To all the parents out there, are you tired of cleaning up after everyone – absolutely dreading it? Do you want to know how to maintain your house and keep it clean and organised?
Well, join the club.
Trust us, we’ve decluttered as best we can but when you get toy after toy with no end in sight and it seems to be more a matter of staying on top of tidying and cleaning instead of decluttering, then something’s gotta give.
Either that or there must be this special cleaning course that all parents attend but that we somehow missed.
Anyway, for these reasons and the fact that we don’t feel qualified answering this question for you because we are struggling with it ourselves, we went ahead and asked other, far more qualified people about their tips and tricks to help you (and us, obvs!) keep our houses clean and organised.
Check them out!
Get the kids (and other family members) to help
Obviously, this depends on how young the children are but you can get them involved in tidying up.
In fact, Antonia of Family Friendly Working emphasises the value of teamwork, “It’s not just down to you to keep the family home clean and tidy. Start the kids helping as soon as they are old enough to put their plastic plate in the dishwasher. If they grow up knowing that looking after their surroundings is a normal part of life you’ll have kids well prepared for adulthood.”
Of course, this needs to be age-appropriate.
You can’t very well expect a 1-year old to help you iron your clothes, for example, but with some prompting, you can get them to help you put their Lego away, couldn’t you? You could turn the chore into a fun basketball game and start chucking some Lego blocks into a basket.
In fact, Victoria of The Growing Mum suggests only having one set of toys out at a time and letting them get another set if they tidy up the first one.
Amy from Crazy Carneys gives a few great ways you can encourage your kids to help out:
1. Encourage children to tidy up behind their selves no matter where they are.
In other words, if they make a mess they tidy up. If they have food, they take the plate to the kitchen and hand it over to whoever is on kitchen duty.
Easy-peasy! (And why did we not think of this??)
2. Make their room their responsibility.
Obviously, this will only work when your child actually has his own room, which isn’t always a given. Yes, some parents go all out when they first learn they’re pregnant and start decorating baby’s room. Other, however, don’t and children stay in the parents’ room until well past the toddler years.
Anyway, regardless of your feelings on the matter, the point is that if your child’s got her own room, she’s responsible for it.
Okay, maybe not all of it. She’s still a child, after all, so you still need to help her once in a while (part of parenting is modelling the behaviour you want to nurture, right?).
Check out this age-appropriate list of chores as a guide. Feel free to adapt as you see fit.
3. Give them a room in the house for them to be responsible for.
Again, this depends on your child’s age but what Amy recommends is to set aside some time during the day to clean a room they’re in charge of (not their bedroom but another room).
Now, full disclosure: we have a precocious three-year-old whose memory is better than mine and has a tendency to cleverly turn the tables on me so I’m not sure how this will work but we’ll write an update once we’ve tried this one.
4. Ask them to assist with cooking.
Oh my goodness, did you know that young children can help you cook? And by young, I mean like even one-year-olds.
Well, we got this book off Amazon and it’s really helped not just with encouraging a love of cooking but also eating. Our child is far more likely to eat something he made himself than if he had no input.
Except, somehow cake or cookies. If we’re making either of those, he’ll happily mix the dry ingredients and then leave the rest for me to finish.
Side note: cooking with a child can create a huge mess so be prepared. Make sure that you’ve set aside an area that you can use specifically for cooking. Best if you can put a wipeable cover on the floor to make it easier for yourself. Trust us, they will spill something!
Another side note: It’s quite a pricey book and you’ll want to get the hardcover version because of said spills. So, if you see this book for anything less than $15, grab the bargain!
5. Get them to look after their own laundry.
This is the bane of my existence. Seriously!
I put a load on nearly every single day and it’s never-ending. Okay, chores are never-ending anyway but c’mon – a full load of washing nearly every day?
That’s just ridiculous!
Luckily, the three-year-old is really good at putting dirty clothes in the hamper. He even helps me with the washing by making sure all the dirty clothes (of the same colour) are in the machine.
He then proudly turns it on himself.
I’m not quite sure how that happened but I’m taking the credit for it and I’m super proud of him too (hey, he’s never been to nursery and he’s with me nearly 24/7 so who else could have influenced him?)! haha
As you all probably know by now, parents are the kings and queens of multi-tasking. It’s not just the mums any more. The dads are also really going all out. I have a theory that the skill of multi-tasking automatically gets downloaded into newly minted parents’ brains with the birth of their first child. Otherwise, the modern family just would never survive.
And if you want to know how to keep your house clean and organised especially when you have kids, then this is even more important.
Chantelle from The English Family says that we should try to do things while they (the children) are occupied. For example, she unloads the dishwasher and the washing machine first thing in the morning whilst her son is eating his breakfast.
A simple enough task but I somehow manage to complicate it by insisting that we eat together. My son, of course, finishes first and the moment is lost.
If like me, you strictly enforce a family eating time or maybe you’re not a morning person, then perhaps you can adapt Chantelle’s suggestion.
For example, Victoria’s version of multitasking is actually revolutionary for me! Writing for Lylia Rose, she describes what she does:
“I clean what I can in the bathroom when the kids are in the bath happily playing, now that they’re a bit older. I’ll also leave things on the stairs that need to go up and next time I go up I’ll take them up with me and put them away, the same if things need to go downstairs. When cooking and the food doesn’t need my attention then I’ll load or unload the washing machine, empty bins or do washing up depending on what else needs doing in the kitchen.”
