One of my girlfriends recently announced she’s pregnant. With another baby in the house, she’ll be chasing two sweeties around. She called out to me via Facebook, “How do you keep up with two babies all day long!?” I replied with a reminder that in the summer, I have three kids that I chase around (since the oldest is home from school) plus the two dogs, the old cat, and my adorable husband (who is also home for the summer as a high school teacher).
Things get really busy and really messy very quickly in this house. If I don’t follow some of my own suggestions, I literally feel like my head is going to explode. So, to keep that mess from happening, I follow these five basic tips for keeping the house clean.
1. Keep a basket in each room – I learned this from a friend when my oldest was born. We keep a basket to catch toys in each of the main rooms of our house. Eventually, we go back through these baskets to put things in their actual specified locations, but the baskets help to have somewhere for things to live when we’re cleaning quickly.
2. Rotate the toys in and out of usage – With multiple kids, we end up with way too many toys (thanks, Grandma). We have begun to remove some of these toys from view by using a large plastic bucket. They stay away from the kids for a few weeks (or months if we forget) and then come back out and are – voila! – like brand new toys! This keeps the sheer volume of fake plastic eggs at bay.
3. Do a load of laundry every day – If you’ve never heard of the FlyLady, seek her out. She has phenomenal suggestions for how to keep your house clean. One that I try to follow is to do a load of laundry every day. This plan has worked well for our family of five in keeping the piles in our hampers lower than they used to be. She also says that even if you don’t have a full load to do because you have caught up (Yay, you!), find something to clean. There’s bound to be a bedspread or tablecloth that could use a spin in the washer.
4. Play the night time clean up game – Call it whatever you want, but get the kids involved. Today, I bought a large green basket for our living room (the old basket had seen its final days), and the kids were excited to fill it up with all of the items that had been removed since nap time. If you can make the cleaning fun, you’ll find that the kids may actually want to do it. I also find that they love a little friendly competition with a timer.
5. Run the dishwasher before you go to bed – My husband wants to install a second dishwasher. I keep telling him it’s unnecessary. So, we started running the dishwasher every night before we went to bed. This lets us go to bed with a clean kitchen and wake up to fresh clean dishes. Then, we can clean the dishwasher out and start filling again (since it never ends and these kids always want food).
What suggestions do you have for keeping the mess to a minimum?