If you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to figure out the secrets to keep your house clean when you have kids.
A lot of moms give up altogether on having a clean home while they have kids in the house. They figure that a clean house and kids just don’t go together, so why bother trying?
But you haven’t given up yet. You’d like to get past the mess and have a home that runs smoothly, where the mess is under control, and where everyone in the family helps to keep it that way.
I’m so happy that you’re here, because it IS totally possible to keep a clean house with kids in it. It takes time and effort, but you aren’t crazy for wishing for it.
The Benefits of a Clean House With Kids
Once you figure out the secret to keeping your house clean, you’ll absolutely love reaping the benefits of it.
The Kids Will Play Better
If your kids complain about being bored a lot, you might be tempted to think that they need more toys. But the truth is a little counterintuitive: kids will actually play longer and more happily if they have less toys to choose from.
You’ll Feel Less Stressed
Lots of messy people that I know say that messes doesn’t bother them. But is that really true? What if you walked into a department store and instead of clothes hanging neatly, they had them tossed here and there and scattered all over the floor? What if you walked into your dentist appointment and there was trash and clutter left over from the last patient who sat in the chair?
I think that would bother even the messiest of people. Because the truth is, we all crave orderly spaces. It feels better. We enjoy a space more when it doesn’t look like the before pictures of a hoarders episode.
I don’t know anyone who would say no to being able to wave a magic wand and suddenly have your home completely spic and span.
Having a clean home will allow you to focus on and have time for other things that matter more. You won’t have to spend 20 minutes clearing off the table any time you want to eat dinner there or work on a project.
It’ll just be ready.
You’ll Be Able to Have Guests Over With Ease
Have you ever wished you could invite someone over, but you held back because you knew how much work it would take to make your house presentable for guests?
Getting your home in order and then maintaining an acceptable level of cleanliness and organization means that you’re never that far from your home being “guest ready”.
You’ll be able to have them over at the drop of a hat.
You’ll Save Money
How many times have you needed something that you know you own, but you had to go out and buy a new one because you have no idea where it is?
When you have a place for everything, and everything actually gets put in its place, you’ll almost never have to waste money this way again. You’ll exactly where your stuff is!
How to Keep a Clean Home With Kids
Enough with the benefits. How do you actually go about keeping a house clean when there are kids making messes everywhere they go inside it?
Secret #1: Clean Homes With Kids Have Less Stuff
This is one of the biggest secrets to keeping a clean house. If you regularly struggle to maintain a tidy home, I can almost guarantee you that it’s because you simply own too many things. The more stuff there is, the bigger the mess can get.
When you have less, there’s a limit to the chaos.
The kitchen is a perfect example of this. How many cutting boards do you own?
If you have more than one, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re thinking “but I need to have one that I can use when the others are dirty!” that’s exactly the point.
When you only have one cutting board, you’ll be forced to wash it every time you need it. So instead of having a pile of 3 or 4 dirty cutting boards in the sink at the end of the day, you’ll only have one at the most.
When you have less in the kitchen, cleaning what you need suddenly becomes a priority.
If you expand this idea to cups, plates, bowls, and silverware, you’ll be amazed at how your mountain of dirty dishes shrinks almost instantly.
Secret #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Rid of Things
I can count on one hand the number of items that I’ve regretted decluttering. All of that stuff that you’re saving just in case you’ll need it one day? I can almost guarantee you that you won’t. And even if you do miss it, you’re smart enough to figure out how to make do with what you have.
Dawn from The Minimal Mom is the queen of decluttering, and she made a video where she talks about the stuff she wishes she hadn’t gotten rid of. Spoiler alert: it’s not much.
Secret #3: Be Careful What You Allow Into Your House
Even better than decluttering is not letting junk into your house in the first place!
Don’t get caught up with always buying the latest and greatest thing for yourselves or for your kids. You don’t need that kitchen gadget from As Seen on TV, and your kids definitely don’t need a 5th set of blocks.
Everything in your home should have a specific place and a specific purpose. Before you buy something, ask yourself if you know exactly what you’ll use it for and exactly where you’ll put it.
Secret #4: Teach Your Kids to Declutter
Kids are notorious for wanting to keep every treasure, but teaching them to let go of things that they no longer use or love will not only make your home run more smoothly, but will set them up to have a healthy relationship with “stuff” when they go on to have their own households to manage! You’ll be saving them the struggle that you’re going through right now.
If you’re not sure how to convince them to get rid of things, try asking them to make a pile of stuff they want to keep instead of what they want to get rid of. You can feel free to donate what they don’t choose to keep!
Secret #5: The Kids Need to Clean Too!
Another secret to keeping a clean house is teaching others to help with the work. If you have a family, you shouldn’t be the one doing the all the cleaning. There are so many reasons that it’s important for kids to learn to take part in caring for the home they live in, not least of which is so that you don’t have to be the family servant!
Kids as young as 18 months can learn to help put their toys put back into a basket, so start young and continue to teach them how to do more as they grow.
Here are some ideas to get kids tidying:
- Set a timer: For some reason, kids move so much faster when they know there’s a clock ticking. Set a timer for 5 minutes of clean up, and you’ll be amazed at what they get done!
- Have everyone pick up 10 things. Sometimes it’s overwhelming for kids to look at a mess – they don’t know where to start! If you tell everyone that they only have to pick up 10 things, that seems a lot more manageable. If there are 3 or 4 family members participating, that’s 30 or 40 items lying around your house that will get put away pretty quickly!
- Offer rewards. You don’t need to reward them with candy or money every time they tidy up. But I find that it helps to have something that they enjoy planned for after the clean up is done. It can be as simple as letting them know that it will be lunch time as soon as they finish cleaning, or that you’ll go outside to play as soon as their toys are put away.
- Play music. There’s a reason the clean up song from Barney got so popular. It’s way more fun to clean when you can dance to a tune at the same time! Traditional “clean up” songs are fun, but don’t underestimate the power of Katy Perry’s latest hit to get everyone moving.
Remember, don’t expect to just be able to tell your family to go clean up and expect them to do it on their own. They’ll need a lot of support, supervision, and instruction from you.
Secret #6: Establish Routines to Keep Your House Clean With Kids
It’s one thing to get your house clean. Figuring out the secret to keeping it that way is a totally different story.
The trick to keeping a clean house is to put systems and routines in place so that the work happens without you having to think about it too much.
- Everyone in your family should know that they need to make their bed and put their dirty clothes away before breakfast.
- You always do a 10 minute tidy together before lunch and before bed.
- You always start a load of laundry at night, put it in the dryer in the morning, and then fold it together in the afternoon when the kids come home from school.
Secret #7: Clean One Area Of Your Home a Day
To make keeping a clean home sustainable, you need to let go of the idea that your home needs to be totally clean all at once. Cleaning an entire house in one day is way too daunting, and I don’t know about you, but I never have that big of a chunk of time on my hands.
The best way to make sure that your home stays clean is to do a little bit of cleaning every day. I have a chart hanging in my kitchen with all of the cleaning tasks that I want to have done on a regular basis, and I try to choose one to do each day.
You can involve younger kids in this process by giving them a cleaning rag and having them “help” you with whatever you’re doing. They won’t be very productive, but it’s great practice for the future.
Older kids can be given their own jobs to do on a daily basis – just make sure you’re supervising!
At the beginning of this process, it might seem like it would just be easier to do everything yourself. And you wouldn’t be wrong! But this is an investment in the future. There will come a day when they’ll be able to do it all by themselves, and that will be so worth it.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.