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When Dave and I first got married eons ago we worked round the clock trying to clean up after us two adult children. I would do laundry and dishes and stuff during the week. On the weekends we would go through and do all of our mopping and organizing. It took us half the day! We thought we had it bad then….Oh, how little did we know!
Our little family has grown to four and boy is it tough to keep up with things now!!! Octavia is 3 and Jean-Luc is not quite 2. So basically we have two little tornadoes who like to make messes and don’t so much like to clean them.
I’m not saying our house is spotless. Its not. But we do manage to keep pretty on top of all the basics and then can do deeper cleaning when we are expecting guests.
Read on for my top tips and don’t forget to subscribe to my email list to receive some FREE cleaning planners!
Minimum Standard Of Cleanliness
The main “system” or “rule” that I have developed in my house is what I have entitled “The Minimum Standard of Cleanliness.” These are the things that have to get done every day. NO MATTER WHAT.
- Bed Made
- Small Choking Hazards Picked Up
- Counters Wiped
- Sweep Kitchen
Lets face it, we’re all busy. And even these tasks can seem like a lot to do. But I like to think that I’m too busy not to do them. These are the things that if I miss a day that they pile up.
If I have to start my day to a sink full of dishes and piles of laundry then I’m already behind.
Establish your bare minimum. If you do these things everyday then you will be in good shape to tackle other projects later.
Decorative Storage Bins
I don’t know about your house but at mine toys end up EVERYWHERE!
Having one or two decorative storage bins handy in each room makes cleanup soooo much easier!
Sure, the toys aren’t perfectly organized but they are off your floor. And besides, we all know that they are going to get into an unorganized jumbled mess anyways in five minutes. Save your sanity and just have a catch-all toy bucket in each room.
Cute and functional!
I know that this won’t work forever. Kids are smart little buggers and they’ll figure it out soon enough. But take advantage while your kids are little and baby proof everything!
You’ll want to make sure that cleaning solutions, cabinets, bathrooms, drawers, etc. are inaccessible to curious little hands.
Ocki used to frequently get into and ruin my expensive makeup. A childproof lock on my bathroom door and on my bathroom drawers has saved me so many headaches! Not to mention so many rolls of toilet paper.
If you haven’t already, do it and do it now!
Make a Schedule
Now that you have determined your minimum standard of cleanliness its time to tackle all those things you don’t do everyday.
Things like bathrooms, mopping, cleaning the basement, etc can be done on a weekly basis. Try doing these types of chores on the weekends or a slow weekday.
Keep a list of other things that need to be done. If I’m feeling ambitious I will try to get one or two of these things done each week. Or you can do these things on a monthly rotation. Or whenever guests are coming. You know, whatever works for you.
Moral of the story is that if you are doing a little everyday it makes things easier for when you need to be a little EXTRA.
Make the Kids Help Clean
Even young toddlers can help with simple chores.
Ocki feeds the dog and cleans her room. Sometimes she is a stinker about it but she is perfectly capable of sorting her books and toys into their respective buckets. We are also teaching her to make her bed but she still needs some help with that one.
Jean-Luc needs a little more help but loves to put things into buckets, help wipe up messes, etc.
The best toy we ever got our kids was a little toy cleaning set. They love to help sweep, mop, and wash windows with their little cleaning supplies!
Another sanity saving tip is to rotate your kids toys.
I don’t know how but we have accumulated buckets full of toys. They don’t need a bazillion toys and they don’t play with most of them anyway.
We used to have them all out and Ocki would dump out EVERY SINGLE TOY every day just for the sake of it. Enough was Enough!!! We packed up most of the toys and they are hiding in our basement storage. Every few months when the kids start getting bored with what they have we’ll switch the old toys out for some new ones that have been hiding. To Ocki and Jean-Luc they seem new and exciting….at least for a day or two.
You are the mom and this gives you back some control of how much mess there is to pick up.
Opt for Large Toys
When selecting toys for birthdays and Christmas we always try to go for just ONE big toy.
Lots of little toys = lots of big messes.
A simple solution is to buy less toys of larger size. We have gotten tricycles, large wooden activity cubes, and a rocking horse for recent celebrations. They take up a relatively small amount of space and are ZERO MESS TOYS.
Sure, you’re going to have your mess makers but when selecting new toys for your kids, selfishly think of what is going to be easiest for you to keep up with.
That’s it. My top tips for keeping on top of the impossible mess! If you have any great tips that I’ve missed then PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let us all in on your secret in the comments. We want to know! And one last shameless plug to subscribe to get all my cleaning checklists and planner pages.
Catch you next time!