How To Keep Your House Clean with Kids | Baby Chick
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How to Keep Your House Clean with Kids

Trying to keep a house clean with kids can be almost impossible. Here are my favorite techniques and a bonus special secret trick.

Published December 22, 2018

by Quinn Kelly

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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Hi, my name is Quin, and I’m a clean freak. Actually, in my house, Quinderella might be a more fitting name. But seriously. If there were a support group for clean freaks, I would need to attend because I like to have things in my house clean, and I clean a lot! The problem is that keeping a clean house and having children are like antonyms of one another. Or maybe I should say this: they have an inverse relationship.

The more kids you have, the less clean your house is. And the cleaner you try and make your house, the fewer kids you need to have in it. This is why my kids play outside a lot! I’m totally kidding with you. (Kind of.)

The best and most fitting quote I’ve ever read about this was something I saw after having my first son. It goes like this: “Cleaning with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.” As much as I love Oreos and eat them more than I should, I am smart enough not to mix business with pleasure. But with kids and cleaning, I cannot just give up and stop cleaning. (But eating Oreos while I clean does seem to help with my energy.) Even though I know my efforts will likely be wasted.

How to Keep a Clean House While Living With Kids

So here are some of my favorite techniques for keeping a relatively clean house with kids. Friends often ask me how I keep my house so clean. And I do have a secret technique, but you’ll have to keep reading because I’ve saved it for last.

1. Have One Spot That Always Stays Clean

If an entire house is messy, it feels much more daunting to start cleaning. Therefore, I recommend having one room in your home that remains off-limits for kids or junk collection. Give yourself one pretty area to look at. When you have a clean area, it seems easier to tackle areas out of control. If your house is space-challenged, this might be a countertop or dresser top. I promise that a clean space inspires cleanliness.

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2. Enforce the Two Messes at a Time Rule

I love for my children to engage in imaginative play. And I do not want them to have to pick up messes while still playing with something. However, I also know that the house gets too overwhelming if we have more than a few messes out at once. If my children have just spent a lot of time making a fort and want to start playing with Legos, I will agree to let them leave the fort out because they will likely return. But, if they build legos and then ask to get out playdough, I will make them put either the fort or legos away. Allowing too many messes to accumulate gets overwhelming! This helps them understand decision-making and take responsibility for cleanliness.

3. Get Rid of Stuff Constantly

With children, stuff piles up. ALL THE TIME. Therefore, clean out as much and often as possible. This means getting rid of extra artwork and toys. Make Goodwill your friend! Or get on your neighborhood classifieds page and start selling. The accumulation of stuff bogs us down. And our children do not notice that little things disappear. But we sure do! And we feel better!

4. Have Designated Spots for Toys

If you have children, you will have toys showing in your house! This is just a part of the game. But, you can be specific that certain toys stay in certain places. And designate certain spots for bigger toys. Even if toys are showing, if they seem to make sense in their spot, a house seems much less overwhelming. Toy rotation is another excellent strategy for not having so many toys cluttering your home.

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5. Clean Before Bed

Now, some of you may like to relax in the evening and have your most productive time in the morning, but I have found that waking up to a dirty house is stressful. I feel like I start my day two steps behind. Therefore, one of my favorite tips for keeping a house clean is to pick up before bed and, if nothing else, make sure my dishes are done. There is nothing more stressful than waking up to dried food on plates. Am I right?

6. Make Kids Think Cleaning is a Game

I am all about children having household responsibilities, not chores. However, I also think it is necessary to have times when children jump in and help, even when they are tired and not wanting to help! Therefore, making cleaning a game or competition is a great way to do this. My boys love to see who can dust the best or the fastest.

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7. Keep Wipes in Your Bathroom

This tip may only apply to boy moms, but my bathrooms have lots of extra bodily fluid on the ground! And it happens throughout every day. Therefore, I keep disinfectant wipes in the bathroom so my children can clean up their messes as they happen! And, of course, I can clean when I see things that have been missed. A bathroom that smells like pee is never good for lifting someone’s spirits. Therefore, preventing a bathroom from getting gross is one of my biggest recommendations!

8. Be Slightly Off Your Rocker (Or Baby Glider) So You are Okay To Clean All of the Time

This is my best-kept secret! To keep a house clean with kids, you must clean here and there throughout the day. Every day. You pretty much cannot stop! This is the reality of keeping a clean house. Even if you have a cleaning lady. Therefore, it helps if you are slightly cooky. That way, you don’t notice that you have picked up toys off the living room floor five times in one afternoon.

I hope some of these tips have inspired you or, if nothing else, made you laugh! We would love to hear from you and how you keep your house clean!

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Quinn Kelly Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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Quinn is a mother of four, licensed marriage and family therapist, host of the “Renew You” Podcast, and author of “Raising Boys: A Christian Parenting Book.” Throughout the last decade,… Read more

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