As a homeschool mom, you wear many hats: mother, teacher, cook, nurse…balancing it all feels like an act in a circus, a very chaotic and unorganized circus.

You might have a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, a floor that hasn’t been vacuumed in days, and a schoolroom you don’t even want to think about. How do you wear all those hats and get housework done as well?

The secret? Doing less in more efficient ways. Here’s what I mean:

Declutter
Studies show that clutter kills productivity and for a homeschool family whose house doubles as a school, decluttering can make learning go smoother. The more stuff you have around your house, the more likely it is you’ll have a mess; the bigger the mess, the harder it becomes to focus. Take it one step at a time and spend a few minutes each day cleaning out one cupboard or countertop. This article tells you how to declutter in only 15 to 20 minutes!

Organize
It’s harder to clean when things don’t have a place. Organize your shelves and cupboards so you know exactly what goes where. Keep it neat and labeled so your kids can put things away in the right places, too! Getting organized will keep the mess contained before it even starts.

Delegate Chores
Your children can help you clean! Make a chore chart where they have age-specific tasks to do every day; older children can vacuum or do the dishes while younger children pick up their rooms and make their beds. Set aside half an hour in the morning for “chore time” before you start school, and have everyone complete their assigned tasks. It teaches your kids responsibility while helping with the housework.

Teach Your Kids to Pick Up After Themselves
Teach your kids that if they get something out, they have to put it away. Turn cleaning into a game with a “fire-drill clean-up”: set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and have your kids race to clean up before it rings. One cleaning tip my mom taught me is to pick up an object and think, “what is this and where does it go?” It allows you to label the object and figure out where it belongs rather than just relocating it. Try getting your kids to ask the same question and see if it helps them know where things go.

Prioritize
That dirty bathroom might be a little more important to clean than the dirty window, especially with little ones in the house. But you can’t do it all every day. Instead, prioritize the most important tasks and the rest will fall into place. It may help to schedule time in your day to clean. Try scheduling a chore to a day like this:

Monday — Bathrooms
Tuesday — Bedrooms
Wednesday — Laundry
Thursday — Kitchen
Friday — Living Room
Saturday — Meal Prep
Sunday — Catch-up on whatever you didn’t get done during the week

You can always make time for what’s important, and if that’s cleaning, you’ll be able to fit it into your schedule.

Don’t Compare
As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and that applies to cleaning too! Your house isn’t going to look like those homes you see in the magazine racks at the grocery store. They are made for magazines; your’s is made for real life. It’s bound to get messy! You have kids who love to play and explore, and things aren’t going to stay in their places all the time. Recognizing that alleviates some stress when your house feels, well, lived in.

Homeschooling and keeping up with housework isn’t impossible! With some planning and strategic cleaning, you can keep your house clean and wear all the hats homeschool moms need to at the same time.

What are your tips for fitting housework into your homeschooling schedule?