I’ve heard that some people love cleaning. These people clean at every possible opportunity. And when they’re not cleaning? They’re dreaming – about cleaning.
I’m certainly not one of them. BUT I do love to have a clean house. In fact, when my house is a mess, my mind is a mess. So what can a cleaning-hater like myself do to keep a clean and tidy house without investing every waking moment? While it’s impossible to have a constantly clean house with young children, here’s some ideas I have found really helpful in maintaining my sanity – er, I mean home.
1. The Stick-Vac
This has been a lifesaver and no I’m not exaggerating. I have it hanging on the wall near the dining table (not great aesthetically, I know, but storage options are at a minimum in my home). It comes out after every meal and takes 10 seconds to zip around the floor under the table. It is often used numerous times a day for little messes and once every couple of days to do a quick once-over of the main living area. It’s light, accessible and easy to use, so much so that my three year old will often grab it and vacuum up her crumbs!
2. Antibacterial wipes
I have a few of these located in various areas around the house, particularly the kitchen and bathroom. As soon as something spills on the floor, the wipes are there and the mess is gone. It’s great in the bathroom to give the vanity and toilet a quick clean here and there when you notice it needs a wipe.
The cost of these can add up, so check out this video for cheap DIY wipes.
3. Toilet Cleaner
I keep my toilet cleaner in the bathroom (out of reach of children) and pull it out whenever the toilet bowl needs a clean. The fact that it is right there when I need it works for me. A few squirts and a quick scrub with the toilet brush – done!
4. Homebrand baby wipes
I always keep cheap baby wipes in my bag for out and about. Hands, faces, tables, chairs, spills, etc, they certainly come in handy! These are also great to have in the car for sticky hands on windows and handles or a squashed mozzie against a seat. We also keep a plastic bag in the car to throw rubbish into straight away. If the kids throw it on the floor or stuff it into a door pocket, it’s more likely to be forgotten and create an even bigger mess to clean up later.
I find it always helps to empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning. This makes it much easier to keep the kitchen clean throughout the day as we can put dishes straight into the dishwasher rather than leaving them in the sink or on the bench. Even young children can learn where to put their dishes and how to stack them in the dishwasher.
I’m a huge fan of having small bins accessible throughout the house and training children to put rubbish into it immediately. When there is only one bin located in the kitchen, kids (and adults) can often leave rubbish when they are in the other rooms. We all have good intentions to put it in the bin when going past the kitchen but by the time that moment comes we have forgotten about the rubbish. It doesn’t take long for rubbish to accumulate around the house on the floor, coffee table, duchess, table and more. Having a small bin nearby means rubbish can be thrown in then and there.
7. Laundry Baskets
Similar to bins, it’s important for every bedroom to have a washing basket for dirty clothes and another one for the bathroom. This being said, it is then important for dirty clothes to be put into the washing baskets! A great idea is to count the number of dirty clothes items each child leaves on the floor at the end of the day. For each item of clothing the child’s bedtime is moved forward by five minutes. It won’t take many days of this for them to remember to put their washing in the basket!
This is possibly the easiest way of keeping a house tidy. Have an exact location for every item and consistently return items to their locations after use. This takes time and practice for everyone to learn (my husband is the worst offender)! In our house we have a common question we ask each other to help remember this rule: “Is that where it goes?”
We have utilized every possible storage space in our not-so-storage-friendly home. From boxes to baskets to shelves, in cupboards, wardrobes, and under beds.
9. Pack up toys
Following on from storage, having a specific box for different toys helps to keep our play room tidy. Laminated pictures on each box shows kids (and visitors) what belongs in there (for example, musical instrument toys, blocks, lego, dolls, etc).
My three year old has the incredible ability to upend every box and spread all the toys throughout the house within a matter of minutes! Now I know kids are kids and need to play, but I also know that if I leave the house like this until tidy up at the end of the day, the task is so overwhelming that the kids simply balk at the thought, dig their heels in and the job is ten times harder!
So, my latest rule is that they must pack up what they have been playing with before getting out the next. We have so many less tantrums now with small pack ups throughout the day. As long as we are consistent in maintaining this rule, kids learn very quickly and it doesn’t take long before they put toys away of their own accord.
10. Be Prepared
> Hang towels and sheets doubled over on the line so that the crease is directly across the width. When dry, fold these immediately as you take them off the line.
> If you put a load of clothes in the dryer, remove (then fold or hang) them as soon as the time is up. The heat from the dryer prevents clothes wrinkling so this minimises the amount of ironing needed!
> If you make it your routine to unpack the dishwasher first thing every morning, it's easier to keep the kitchen clean and tidy throughout the day. Dirty dishes can then be put straight into the dishwasher as they are used. Put the dishwasher on at the end of the night so it's clean and ready to unpack in the morning. Starting the new day off with a clean kitchen is a huge help in maintaining tidiness.
> Keep clothes for young children in boxes or baskets rather than shelves. Some kids (my own included) seem to love going through every item and choosing three to four different outfits a day. Clothes end up all through the cupboard, if not all over the floor. By keeping them sorted in baskets, if my kids make a mess of it, I can leave it in the basket and it's still tidy and out of the way. It can be folded at a more suitable time (if this elusive time ever arrives)!
Bonus Tip: Make it Fun
Now, obviously there will still be times where a dedicated cleaning time is necessary. Unfortunately. Things like shower screens, windows, ceiling fans, mopping floors and more. When my house is in need of a more intense clean I crank the music, get the family involved and we sing and dance our way through it. This takes the focus off the job itself and onto the fun we can have spending time together.
These ideas have helped tremendously in maintaining cleanliness and tidiness in my home on a day-to-day basis and I hope you find them just as helpful in your own home. So, whether you love cleaning or abhor it, may your days be filled doing what you love! For me, that's definitely NOT cleaning!
Please share your tips for quick and easy cleaning in the comments :-)