I cannot tell you how often I am asked this question – “How do you keep your house so clean?” It seems like an impossible feat with 5 and 6 children running around at all times, and indeed, it is quite a task, but there are some simple things that you can do to make life easier for yourself! Here are some tips that I use daily to make my life easier, and my home cleaner – because a clean home is a healthy home!
1. Clean on routine – this might sound lame, but trust me, making a routine for your cleaning makes a world of difference. What I do is plan things like lunch time, nap time, snack time, and then plan my cleaning routine around those things. Make some rules and stick to them – for example – all toys MUST be picked up before moving on to the next activity i.e. playing outside, eating lunch, coloring, etc. Set a schedule for larger tasks like laundry, mopping, washing windows, or set aside one day a week to complete all of these larger tasks. In my house, Sunday afternoon is cleaning day for floors, re-organizing toys in bedrooms, bathrooms etc. and Monday is laundry day. The rest of the week requires only minimal attention to these tasks and spot-cleaning
2. Use smart products – Here is a great tip that helps immensely. Cleaning bathrooms is a pain in the butt and it often times takes a long time to do. So, buy some canisters of clorox wipes and place one canister in each bathroom. A few times a day (easiest to remember when you go to the bathroom!) take a wipe and wipe down the toilet and/or sink. It makes the bathroom cleaner, healthier, and you will have to gut it less often for a full cleaning! *Time Saver!*
3. Make the beds! This seems like an age-old activity that your mother made you keep up with, but trust me, starting every day with making the beds will not only make your bedrooms appear more orderly, but it will motivate you to continue on instead of dragging to the couch half asleep.
4. Get the kids involved – one of the most important things is teaching children to respect their environment. Teach them this by involving them in cleaning and organizing their toys, recycling, and encouraging them to help at clean up time. Have them clear the table after dinner, or help set the table before dinner. In our house, we keep a “Prize Box” and each time the kids help do a task like setting the table or cleaning up after dinner, they get to choose a prize. I buy little party prizes at the Dollar Tree to keep our box filled. This encourages them to want to help and to do it with a great attitude!
5. ORGANIZE! – This is the most important item of all. Get organized! What we have done in our house is organize all of the toys into bins. We have the 3 drawer bins lining the bedrooms and each drawer is labeled with what should be in each drawer i.e. legos, k’nex, lincoln logs, etc. (I purchased these great tags at the Dollar Tree that have tablet lines so I could write each letter big enough. This also encourages reading and letter recognition skills!) This way, the kids can find their toys easier, and know exactly where they go when it is time to clean up. It is worth taking the time to get organized, this saves you time in the long run!!
Most importantly, do not stress. If you stress about laundry, or dishes, or toys being everywhere then you will never get ahold of the mess. Take it one day at a time and eventually you will find that managing is far easier than redoing every week when you find the motivation. It does not take much motivation to stay organized once you are organized.