If my house were in perfect order all the time, I know I would not be a kind mom. I’d be too concerned with putting away supplies from the latest art project as it was being created or sweeping up the constant scatter of cracker crumbs on the kitchen floor instead of reading to my kids or otherwise spending time with them.
Because I want to be a pleasant parent, here are some things that I do to maintain a nice-looking (and smelling) home with kids while staying sane.
- Go to bed with the house in a cleanly (or at least satisfactory) state. I don’t know about you, but if I wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes or clutter on the counters, I’m automatically in a bad mood. I also feel like I get behind on my day if I have to spend the morning “catching up” from yesterday. The trick is motivating and convincing a tired self to get it done before turning in for the night, but I know I’m always so glad when I do.
- Tidy things in the morning and evening, but don’t fret the in between. I could spend my entire day picking up after the kids, and to no avail. However, I’ve got other things to occupy my time, so I’ve convinced myself to “let it go” a little and clean while they are sleeping and can’t “undo” my hard work.
- Ask, even expect, the kids to help. We’re always working on this one at our house. My kiddos resist chores of any kind, but they know they will not be allowed to play video games or with friends if those certain things are not done first.
- Make a place for everything. Toys and books may not always be in their place, but when it’s time to tidy, there should be a specific bin or space to store items away in order to avoid the “clutter” feel.
- Set up a weekly schedule of tasks to be done, and stick to it. Don’t try to do it all in one day or you’ll surely get discouraged! Checklists are a perfect way to accomplish this.
- Have a five or ten minute pickup before bed. I like to set the timer after the kids have had their evening snacks and make a competition to see who can pick up the most before the timer goes off. We then move forward with the rest of our bed time routines. The house is usually nowhere near clean by the end of it, but at least it is better, and the kids learn to do their part!
- Set up an “unload” station somewhere. We live in a two story home, and I despise making a million trips up those stairs to put things away. What can I say, I resist exercise. 🙂 So I like to set a small laundry basket at the bottom of the stairs where I can drop toys or other loose items that will eventually need to make their back way up.
- Deep clean often enough, and spot clean in between. This will not only keep things sparkling, but will help keep things fresh-smelling as well. I’ve got a little boy who uses the potty now, so there are often unpleasant odors in that department. So I take to the toilet with a scrubber and some Lavender-Scented Fabuloso®, and then as if I had snapped my finger, the place smells like heaven and sparkles.
It makes the sinks gleam too!