When you have young kids, it’s okay if your house is not spotless. Houses with kids are almost always in a constant state of disarray. However, there is a fine line between ‘normal mess’ and ‘complete pigsty,’ and if you don’t want your house to turn into the latter, here’s how you can make cleaning easier:
1. Impose the ‘shoes-off’ rule
If everyone takes off their shoes by the foyer, they won’t track all that dirt, debris, and invisible bacteria into the house with them. Hence, your wooden floors, carpets, and rugs will be much easier to clean and keep it clean for a more extended period.
It also helps to place an outdoor doormat where family members can wipe their shoes before entering. In the foyer, having a shoe rack or a small shelf can keep shoes organized by the door. Teach your kids to take their shoes off before they enter the house and make it their responsibility to keep their shoes in their proper place by the entryway.
2. Designate a play area
Instruct your kids to play in only one area of the house at a time. In this way, you aren’t dealing with multiple messes all over the place, which helps shorten your chore list.
If your kids are old enough, make them responsible for cleaning up their play area. If they don’t clean it up, you can withhold playtime until they do so that they clean up their mess immediately every time.
3. Get rid of extra stuff
The fewer things you have in the house, the less time you have to spend cleaning and organizing them. That said, making your home easier to clean has a lot to do with getting rid of unnecessary items that only serve as clutter.
Here are some tips that can help you get rid of excess stuff:
- Use the Marie Kondo approach and get rid of stuff that no longer brings you joy
- Carry a box and go through each room, picking up stuff that you no longer need or want
- Give your kids their own boxes and ask them to purge the belongings they don’t want nor need
- Set up three boxes for each room labeled as ‘Donate,’ ‘Dispose,’ and ‘Sell,’ then organize purged belongings in these boxes as you see fit
- Consider storing your extra belongings at a loved one’s house or in a storage unit
- Dedicate an entire weekend for a de-cluttering spree
- Get rid of the things that you should throw out without a second thought (e.g., expired food, paper bags, damaged linens, etc.)
- When mulling over whether to keep a particular item, think about the last time you used it; if it’s too long ago, you should probably get rid of it
4. Have a place for everything
Not only does this trick make it easier to keep your house organized, but it also makes cleaning more of a breeze. When you know where to put something back, you can spend less time thinking about where to put it.
Moreover, train your kids to put something back where it belongs after they use it. Since they are probably your primary mess-makers in the house, helping them form this habit can help make your home easier to maintain.
5. Remove hard-to-clean things
Get rid of things that make your house harder to clean, such as thick drapes, wall-to-wall carpeting, velvet couches, and knickknacks that collect a lot of dust. Replace them with alternatives that are easier to clean. For example, switch out drapes for blinds or curtains, wall-to-wall carpeting for floor rugs, and velvet furniture for leather ones, just to name a few.
6. Involve your kids
Household chores become much more manageable when the kids are involved. If you want to get your kids on board, try some of these strategies:
- Designate age-appropriate chores
- Integrate cleaning into their routine
- Create a fun to-do list or chore wheel
- Make cleaning a contest
- Reward kids for their work
- Avoid re-doing their work
- Label bins for more effortless organization
- Give them clear instructions and be specific
- Be firm with your rules
- Allow kids to use (safe) cleaning tools
- Always show your appreciation and encouragement
Keeping a house spotless is impossible when you have kids unless you are the perfect housekeeper. Nevertheless, these strategies can help keep your home at an acceptable level of cleanliness but with much less effort.
Do you have other cleaning tips to share with busy parents? Let us know in the comments below.