I’ve never done this! If I’m cooking, I’m staring at the food until it cooks, even when it actually doesn’t need me to do anything. It’s like I didn’t get the multi-tasking download! *sigh*
Designate a space
According to The Queen of Collage‘s Helena, another helpful tip that will keep your house clean and organised is to make sure that each item has it’s own space. Happily, we’ve invested in quite a few Ikea shelves and boxes to store our child’s toys. (The trick now is to keep them there :-D).
Becky from A Beautiful Space also agrees. “It really is possible to keep your house neat and clean most of the time. You need routines, great storage and minimalism.” She gives ten easy tips that include: automating your cleaning (hello, AI!), leaving your shoes outside (we do this so yay us!), make the bed as soon as you get up, dust with dryer sheets (whaat?) and other equally easy things like these.
We now feel better able to tackle the mountain of a mess that we call home.
Create new habits
So, we learned so much after talking to other parents about their cleaning hacks.
Like this particular habit here is something we’ll really need to learn as it’s so simple but so effective.
Lucy of The Parent Game Blog advises that we need to “get into the habit of never leaving a room empty-handed! It’s a good way of tidying up, without much extra effort.” Here she gives more excellent tips, including a particularly useful one involving piles of washing just lying around the house for days (guilty sigh).
Create a schedule
Nahomie from Epanouie Within recommends “scheduling everything… the “Motivated Mom Method” (MM) is amazing and they’re releasing an app soon”. Now, full disclosure: we’re not big on schedules. Just because we can’t keep to them and I just feel burnt out and frustrated with myself.
It’s a personal recipe for stress.
But, MM is completely different in that if “you miss the tasks scheduled for a particular day, you don’t have to ‘transfer’ those tasks to the next day. Just remain focused on completing daily chores and do the weekly scheduled tasks as they fit into your schedule and family lifestyle. The tasks you miss will come up again on another day.” – Motivated Mom"If…you miss the tasks scheduled for a particular day, you don’t have to ‘transfer’ those tasks to the next day. Just remain focused on completing daily chores and do the weekly scheduled tasks as they fit into your schedule." -… Click To Tweet
It’s actually a relief.
Another thing you can do, according to Ayse of Coffee and Cwtches (and we think this is especially applicable if you have young kids who still nap) is to wait until the kids are asleep! You’ll go round in circles otherwise, she says.
Hannah (Tilly Hobbs & Co) reveals that she’s just implemented a new system where she “began making the most of quiet Sunday afternoon time to hoover, get our rooms straight and everything in some sort of order so that we start the week with a clean house, I’ll then do a mid-week tidy round and before we know it we’re back at Sunday.”
We can certainly try that!
Lower your standards
If you’re like us, then you probably keep comparing how your house looked pre-kids and now that the little Tasmanian Devil is running loose.
Perhaps an adjustment of your perception is in order?
We know, we certainly needed to lower our standards and remember that, as Hayley (Miss Many Pennies) writes, “progress not perfection…if you try and make everything immaculate you’ll just get disheartened and never finish. Accept that children untidy as you tidy and things are gonna be a little messier than they might have been before. Whatever you manage, whenever you can is a win so don’t beat yourself up if it’s not picture perfect!”
Take advantage of products
Sometimes, you need to use all possible items at your disposal to make sure that everything is spic and span. For example, Sophie (Soph-obsessed) recommends putting “an old sheet or small piece of plastic tarpaulin under the table for young children and shake out the crumbs after meals. Saves having to do the floor a million times a day.”
Or if all else fails, you can use the currently popular Zoflora “to mask any dodgy smells and to also disinfect after sickness bugs.” Beth of Twinderelmo has collected 30 (yes, THIRTY!) ways you can use Zoflora to get your house nice and clean.
Frankly, I was a fan of white vinegar myself but the scent really leaves something (read: A LOT) to be desired! I’ll have to try some Zoflora.
Learn some new trick
If all else fails, maybe you’re just needing some new tips and tricks that will help you keep your house clean and organised and maybe hack this whole thing called parenting and homemaking.
Need more info but don’t know where to go or what to do?
Emma Reed has some pretty nifty tricks that you probably haven’t heard of. I mean, WD-40 against crayon marks? Dusting chrome kitchenware with flour? Half a lemon with a bowl of water as microwave cleaner? Yep, all that and more so go check her post out for other tips and tricks.
If you’re a brand new mum and you’re reading all of these thinking, they don’t apply to you yet as your clingy newborn is clearly in no position to help out and team up with you, then allow Leta of Attachment Mummy to help out. She’s detailed quite a few things that new mums can do.
We love her recommendations regarding sling wear, 10-minute tasks and the all-important accepting other people’s help. We wish we’d read her post when our son was a newborn. It would’ve saved us a lot of aggravation.
There you have it. Simple and easy to follow action steps that show you how to keep your house clean and organised.
The bad news? We have no excuses now, ladies and gents. Now that we know all these steps, we’ll just have to start doing it, no questions asked.
What do you think? Did we miss anything?