Wondering how to keep a tidy house with little kids running around making messes all day? Look no further, these tips will help.
First of all, I don’t think it’s imperative that the house be tidy all the time.
However, an untidy and messy house really drives me nuts.
Relaxing or working in a chaotic environment is very difficult for me. And, unfortunately, I can’t go too long with a mess before it starts affecting my mental health.
Each of our standards are different
Each of us grew up in houses that had a certain level of clutter, mess and organization. We got used to that.
More than likely, that is the standard to which we’d like our homes to be kept now. If your mother was very clean and tidy (as mine is) then a mess may be very noticeable to you.
If you grew up in a home where clutter, toys, or messes were common and not a big deal, then perhaps you don’t stress about the state of the house.
Whatever works for your family and you, keep at it.
How to keep a tidy house with small kids
If you are like me (God help you) then having children only means that keeping the house clean will be more challenging. It doesn’t mean it can be forgotten for a few years.
Here are some tips for those of us who won’t let the idea that we can still keep a tidy house die. Perseverance and endurance to us all!
Revisit your definition of tidy.
First and foremost, we mothers need to revisit what it means to be tidy. Tidy used to mean everything where we put it since the last time we moved it.
It used to mean that surfaces were clear, nothing was on the floor, things were in proper boxes and the house was almost always ready for visitors.
Tidy now will mean something different:
- A few baskets filled with visible toys in each room
- Books are on a bookshelf- any bookshelf will do
- The main surfaces are clear of anything used in previous days, but today’s clutter is acceptable
Here are some super cute baskets for kids rooms.
It may mean that throughout the day there will be times when the house is in full play mode which means, obviously, that the house isn’t always “company ready.”
The truth is, most company we keep wouldn’t even notice anyway. But for me, tidy will still look as though the house is in order and picked up. I have to remember that my definition of tidy is different than it was before kids.
Work with your children not against them.
After my first child started crawling and pulling things around I was personally offended.
Does she not know that I want the house to look neat?
Is she doing this to pop my forehead vein?!?
After a while I realized that was not the case, and that I needed to figure out some good systems that let the kids be kids and let the house be neat and orderly, but still be home.
I let them throw around their toys, games and blocks while they are playing. When they are finished we all pick them up together.
Of course, some days this is me standing over them handing them a block telling them to put it in the basket. Some days they do it happily, some days they run away.
However, if I let them run wild with things then I make them put it back later.
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Downsize the knickknacks
One way that I’ve managed to keep the house from looking like an indoor yard sale is to minimize the sit-abouts, tchotkes, and knick knacks.
If I want to put sentimental and decorative items on display I do so where they are above arms reach.
I downsized the knickknacks not because I wanted to teach my children to avoid certain things. I did it simply because the little ones only have so much willpower. 4,356 picture frames, candles and coasters are too much for them to resist day in and day out!
It goes without saying that kids will want to touch everything in the house.
On lower surfaces I keep the bare minimum to be pleasing to my eye and it means there are less things strewn about the house.
Is it just me, or can a child somehow manage to dislocate about 35 things in one trip to the bathroom?
101+ 15 Minute Projects
In just 15 minutes a night (while you’re in your pajamas!) take your home (and heart and mind) from stressed out to organized.
Make daily sweeps
Doing daily sweeps makes a big difference!
We clean up after playtime and I do a major sweep after the children are in bed. That’s it…
Those two things means that almost every evening (unless it is a particularly busy evening) the house looks neat and tidy before bed. It really only takes around 10 minutes max each time to do it.
I put things back where they came from and that’s it. Two or three days of messes make cleaning and tidying longer… so I try to do it every single day. This prevents build up and makes the house easier to maintain.
If things don’t have a place they end up on the kitchen counter…or so it is at our house. Furthermore, if toys don’t have a place they end up hiding where my foot finds them in the dark! Not good for anyones sanity!
I have baskets and places for everything. I’m not saying they’re beautiful. I’m not saying everything is labeled – although I love my label maker – but simply everything has a place.
Baskets and places for everyting make tidying easy because each evening you can put up a pile of things quickly when you know where each belong. Remember to do your daily sweep!
Sometimes the house looks fabulous. Sometimes the house looks awful. I have been known to see spider webs and ignore. Sometimes I have all the kids wiping down surfaces with me.
It comes and goes. I don’t feel like a failure if it looks “lived in”, but I do think that teaching our children to clean after themselves and living tidy isn’t some form of child abuse.
It won’t kill them to clean up. It won’t kill me to clean up.
While a perfectly tidy house won’t make all our dreams come true, I think it will help us not get too down in the dumps when we are nursing the “I’m-so-frumpy-all-I-do-is-the-dishes” syndrome.
Tidy Routines CHECKLIST
Follow this checklist until your tidy routines become second nature.