Let’s Talk About Cleaning During Lockdown…

We are EVERYTHING right now in our homes, living day after day in the same space. It’s almost maddening—living in, eating in, working in, teaching in, and playing in. Our houses are getting used to the MAX right now and the mess and stress are piling up.

I’m in the stew also, and it’s taken some time for us to find our way. Living among a mess is really bad for my family, it leads to arguments, added stress, and with a toddler, if we aren’t on top of the daily clutter the house can turn upside down lightning fast.

Rather than trying to do regular cleanings, we have altered what we do to suit this new AND TEMPORARY way of living. This way, we maximize our time, minimize our stress, and focus our cleaning efforts where they matter the most.

If you’re finding it hard to balance, I don’t have all the answers—but, I’m going to share with you what is working for us. How we’re keeping healthy, sane, and safe.

MIAs – Most Important Areas

These have never been more important than they are now. Less important jobs like baseboards, window sills, high dusting, etc., I’m leaving all of that for now. It’s not important to me. We are in survival mode. Even though it seems like we have ‘more time’, many of us feel busier than ever so now isn’t the time to feel badly about the little details. Plus, who is going to see it anyway? Make a list of what’s bothering you and tackle those jobs when we start to get back to (a new) normal.

Dollar Stretching

You know I believe in making your own cleaning products and only buying specialty stuff when necessary. Budget cleaning has never been sexier! I do several media interviews a week on this very topic. Put that dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar to good use is everything! Use your disinfectant products only when and where you absolutely need them. Save money with quality microfiber cloths and other re-useable products. Remember that COVID comes out in the wash.

The kitchen

This kitchen is a nightmare right now. Our dishwasher died 2 weeks ago, and for a family of three, we must wash at least 100 dishes a day. It is exhausting. If you have a dishwasher, run it daily and unload and load immediately—don’t let it wait! We found that when hand washing tackling dishes right after a meal is ideal to save time and avoid dish buildup. We’ve been vacuuming and mopping the floor daily since we use the kitchen so much more. We’re also on top of wiping surfaces down and not sweating the small stuff like cabinet fronts. Garbage, recycling, and compost are emptied daily so they don’t start to smell. We’re also trying to be more efficient with our perishable food and cook through the fridge before re-stocking.

What I’m Not Doing

Here’s what I’m not doing: planning big cleaning projects. I really and truly don’t have the time, so I’m making a note of the things I notice need to be done and will deal with them if we find ourselves bored one day, or with some extra time (or when this all ends). For now, I’ve let go of worrying about any cleaning project which just doesn’t seem to be a priority—I don’t need any more stress than I already have.


Towels, clothes, sheets—we are pretty on top of our laundry. I find it must be folded as soon as it comes out of the wash, or else it sits around and gathers dust (literally and figuratively). I’m also working on teaching Riley about folding and putting things away. Why not?

The Bedroom

We try to make our bed each day, hang up laundry or put it in the dirty laundry, and stay o top of any clutter. When we don’t do these things the room gets so messy and it’s the number one place we need to relax in. I haven’t been sleeping well so making the room as zen as possible is really important, and this effort takes only a few minutes each day.

Personal Support

Communication, sharing work, complimenting and thanking, and giving space and grace. Holy cannoli, this has never been so important in our house! We have to talk about shared tasks, thank the other for their work and effort, and give grace when something is not done or done well. Otherwise, we argue. Bottom line, this is a hard time and we thrive when we are supported. We have been down the other road and it doesn’t lead anywhere good.

The Rest Of It…

I’ll vacuum floors once or twice a week (except the kitchen as noted above), and I spot vacuum where I see crumbs or dust bunnies. No detailed work here.

When it comes to the bathrooms I thank the heavens that we squeegee our shower after every use. I haven’t cleaned it in a month and it still looks perfect. Toilets get cleaned weekly and sinks and counters get a wipe once or twice a week.

So yeah, we are cleaning but it’s super-duper basic. It’s survival mode cleaning. We are doing just enough to stay sane and feel good at home, and trust me, not an ounce more.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.