10 Tips to Help Keep Your Home Clean & Organized (Even When You Have Kids)
Before I had children, keeping my home clean and tidy was not an overly difficult task mostly because
1. I had time.
2. I didn’t have tiny rugrats tearing up our house all day long.
3. My house actually stayed clean for longer than 5 minutes!
Now life is very different and I find that keeping my home clean and tidy is something that I really have to work at. With two children, myself, my husband, and our dog all living in the same space, things can get messy very quickly.
Here are some tips that have really helped me clean and organize our home, limiting some of the chaos:
1. Invest in as many storage containers & vessels as possible
One of my biggest pet peeves is when there are toys scattered all over the entire house-- I seriously cannot stand it. We actually have an entire room in our basement for toys, but upstairs is a bit of a different story and since we do spend a lot of time there, I needed to come up with a plan to keep things organized. I personally love the idea of using different kinds of baskets to store toys-- we also use a large storage bench to keep them in as well! I also tried to purchase baskets that went with our decor so that our living room is still our space, even with all the toys around.
2. Have a cleaning schedule!
There is really no way for me to clean, vacuum, dust, and wash floors every single day-- I simply do not have enough time! Having a cleaning schedule really helps to ensure that things are not missed, as well to keep me organized because let’s face it, I get busy and forget-- hello mom brain! I try to clean our bathrooms at least twice a week; I find doing it once on the weekend and once mid-week keeps things looking clean and fresh. With a dog, we need to vacuum every other day because dog hair is a situation if we don't. I find dusting can be done once a week, while I usually need to wash the floors twice a week (sometimes more depending on what the children get up to). Do whatever works best for you and your family, but definitely try to set a schedule and stick to it!
3. Every 3-6 months purge your unused items
I am always amazed at the amount of stuff we have accumulated over the years, it is really shocking and it reminds me that I need to be more mindful of what I'm purchasing. What I do like is to do a big purge of all of the unused items we have in our house every 3-6 months. Having a couple of bins set up around the house can also be helpful as you can sort of do this as you go instead of doing one big purge! Once we have decided what we are getting rid of, we take as much as we can to local charities to be donated, and then disposing the things that these charities are unable to accept.
4. Marie Kondo your closet
It seems silly to ask yourself whether your clothing sparks joy in you, but it's such a good thing to get in the habit of doing! I like to go through my clothing every 6 months and get rid of any items that I no longer wear. I find this is such a good thing to practice as it forces me to wear the clothing I own, and I find I am also more conscious when I'm shopping. Not only is this good for your wallet, but it is also really good for the environment! I do the same with the girls' closets to help decide which items I will donate, sell, or dispose of.
5. Organize your pantry and fridge every 3 months
Having a clean and organized fridge and pantry is honestly a game-changer; it makes meal prep so much easier and I also find that I waste so much less when things are organized and I can actually see what we have in stock. We usually do a very deep clean of our fridge and dispose of any expired items, making sure to wash and sanitize all of our storage containers every 3 months. I like to go through our pantry every 6 months and wash all of the shelving at that time as well-- nothing makes me happier than a clean and organized fridge and pantry!
6. Wash and sanitize your carpets every 6 months
When you have young children and a pet it is insane how dirty your carpets get. You don’t realize how dirty they are until you clean them-- hence why it's important to clean them at least twice a year! I like doing this once in late spring and once in early winter. The difference it makes not only in the way that your home looks, but also smells, is incredible. We usually hire a company to do this so that it's quick and painless as they are typically done in a couple of hours-- it is worth every penny!
7. Store unused items
When you don’t have a ton of space it is so important to maximize the space that you do have! Since we live in such a cold environment, we need jackets, hats, mittens, boots-- the whole she-bang! The problem with all of these items is that they are very bulky and take up a ton of space. What I love to do is store all of these items in storage bins or containers during the seasons they are not being used so that they are out of the way. I also like to do this with my summer clothing-- it frees up so much space in my closet, which is fantastic!
8. Never go to bed with a messy kitchen
This seems like a bit of a no-brainer, however, you would be amazed at how much of a difference this makes! I always find that if my kitchen is clean, somehow the rest of my house also stays and seems cleaner-- there is nothing worse than waking up in the morning to a messy kitchen. Honestly who has time to clean their kitchen in the morning while also getting themselves and their children ready? Take the extra 20-30 minutes before you go to bed and ensure your kitchen is neat and tidy.
9. Stay on top of your laundry
I'll be perfectly honest here and fully admit that I don't typically do the laundry in our house. My incredible husband usually tackles the laundry for us-- hallelujah! The one thing that we do try to do is keep on top of our laundry so that we are never in a situation where we have piles and piles of laundry to do at the end of the week. Although this is not always the case for us, we do find it makes a huge difference if we can be mindful and get a load of laundry in as soon as we have a full basket ready to go!
10. Teach your children to clean up after themselves
Now if you don’t have children this tip may not be for you (or you can work on getting your partner to clean up after themselves which can be just as challenging in some cases!) I think it is so important to teach children how to clean up after themselves-- it helps them to respect the items that they own and also teaches them some responsibility. Even if it is just helping you pick up their toys after they are done playing with them, that is enough. And they get older you can add more and more responsibility as you see fit.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and hopefully they can help you eliminate some of the chaos in your life! I would love to know if you have any tips or tricks of your own that you would like to share!