You’ve been prepping for the arrival of your newest family member. You’ve shopped for (or received) all of the must-have baby gear, bibs, bottles, and cute, little clothes. The clock is counting down, and one of the last big to-do’s is to give your living space a deep cleanse because you want to welcome your newbie home to a non-toxic, healthy environment. In hopes of making your parent-to-be life a bit easier, here are seven helpful hints for getting your house fresh and clean as a baby’s bottom (right AFTER a diaper change).
1. Me First
Before you dive in, know that you come first. Practicing this now will help you after baby makes their debut, and you experience a whole new kind of fatigue. When you’re running a marathon, you have to set a steady pace so you can make it to the end. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Be the tortoise.
2. Know What You Need
Make a list of the rooms and areas to clean. Then make a list of supplies you need. Gather what you already have and buy the rest. Paper towels and microfiber cloths are helpful. It’s a good idea to stock cleaning supplies that are safe for children (and pregnant moms) and work through your home knowing it’s sanitized in a non-toxic way. And while you’re buying your cleaners, pick up a baby-safe stain remover for that spit-up and other bodily fluids you’ll be wearing at some point.
3. Not All At Once
Break your house up into smaller areas you can tackle one by one over a set period of time. This makes the job more manageable, and you saner. Don’t try to clean your entire home in a day (unless you scored lots of assistants). Think baby steps, and spread it out over a number of days.
4. Get Jiggy With It
Decide to entertain yourself, so the cleaning feels less like a chore. Turn up the music, put on an audiobook or podcast to help pass the time. And factor in some break time to drink water and put your feet up.
5. Identify the Hot Spots
You know which areas in your home need your elbow grease. Plan which ones you want to prioritize first depending on how much time you have until your little one is on the scene. Here are some typical places and things that can fall lower on your list during your normal housework routine, but would benefit from getting your attention now, before baby comes.
- KITCHEN COUNTERTOP APPLIANCES: Give them all a little love. Especially scrub between the crevices you’ve been neglecting because you’ll have other crevices to wipe once your tiny boss is born.
- OVEN: If your oven has the self-clean feature, use it. Then wipe it out. Once it’s clean, make it easier to maintain by putting an oven liner or aluminum foil on the bottom to catch spills. Check your manual to make sure it’s okay to use these types of liners.
- MICROWAVE: Get rid of stuck-on gunk in your microwave by putting a cup of water and vinegar mixture inside, and set it to cook for 5 minutes. Keep the door closed, let the steam sit for a few minutes, then wipe the mess away.
- REFRIGERATOR: Raid it, then make it sparkle inside and out. Pull out your garbage can, and toss those things that got crammed in a corner or buried at the bottom of the drawer.
- CABINETS: Grime accumulates on the doors, and we don’t always notice the crusties that can collect on the shelves. Wipe it all down, and when you’re done, find space for bottles and other baby feeding supplies.
- BATHROOM: Besides the regular scrub, go through cabinets and drawers, tossing out any unused toiletries to make space for LO’s bathtime supplies.
- DUST: Go high and get low. Don’t ignore those shelves no one usually sees, and follow along the long-forgotten baseboards. (Try to avoid a build-up of dust bunnies that can aggravate allergies.)
- FURNITURE: Vacuum the sofas and chairs making sure to get into the grooves and under the cushions. Upholstered pieces of furniture can often be cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner if they need a refresh.
- CARPETS & RUGS: You and your wiggly one will be spending tons of time on the floor, so cleaning your carpets and rugs is a biggie. Make a “no shoes in the house” policy (if you don’t do this already) to cut down on the dirt and germs that get tracked inside.
- YARD: Got a garden? Front or backyard? Balcony plants? Any caretaking you’ve been doing up till now will take a backseat to baby. So, this is the time to do the weeding, and get rid of any dead or dying plants.
6. Watch Baby Grow, Not Your Piles
Organizing is not cleaning as in sterilizing, but it is part of clean-up; they go hand-in-hand. Before we leave you with your dirty job, here are a couple of quick organizational tips to save you a little time now and later, when you’re in full parenting mode.
- LAUNDRY: Stay on top of the laundry, including blankets and sheets. Pick a day or days of the week you’ll do a load, then fold and put everything away the same day. If you decide to do a massive, all-at-once laundry day, you may find that mountain of clean, unfolded clothes never gets smaller when more important things pop up, like a fussy, teething baby that won’t let you put them down.
- CLEAR CLUTTER: Out with the old, in with the new. We’re not talking about your kiddos, just their stuff. If you have older kids, re-organize their bedroom and go through their toys. Move out any worn-out or outgrown clothes or playthings. Box up the things you want to save for your new addition, and store them away, labeled, so they’re easier to find when you need them.
7. Keep It Up
Once your home is squeaky clean, and you’re just waiting for your bundle of joy to appear, make it easier on yourself by cleaning as you go about your daily schedule. For example, sweep the kitchen as part of your regular after-dinner tidy-up routine. Take a sponge to the bathroom sink every few days, right after you brush your teeth. You get the idea. It’s all about keeping the housework manageable and breaking it down into doable chunks. Celebrate the small wins, because they really do count. And factor in some time to Netflix and chill before the big day comes. ????
Since keeping your baby and home healthy are top of mind, check out 10 Tips for Safe Cleaning Supply Storage and 11 Organization Hacks for New Parents for inspo we’ve collected from other moms and dads who’ve been where you are now. Parenting isn’t easy, but it can be less complicated when we share our experiences and remember we’re in it together.