How To (attempt to) Keep Your Home Clean With Kids
Two truths about me, y’all. There is not much I love more than a clean home, but there is also not much I hate more than cleaning.
I am not one of those people who has a “cleaning schedule,” because I think if I woke up knowing I had to clean something every.single.day, I might go crazy. Instead, I try to pick one day a week (ok, every other week), put the kids in front of the TV (#noshame), and knock it all out in one fell swoop.
I hate day to day clutter, though, so I’ve learned some small tips on how to manage this with two small
terrors kids, running around. (Also, these are real life picture’s, y’all. My instinct says to say sorry, buuuut I’m not.)
Lower Your Expectations
Ok, picture what your ideal clean house looks like. Got it? Alright, now say buh-bye and lower your standards. Picture what your clean house looks like with lower standards. Got it? Perfect, now lower those standards again, and you’re just about there.
So the key for me is to just lower my standard of cleanliness. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t let my house become a pigsty. But y’all, I can’t tell ya how often I sweep my kitchen floor only to turn around and find crumbs. Without anyone having touched food. So instead of getting annoyed like I did the first 627384 times, I’ve just accepted that even my clean house will have crumbs aplenty. (Why are babies and toddlers just made of constant crumbs?!)
Purge Often. Like, daily.
There isn’t much quite as satisfying as having a garbage bag full of stuff to get rid of it. I’m not a minimalist, but I love having a minimal amount of toys. So we purge often. It it’s broken, if it’s missing pieces, if I find it particularly annoying…it gets either thrown away or donated. (In case you’re interested in decluttering the toys, I wrote a guest post at Homegrown Simplicity about some reasons we’ve limited our kids’ toys. Head over and check it out!)
One Toy At A Time
Some may say we’re pretty lax with Oliver in a lot of areas. We’re pretty big believers in picking our battles. BUT, I am strict about one “big” toy at a time. So for example, if he’s playing with his Megablocks, he can’t get his train set out until the blocks are picked up. If he wants his 47 dinosaurs out (thanks, Mom), we pick up the 20 matchbox cars.
Don’t get me wrong here. We have books sprayed everywhere and lots of random toys out pretty much all day. But I find only allowing one toy with multiple pieces out a time cuts back on a lot of clutter. It also makes it easier to walk across my living room without stepping on a lego, so, #winning.
(I fully realize that these pictures don’t depict the cleanest house in all the land. But I choose to believe this as about as clean a house can get when you have a 2.5 year old toddler and a 10 month old baby. Unless I literally just follow them around picking up after them. And, uh, no thanks. But once Oliver was done playing with those trains? They got put back in their bin.)
“Clean up, Clean up”
Oliver calls it “cean up, cean up”. And he sings it. It’s adorable. But Oliver cleans up. We (try) to clean up before we leave the house, we clean up before nap time, and we clean up before bed time.
Lemme be real honest here and say- sometimes we don’t. Sometimes bed time can’t come soon enough, and once we put Oliver to bed, I just stare at our messy living room floor. And I think, “What’s the purpose? He’ll be up in 11 hours and get these exact toys out, so why am I doing this??” And I promptly sit on the couch, binge watch my show of choice (NCIS, currently), and sleep guilt free.
Ok, so this saves me so much anxiety. For toys that have a lot of pieces, these small bins are a God send. I know they’re not the cutest and most decorative solution, but interior decorating isn’t my jam. These let me easily see what’s inside. Oliver hasn’t learned how to open them yet, so he’s at my mercy and discretion when he wants to play with a certain toy. We do have one big toy chest in the living room, but I don’t want every single toy in there. That’s a really great way to have every toy we own spewed across the whole house.
I’ve kind of created these where they’re needed. We have a TON of books as Oliver loves to read, and I was getting so incredibly tired of taking them back to the bookshelf in his room every night. So instead we got a basket and just keep a basket of books in the living room in addition to the bookshelf in his bedroom. It’s made cleaning up a lot easier!
I absolutely like a clean and tidy home. If I let it get too out of hand, I’ll actually get a little anxiety and find myself doing dishes or laundry or vacuuming at 11pm. I’ve learned, though, that it’s not really realistic to expect my house to be spotless. Human beings live here, and, honestly, we stay in our house. A lot. I love teaching Oliver (and eventually Zoey) responsibility about cleaning up, but I also don’t want them to be afraid to play or make a little mess because I’ve been too rigid. Like everything in life, it’s a balance, and you find what works for you and your family!
Let me know below if you have any cleaning or organization tips for your family- always looking for suggestions, and I love hearing what works for other people!
Have a phenomenal day!