Having a clean house with kids may seem like an impossible feat. But, I’ve got great news! You CAN have a clean house with kids and here’s how!
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Keeping a clean house with mini tornadoes around is a job within itself. As soon as you get one mess cleaned they’re already onto mess 2-6.
It’s a never-ending cycle.
Trying to balance the cleaning with all of the other housework while taking care of your family without neglecting yourself makes you feel like you just completed a Triathlon.
But what if there was a way to keep your house presentable without the hassle of constantly cleaning all day?
These quick and simple tips will help you take back your day from the vicious cleaning time warp.
1. Redefine clean
Do you remember how your house looked before you gave birth to those tiny tornadoes?
Everything had a place, the candles were lit making your home smell like lavender, and your floor didn’t have stains from lunchtime.
Take that image and frame it because that’s probably the last time your house will look that amazing.
Of course, your house will not be messy 24/7, but having stray toys around and juice stains on your carpet is a new normal.
But that’s the beauty of motherhood!
Those stains and random toys you find under the couch are your battle wounds. You made it through another day without losing your mind…completely.
Embrace the small messes and focus on the overall picture.
Your pantry may look like it needs FEMA relief, but there are no dishes in the sink for the first time all day. Small wins!
2. Work together
If your kids are at an age where they can help there’s no reason you should still be doing all of the cleaning yourself.
Picking up after themselves is a vital skill they should know how to do. This is something that will follow them throughout life so they should be a pro at cleaning up behind themselves.
Have you ever had a roommate (or significant other) that leaves everything lying around for you to clean up like you’re their mother?
My husband had a roommate that clipped his toenails and left them on a plate on the coffee table in the living room. Disgusting, I know.
But guess what?
He was an only child and his mom always cleaned up after him. So he never learned and didn’t care enough to clean up after himself.
If your child can walk they can help you put toys away. It may even be fun for your toddler to help because they don’t have a negative outlook towards cleaning (yet).
For older children, tell them or show them an example of how to clean properly.
When I was a kid and started cleaning the kitchen, my mom taught me by showing me how she wanted it done.
She showed me how to move the decorations on the countertop and not just clean around them, how to use “elbow grease” when I was cleaning stuck-on messes off of dishes, and where the dishes actually went in the cabinets.
Teach your child these important life skills while they’re young so they’re not the friend or significant other that comes off as lazy and nasty.
Related: How To Keep Your House Clean: 3 Easy Ways
3. Declutter regularly
It’s a known fact that the less stuff you have, the less stuff there is to clean up.
You may notice your child only plays with the same toys every day while the rest sit in their bins growing dust bunnies that are pretty close to jumping away.
Start getting rid of the toys that haven’t been used in ages. Check locally for shelters or donation centers that need children’s toys.
Or gather all of the items from around the house that haven’t been used in so long you’ve forgotten about them and have a garage sale.
Use social media and hang signs to let everyone know the time and place so you can increase your chances of getting rid of more items.
Set decluttering time intervals such as every 6 months or before Christmas each year and purge items that haven’t been used.
4. Everything has a place
When everyone is on the same page about where everything goes it makes the cleaning process so much faster.
I reorganize the kitchen about every 3 months. My poor husband tries to help clean but he can’t keep up with the new location of the plates and Tupperware.
When I was a kid, my dad always told me, “If you put things back where you got em you’ll know where they are next time you need em.”
He might’ve been on to something.
Whenever everyone knows exactly where things go it’ll be second nature to put it in the right place.
5. Toy rotation
That endless ocean of toys begins to look like it may turn into a hurricane at any second.
You watch your child play with the same toy and wonder to yourself, “why the heck do you spend your hard earned money on toys that never get played with?”
It may not be that your child doesn’t like those toys, she may have forgotten about them.
How many times have you been cleaning out your closet and find clothes that you love, but just forgot you had?
By using a toy rotation schedule your child will play with those old toys they’ve forgotten about. And the toys you notice are being neglected week after week can be donated.
Here’s a simple way to start a toy rotation:
- Gather all the toys
- Get rid of any broken toys (buh-bye no head Barbie)
- Divide toys into categories
- Moving toys
- Pretend play toys (kitchen, toolset)
- Keep toys from each category that your child actually plays with
- Separate those toys into bins
- Add toys from each category into those bins
Once you have at least 3 bins you can decide how often you want to rotate toys.
If you want more info on toy rotation or a more in-depth explanation this will help you out.
Related: 9 time saving laundry hacks for when you’re overwhelmed
6. Chore chart
This is a fun and interactive way to get your child excited about helping.
Choose age-appropriate chores and make it exciting by using stickers and bright colors.
This interactive chore chart even makes me excited to do some chores!
7. Use bins
I love using bins! They’re so accessible and easy to toss things in them and go on about your day.
I use them in place of a dresser because who really wants to fold clothes?
This is a quick cleaning hack that will save you so much time.
