Morning rush. Commute. Work. Commute again. Afternoon rush. Children. Housework…or just about. Little sleep.

This is the way that the day starts for many working mums – even those who are self employed. How we keep the many balls we juggle in the air is a mystery to many bystanders. But little do they know what gets left undone or pushed into a hiding cupboard of box away from prying visitor eyes.

If you thought it was just you struggling to keep up with high standards of cleanliness in your home, without a cleaner or housekeeper to help, you are mistaken. According to a recent study, Brits are failing to keep a clean home, and this means that bacteria is dividing every 20 seconds and spreading their germs and viruses throughout our homes.

For one thing, we lose about eight pounds of skin cells a year, which makes lovely dust mites feel right at home. And at this time of year when the weather is cold, we tend to lock windows and keep everything shut to keep the warmth in. What this means is that the dust mites increase – the lovely warmth in our homes and the wet weather outside is perfect for their needs.

If your skin is crawling right now, apologies – but here are some tips to help you stay on top of the cleaning pile at home:

1. 20 minutes a day keeps the dust mites at bay

Every day, give your bathroom a quick wipe. Kitchen tops and sinks can get the same treatment, too, and if you have a dishwasher try to load it before you leave him in the morning, so that the dishes are done and ready to be put away on your return.

When you have young children, there is bound to be toys, socks and all sorts in all the wrong places when you are most in a rush. It’s a good idea to find an aesthetically pleasing box you can chuck everything into when you’re speed cleaning like this, so you can sort through the items when you have more time.

2. Give every room 15 minutes of your time, every week

It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but if you are concentrated on the actual job of cleaning, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve with 15 minutes of intense, undisturbed cleaning. All you’ll be doing here is a quick dust and wipe, hoovering/mopping/sweeping and packing things away.

3. Out with the old!

Half the problem with mess is that a lot of it doesn’t have a place. If you can spend a couple of hours every quarter or six months decluttering, it will mean less things to tidy up. Remember the golden rule is the less you have, the less you have to tidy!

4. Share the load

Don’t be a martyr and think only you can be involved in cleaning. even if you are a real fusspot when it comes to standards, you need to train your family to get involved in the cleaning. Start young – even toddlers can learn to put their toys away if you show them how!

5. Clean as you go

Some cooks (yes, that’s you as well) leave a battlefield when they have finished cleaning. That creates extra work for you to deal with – the last thing you want to do after enjoying a relaxing meal.

Instead, clean as you go. Put food ends and tins in a plastic bag as you chop and cut, so you don’t have to make umpteen trips to the bin while you prepare and cook food. Once you’re finished, you can pop the bag straight into the bin.

6. Deal with the letters

If you’re a financialphobe (someone who doesn’t like opening mail because they fear bills), then you probably have a pile of white (and brown) letters somewhere that needs sorting. There is no better way to deal with this than to open letters (junk mail, too), then file or trash the ones you don’t need. It really is as simple as that!

If you hate filing, keep a hole punch and the relevant folder in the kitchen, or somewhere near the front door, so that you can store important letters right there and then without the pile increasing.

Make a point of not picking up your letters until you have a couple of minutes to spare to sort them – whatever you do, don’t walk around with the letters, because you’ll end up leaving them somewhere else in your home.

7. That box…

Remember the box I mentioned in point 1? Well go through it once a week so it doesn’t become another chore that you can’t get a handle on.

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