Maximizing Cleaning During a 45 Minute Nap

A manageable cleaning plan to make the most of nap time.

My infant daughter took frustratingly short and predictable 30-minute naps for months.

When she was brand new, I listened to the advice of others and slept when she slept and didn’t worry quite as much about keeping the house clean. My husband was – and still is – a wonderful help around the house.

But when she settled into a more obvious schedule, I wanted to feel useful again. While not knowing how to solve the problem of short naps, I did figure out how to maximize that naptime with a quick cleaning agenda. (Read "The Waking-Early Nap Challenge" & "The 45 Minute Sleep Intruder" for more help in this area)

Pinterest provided me with a plan that helped me keep my house tidy without spending a ton of time each day. My little one’s short morning nap was just enough time to feel productive and accomplished.

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I wish I could credit the person who posted this schedule, but I literally wrote it on 4 post-its and stuck in on my refrigerator. I adapted it to make it work for me and I can’t honestly say how often I actually did monthly chores like vacuuming my furniture or wiping down the baseboards, but hopefully it gives you a place to start and modify to suit your needs.

I also included some things in the schedule we don’t usually think of that need a regular cleaning.

During the first morning nap:

  • make the bed
  • wipe down the bathroom sink
  • load the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher
  • put in a load of laundry
  • do the chore of the day

Chore of the day:

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  • Monday – dust & include plastic toys in dishwasher
  • Tuesday – vacuum/mop & include stuffed animals in laundry load
  • Wednesday – toilet & shower
  • Thursday – mirrors & windows
  • Friday – swing day (see below) or catch up day & wipe down any large toys that can’t be cleaned in the washing machine or dishwasher (swing, bouncy seat, play mat, electronic toys)

Swing day chores (done a monthly basis):

  • 1st Friday– dust/vacuum furniture and cabinets
  • 2nd Friday – scrub oven, microwave and fridge
  • 3rd Friday – wipe down baseboards, door knobs & light switches
  • 4th Friday – spot clean upholstery & rugs

Additionally, each night after Baby’s in bed:

  • Pick up all the toys
  • Run the dishwasher including bottles so they are ready to go for the next day (Bottles can also be quickly sterilized in boiling water for five minutes.)
  • Wipe down kitchen counters
  • Sweep & spot clean kitchen floors

A few other tricks:

  • Plastic chew toys can easily be cleaned by running through a gentle cycle of the dishwasher on the top rack.
  • Favorite stuffed animals can often go in the laundry when safely tucked in a pillow case.

This plan isn’t rocket science, but finding it sure rocked my world. Having someone else with functioning brain power lay out a simple and feasible to-do list allowed me to maximize my daughter’s all too brief morning naps. Then I felt like I could reasonably enjoy her next nap by catching up on Facebook, reading a book or, let’s get real, taking a nap myself!

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nap time cleaning routine

What’s your favorite quick cleaning tip?

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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