If you’re a mom to active little ones, you know that it takes only mere minutes for a house to go from tidy to utter chaos. You know the scene well. By the end of the day, goldfish are strewn about the house, wrappers are left all over the counter and tiny little toddlers have created a trail of equally tiny little toys cascading down the hallway. Cleaning with a house full of kiddos can be a real feat for even the most amazing of super moms. But what if there was a way to clean quickly enough to keep things organized and tidy while still leaving enough time for plenty of play with your fun littles? The answer is YES but you have to be willing to put in a little hard work in the beginning! By getting ahead of the curve, you can ensure that you have the time to get things done and the time to have some fun. Plus, kids really do thrive in a tidy, organized environment. Here’s how to make it work for you.
Purge! Purge! Purge!
The first and number one rule of cleaning is to make sure you have a place for everything and that you keep everything in its place. For that to happen effectively, you need to clear out all of the unnecessary clutter that is keeping your from leading a truly organized life. Start one room at a time and create a home for everything. Even headbands, jewelry and miscellaneous items should have a specific place to land. That way, it’s easier to pick up everything when you know exactly where it needs to go back. You’ll also want to make sure those homes are well organized and convenient for your everyday life. For example, place cute bins at child height so that they can conveniently put away their toys on their own. You can also place all diapers and other baby items that you might need throughout the day in little caddies throughout the house. Though this may sound like a tedious task that you just can’t conquer while you’re in the throes of motherhood, it will make your life so much easier in the long run.
Once everything has a specific home where it can go, it’s time to get in the groove of daily maintenance. This is the hardest part of your cleaning routine but will leave you with plenty of time to enjoy your kiddos instead of constantly cleaning. Take a deep breath and then realize this—There are certain cleaning tasks that you will need to do each day no matter what. I know! That’s a rough realization but once you accept the fact, it can make it easier for you to get on board with cleaning a little bit each day. So each day, you will have some daily maintenance non-negotiables. These will be tasks that help your household run smoothly for the next day. Then, you can have a weekly list of duties that include things like watering the plants or cleaning the bathrooms. Some daily ideas to get you started are:
- Take a Saturday to catch up on all of your laundry. Then, make sure to do one load of laundry every single day after that. If you can’t find anything to wash, think about the curtains, furniture upholstery or your children’s toys. Try not to ever go a day without washing.
- Make sure to wash your baby bottles after every feeding that way you don’t have too many dirty ones waiting around the house.
- Now that you have little ones running around (especially if those little ones are babies!), it’s imperative that you vacuum every day to ensure you pick up all the little pieces that may pose a choking hazard.
- Making Beds. Each morning, make sure the beds are made. This little task can make everything look that much better.
- Evening Straighten Up. At the end of the day, when you get the little ones tucked into bed, do an all-around straighten up by picking up toys and placing them in their designated bins.
- School Prep. You’ll want to make sure that you pack lunches the night before to ensure that the morning runs smoothly. Pack backpacks the night before and lay out school clothes for the next day.
Make Cleaning Fun
The best way to ensure that you’ll stick to your cleaning routine is by making it something that you enjoy doing. Play your favorite music or listen to a book on tape while you clean. Purchase some smell-good cleaning products that make cleaning fun. Decorate for each holiday. Use some essential oils to rejuvenate and give the whole house a fun smell. Incorporate fresh fruits into your routine by using them to clean the microwave (lemon + water!), putting fresh fruit down the disposal or by creating a potpourri while you work. Select fun green products to ensure safe and toxin free surfaces for your little ones. Incorporating fun elements will make you that much more excited to clean each day.
A Team Effort
Always remember that when cleaning becomes something that is stressful or something that you hate, then you should definitely seek out help to make all the ends meet. Your work as a mother is the greatest and hardest job that anyone can ever have. Because of all you’re doing, it’s natural for your household chores to take a backseat and that’s A-Okay. Think about hiring someone to come once a week or once a month to help you clean. And make sure to get the whole family involved. Keeping a house clean requires everyone to do their part. Get older kids to help with sweeping and taking out the trash. Have a day off a week where your partner picks up the slack! That way you’ll avoid getting burned out and your cleaning routine won’t miss a day! Teach your littles how to put stuff back and pick up their toys each night before bed. This will instill skills for the future and help you avoid picking up that dreaded trail of toys. Stick with it and you’ll reap the benefits of a clean house and more time to spend with your family.
About the Author:
Tracy E. Brown is a journalist and educator with over 14 years of experience working in the field of Child Development. She is currently the Assistant Editor of Black Dress/Red Wagon Magazine in Atlanta, Ga. and previous Associate Editor at Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine. She previously taught preschool at the Goddard School in Farragut, Tennessee and taught Kindergarten for Dekalb County Schools in Atlanta. Other writing credits include the Green Building Research Institute, London’s facetheory.com, WBIR Channel 10 News, PBS, Duke University and American Airlines. She is also a mom to three adorable little ones.