Once you have kids, keeping your house in immaculate shape becomes significantly harder. Sticky hands leave marks all over your windows, you step on tiny Legos at night, and there’s always piles of laundry laying around.
If you don’t keep up on housework, you might find that your children quickly take over the house. Most kids are still learning how to be neat and organized—instead of leaving those muddy shoes outside, they’re going to stomp them all over your clean floors.
Tired of your house always looking like a zoo at the end of the day? Here are some no-nonsense ways to keep your house looking good.
Create a cleaning schedule
When you get caught up in the routine of life, there are times where tasks such as vacuuming or doing the dishes might escape your mind. And once you remember to do them, suddenly you find yourself facing an extremely dirty house, which can be overwhelming.
Instead of letting cleaning tasks build up, tackle tasks throughout the week. Taking a few minutes each day to clean is much more manageable than spending an entire day cleaning.
There are some tasks, such as loading the dishwasher, you need to do daily. Other tasks, such as mopping the floor, only have to happen once a week. Assign different tasks to each day of the week.
Make the kids help
There is no reason for you to tackle cleaning the house by yourself. Make the kids help! Have them help out with household chores, such as wiping down counters, and make them responsible for cleaning their own room.
Some kids might be reluctant to help around the house. However, if you make it an expectation and work it into their daily routine, eventually they’ll get to the point where they’ll help without too much grumbling.
Even young toddlers can help by picking up their own toys. Assign your kids age-appropriate tasks. Keep in mind that they won’t automatically know how to complete a task—you need to teach them how to help you clean.
Clean up small messes right away
Have you ever had your toddler drop a bowl of cereal all over your kitchen floor, but have had to leave it there because you were running late to work? And then, later on, that cereal has been dragged all over your carpet?
Getting into the mindset of cleaning up messes when they happen can save you time and can keep your house clean. In the example above, taking the time to quickly run a sweeper, such as this one from Bissell, over your kitchen floor would help prevent the cereal from being dragged throughout the house.
Once you get in the habit, you’ll find yourself picking up small messes without even thinking about it!
Get rid of some toys
If you find yourself constantly tripping over toys, you need to get rid of some. Too many toys not only makes your house look cluttered, but it can also overwhelm your children.
Children with too many toys often don’t know which toy to play with. Instead of playing, they tear them all out, and then you’re left having to pick them up.
Several times a year, encourage your kids to donate toys they no longer play with. You might need to help them with this task. If you can’t part with any toys, come up with a rotation schedule so they aren’t all out at the same time.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep in mind that it’s nearly impossible for your home to be completely clean when you have kids. There are always going to be fingerprints on windows or a few random socks lying around.
Have realistic expectations for yourself and your children. Having a clean house doesn’t necessarily mean you need a spotless house. While you should always strive to have a clean house, you also shouldn’t get upset if a load of dishes goes untouched for a day.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about the state of your house, talk to other parents. Chances are, they’re also struggling with laundry or dishes or toys. Sometimes knowing what other parents are facing can help make your own slightly cluttered house seem more normal.
Keeping your house clean after having kids can be challenging, but if you create a cleaning schedule, get rid of unnecessary clutter, make the kids help, and pick up messes right away, you can start keeping a tidy house. And, being realistic and sometimes ignoring the misplaced shoes helps too!