“How do you keep your house so clean with kids”? This is a question I get all of the time! Well half of the time… the other half it’s less of a question and more of a snarky comment… like: “Are your kids allowed to play”? or “My kids would destroy this house, they actually play in ours”. For this blogs sake lets pretend everyone always asks in a polite and inquisitive way, shall we. Also I will only be referencing Finn in this post because Tallula is only 10 months old and isn’t at the phase where she is part of the tidying process in a real way yet.
The truth is our house is not always put together but it is typically really tidy. Not just for the blog or Instagram, but genuinely tidy. Notice I said tidy not clean. Taking the time to deep clean is a bi-monthly thing and that’s as good as it’s gonna get! Does that mean my house is blog-worthy or Insta-ready always, NO! It just means the place is rarely ever a total wreck even though Finn PLAYS here all day long. I’ve made a list of my top 9 tips that we use to keep the clutter under control!
1. When it’s done, it’s done:
What this means is when a toy/game is done being used it is cleaned up before he can move onto the next. That is not to say he can’t be playing with multiple toys and games at once. It just means when one of the toys/games has clearly lost its luster and his interest in that toy has wained, that toy is cleaned up.
2. Everything has it’s place:
We don’t throw all of our toys in one bin, tub, basket. We have multiple bins, tubs, baskets for specific toys. We have one “junk drawer” if you will, for all the random toys that we don’t have multiple of, example: our one rogue nerf gun. Otherwise we have a car bucket for all toy car trucks/toys, a lego bucket, a people and animal bucket for figurines, stuffed animal bin… you get the point. That way Finn can easily clean up because he knows exactly where everything lives and he doesn’t have to dump out every bin to find that one car he loves, he may have to dump out the car bin, but its going to be in there and this combats the chaos of toys everywhere. It also eliminates the stress of not being able to find what he needs.
3. Toys live in the kids room:
This is a hard and firm rule we have for Finn’s toys. He plays with them in every room of the house, but when they are put away they live in his room. At the end of the day there are no toys left in the living spaces. Again Tallula is being left out on this post but I will say her baby toys are kept in the living room downstairs and at the end of the day they’re placed in attractive bins and put on a shelf until morning.
Every now and then we do a purge. We figure out what Finn is actually using and what he is no longer using and we donate the things he has moved on from. Finn is not involved in the purge because suddenly that dump truck that he hasn’t touched in 10 months is his FAVORITE thing ever… Yet when we purge the dump truck without telling him, he NEVER notices (funny how that works). We are due for a purge this Fall and I can’t wait. I love the purge!
5. Stationary corner:
We have cupboard dedicated to Finns crayons, markers, paper, glue sticks, stickers, glitter pens, etc etc etc. This is his most used cubby. Kids love to create and draw and giving him access to these items (now that he is old enough to understand they’re used at the table not on the sofa) has been the best decision ever. He writes menus and plays restaurant, or draws a lesson plan and plays teacher, the amount of use and imagination play he gets from the stationary cupboard is insane. It’s a one stop, easy to clean up, shop. Do it!
6. Keep all of the pieces of a game/toy together:
We have always made it a point to keep every piece of a toy, puzzle or game that comes with multiple little pieces together. We never throw pieces of a puzzle in a drawer, or throw a lego ship that requires 20 specific parts in the bin without first making sure all of the pieces of the game/toy/puzzle are collected in the box it came in, or in a bag, or in a Tupperware. This way we never lose any of it, and when Finn wants to play Battleship we know all of the pieces are there, every time.
7. Shoe basket:
We have a basket that we put out shoes in when we come home. Shoes off and in the basket. That way we don’t have a pile up by the front door. Of course when it’s wet or muddy out the shoes don’t go in the basket, they go on a towel by the front door until dry or I can clean them and then they go in the basket.
8. Empty the coat hooks
About every other day I take every jacket sweatshirt, scarf or hat off of the entry way coat hooks and put them away where they live. We don’t wear the same jacket or sweatshirt everyday, and if I don’t do this quick tidy there will be a pile up of a weeks worth of jackets and hoodies and it becomes a big tidy.
9. Bedtime clean up
I literally clean up the house at the end of every day. I make sure every bedroom is tidy, every bathroom is cleared of laundry or towels off the floor. I fluff the pillows on the couch, and fold the throw blankets. I put away Tallula’s toys in their bins and make sure all of Finns toys are put in their proper homes. I wash any dishes left in the sink, run the dishwasher if necessary and make sure the countertops are cleared. Ending the day with a clean slate means you start the day with a clean slate and thats the best feeling, at least for me.
We have found these methods really work for us. In keeping on top of the chores and tidying each day, organizing the toys and setting boundaries on where and when they’re played. By being consistent in putting them away where they belong, and teaching Finn (and soon Tallula) to clean up their unused messes… makes life easier on everyone! Which in turn for us allows this Momma to keep a tidy house, making for a less stressful environment, and happier home. Finn is a very happy, very adventurous, playful, energetic, imaginative little human and our tidiness and rules don’t stifle that but instead encourage it. There is no stress in finding what he needs to play and explore, no unnecessary mess or chaos. Also, Finn knowing the boundaries and rules about clean up and taking care of his toys is a great tool for him to take into adulthood, win win.
I listed some of my favorite storage bins and baskets; ones that we use in our home. As well as my go-to cleaning product for spot cleaning the rugs and/or furniture.