iRobot, maker of Roomba, compensated me for this post with a product. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
One thing that John and I have struggled with over the past few years is maintaining a schedule… for everything. For almost two years, John had a pretty crazy watch schedule which had us switching our lives every week. It makes it tough to be part of a community, to work out regularly, and to clean. Because we live in a smallish apartment, when he was on night shift I couldn’t really do anything. He’s a light sleeper, our walls are super thin, and I am clumsy.
The other issue? The military makes life super busy. Between both of our jobs and the wacky schedule and hours we were keeping, we found it really tough to isolate time to clean. I felt increasingly responsible for everything—even though we wanted to split chores and responsibilities down the middle—simply because I work from home and am always there.
Our apartment turned into a wreck.
And it became a source of frustration for both of us.
I know that many of us struggle with this. Military life is often emotional and usually, one person (the one who stays home) gets dumped on with responsibilities. You know that feeling of almost drowning? I felt like I was treading water, but I was getting more and more exhausted as the days went by. And I was getting resentful too—of John and of the military. After all, if we had a normal life with normal hours and normal demands on our time, we could have a schedule and our apartment wouldn’t look awful.
Sound familiar? Be honest.
Here are some ways to hack cleaning (including a super, super, SUPER special announcement at the end. Don’t miss it!):
Be efficient the first time
Not that I’m not efficient, but I get side-tracked easily. I’ll be folding laundry and then realize that something needs to be picked up, and then something else needs to be picked up, and oh, what about the dishwasher? By the time, I’m done, I still have a load of laundry chilling on the couch, half-folded.
This is tough, especially in a small space when you might not have a lot of storage space (or when you’ve outgrown your home), but keeping things picked up will both make your home look better and it’ll make it easier to feel better about your home.
Invest in storage solutions that work for your space. I’ve found that over-the-door shoe holders work well for scarves, winter accessories, and accessories and that shoe racks in the entry way are a great way to keep clutter organized and in one particular area. Investing in clear totes for your closet storage makes it easier to clean up and keep everything organized, too.
A little bit of planning can go a long way and help you save time. Have to run errands? Get everything loaded in your dishwasher and washing machine, start, and leave. (When we were dating, John used to do this at his apartment… because the dryer’s exhaust fan just emptied right back into the apartment, making everything super hot and humid.)
Create 15-minute breaks
When I’m working, I’m sometimes too focused. I might not get up from my desk for hours. I know, I know: It’s bad for my health and it’s really not good for my emotional well-being either. I’m now trying to give myself breaks from work by completing tasks that take 15 minutes or less. It gives me a good chance to walk around a bit and the cleaning activity fits my schedule well. Win-win.
Automate when you can
Things that I love: stuff that cleans so we don’t have to. I’m looking at you, sticky-cleaner-toilet-bowl-thingies, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. We also use the after-shower tile spray to keep creepy crawlies from growing, which in turn makes it less gross to clean the bathroom. If you can find a laundry basket with sections, use it to pre-sort as you toss laundry in, rather than doing it all at once.
Hire a robot
And while we’re talking about automation…I’ve wanted a Roomba for a bit. I absolutely hate vacuuming. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. I just do. John didn’t think we needed one, but in just a day or two of running DJ Roomba (yes, we named it!), he’s a believer.
I’ll start with my favorite thing about the Roomba: you can schedule it to vacuum. Currently, DJ Roomba vacuums every day at noon for us. It cleans the entire area efficiently and leaves and returns to its docking station on its own. We don’t have any stairs in our apartment, but if we did, the Roomba would be safe because it won’t throw itself off a ledge. You need to keep the floor picked up, but if it gets tangled in something, it will immediately backtrack and turn off. (Did I mention that it also tackles a bunch of flooring surfaces, including carpet and tile very easily? And for space rugs, it easily transitions from hard surface they’re laid on to the carpet without getting tangled or rolling the carpet underneath it. That’s more than I can say for our traditional vacuum.) I also love that it comes with virtual lighthouses that can either prevent the Roomba from going into a particular area or it can guide it to a space. It’s especially helpful if you don’t want the Roomba knocking into potentially messy things like the cat’s litterbox or the dog’s water dish.
In just a week, Roomba has literally transformed the way that John and I clean. I wasn’t expecting that. Our apartment looks great and I don’t feel constantly on edge– like I should be doing something even though I don’t have time for it.
iRobot, maker of Roomba, offers a 15% military discount and wants to make cleaning a little easier for military families everywhere. From deployments to crazy schedules to one parent holding down the fort, military families need a little extra help around the house.