A Cleaning Swap

When I was a new mom, I dealt with a lot guilt over feeling torn between playing with my children and tackling my household chores. If I played with my kiddos, the house would be ignored. If I cleaned my house, my kids would be ignored. No matter which I chose, I felt guilty. I finally came to a place where I realized that I needed to come up with a creative way to be able to accomplish both! I wanted to spend undistracted time with my kids, but I also wanted to have a clean house – not a perfect home by any means, but one that was semi-clean and fairly organized – in order for life to run smoothly around here! My creative idea? A Cleaning Swap! I had heard of babysitting swaps, but I had never thought about doing a Cleaning Swap…well, until I got desperate enough to come up with such an idea!

Cleaning Swap


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How did I do it? Well, I thought of a friend who I thought would be a good candidate, I asked her if she would like to bring her kids to my house and oversee a play date for all the kiddos while I cleaned, and then the following week, I would return the favor for her!

She jumped at the idea, and our weekly Cleaning Swap began! We gave each other two full hours – During those two hours, there was no chit-chat! We cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned until time was up, and then if we wanted to talk, we would gab AFTER the cleaning was done!

After the first time, my friend and I were both hooked! We were amazed at how much we were able to get done during an uninterrupted two-hour time slot! It was just what we needed to be able to tackle our pressing chores…and then be able to enjoy our children without being distracted by our mess!

How to Set Up Your Own Cleaning Swap

  • Brainstorm about a reliable mommy friend.
  • Reach out to her and let her in on your idea!
  • If she’s interested, discuss a schedule, set some ground rules for each of your specific situations, and get started!

What type of friend should you choose?

Choose a friend who is reliable (This is huge!) and one who you think might just be as equally desperate for something like this in her life! Does their hubby work long hours? Do their relatives live out of town? Do they really, really, really want to get some housework done but feel overwhelmed with trying to do it all while caring for little ones? Who are you thinking of right now?

What type of ground rules should you set?

In choosing your friend, make sure it’s someone with whom you can be open and honest! Clear communication is going to be the key to this whole thing flowing smoothly for everyone. With that being said, discuss what’s important to each of you…chat about what each of you would like to accomplish during your cleaning time(s)…Be understanding, respectful, and considerate of each other from the start, and if both of you are on the same page, I promise this will work out beautifully.

Maybe you want your ground rules to look something like this:

  • NO cancelling at the list minute – unless the excuse includes blood, vomit, death, or legit car problems.
  • NO running late – unless the excuse includes blood, vomit, death, or legit car problems.

Or are those too open and honest…and maybe a tad intense? ha! You get the idea, right? 🙂 No one wants to be all geared up to clean only to have the whole thing blow up in smoke because their friend couldn’t get their act together…again.

Quick Thought: Depending on your group of friends, this could potentially work with more than one other friend. Maybe you are in a small mommy group that you know would be capable of pulling something like this together and supporting each other in this way! Just an idea…

Maybe you think this idea is crazy or know there is no way this would work with one of your friends – No matter the case, I hope this has at least provided you with a little inspiration to think of something that would fit your specific situation. Everyone’s personality is different…everyone’s family needs are going to vary…and while this crazy idea has worked great for me in various seasons of life, it may not work well for you; but if you’re desperate to get some housework done, my hope is that this post has encouraged you to step back and get creative about what might work well for your specific situation!
Sometimes cleaning involves more than swabbing toilets and wiping down the kitchen! There’s usually other things that also need attention like keeping your kids’ stuff from taking over the house and tackling the laundry!

Check out My Laundry Routine!

The Official Hot Dog and Hamburger Method of Folding Laundry.

Organizing, decluttering, sorting, purging…yes, these are all things you could work on during your cleaning swap! Maybe you want to take your two hours to purge your closet or work on some freezer meals! Honestly, the rules are up to you! 

Would a cleaning swap work for you? Do you have a reliable friend that would be the perfect cleaning swap partner?

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    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      It’s been a lifesaver at times for sure!

  1. I wish you lived near me. I would join you in a clean in swap in a heartbeat. With a very similar personality/teacher background and appreciation for neat and tidy…I think it would work well! Sometimes, I wonder whether it is a lot to expect organization at this stage. Your post is encouragement to keep trying, while not sacrificing that important together time. 🙂

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Yes, yes, yes, and I feel like what works for us during one season needs adjusted in the next – with littles it seems like I have had to learn to be flexible and adjust as needed from time to time! Definitely tough for us organized personalities! 😉

  2. What a great idea! Now I have to figure out which friend to do this with! thanks for sharing.

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      haha! I totally understand! Keep me posted on how things go!

    2. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Hey Gabrielle! Did you find a buddy to do this with? It has been such a huge help to us!

  3. I just love this idea! Thanks for the tips on making it successful. 🙂

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      At certain points in my journey as a mom, it has been SUCH a huge help!

  4. Erin @ Stay At Home Yogi says:

    This is truly a genius idea!!! I feel torn and guilty in the same ways you do – so it’s obviously a common struggle! Even doing this once a month could be such a game changer! Pinning and sharing this all over!! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      There have been seasons of life when this has saved my life for sure! 🙂

  5. I had visualized this differently. I hate cleaning my own house, but cleaning someone else’s house seems like it would be more fun and interesting. I was thinking that you’d clean the other ladies house for a couple of hours while she was cleaning yours. Then you can both sit back and relax with a glass of wine and enjoy your somewhat clean houses! For folks like me who have teens and older kids who aren’t underfoot, this would be kind of a fun experiment to try. The wheels are turning anyway!

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