Since my daughter’s clothes are so small I have bins for:
- Bibs and burp cloths
- Socks and mittens
- Receiving blankets
- Washcloths and towels
- Pants and shorts
Anything that I can throw in a bin gets thrown in a frickin’ bin!
These bins come with labels which are very convenient since all of our bins are pink.
I have the same setup in our master bedroom as well. We have bins for:
- Tank tops
These bins along with this cube organizer are amazing!
8. Kon Mari
If you love organization and enjoy opening a drawer and knowing what something is before you unfold it, then the Kon Mari method will be your jam!
I’ll be switching over to this method when my daughter starts rummaging through her clothes looking for her favorite princess shirt.
I’m not a fan of folding (not sure I’ve met anyone who is) but this method may be worth the effort to reduce the mess.
I’m sure this could be done in a snap once you get the hang of it.
9. Make cleaning a habit
Are you one of those people who come home and put your purse and shoes in the same place every time? *I’m raising my hand.
Or maybe you’re like my husband and drops your things wherever they land and 30 minutes later you can’t find them.
If you get your kids in the habit of keeping things tidy and putting everything where it belongs, this routine behavior will follow them into adulthood.
A mudroom is a perfect location for them to get in the habit of hanging up their jackets and putting away their shoes.
It’s close to the door which makes things quick and easy to grab before scurrying away.
10. Designated playroom
We transformed our formal dining room into a playroom for our daughter. We only used it twice a year max anyway.
It’s nice because we don’t have to worry about her dragging toys out into the living room every 0.3 seconds for me to clean up.
And it makes it easier to limit her screen time since you can’t see the tv from the dining room.
These alphabet and number mats are easy to clean and they make learning more exciting!
Plus if you’re little one is learning to balance, they’re nice and soft to cushion falls.
We also have the area gated so she’s kinda in a playroom prison.
Having one space to clean is much easier (and quicker) than going from room to room putting toys away.
11. Make cleaning exciting
When you were in preschool or kindergarten did you sing the cleanup song by Barney?
🎶 cleanup cleanup everybody everywhere, cleanup cleanup everybody everywhere 🎶
I still sing this song when I’m cleaning.
Depending on the age of your child, find a way to make cleaning more exciting.
Whether it’s singing and dancing or having a competition of who can get done the fastest.
I always listen to music while I clean which my husband finds irritating because he can’t hear the TV lol.
And afterward, I look forward to relaxing on the couch and watching Netflix.
Not only is cleaning more exciting but there’s a reward when it’s done!
Of course, you don’t want to reward your child every single time they clean something because they may only clean for the reward.
We want them to learn that having the satisfaction of a clean room is the reward and as an adult you definitely don’t get rewarded every time you clean…unfortunately.
If your child is younger, you can make cleaning a learning experience such as putting away toys of a certain color.
Related: How To Save Time With A Daily Cleaning Schedule
12. Short cleaning sessions
Instead of waiting until the end of the day when you’re exhausted to put everything away, try spot cleaning throughout the day.
Straighten up during nap times or put your baby in their playpen so you can keep an eye on them while you clean.
Babywearing is brilliant! You have both hands free and your baby is snuggled nice and close to you.
Cleaning throughout the day will keep the mess from becoming overwhelming and adding unnecessary stress.
13. Lightweight supplies
When I was a kid we had an old school massive Rainbow vacuum.
Vacuuming was an entire event with this thing!
You had to fill the base with water which meant I had to pick it up and get it in the sink. Then I had to pick up the gigantic top half that was over half my weight and snap it to the bottom.
After that, I had to pick up that whole section (bottom filled with water and gigantic top half) and place it on the wheel dolly.
Before I even started vacuuming I was already exhausted!
Do yourself a favor and get cleaning supplies you can easily use with one hand.
Since we’re doing baby-led-weaning, mealtimes are INSANE. Once my Yorkie finishes eating 90% of my daughter’s meal that’s on the floor, I put her in our Baby K’tan and grab my Swiffer.
In a few minutes the crime scene looks like nothing has happened.
If you have big bulky cleaning supplies it’s going to make cleaning a hassle. Keep it simple.
14. Laundry hacks
Laundry is the hamster wheel that moves so fast you may die if you jump off.
As soon as you finish one load you find a pile of dirty clothes that weren’t in the dirty clothes hamper.
Simple time-saving hacks include:
- Doing one load of laundry each day
- Hampers that are sorted by color
- Mesh bags to stop losing undergarments
- Hanging up clothes instead of folding
- Tossing undergarments in bins
I love laundry hacks which is why I wrote an entire post about them.
It is possible to have a clean home with tiny tornadoes destroying everything in their path.
Maybe your house isn’t magazine-cover clean, but it’s clean enough that you should be proud of yourself.
Make it easier and invest in time-saving lightweight cleaning supplies that you can use throughout the day.
Hop out of the cleaning hamster wheel and free up time to focus on you!