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keep your house clean with kids

17+ Smart Mom Hacks To Keep Your House Clean With Kids

Written by in Cleaning Hacks, Cleaning Tips, Lifestyle
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Discover how to keep your house clean with kids – without pulling your hair out! Everyone says kids bring an immeasurable amount of love and joy to your life but let’s be honest for a second…

Kids can also bring unapologetic destruction of your home (and tummy) in every way shape and form!  Ok, maybe not that much destruction but enough to make you want to cry yourself to sleep – sometimes.

That’s why I put some serious thought into this question, looked at my own household as well as my clients and created some fabulously simple ideas, tips and hacks you can use to keep your house clean – most of the time! 

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17+ Realistic Ideas To Keep Your House Clean With Young Kids

keep your house clean with kids

1 // Keep Baking Soda On Hand

For all the random markings on the wall, to get their dirty little clothes super clean, to keep your house from smelling like a diaper pail odors and more! Baking soda is my number #1 favorite thing to keep on hand for all the weird messes kids make!

Let’s talk potty training accidents – every parent’s worst nightmare. I clean the carpet with an enzyme cleaner, either a DIY or store-bought solution to get rid of the stain and odor. Then I sprinkle a little baking soda on the stained area as a backup to make sure there’s not a trace of funk left behind! Let it sit overnight and vacuum.

My Odor Busting Kit // Baking Soda + Vinegar or Enzyme Odor & Stain Remover + Small Brush

2 // Get Your Children Involved In Cleaning ASAP

Kids, especially when they are young, are constantly categorizing things and organizing the world in those big heads. *lol*  They won’t take offense if you enforce boundaries for them by having designated areas just for them and their toys.  But it doesn’t stop there.  

Make it easy for them to help clean up.  Get baskets with labels and teach them which toys go into which baskets. From there, have them bring their own dishes to the kitchen once they finish eating.

Cleaning up after your kids is a real drag because you can find yourself cleaning all day long. And you’ve got too much other stuff to do. So imagine if your messy kids could clean up behind themselves? How much time and energy would that save you? Hmmm…

My kids are 3 and 4 y/o respectively and when they spill something, I get multiple towels. One for me and one for them so we can clean up messes together. The sooner you get them in the habit of doing these simple things, the stronger and more independent they’ll be. #Amen.

Simple & Effective Drool-Worthy Solutions To Organize Your Children’s Toys // Storage Cubes With Labels + Large Woven Baskets + Beautiful Wood Storage Organizer With Bins

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ // The Smart Girls Guide To A Clean And Organized House | 10 Actionable Tips for more ideas on how to create and keep your house clean and organized! 

NEED A SIMPLE BUT COMPLETE CLEANING CHECKLIST FOR THE ENTIRE HOUSE? // You should check out my  Room-By-Room House Cleaning Checklist For Year Long Clean Vibes!  Realistic weekly cleaning, deep cleaning & spring cleaning checklists for every space makes it even easier to keep a clean house!

3 // Become A Permanent Marker Stain Removing Ninja

It’s going to happen. Someone is going to take a permanent marker and leave their mark on – clothing, wood furniture, a wall, the carpet, a leather sofa – basically anything that can’t run! There’s no need to panic. There’ s a ton of great hacks out there to remove permanent marker, ink pen, highlighter, crayons, nail polish, etc.

Just keep a few of these items on hand to get rid of these stains. But remember you need to dab the stain, don’t rub it!

Remove permanent marker stains from almost anything with one of the following you probably already have at home //

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Nail polish remover
  • WD-40
  • White vinegar
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lemon juice
  • Regular toothpaste (not gel)

4 // Be More Intentional With Your Time

You’re busy but you have got to make time to clean your house point-blank.  There’s no way around this one but luckily it’s easier to do than you think. Just 30 minutes before you go to bed and 30 minutes in the morning before everyone wakes up will go a long way towards keeping your house clean. 

But you have to adjust your schedule – find home, life & work balance – so that you’re not overextending yourself to make this happen.  

My Super Effective Hack To Keep Up With Everything? I Write Everything Down! // Simple but effective! There is really something about writing. I keep my planner out where I can see, which is super important and as a backup, I add reminders to my phone to make sure I don’t forget anything!

IF YOU NEED A SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE, 5-STAR PLANNER // Try The Circle Studio Planner This planner has pages for all the right things including a water tracker! After all, who isn’t trying to drink more water?

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ // The Ultimate Fail-Proof Cleaning Schedule For Working Moms.  Why?  Because if you follow it right, your house will stay clean most of the time –  even if you don’t have time to clean!

5 // Sometimes You Need To Fake A Clean House

When you have days like that, you need baskets in all the right places so that you can quickly toss – hide –  toys, clothes and all the random things that your kids dumped out the diaper bag for no apparent reason.   Oh you thought you were the only one huh?

If you’re having unexpected guests, quickly fake a clean house by doing the following //

Tidy up by throwing items into baskets.

Fresh vacuum lines: the one thing that will really make your house look even if it isn’t.

