How To Keep Your House Clean And Organized Even When You Have Kids
Learn how to keep your house clean and organized even when the kids are home.
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The best way to keep your house clean and organized even when you have kids is to make sure you have a simple system that breaks everything down for you so you don’t get overwhelmed. I use motivated moms to keep my sanity – costs only $12 a year (less if you use code liveablissfullife).
To all the parents out there, are you tired of cleaning up after everyone – absolutely dreading it? Do you want to know how to keep your house clean and organized?
Yes? Well, welcome to the club.
In a hurry but need help ASAP?
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 (check out the cleaning system above in case you missed it too!).
Anyway, to help you keep your house clean and organised (because boy, it’s pretty difficult trying to keep everything nice and clean when you have a full house), we went ahead and asked other people about their tips and tricks.
We all need the help we can get.
How to keep house clean #1: Get the kids (and other family members) to help.
The first tip on how to keep house clean obviously 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??)
So, this is actually something that the adults in our house clearly need to stay on top of so that our child will also learn how to keep house clean.
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.
Another great way for your child to learn how to keep house clean is by becoming responsible for a room in the house.
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).
Side Note: 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.
One last side note: If you need help because your child is a picky eater (a whole ‘other battle), check out the resources below.
How To Teach A Child To Eat Healthy – Contains simple ways that will help you encourage your picky eater to eat well.
Help, My Toddler Has Become A Picky Eater! What Did I Do? – The post that you need to read if you’re child used to eat well and then suddenly turns up his nose at everything you offer. It might not be you!
The Unhealthy Eating Habits You Should Stop Teaching Your Child – Most of us do this unconsciously to get a child to eat. But could it be making the problem worse?
Your Amazon Christmas Gift Guide For Picky Eating Toddlers [& Their Stressed Out Parents] – Okay, so may not be Christmas but if you have a picky eater, this list will definitely help you out!
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?)! 😀
So, this is one more thing that will help show your child how to keep house clean and get you the lovely environment you’ve always wanted.
How to keep house clean #2: Multitask.
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 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*
How to keep house clean #3: 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.
How to keep house clean #4: 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).
How to keep house clean #5: 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, honestly, we’re not big on schedules because we can’t keep to them and we just feel burnt out and frustrated with ourselves.
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!
In a hurry but need help ASAP?
How to keep house clean #6: 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!“
How to keep house clean #7: 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 a lot to be desired! I’ll have to try some Zoflora.
How to keep house clean #8: 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 organized 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.
Final thoughts on how to keep your house clean and organized even when you have kids
There you have it. Simple and easy to follow action steps that show you how to keep your house clean and organized.
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?
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for relevance and comprehensiveness.
We have recently started our home cleaning company and came across this article. Really appreciate you taking the time to educate us. You did an amazing job at keeping it informative and descriptive. Thanks again.
Thank you. We’re glad you enjoyed our post. 🙂
Hi, your post is very unique and helpful, it leave me no excuse why I can’t get my house clean even with kids, your post is very educating and I learn many idea by giving kids task which will help them to be used with house cleaning.
i will also keep to the idea of making sure I don’t extend today’s task till tommorrow. Your post is the type of post that every one need to read about.. I will be sharing your post on my social media for friends to benefit from it also.
Hi Samuel, thanks for your comment. Now that we’ve written a post about it and did all the research to get the post, we also don’t have any excuse anymore. 🙂
I am a firm believer in getting the children involved, giving them specific jobs to do, appropriate to their ages, and should be divided into, daily chores, twice weekly chores, and weekly chores and of course, continuous chores.
In our family each child has a specific chore daily, one has to lay the table, knives, forks, spoons, side plates, another is responsible for putting dirty dishes, in the sink, and washing them,(including the pots), and putting all the clean items away.
they are each responsible for tidying their own rooms, and putting their toys away, also for putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket.
As a young boy, my job once a week was to wash the kitchen floor,and sweep through the house,also early every morning to clean out the ashes from our coal stove,and put them in the rubbish bin, collect coal and kindling wood, make the fire,put the kettle on ,make tea,and take it to my parents in the bedroom.
