Pre-kids keeping the house clean, tidy and clutter free was a doddle. Since having kids keeping the house clean and reasonably tidy is no longer child's play. Now that we have 2 kids it has become an even harder task. Not only do we have masses of toys everywhere for Bug but was now also have Jelly Bean's toys too along with baby equipment.
With so much kid stuff everywhere and their ability to be like a tornado of destruction as they turn a room upside down and full of mess quicker than I can clean it – seriously they seem to have superhero powers of getting every last toy out of storage in a blink of an eye – cleaning the house and keeping the level of tidiness to a passable level is a huge chore.
Whilst my house is most definitely lived in and far from being a show home (I like to think the mess shows the kids are making memories) I have found a few ways to make keeping the mess to a minimum and make cleaning the house a little bit easier when you have kids.
Get them involved
From when Bug was a young age I got him involved with cleaning the house, making the task of tidying and cleaning a fun one for him so that he wanted to do it and enjoyed it rather than it being a chore. I often make tidying up a game such as who can put the toys away quicker, which makes tidying up fun and quick.
I find it is best to make sure that the jobs you give them are age appropriate and as they get older give them new tasks and responsibilities. It is also worthwhile to be precise when asking them to do tasks, for example rather than asking Bug to clean his room I ask him if he could tidy away his cars into his car toy box and his lego into his lego toy box.
Whilst getting help from the kids can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help and tasks can take double the time I think it is important to get them to enjoy cleaning, understand the importance of it and start teaching them valuable life skills from a young age.
Have a routine
For us incorporating cleaning time within our daily routine means tasks get done. As I have had a routine for household chores since the kids were young they are aware of the routine of the household and when not helping or having a nap they are are happy playing as I complete some task or other.
Tidy as you go
One way I have found to limit the mess in the kids' bedroom is to encourage putting things away before starting something new. Whilst Jelly Bean is a little young to grasp this notion yet he sees both myself and his brother do it and will learn to do it himself as he gets older. Bug is brilliant at tidying up the toys he has finished playing with before getting any new toys out and it makes a huge difference to the level of mess. Not only is it good at keeping the mess to a minimum but it also helps keep toys of the same type together and saves loosing toys.
Get the right tools for the job
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to complete a chore without the right tools for the job or if things are broken and not working. Not only is it frustrating but it can also mean it takes longer to do chores and tasks are finished to a inferior level.
Keep a cleaning caddy with all essential cleaning equipment in one place so you don't have waste time looking for the bathroom cleaning spray or the polish, and remember to replace cleaning products when you run out.
Make sure you replace broken cleaning equipment (for example if that mop handle is looking like it might snap get new before it does!) so that you can clean quickly and easily without any problems. To help make chores quick and easy made sure you have good working cleaning equipment, for example if like your house is carpeted throughout and you hover on a daily basis invest in a Dyson hoover or if have hard flooring consider buying a steam cleaner.
Get suitable storage.
As I am a bit of a hoarder and the kids have masses of toys I have learnt the valuable lesson of having suitable storage so that everything has a place and is in its place rather than anywhere and everywhere and creating a mess.
Toy storage is especially useful for keeping the kids' bedroom tidy and organised. With the kids' toys and bits and bobs we have tried to have storage that is suitable for what it is, for example for Bug's lego he has a Blokpod storage container.
Whilst I do my best to keep the house clean and tidy I am not paranoid about it and am flexible. I realise some days things might not get done, if the baby is not well the housework gets ignored or if we are off on a family day out there is always tomorrow for cleaning.
I want to enjoy the time I have with the kids and make memories with them now as they are growing up too quick as it is rather than worry about cleaning. The dishes will always be there. Hopefully even if the kids grow up to remember a messy house they will remember it was a messy house where they made lots of memories and were loved.
Do you have any tips for cleaning the house when you've got kids?