Open windows to let fresh air in.

Clean the toilets.

Use These To Quickly Hide Messes Anywhere // Large, Super Cute Woven Storage Basket + Unique White Plank Storage Chest


In the spirit of getting rid of or hiding messes quickly, here’s a peek at how I basically eliminated having to spend lots of time cleaning up potty training accidents throughout the day.

My Potty Training Set-Up For Quick & Easy Clean-Up // disposable puppy pads or washable pee pads + realistic potty + spray bottle with a 50:50 mix of vinegar and dawn to wash the potty down at night

6 // Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier

This one may sound strange but do you notice how the day seems to flow so much smoother when you get up early – or on time – and have a moment to think about the day and what’s ahead?   Having that quiet time before the start of the morning chaos can help you get into a good mental space.

Use that time to unload the dishwasher, tidy up an area or just have a cup of coffee in peace.  It’ll go a long way towards helping you keep the house clean.

Umm, I feel like I should mention that in order for you to have a fighting chance at waking up earlier, you should plan to go to bed a little earlier than usual. The Netflix show you want to binge can wait until the weekend.

THERE’S POWER IN GETTING UP EARLY // The Super Simple Morning Cleaning Routine For Moms if you’d love an easy to follow plan that will help even the busiest mom keep a house spic and span!

7 // Meal Prep Every Weekend

This is another tip geared towards helping you make smarter use of your time so that you’re not always running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  The more you meal prep, the less you have to cook, the less the kitchen gets destroyed and the less you have to clean.

All that translates into one huge win.  Especially if you’re already strapped for time. I typically plan & cook my meals on weekends so that I only have to cook a few items during the week. And when I do cook during the week, it’s nothing epic which makes kitchen clean super quick!

Keep Your Fridge Nice & Neat When Meal Prepping //  Drool-Worthy Glass Tupperware  + Plastic Meal Prepping Kit

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have a clean house with a baby

8 // Take The Headache Out Of Doing Laundry

One load of laundry is a whole lot easier to fold and put away than say 10 loads at once don’t you agree? What I like to do is start one load in the morning before I leave, and then when I get back home, dry, fold and put it away that evening.  But wait, there’s more…

I keep a separate basket just for towels and linens because I don’t sort those items by color. Whenever that basket gets full, I wash it and to be honest, this has also helped me keep my laundry under control in a major way.

Use These To Save Loads Of Time When Doing Laundry // Heavy Duty Laundry Cart With Hanging Bar + Dryer Balls to reduce drying time and prevent wrinkles + Dye Catching Sheets to safely wash mixed loads together

NEED SOME POWERFUL LAUNDRY TIPS?  You may want to read 7 Laundry Tips You Can Use To Get Laundry Under Control.  These tips are perfect for busy moms and those that are absolutely drowning in laundry!

9 // Banish Small Annoying Toys

Nothing makes me want to pull my hair out more than picking up small toys so you know what I do?  I aggressively limit or deny them entry into my home altogether. Anything cheap, small and annoying that makes it into my house gets the boot if I have to pick it up. 

It takes soo much time picking up lots of small toys so unless you really have the time or just don’t mind cleaning up those types of items, don’t even go that route.

I’ve never heard an adult say their life was ruined because they weren’t allowed to have toys from McDonald’s so I think the kids will be okay!   

10 // Declutter While Folding Clothes

Instead of decluttering the closet, declutter the laundry basket!  When it’s time to fold laundry, grab an empty box. As you fold clothes, remove the items your children can no longer wear – anything that’s too small, worn, stained, etc. – and throw it in the box. 

From there you can decide what to donate or sell and what to toss. Once Upon A Child and Goodwill are my usual destinations. 

Where Can You Donate Or Sell Clothing  // Goodwill + Salvation Army + Once Upon A Child + Facebook + Have A Yard Sale + Let It Go + Local Consignment Shops 

keep your house clean with small children

11 // Bedtime Is Life 

I put my toddlers to bed around 8ish every night and I must say, as soon as I close that door, the entire house seems to let out a sigh of relief.  Ahhhhhh… While your kids may not go straight to sleep, at least they are finally out of the way, letting you pull yourself and the house together!  

I also use a sound machine to serve as a bit of buffer so that I can run the vacuum, clean the house or do whatever without disturbing my kids once they are down.  The ones I have are not fancy but they are a must-have. If you are in a small home or apartment it will be a lifesaver – believe me!

Use This So That You Don’t Wake The Kids // The Dohm Sound Machine

YOU SHOULD READ // A Simple Nighttime Cleaning Routine For An Ultra Clean House if you want to keep your house clean, mornings stress-free and actually sit down for once without feeling guilty!  Use this post as a guide or inspo for your daily cleaning routine.

12 // Clean The Kitchen While You Cook

This is probably one of the most important things you can learn to do when you are a busy mom.  While you’re cooking in the kitchen, you should be cleaning out the fridge, wiping cabinets down,  washing the dishes, etc.

