If you have children chances are your home is not the gleaming example of domestic finery it (possibly) once was.
Not because you are lazy, but because some days you are just too tired too care.
The best tip is to remember that when it comes to the perfect family house, it is what’s on the outside that counts.
Your drawers may be full of random crap but at least your home will give the impression of being tidy.
Here are a few tried and tested cleaning short cuts from real tired parents.
1. Get prepared
Laura McGann, a mum of three from Birmingham suggests that you do not attempt any housework until you have done this one thing: ‘Do not do anything at all until you have had at least three large cups of coffee.’
YA author N J Simmonds is a writer and mum who manages her own consultancy business.
She has to run a tight ship or she would never get anything done, and has a genius hack to make that dreaded task of making the beds so much easier: ‘Put matching sheets and duvet covers into a pillow case so when you change the beds you just take out one pillow case and everything you need is in it.’
2. Be tactical
Zoe Scott, a mum-of-four from Ivybridge, suggests a novel but genius tactic: ‘I always start the cleaning from the front door and work backwards, in case anyone knocks.’
Jo, a mum of two and blogger at slummy single mummy, has a scrubbing shortcut I am definitely going to try: ‘If you can’t face all that bending and stretching but need to scrub the tub, children’s bath times are ideal.
‘While they are in the bath just give them some soap and a cloth and get them to clean the tiles and other surfaces.’
3. Enlist helpers
Felicity Leadbeater, a mum of two from Leighton Buzzard, delegates to the kids: ‘This morning I wrote a list and assigned everything a monetary value, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, now the kids are doing it all for money and it’ll only cost me a couple of quid.”
Sophie Mei Lan, mum of two and blogger at Mama Mei, suggests making vacuuming a family affair: ‘Buy a hand-held hoover for the kids rather than a toy one so they can help clean up.’
While Catriona Bruce, a mum of five from Canberra, Australia has the perfect solution for clearing out the rubbish, using strangers as oblivious allies: ‘Photograph the c*** and advertise it for free pick up.’
4. Think creatively
Jen Whitelock, a mum of two from Berks, multitasks at bathtime.
She said: ‘Feed the baby his dinner in the bath. Hey presto – a clean and fed baby in one.’
Kirsty MacLean, mum of three from Ayrshire, similarly swears by damage limitation: ‘I serve my kids’ toast on a bit of kitchen roll in the mornings, then you can just wrap up all the leftover crusts and bin the whole mess.’
Whereas Jayne Brown, mum of two from the north-east, gets by with this brilliant cheat: ‘Spray cleaning stuff on the radiator and put the heating on. Then it smells like you’ve cleaned.’
Lorrie Hartshorn, mum and copywriter from Manchester recommends making cleaning not like cleaning at all. She suggested cleaning the kitchen floor by doing cha-cha slide on a tea-towel with the toddler.
5. If all else fails just get the bare minimum done as quickly as possible
Sarah, mum of two and owner of jewellery business Halia Rose has a great tip for parents who work better under pressure:
‘I love a challenge so I often set an alarm for an hour to clean part of the house and try and beat the clock. It means I focus on the task in hand and I actually get a lot more done.’