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Discover how to keep your house clean with kids and do it without pulling your hair out! Everyone says kids bring an immeasurable amount of love and joy to your life but that is far from the full story.
Kids also bring unapologetic destruction of your home 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 and clients and created some fabulously simple ideas, tips and hacks you can use to keep your house clean – most of the time!
Whether you have older kids, a baby, a toddler, a dog, a bit of sleep deprivation – or a mix of them all, you can use these tips to end your messy house struggle for good!
But the most important thing to remember before we jump into these tips is that kids will be kids and they will make messes.
That’s just going to be a part of your life for the next few years. But just remember, this is all very temporary. Eventually, they grow up…and leave God willing! So don’t strive for perfection. Noteworthy improvements are the name of the game.
The first thing you should remember is that while I think we can all agree that keeping your house clean when you have children can be challenging. But it can be done! Just remember there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Every family is different. You simply need to be patient and willing to experiment.
Remember this, no matter how frustrated you are with your house and family, if you keep doing the same things over and over, please don’t expect anything to change. Be willing to change your habits, move things around in the house and make a home that is perfect for you and your crazy family!
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. Just be sure to sing the cleanup song – apparently, it has a magical effect on toddlers, encouraging them to act like normal human beings that want to contribute to society for once!
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!
The same way you edit a paper so that your sentences work together, you need to edit your house – move things around – so that it works for you and your family. If there are certain areas of your home that your kids can’t resist, and it drives you nuts, edit that area. That eliminates the source of your stress once and for all.
My condo was absolutely drool-worthy before I had kids and I’ll admit I was slow to make edits. But eventually, it got to the point where I became tired of cleaning up the same messes so instead of continuing to fuss over certain areas and things, I moved them.
Good-bye Harry Potter Limited Edition Hardback Set, you must go to a place where you will be safe now! *tear*
Make Your House Functional // You don’t want to just live in your house. It needs to be set up so that you and your family live with your house. And again, one of the biggest benefits you will gain by doing this is having a house that stays cleaner and is quicker to clean.
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 That I Use To Keep Things Tidy // I’m almost always in a rush but if something will only take my one-minute to complete, I do it. And I literally mean one minute – as in 60 seconds.
So when I take off my coat, right before I drop in the wrong place, I usually stop myself and think about how long it’ll really take me to put it on the coat rack. Only ten seconds? Ok then, to the coat rack we go! Do it for everything and see what a difference it’ll make!
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!
I absolutely hate coming home to a mess but getting my family out the door can get a little crazy sometimes. Ok, I lied. Things tend to get super crazy leaving my home for some reason! Everyone just spazzes out at once leaving my home looking like it was hit by a tornado – and then Godzilla came through to make sure nothing was left in place!
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?
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.
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.
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
I see the jury is still out on this one but if your family is very active and you have tons of laundry, this may be a lifesaver. One load of laundry is a whole lot easier to fold and put away than say 10 loads 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.
Another laundry hack I like to use is to keep two extras baskets: one for things that need to be washed immediately and then another for towels and sheets or bulky items. I do that so that it’s easy to take care of priority items and the bulky items are easy to wash and put away. I can always wash a load of towels for a quick win and brag about how I did the laundry! *lol*
Use These To Save Loads Of Time When Doing Laundry // Heavy Duty Laundry Cart With Hanging Bar
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!
Kid’s clothing goes through a heck of a lot and has an exceptionally short life span. If you aren’t regularly purging your kids’ clothing, you’ll end up with closets and drawers stuffed to the brim with clothes they can’t even wear.
You should schedule one day a month to declutter clothing and shoes so that you can keep things under control. This will go a long way towards keeping the house clean.
But if you’re super short on time, here’s an idea! 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
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!
Just be sure to stick to the same time every day to establish a routine so that they get used to it. But once they are down, use that time wisely! Sure you can brain dump and binge on Netflix but do it after you spend at least 30 minutes cleaning and tidying up.
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
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.
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!
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!
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 cleaner + furniture 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
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!
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.
Let’s talk about cups. You don’t need a new cup every time you or the kids want something to drink. Drink, rinse, reuse – and of course wash the cup or throw it into the dishwasher at the end of the day.
When you have messy things that need a plate, opt for paper plates. I know I won’t win friends with this one but there are green options available.
Personally, I hate cleaning peanut butter off utensils and plates so when my kids ask for that, I use disposable products. Don’t judge me. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made to keep a clean house, everyone fed and my sanity. *lol*
Here’s An Eco-Friendly Idea For Using Fewer Dishes // Compostable Paper Plates
You’re not always going to have time to clean as thoroughly as you’d like but you should do what you can whenever you can. Instead of doing nothing, there will always be an area you can quickly declutter and tidy up. Keeping your house picked up is 75% of what it takes to keep your house clean all the time. The other 25% will be wiping surfaces, cleaning floors and dusting.
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|Be Willing To Make Big Changes
2 | Get Your Young Children Trained Now
3 | Edit Your House
4 | Time Management Is Super Important
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 | Donate Children’s Clothing Monthly
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, Declutter
18 | Get Outside Help
And of course, if you found this content useful, I’d love it if you share this by pinning it on Pinterest or your favorite social media spot. It’s kind of like giving me a virtural high-five! You’re the best, XO — Victoria!