This is called cleaning as you go!

By the time the last item is finished cooking, the kitchen should practically be clean.  When you hop into the shower, spray the walls down with a non-toxic cleaning product and wipe everything down before you hop out!   You can do it everywhere if you think about it…

13 // Use The Touch Rule

If you’re pulling your hair out trying to keep the house clean, make sure you are the living example of what you want everyone else to do.  The Touch Rule is very simple: basically, when you touch something, put it away…simple right?  Instead of focusing on what everyone else is or isn’t doing, focus on yourself and what you can do.  

Think about it, are you putting your shoes away when you walk into the house?  Are you leaving your personal items in places where they shouldn’t be? Remember, if you want your house to stay clean, changes will have to start with you.  Now repeat after me, “When I touch something, I will put away.  Once you get it down pat you can get everyone else on board!

14 // Place Cleaning Products In Strategic Locations

The same way Starbucks made it a point to be everywhere you are just in case you might want some coffee, you need to make sure your cleaning supplies are always right there in case you get an itch to clean something! 

It’s easy to do, just make sure your cleaning supplies are easily accessible in the areas that need it most.   So instead of storing your cleaning supplies in a random closet or the laundry room, store cleaning products in each bathroom for example.  Keep a vacuum cleaner on each level of your house. Easy right?

 My Epic Fail-Proof Cleaning Caddy // all-purpose cleaner + apron + bucket + caddy + disposable gloves + extension cord + floor cleanerfurniture polish + glass towel + high duster + microfiber towels + mold & mildew remover + mop + pumice stone + scour sponges + small trash bags + soft scrub + stainless steel polish + tile & grout brush + vacuum 

plan outfits to keep your house clean with small children

15 // Plan Outfits The Night Before

And here’s another tip that will indirectly help you keep your house clean.  By planning your outfits in advance, yours and your children’s, you limit the amount of clothing that’ll be thrown on the floor or around the room in search of outfits in the mornings.  This, of course, helps keep things nice and tidy and translates into one less mess you have to worry about.  

One thing I like to do is keep a large basket in my closet just for clean clothes that I tried on but didn’t work.  I just throw the clothes into the basket and take care of them in the evening. That’s my hack for getting rid of random piles of clothing all the room aka morning chaos!

16 //  Stop Using So Many Dishes

Coming home to a mountain of dishes is depressing!  If you stay at home, washing dishes all day sucks! So what’s a girl to do?  It’s simple, stop using so many dang on dishes! *lol*   Not every snack for the kids needs a plate – a napkin will work just fine for things like crackers and sandwiches.  

Paper plates or even napkins work just fine! Be smart about the meals and snacks you provide. Dry foods tend to make for easier clean-up so keep that in mind.

Here’s An Eco-Friendly Idea For Using Fewer Dishes // Biodegradeable Plates + Forks + Spoons + Knives Set

17 // When You Have No Time To Do Anything, Wash The Dishes

With kids, your plans are always subject to change. But no matter how crazy the day was, before you go to bed, there is at least one thing you should do. Since most families revolve around the kitchen, the one thing you should do is make sure the dishes are washed and the sink is clean. That’s it.

18 // Get Outside Help

There is seriously no award given to moms for trying to do it all.  You’ll only end up burnt out, overwhelmed and looking older than you really are!  With that being said, remember that you are still capable of having everything you want in life – even if all you want now is a clean house with kids!  You just have to be more deliberate about how you spend your time and understand that getting help isn’t you failing – it’s you being a boss!   

Your new favorite word should be delegate – and you should try to do it whenever possible!  

Let people you trust or a daycare watch your children so that you can get caught up. If you can afford to pay someone to come in and do the cleaning, hire them. Setting up subscription services so that you spend less time shopping, is the same as hiring someone to do your grocery shopping.   Smart right? You betcha!

Skip The Lines & Save Time & Delegate // Amazon Prime Subscribe & Save + Order Online At Most Major Grocery Stores +  Hire A Cleaning Service

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ // The Smart Girl’s Guide To A Clean & Organized House – 5 Drool-Worthy, Must-Have Things You Need To Get Now!  Who should read this?  Anyone that wants to learn smart ways to set up their home so that it stays clean.

Recap // Here’s a list of the smart mom hacks you can use to keep your house clean with small children!

1| Keep Baking Soda On Hand

2 | Get Your Young Children Trained Now

3 | Edit Your House

4 | Be More Intentional With Your Time

5 | Sometimes You Need To Hide Messes

6 | Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier

7 | Meal Prep Every Weekend

8 | Do One Load Of Laundry A Day

9 | Banish Small Annoying Toys

10 | Declutter While Folding Clothes

11 | Bedtime Is Life

12 | Clean As You Go

13 | Use The Touch Rule

14 | Place Cleaning Products In Strategic Locations

15 | Plan Outfits The Night Before

16 |  Stop Using So Many Dishes

17 | When In Doubt, Wash The Dishes

18 | Get Outside Help

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keep your house clean with kids
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