As parents we let the more responsible children help with the preparation of the food,shelling peas, peeling potatoes,and washing the various ingredients before cooking.
We all had a toy box, and were responsible, for putting all our toys away,each time we played with them.
Wow, Robert. That’s amazing! We certainly need to include that in our routine. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s much appreciated.
Good afternoon Kevin and Jade,
It was fun reading your post on how to keep your house clean and organized. I do not have children but a better half and animals, I suppose that also counts right?
It reminded me of when I was young. I did have my own room and I was told to keep it tidy. I did not like that very much but my mother was adamant. Then I had to help dry dishes, no dishwasher in those times. Papa told me to mow the lawn or wash the car but that at least made me earn 1 guilder so that was not too bad. When my mother would make cookies or cakes you could find me in the kitchen for sure. Not so much to help but I would get the bowl to clean, I loved that.
Luckily when I grew up I turned out an organized person and that has made my life a lot easier. Now I only need to keep my better half and animals in order, I think I will be able to manage that too.
I think your post with so many links will be very helpful for young parents.
Taetske, fur babies definitely count!
Though, I’m not sure you can get them involved in the clean-up. In my limited experience, they tend to make the mess worse. 🙂 Although, my uncle once trained a dog to go shopping for him at the local butchers. He always came home with fresh meat as he sniffs it first to make sure it’s fresh and growls at the butcher if it isn’t. So, maybe they can help clean, after all.
Thanks for your words! I pretty much like and enjoy your blissful life site and its articles. When I decide to declutter, I have to keep it one room at a time but the one box or bin you mentioned multiplies a bunch of boxes and bins and finally its quite of a mess. This task list for kids is pretty useful and also making their own rooms to be as their responsibility helps a lot ! From my experience I like to give my son some extra tasks (after schoolwork done) and only by finishing them, he gets permission to play his videogames or watch his favourite YT videos. On the other hand, sometimes he has so good and teachfull ideas himself that I feel its called doing tasks itself. He was 5 years old when he started to edit his videos, after downloading or recording them without my help.
Thanks for your kind words, Jesse, and for sharing your experience. Your son sounds pretty amazing so kudos to you!
It is always a chore to get a child to get to do housework without them seeing as a form of punishment. The techniques that you have highlighted are suitable, as long as the child sees it as a fun activity, which you can imagine is a difficult task to do. I also think it is up to the individual, as some people are naturally lazy and no matter what you try, they do not want to do it. It is so frustrating and you do not know what to do.
In your article, you do not mention what to do in the dreaded teenage years, where getting them out of bed is a chore in itself. How do you do it?
Hi Antonio, that’s an excellent question and one that we’ll need to write a whole post for so keep your eyes peeled. As for younger kids, you can also transform anything into a game. The trick is for you to also have fun (not always easy, I know) but they can sense if you’re stressed out and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when they dig in their heels. If you’re interested, you can read Playful Parenting by Dr. Lawrence Cohen (https://amzn.to/2KKei6u #afflink) where he gives a lot of examples. Enjoy!
Hallo there Kelvin and Jade,
I have to say a big thank you for the tips you have offered. My wife and I are a newly wed couple although we have 2 fairly grown kids, and we are just getting to learn how to control things around the house as a family. My wife is one of the people who get really stressed when the house is in a mess.
She gets really irritated when she comes home and finds everything everywhere and she told me that the whole thing was really getting on her nerves. So I decided to get help from the internet (you guys!).
I particularly love the cleaning game. It is one of the things I never thought which can actually come in handy when you get to convince the kids it’s actually a game and it’s fun. I’ll be getting my wife to read this post. She’s going to love it.
Thanks heaps for the help. It’s going to go a long way for me and my wife.
Thanks for commenting, Dave. I can imagine what your wife is feeling. I personally have had to learn to lower my standards (a lot) but it still makes me anxious when I see the house in a state. Take your time and have fun – I personally think it’s the only way to get through it. Enjoy and let us know how you get on. 🙂