7 Cleaning Hacks for When You’re Struggling with Military Life


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.

Great cleaning hacks for military life (or any busy life) and a ROOMBA GIVEAWAY!

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.

Pick up

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.

Storage containers

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.

Great cleaning hacks for military life (or any busy life) and a ROOMBA GIVEAWAY!

Be strategic

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.

Great cleaning hacks for military life (or any busy life) and a ROOMBA GIVEAWAY!

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.

Great cleaning hacks for military life (or any busy life) and a ROOMBA GIVEAWAY!

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.

That’s why they’re sponsoring this very special Military Family Appreciation Month/Veterans Day giveaway.

Great cleaning hacks for military life (or any busy life) and a ROOMBA GIVEAWAY!

It’s the only one like this on the internet and it’s only for Jo, My Gosh! readers, so I’m stoked (and you should be too!). You’ll win iRobot’s Roomba 880. It comes with two lighthouses, two replaceable filters, and a remote control as well as the Roomba itself. It retails at $799. Yeah. This is huge. HUGE. Enter now– it’s ongoing from now until November 23! (Open to US residents with non-APO/FPO or PO Box addresses only, please.)

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Great cleaning hacks for military life (or any busy life) and a ROOMBA GIVEAWAY!


47 Responses

  1. I have been known to hire a house keeper. It’s rough sometimes getting everything in order and working from home.

    1. I read that hiring a housekeeper is one of the ways you can empower female entrepreneurs– since many women get their start in business offering domestic services. I think that’s rad! :-)

  2. I totally farm out my cleaning duties to my older kids! they’ll take a couple bucks, love that they accomplished something and I love that I’m helping them learn a valuable lesson! its a win/win

  3. Wow! That robot vacuum is amazing! How cool! :) I make cleaning easier by… righting it down on my to-do list. If I don’t write it down, it isn’t happening.

  4. Getting distracted with all the other things I need to clean up is so me. And I vacuum so infrequently my kids are always asking “What’s THAT?” when I finally pull out the vacuum. #motheringfail

  5. Growing up I always wanted the Jetsons lifestyle, especially Rosie the robot. Come home from work and your house is just done. I suppose the roomba is a good enough substitute, though Rosie also fed the dog too.

  6. 3 cats, 3 dogs, a teenage boy, a DV husband…my house is a constant state of mess with me cleaning everyday all day long. This would be a huge help!! No more piles of fur swept up into corners while searching for the dustpan.

  7. I was just telling my husband that I wanted a Roomba! With 2 dogs and a 3 year old boy I feel like all I do is vacuum! Bleh!

  8. It can be VERY hard to keep things clean with 2 kids under 3 years, but have found that it’s possible with a very strict cleaning plan (i.e. things get cleaned on schedule), adherence to specific methods (i.e. use specific well-working products), and keeping things tidy daily. Some chores, like vacuuming, get done weekly (or more often if my asthma is acting up). Other chores, like sweeping after each meal or washing dishes after each meal, keeps chores from piling up. The smaller tasks are, the easier they are and the more likely it is that my husband and/or small kids can help.

  9. I am so excited about this!!!! I try not to let my home become too messy by cleaning it every Mon, Wed and Fri. With three kids and a dog, if I let more than 2 days go by the, mess becomes unbearable.

  10. I make sure to pick up my house every night before bed. It helps to start clean in the morning!

  11. I make a “to do” list and chip away at it. I’d love to win a Roomba; I’ve been looking into different models.

  12. I try to do at least one thing a day. Just clean the bathroom, just vacuum etc.

  13. I have family come and visit at least once a month! Nothing lights a fire under my butt to clean the house like a visit from my in-laws.

  14. My husband and I also live in a tiny cramped apartment and although we are lucky in the fact that he has a relatively normal schedule. We were not so lucky in getting a decked out 70’s style apartment! Cleaning can be a struggle with all of the tight spaces, but just like you suggested being efficient is my number one goal when getting down and cleaning those floors! The roomba give away couldn’t have come at a better time! We are about to PCS back to the mainland and are anxiously awaiting our chance to bring home a golden retriever and I KNOW that shedding will tack on about an extra hour of vacuuming each day. With a roomba I know it would be much more enjoyable to get down on the floor and play with our new puppy!

  15. I try to create a cleaning schedule to stick by! I’ll sort things by daily, weekly and monthly tasks.

  16. I focus on 15-20 minutes a day to devote to cleaning, most of the time I do it while something is in the oven cooking.

  17. I watch YouTube videos on cleaning for tips and tricks on how to clean. Also gives inspiration to clean.

  18. By keeping places tidy every day. Rather than pile mess on top of mess, a few minutes of tidying in the morning, afternoon, and right before bed keeps the mess mischief managed.

  19. I make cleaning easier by teaching my son {5 years old} how to pick up after himself so I don’t have to!! ;)

  20. I find it easiest to clean a little every day so I don’t get overwhelmed trying to do it all at once. Thanks for the opportunity to win an awesome roomba and make my life just a bit easier :)

  21. I find cleaning easier if I don’t have to go far for the cleaners. Bathroom cleaners in the bathroom, furniture polish by the furniture etc. but with five kids and a husband that is in and out weekly things get messy fast! I would love a Roomba to help out and vacuum without having to be reminded!

  22. Because I’m not the best housekeeper, I have to keep clutter to a minimum and not have a lot of stuff to manage. This would be a big help for me if I won!!

  23. I make cleaning easier for myself by dividing my house into 2. I do everything in the upstairs 1 days then everything downstairs the next day. Since I do it that way I’m able to concentrate on 1 thing at a time & finish what I plan to do.

  24. I try to pick up and clean a little each day. But during the holiday season I hire help to do a thorough cleaning once ever 3 weeks. It’s only for a couple months so it’s affordable.

  25. I clean a room each day. I have a set day for each persons laundry, including towels and sheets. I do a quick pickup throughout the house, but focus on one room or two rooms each day. For example, Monday is the kitchen, Tuesday the bathrooms, etc.

  26. It’s hard – our schedule changes so much – but usually a little bit every day helps, and big things like laundry on the days I’m home while he’s at work, because he’s terrible at laundry.

  27. I’d love to try this! I bet it would work great with that pesky pet hair and seems to get underneath all tables and chairs!

  28. Cleaning hack- Finish one project before starting another. Place items that need to go upstairs on the stairs ready to go up, and put away dishes in dishwasher as you get them dirty. Then they don’t pile up in the sink! Thanks to the hubby for this one!

  29. Great tips! I definitely need some good tips right now because the holidays are slowly coming and I need to clean the whole house as part of the preparation for the guests. I would love to have a robot vacuum cleaner helping me with the cleaning, but for now I’m on my own! Really nice tips! Thanks for sharing!

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