just like any big goal that you wanna tackle. If it’s cleaning your house, you gotta break it down into smaller pieces and you gotta tell yourself when you’re gonna do it.

Toilets

We’re gonna talk about toilets. We’re gonna talk about CLEANING your house. So, bathrooms specifically, this is such a huge chore for me and I know it is for everyone. I do not assign chores to my kids and I never will. Growing up I just had, “You’re part of the family, so you have to, and that’s it.” We didn’t get paid for it, nothing. And I think it was a real missed opportunity for my parents to teach us about entrepreneurship and to teach us about money management and finances. And then my next door neighbor, who was my best friend and is still one of my good friends, she had to do chores, she got paid money, and she knows how to manage money like nobody I’ve ever seen.
 
So all my life I grew up seeing both ends of the spectrum, and we do something very different in our house, which you can learn about in THIS BONUS EPISODE. So because I don’t make children do chores, the responsibility of cleaning the house falls on the family, and this is what we do. I have my house divided into zones and we deep clean bathrooms every two weeks and I wipe surfaces the weeks in between. Just with a quick spray and wipe off the surfaces using Thieves spray from Young Living.
One of the biggest hacks for me wanting to deep clean my bathrooms is I love the products that I use. They’re not harmful to my family and they don’t smell a hot, frightening mess. I actually love the way that they smell and they make me feel good about using them.
Young Living has this cleaner called Thieves Cleaner that’s a concentrate and it reminds me of Pine-Sol, although it doesn’t smell like it, but it’s a concentrate like that. Like, my mom used to put a capful of Pine-Sol in everything, my grandmother still does. That’s what I do with my Thieves cleaner, but it’s completely derived from plants, from essential oils. It is amazing! I use that and this amazing soft-scrub that I make to clean everything, and it makes me HAPPY to clean. And that’s just one of my hacks, not the system.
So Franki is given the option to either come and clean with us, or she can go entertain herself, OR she can go clean her whole entire bathroom by herself for an agreed upon fee or rate that we have already established and you’ll learn about that in the bonus episode linked above.
Our zones are split up so we’re not cleaning the whole entire house in one weekend. So on the other weekends, when I’m not deep cleaning the bathrooms, we have another zone to do. The sheets and the extra laundry or deep cleaning the main living area as well as the kitchen every two weeks (dusting and all that), which we tackle all together.
Now, some of you are like, “Oh my gosh, she only dusts every other week?!” Yeah, I do. That’s fine if you want to dust your house every single weekend, that just means that you’re going to be cleaning every single zone, and you’re going to split that between kids or between people. If you’re doing it all by yourself then you’re gonna have to time block a much larger amount of time one day, or you’re gonna have to split up zones every single day of the week. So zone 1 on Mondays, zone 2 on Tuesdays, zone 3 on Thursdays, and so on.
You need to break down your house, just like any big goal that you wanna tackle. If it’s cleaning your house, you gotta break it down into smaller pieces and you gotta tell yourself when you’re gonna do it. That’s how I go about cleaning my house. It’s no different than any other way that I’ve taught you to tackle a goal, and this is just simply just tackling your house.
So when it’s that specific weekend to clean, I have a two-hour time block on the calendar every single week, it’s one of our fundamental needs, it’s one of the items on my Great Eight. Blaine and I know and it’s written down on the communication board, this is the cleaning that we’re tackling in this two hours, and we conquer and divide.
Franki gets to pick if she wants to do any of them, Baylie comes with me and I teach her little bits and then she runs off and she plays independently, we put an old record on and we don’t have TV and screens on during this time. It’s a family thing. The reason why it’s a family thing is because I DO want my kids to know that this is how we contribute to the family. I DON’T want to be the only one responsible for cleaning by myself. We conquer and we divide, and we’re focused on a specific zone so that it’s not overwhelming, so that it doesn’t consume our entire life, and this is how we rotate through our house.
Now, if we skip a zone, guess what? It happens and my bathrooms are atrocious, the tubs are dirty, the toilets are dirty, and we hate it. We hate living that way, and so it really motivates us to stay true to the time block that we set aside every week to have two hours of cleaning in our life.
So many of you ask me, “How do you do things routinely?” Well, I don’t like living the way that I live when I don’t show up for myself, when I don’t show up for my home, when I don’t show up for my kids and my husband. I don’t like the way that makes me feel, so it’s a choice. It’s simply just a choice to get up and do it or not. I sound like my mother right now you guys! She says that all the time.
But it really is so true! You can choose to set up the system. Now you have no excuses, you know there is a system that works, set it up, communicate it well with everyone, and put it on your calendar. Make it a block of time that you’re going to show up to this week. No excuses, do it!
Put a podcast in, put music on, make it fun. Open up the windows, let some sunshine come in, put some essential oils on or some soy burning candles (I’m gonna infuse all my crunchy stuff in these podcasts!), and have fun with it! Put your sneakers on, put your athletic clothes on, and do lunges in between. Do squats in between, make it fun! Have a good time with it. Show your kids what it looks like when you pour into your home and to love it and I promise you, they will love it back. They will stop baulking at you. Give them a reward on the other end of it. “This is what you get to do when we’re done.”
At 12 o’clock we stop. I don’t care where you’re at, we’re done. Just start doing it. Show up for yourself, show up for your home and let me know what you think about this system!

  If you are excited about this, or if you have maybe dabbled in this, or you’re looking forward to putting this system into place, leave a comment or come over and let me know in our Facebook group and let’s chat about it!

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