When you have young children, keeping on top of the housework can seem impossible.
Of course you’re never going to manage to keep your home spotless all day, every day. Children need to play and feel comfortable in their home, and that means mess!
However there are lots of things you can do to keep on top of clutter and mess so that doesn’t become overwhelming.
These are my tips for keeping your house clean when you have a baby or a toddler.
Start and finish each day with a routine
This one might seem a tough ask.
In the mornings you are tired (probably because you were woken up too early) and in the evenings you are, unsurprisingly, also tired (because you’ve spent all day looking after little ones). However if you want a tidy house there are a small number of things that if you get them done, your house will feel so much better.
Start each day by unloading the dishwasher, which I always switch on before going to bed in the evenings. I will also pop a load of laundry on.
Once the girls have had breakfast I tidy their bowls and cups away immediately. Our cat has been leaving muddy footprints on the downstairs floor recently, so I always sweep and mop the floor first thing so that it starts the day clean. This doesn’t take long as I just focus on the areas where the cat has made a mess.
In the evenings, while the girls are having their dinner, I will sweep and clean the floor. I like to use this mop with a homemade cleaning spray made up of one cup of Zoflora (I like the lemon scent at the moment), a good squirt of dish soap and water.
I tidy away every toy (this is made so much easier because I’ve undergone a huge declutter of the girls’ toys and reorganised by storage so that putting things away is way easier). I will also spend some time folding and putting away laundry.
I like to make sure the floor of both girls’ bedrooms is clear before they go to sleep, this includes the clothes they wore that day.
I find my home so much easier to clean since I embarked on a decluttering mission at the start of the year. By getting rid of the things we never use, I freed up more storage space. The cupboards now feel much less full, I’m not cramming things into them to put them away and I’ve made sure everything has its own place.
Have a box on the go at all times where you can pop things you no longer need, such as clothes your children have grown out of. When it’s full, take it to the charity shop or pick out things to sell on eBay.
It’s also important not to instantly buy more stuff once you feel like you’ve cleared some space. Read more about the principles of KonMari to find out more about decluttering and organising.
I have a handy list of things you can declutter right now over here.
Get your storage right
When it comes to the children’s bedrooms, I’ve found the simple cubed storage units are great for keeping the room looking tidy.
I also have this fab little unit for their playroom, which helps me sort the girls’ toys into categories. They can get the toys out easily, and it’s very convenient for me to tidy away at the end of the day.
Using small boxes for storing cleaning products, bathroom products and other small items has really helped keep my house looking tidier. Before I was knocking bottles over all of the time and I couldn’t reach items on higher shelves.
Read more about home storage ideas here.
Have a tidy basket
When I’m tidying up I have a basket which I carry with me from room to room, collecting the items that do not belong. I then return them to their correct place as I am going around the house.
This saves me running from room to room like a headless chicken!
I also have boxes in each room containing toys which are a dumping ground for little bits and pieces I find as I clean up at the end of each day. These are pretty small boxes or baskets, about the size of a shoe box.
They are a great way to gather up puzzle pieces and Lego pieces when you don’t have time to get absolutely everything back in their places right then.
At least you will know where all the loose pieces are so you can locate that missing puzzle piece next time your child is playing with their jigsaws.
Keep on top of your laundry
The only way I can do this is to do something every single day. I put on a load of laundry most days.
I do have a dirty laundry basket, but these days I just chuck the dirty clothes straight into the washing machine. When it’s full enough for a load, I will switch the machine on – generally first thing in the morning.
Use non-toxic cleaners
When your kids are running in and out of rooms while you are cleaning, it’s good for peace of mind to use a non-toxic cleaner so that you know they aren’t breathing any nasty chemicals in in.
The Method range of cleaners is amazing. The scents are gorgeous, and most importantly they are non-toxic.
You can make your own cleaner using white vinegar, water and lemons. This is great for limescale and soap scum, although I found this type of cleaner isn’t brilliant on very stubborn stains.
Keep the messy toys out of reach
Pens, paint, and glue are kept in a separate box, way out of reach of the kids.
I get them out when I have the time to sit with the girls and supervise them using the crafty stuff.
Get the kids involved
We were sent this amazing little toy and the girls love using it to copy mummy when she’s vacuuming. You can read my full review on this fab Dyson toy here.
I like to give my eldest daughter, who is four, simple tasks to do. She can make her bed, dust and sweep, and pick up her toys, but this is about the limit. I don’t set my expectations too high for her at this age! I like to make anything I ask her to do as fun as possible, and give her lots of praise for doing it.
Work the room clockwise
When you set about cleaning and tidying a room, try working around the room in a clockwise direction.
This is great because you can look behind you and see how much you’ve achieved. That can give you the motivation to keep going.
It also helps to give you a starting point if you are feeling overwhelmed by the mess.
Focus on the areas that matter
Some days you will only have time to get certain things done, so you need to prioritise.
Focus on areas such as the bathroom sink, shower, bath and kitchen surfaces. Keeping these areas which you use frequently disinfected and clean will help make your house smell great plus you’ll feel better about your home.
Zoflora as a disinfectant and air freshener
One of the tricks to having a home that seems clean is making it smell great.
Zoflora not only acts as a disinfectant, but it comes in a range of scents that are just amazing! My current favourite is lemon zing.
You can use Zoflora in your toilets neat to make bathrooms smell great. Just drop a capful down the toilet and leave it until next use.
You can also add a capful of Zoflora to an empty spray bottle, top it up with water and then use this to freshen up carpets, hallway rugs and sofas.
Get the right equipment
Cleaning hard floors is so much easier with a steam mop.
They disinfect and clean as they go, plus they clean so much better than normal mops.
A decent vacuum cleaner is also essential to pick up all the trapped dirt in your carpets.
Have a cleaning schedule
If you miss one day of cleaning, it is not the end of the world! We are busy mamas and there are much more important things than cleaning.
However, by having a schedule I find I’m less overwhelmed and I’m not dashing around trying to clean an extremely messy and dirty house when I don’t have the time. It’s about doing a little each day for me, and keeping on top of mess and dirt.
Check out my 30-day cleaning schedule in this post. There’s a free download too so you can pop the schedule on your fridge!
You may also like my household cleaning hacks!
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