I had a friend whose priority was to keep all horizontal surfaces clean. Visually, it is amazing to accomplish that! But it is also very time-consuming, and difficult to maintain. If you have even one thing on a surface, it messes it all up.
So that is not my priority.
No, my top two are more practical.
If you don't change the sheets one week, you can still go to sleep that night. But if you don't do the laundry, at some point, you will all be naked.
If you don't clean the bathroom, all will still use it. But if you don't clean the kitchen, at some point, you won't be able to prepare food.
The two housekeeping priorities, thus, are the two things that must be done because the household eventually stops if they are left undone: kitchen clean-up and laundry.
Now I have heard of people who ran to buy new undies in order to avoid doing laundry. If you're a college student trying to finish a semester, maybe that works for you. But usually, it is better to just stay on top of it.
If you know you have about a load of laundry a day, probably your best bet is to start it first thing in the morning (when you make coffee?).
Have a hard time folding laundry? You might consider IKEA Kallax shelving with containers for your children's undies, shirts, pants and skirts. No folding, easy access to put away and take out, no risk of tipping dressers.
Or you might train your children to take responsibility for their clothes.
Or you might multitask as you talk to your spouse.
Or you might try the Little House method of fewer clothes, worn more days in a row, in order to reduce laundry needs.
You have options.
And if the kitchen is your challenge, here, too, you have options. You might use paper plates and compost them when finished. Easy clean up.
You might train your children to clean the kitchen, or multitask when you talk to your spouse.
You might try cooking twice as much food for dinner, so that you only have to do so half as often.
Here again, you have options.
But if you spend the bulk of your cleaning time on the laundry and the kitchen, your home, overall, will run more smoothly.
And do have your children help. They help form the mess. They can help clean up the mess.
If you're finding housekeeping a challenge, I suggest that, for a season, you slow your cleaning cycle of dusting, floors, bathroom, and sheets, in order to focus on the kitchen and the clothes.
Hopefully you will either figure out systems to get those in reasonably good order, or your children will get old enough to help take over these tasks.
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Homeschooling mom to five
P.S. One suggestion I hear repeatedly is this: hire out the house cleaning once a week. If you can find a reliable person to come and spend two to four hours cleaning your house, you will feel like a fairy godmother descends.
If you homeschool, you are a working mom. Depending on the needs of your home and family, it can be money well-spent. I have friends who are incredibly grateful for this boost.
Not practical or possible for everyone, I know.
P.P.S. Summer Readers make a great reward for helpful children. Pick your discounted books here.