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Maintaining a clean home, while children are living in it, is a constant, uphill battle, but these tips and tricks will help you stay sane while doing so.
I need to start with a disclaimer that, although I wish I were an expert on “clean” and “organization”, I am a definite work in progress. There are always blocks and books on the floor, or a wayward jar of peanut butter and loaf of bread on the counter. Goodness, there may even be a cushion fort on the couch from time to time. From my perspective, it’s evidence that the house is being occupied. Because of this imperfection and an important realization, I am one happy lady/mommy! I’ll explain below.
That being said, my house typically has a semblance of order and is respectable enough that we the inhabitants, or even visitors, can feel at ease and have a clear place to kick up our feet at the end of a long day.I’m a firm believer that houses are to be lived in. However, a messy residence can add to stress, at least in my experience. So I try to keep my surroundings in a state that doesn’t cause me to unnecessarily lose my temper with my kids or husband. 🙂
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!
I also use Fabuloso® to mop my floors, and it leaves them looking beautiful and spot-free, not to mention smelling fabulous! Fabuloso® Multipurpose Cleaner is available in a Limited Edition Spring Bloom too!
Fabuloso® is very easily found at Walmart in the aisle with the cleaners.
8. Don’t Sweat It! I can honestly say that I was able to keep my house pretty tidy when I had two kids, but now I have three, soon to be four, a blog, and a busy responsibility in my church. If I don’t want to be a crazy, uptight mom, it is literally impossible to have the house exactly as I want it all the time. I’ve finally come to terms with that. I know I’ll regret it if I don’t spend enough time with my kids while they are little, but I also realize that I won’t remember or care later if the house was not in perfect order all the time. Although I will always make sure things are sanitary, slight disarray has become the new norm! A little clutter is ok! This is the reason that I am genuinely content with my perfectly imperfect home.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful!
I’d love to know…what other pointers and tricks do you have for staying sane while maintaining a clean home?
Krista R says