So often I see memes or comments about how a messy house is a well-lived-in house. Or another common one is to excuse the mess because we are busy making memories. Well why can’t we have both? What’s so wrong with having a clean house and kids. It is possible.
You could walk in here anytime and my house will be relatively clean. Give me 10 minutes notice and I can have the house very clean. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t “live” here. It doesn’t mean that my kids aren’t happy. A clean house doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun.
Quite the opposite actually. A messy house seems to make us all a little cranky. The boys don’t understand exactly what it is that’s bothering them yet, but they both tend to play better and nicer when there is less of a mess. A saying I do believe in, and it fits with my cleaning style, is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We try hard to clean up messes as we go, instead of letting them pile up. And even at only 1.5 and 3.5 years old, both the boys have already picked up on that as well.
Clean A Little Every Night
There are a few things I like to do every night to help keep the house clean. I
never hardly ever go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink unless it is something that needs to soak overnight. If that’s the case, I try to take care of it first thing in the morning. When the dishes are done for the evening, I wipe down the kitchen counter. If the boys make a mess at the table (they are toddlers, it happens most nights) we have a small cordless vacuum that we use to clean around the table. If the dishwasher is getting full, I run that overnight so we have clean dishes in the morning. Last, the boys know that their toys need to be cleaned up at least from the living room before they go to bed. Some nights the playroom is left a mess, but not often.
Pick A Cleaning Schedule
Find a cleaning schedule that works for you. I’ve seen hundreds on pinterest before, there’s a schedule out there for every family. I tried one where you pick a room each day to clean. Monday is kitchen, Tuesday is bathrooms, Wednesday is laundry, etc. but those never seem to work for me. I personally would rather do most of my cleaning all in one day. Cleaning every day felt like more work since I was getting all my cleaning supplies out every day. Typically, I do a good cleaning of the house one day a week. Vacuuming happens in between as needed. And I try to do a deep clean once a month, including the oven and microwave and things like that.
Teach Your Kids To Clean
Starting at a young age, there are plenty of ways a child can help with the cleaning process. Our boys both started to pick up their toys once they learned to walk. Now, when it’s cleaning day, Tyler asks us if he can help with the dusting. I also have them pick up all their toys so I can vacuum. When I am doing laundry, they will help put the clothes in the washer and dryer, and Tyler likes to fold the rags. As they get older, their cleaning responsibilities will grow with them. Teaching them to clean not only helps me out by lightening the load a little bit, but also teaches them the consequences of making a big mess. We try to give our boys responsibilities that are appropriate for their age, and cleaning up after themselves is one of them.
Clean Throughout The Day
By now, Tyler and Ryan have pretty much learned that we clean as we go. Once we are done with breakfast, I get all the dishes from breakfast rinsed and in the dishwasher. Same with lunch and dinner. After a meal, the boys bring their dishes to the kitchen and set them on the counter since that’s all they can reach right now. Ryan doesn’t carry his plate just yet, but he brings his cups or snack bowls in the kitchen. Tyler actually asks to rinse his plate, but he can’t reach the sink yet. By cleaning as we go, we usually don’t end up with a huge mess to clean up at the end of the day, thus keeping the house cleaner in the process.
Don’t Wear Shoes In The House
This seems simple, but it helps a lot. As soon as we get home, we all take our shoes off. We keep our shoes on a shoe rack in the garage, and when we come in that way (which is most of the time since we park in the garage) our shoes are removed before we even walk in the house. If we come in through the front door, we sit down right there and take off our shoes and walk them to the garage. Our shoes get so dirty walking around outside all day in them, I don’t want that brought into my house!
This website had a list of a few different studies done that show just how nasty our shoes really are!
A Clean House Is A Happy House
At least, this is true at our house. I have a hard time concentrating when I know my house is a mess. It bothers me that the boys are playing on the floor if it’s dirty. I can’t cook in a messy kitchen. It just doesn’t work for us. We rotate out the toys that the boys have, so they aren’t overwhelmed by the mess. If we left all their toys accessible, they would all be out, and would be a mess. While I don’t mind them making a mess if they are playing with it, they start to get frustrated when things are messy because they can’t find the toy they want. Messy toys tend to get broken as well. Overall, our house is a much happier home when it is clean.
Now laundry……. that’s a different story!