So, you want to keep your house clean and presentable with one or more young children? Okay, first of all good luck. Second of all, to be honest, this text will only give you some tips on how to TRY to keep your house as clean as possible. By now, with every-day unexpected and uncalled-for piles of toys and clothes and trash, you probably know it’s nearly impossible for your house to be completely clean, unless you hire a professional maid or something like that.
But here are some useful ways how to make the best of it, minimize the mess and keep the things under control with minimum effort. That much you can do, and you will notice the difference. Or at least you will see things a bit differently. Changing your perspective and facing certain realities help a lot for your inner peace and overall happiness.
Embrace the Mess
Not literally, and definitely not completely, but at least accept that your house will never be as clean as it used to be before you got kids. This will save you a lot of nerves and time which you can spend on cleaning instead of complaining and lamenting over your fate. So, to start with, lower your cleanliness standards, and turn a blind eye on some minor messes which aren’t likely to cause any neck breaking, especially if they are in the children’s room.
Instead of rising hell’s fire, you can make cleaning fun both for yourself and your kids. So you can find a way to get your kids to clean their mess as eagerly as they made it, by turning it into a game or a competition. Children tend to respond to this approach much better, and after a while, it will become ingrained in them to minimize the amount of mess they create. If you can’t defeat them…
Use the Quiet Hour
Your kids must nap sometimes, right? Or go to school, or go make a mess in someone else’s house. You can use these moments of lull to tidy up the house as much as you can. This way you won’t have to constantly watch behind you to make sure they haven’t made the same mess you have just cleaned up. Also, this the time when the coast is clear for some serious scrubbing or vacuum cleaning.
Every once in a while, you should be able to afford yourself a break, though. Go out with your kids somewhere and don’t think about the house. Hire a housekeeper to clean your house thoroughly and professionally. When you get back, the worst of the mess will be dealt with, and you will be left with maintaining it as best as you can.
Go With the Flow
Constant, continuous cleaning can be exhausting and exasperating, but it’s still better than the great, excruciatingly, weekend-eat long cleaning session which seem to never end completely, you always have a feeling there’s something you missed. That’s why it’s better to get rid of the mess as it appears.
If your child spills something, clean it right away, don’t leave it for later. You should also teach your kids to pick their stuff once they finish playing. In case they forget, remind them and help them do it. Again, try to make a game out of it so you can all have fun and do actually do something useful.
Assign Daily Tasks to Your Kids
Your kids should get their daily chores assignments, of course, unless they are still too young for that. This will be of mutual benefit, as they will certainly help you and reduce the time you need to spend on cleaning up; but it will also make their lives easier since they will learn to do chores regularly and not to make a fuss out of it.
Start with simple tasks, like putting away their toys or clothes, loading the dishwasher, taking out the garbage and the likes. If they are really reluctant and lazy, and need extra motivation, try to incentivize them by giving them small allowance or pocket money, or some other type of reward for their effort.
Buy Less, Donate More
This point is not only beneficial for your family and cleanliness of your house, but for the whole society. It is normal you want to provide all you can for your children, but be rational and buy only what they really need. Do not exaggerate with toys and clothes.
Also, teach your children to be generous and give away things they no longer need or use. This will reduce the amount of things in your house and make the cleaning sessions a lot shorter and easier. Since kids tend to grow out of their clothes pretty quickly, donating them is a no-brainer. It will also be of great benefit for the society as you will help those in need. So it’s a win-win situation.
Your life is inevitably going to change when you have kids, and attention to the pristine condition of your house is going to fade in importance to the wellbeing of your children and your general happiness.