I think anyone with kids knows how difficult it can be to have a clean house. The second you get something picked up, three bigger messes appear! It can feel overwhelming and cause stress in the family. I got to a place where I couldn’t handle the constant clutter and decided to implement some changes! Here are my top tips on how to keep a tidy home with toddlers (or kids in general!).
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This is possibly one of the most important things you can do to keep a tidy home. We had begun to be so overrun by toys, games, and books that there wasn’t even a place for all of it to go. We had a play pen in the corner of one of our rooms that housed pretty much all the toys in a giant mound. It was difficult to make this look nice and it was even more difficult for our kids to even enjoy playing with their things.
So, one day I decided that most of it had to go! I got an empty box and a trash bag and got to work! All the things that needed to be donated or given away went in the box and the things that were broken went into the trash. We got rid of tons of stuff, and my kids have not missed a single thing!
Give Everything A Home
Once we cleared everything out, I got rid of the play pen. I was certain if that thing stuck around, we would eventually end up right where we started. Instead, we have a cubby shelf with three drawers on the bottom, and three book shelves on the top.
Each drawer has a specific purpose. Balls in one drawer, magnetic tiles in the middle, and blocks in the last one. This simple system allows the kids the freedom to know where the toys are that they want to play with, AND where to put them when it is time to clean up.
The kids each have a few drawers in their rooms that house their own toys. For example, my son has a drawer in his room for all his dinosaurs while my daughter has a drawer in her room for all her baby doll accessories.
Use Labels If Needed
My kids are young and cannot read yet so printing out labels that say what is in each drawer wasn’t going to be helpful. However, my kids are great with pictures! I decided to print out picture labels that my kids could easily recognize and attach them to the drawers in their rooms. This way, if I tell them to clean their rooms and they start asking me where things go I can simply say look at the pictures on your drawers! This has helped promote independence and saves me a headache!
Because there are only three drawers in the living room and I am usually in the same room while they are cleaning in there, I did not label them.
Now let’s get down to the good stuff, creating a routine! While I am not a super organized, by the book, person, routines are very helpful in raising kids because it helps them know what to expect. Create a rhythm of the times of day that are for playing, eating, crafting, running errands, and yes, cleaning up!!
Our daily routine looks something like:
6:30-7:00 I wake up and get ready for the day
7:00-7:30 cook and eat breakfast
7:30-8:00 kids wake up and eat breakfast
8:00-9:00 get the kids ready for the day
9:00-12:00 play outside of the house, outings, run errands, etc.
12:00 eat lunch
12:45 have kids pick up their toys while I do dishes/clean up kitchen
1:00-3:30 nap/rest time
3:30-4:00 kids wake up and play at home while I start working on dinner and play with them in between cooking
6:15-7:30 husband comes home, we eat dinner, and play
7:30 everyone cleans up! Kids clean up their toys and any laundry laying around, my husband and I clean up the kitchen and any of our things in the living room.
8:00 kids go to bed and hubby and I get to spend time together without worrying about a messy house.
This routine has been a life saver and we have seen wonderful results. For the most part, our kids don’t even complain about cleaning up because it’s just part of what we do! Also, did you notice the part where we get the house tidy BEFORE the kids are in bed?! This means my husband and I get more quality time together! Setting a good routine that has regular cleaning rhythms built in truly benefits the ENTIRE family!
If your kids benefit from having visual cues like mine do, putting up a simple chart like this could be very beneficial. I created these to be super simple, so they aren’t overwhelming and again used pictures so they know exactly what to do. You can download these, and other helpful tools, for free when you join the Heart + Home community! All we ask from you is your email address and you will receive community, Printables, tips, and encouragement once a week!
Make It Fun!
Cleaning is always more fun when everyone does it together! Turn on some music or sing a clean up song together as a family! If you are doing your tasks with joy, chances are your kids will do theirs with joy!
What are your tips for keeping a tidy home!? For more ideas, check out This Father’s Perspective’s post How to Keep a Clean House With Kids.