Someone once said when they walked into my house that it is so peaceful and calm here. That made me happy because that is the environment that I like to create at our house. I find it’s easier to keep a house clean by picking up every day, after each meal and play session, then to let things go. It’s certainly not always peaceful and calm and orderly with two children under three running around. But I try to create our house, our environment, as clean and peaceful as I can. It can be loud and crazy outside so it is nice to know our house is a place that is quiet clean and calming for our family to rejuvenate and be free.
Keeping the house clean isn’t always easy. But I feel so much happier to start the day when I wake up in the morning to a clean house.
Strategies I’ve adopted for keeping our busy home clean
- Keep the toys contained – I try to not let toys take up every room of the house. I made sure that certain rooms are toy free or if toys are there, they have a place that is stored away so they do not take over the room. Between the gear and the toys, kids create clutter in homes. But you just have to keep control of it. It is nice to have a small bin of toys in all the common areas. In our family room, we keep a small bin of toys and books in the cabinet. The kids know they are there and will take them out and we try to put them away when we are done. I’m not crazy about it – the family room will sometimes be filled with toys. But containing them and having a place for each of them keeps it in control and able to be out of sight when I want them to be. They also have small bins of toys and accessible book shelves in their rooms. We share the main bathroom on the second floor, so I always put the bath toys away after every bath. I take out a few each bath and then we put them back in the bin after bath. I don’t want to get in the shower in the morning to toys all over the bathroom. It is stressful for me. So I make sure they all have a place and are put away as much as possible.
- Play room – If possible, create a designated play room in your house. This has been a huge help for us. It is nice to have a designated place where the majority of the toys are. After Calvin’s first birthday and he was gifted all these toys, I saw how quickly they can add up. Once we moved into our house, I knew we needed a place where they could go and know everything is free game for them in there. So they have that place and its been wonderful for me. I know they can be safe in there and pretty much everything is theirs to explore. And I knew that I could just close the door if I have to and the toys haven’t taken over our whole house.
- Organize – Keeping the toy room clean is easiest when it is organized. Everything should have a place. That makes clean up so much easier. I adopt the Montessori way for our toys, where they are easy and accessible to them. So the children can go in and pull things out. But everything has a place so when they are done, they go back to their spot. It does make clean up easier.
- Clean with the kids – I try to include the children in the process and make sure they know it is also their responsibility to keep things clean. We try to make it a game. Who can clean up the most things? How fast can we clean this place up? I sometimes set the timer and say, let’s try to clean the whole place up before the timer goes off. Or bribery too – we can have a treat or dessert but first we have to clean up our toys. Trying to make it fun is the best way for getting them involved. Also, when I’m cleaning the rest of the house, they love to get involved. I will give them a spray bottle with just water and a cloth and let them spray and wipe down while I’m cleaning. They grab my duster and doing dusting.
- Clean sweep every night – I try to pick up everything every night. This way it doesn’t get too out of control and we can start each day fresh with a clean house. It doesn’t always happen, but it is a commitment that my husband and I have kept up pretty well. If I’m tired and just need to go to sleep, my husband Dan will often take care of the kitchen at night. Starting out the day knowing the place is clean and orderly is calming for me and the best way to start the day for my family. When I wake up and the place is chaos, I feel it leads to negativity and stress in me and the children. Picking things up really doesn’t take too long and makes such a difference in my mood, which spreads onto the children.
- Clean a little bit often instead of a lot at once – I do try to clean up after every meal. There are of course times when I have to leave dishes in the sink or the countertops aren’t washed down or floor swept. But I just try to do it after every meal so it doesn’t get too out of control. I find doing a little bit often is just easier. I try to pick up throughout the day so its manageable. One reason for this is that there is rarely large blocks of time where I can just clean. So I do a little bit here and there and it gets done easier.
- Deep clean every week – Once a week, usually on Fridays, I do my deeper clean. When I started to stay home instead of working, we let go of having our house cleaned professionally every month. It is great if you can afford to have this done, but for us it was an expense we didn’t want to keep. So usually once a week, I do our deeper clean of the bathrooms and floors and dusting. The more often I do it, the more manageable it is. If I can’t do it on Friday during nap times then I do it on the weekend. I’ll have Dan take the children to the park and I’ll just crank it out. It’s amazing how fast I can clean without the children around. We usually have such busy weekends that there aren’t large blocks of time for me to clean. This is not something I dread any more. I sometimes welcome the break from the children and opportunity to listen to music and just zone out and clean away.
- Laundry – This is something that is dreaded by so many other moms I know. For me, I find doing a load or two every two or three days is the best strategy. This way it doesn’t add up to too much and take up a whole day, which I never have time for anyway. I now keep a laundry basket in out bathroom. This way I go to one place to pick up the laundry for the whole family. We do baths every night for the most part, so I put the kids clothing right in the laundry basket. It works for my husband and I because we put our clothes in before we get into the shower. I also keep a laundry bag on the main floor for when clothes get changed downstairs – especially when they are destroyed after a meal or there was an assplosion. Then every couple of days, once I notice the bin is getting full, I put it in. I have pretty much done away with sorting. We always wash cold so I just put all the colors in. If I have enough for two loads then I do a dark and light. but sometimes if there is just one load. This has worked for us. I’ll usually fold throughout the day while I can, sometimes when they are playing or finishing up their meal, or at night before I go to bed. For me folding and putting away one bin is so much easier than when 5-6 loads have developed. So this is what works for us. But whatever works best for you, just stick with it and keep control of it. otherwise it will take control of you.
We all need a clean happy environment to be our best
These are just a few of my strategies. I have found a clean and orderly house keeps me calmer. When I am calm this spreads onto my children and my husband. I want the environment to be the best it can be for our children to grow and learn and explore and of course be safe. Going to bed knowing the house is clean helps me sleep better at night and start off the day better too.