When it comes to the phrase "clean house with kids" you almost immediately burst out with a chuckle. It seems as if the second you pick up, you see a new mess of toys in the corner of your eye. I used to spend hours a day literally following behind my kiddos to ensure the house was clean. I was spinning my wheels and my sanity was MIA. The reality is I still have to clean on the regular, but I have found a few tips to help make clean up a breeze. So, whether you are selling your house, cleaning up before company comes over or (like me) just can't stand the mess, here are a few tips to help keep your house show ready!
1. Simplify ... for good - If you only remember one of these tips, this would be the one to jot down! I do a weekly sweep throughout the house to see what we don't need anymore or what we can get rid of. There is hands down SOMETHING that can go every single week. Go through the kid's rooms first. What toys are broken, moldy(bath toys and toys that enter kids' mouths can totally get moldy-FYI). What items in and on the fridge, or in the junk drawer or in your bathroom drawers could go? What about in your closet? I use the 6 month rule. If I haven't wore it in 6 months, it goes to a local Goodwill. Another good tip for clothes is to put all of your clothes in your closet on hangers in the opposite direction (so the hook wraps around the back of the rod not the front) and once you wear it you can turn the hanger the right way. Check back in 3 or 6 months and what is still turned in the opposite direction is definitely items you could give to someone who would actually wear them.
2. Never leave a room empty handed - If I am leaving my kitchen to head into a bedroom, there is without a doubt something on the counters or floors I can take with. I take toothbrushes and toys and watches and garbage with me every time I leave the room. If you never leave a room empty handed you will see that you become more efficient in your cleaning process.
3. Add Real Fresh Smells - Gone are the days of lighting up your whole house with candles and plug in smelly things. People want understated and authentic smells. You can visit your local Aldi's or Trader Joes and get a real nice set of fresh flowers for under $5. Flowers instantly create a warm and welcoming environment. It also makes a room look fancier.
Have a set of pre-made cookie dough in your fridge at all times. When guests are coming or you are about to show a house, you can quickly place them on a baking sheet and fill the house with a smell that no one can resist! If you are selling your home, buyers love a good cookie as they check out the home!
4. Keep surfaces and floors bare - Less is more. Do a sweep of the dressers and counter tops each night to clear off clutter and any distractions. This should take less than 10 minutes of your time. If you want to keep your house looking great with little effort, this is a big one. The toaster can have a place in the cabinet or pantry. The mail can have a set location in a drawer, laundry room or command center. Minimalism is the new movement and actually makes decorating easier. Keep is simple and it will make for less clean up in the long run.
5. Have enclosed storage space - The point of having storage is to keep things put away. Bins and baskets should be solid so you can quickly pick up if need be and stash away and out of sight. There are some real cute see through sweater bins, blanket holders, etc. However, these aren't practical when you have kids and lead an on the go life. In reality, you find out about a friend coming over or maybe you are trying to sell your house and hear about a showing approximately 2 hours before they are set to arrive. If you have proper storage, clean up and organization become a statement of the home as opposed to a sight for sore eyes.
6. Employ the kids - Finally, employ the kids. It may take time but if you teach your children, as early as age 2, that everything has a place and belongs in its place, they will eventually start to pick up on it. We have a toy room and once I started working from home they realized that that is where their toys stay. If they want to be out with Mom, they can bring the toy out but they know it has to be picked up before they can get other toys out. Reward and chore charts are great ways to get the ball rolling on this one!
I hope you found these helpful! I would love to hear what tips you have to keep the house clean!
With Love and Gratitude,