10 Hacks to Make Your Messy House a Clean House (Even With Kids Around)
You may be thinking, I ALWAYS have a messy house. I get it, my house is always a mess too! AND, this is coming from someone who is admittedly a bit of a clean freak (I really love a clean house). I felt like I was always cleaning, day and night. While cleaning one room, a mess would be created in another! It would become this frustrating, animosity building event when I would look around my house. I would think, I spend all freaking day cleaning and just sigh with annoyance.
On a particularly hard day, I decided to clean the house, just for 15 minutes. Whatever I could get done would be ENOUGH. I set my timer for 15 minutes, and I cleaned as fast as I possibly could. And guess what….the house was clean! Now, I am obviously not talking about a deep clean here, but you know all that shit that accumulates everywhere? That is what I am talking about. In 15 minutes I was able to put everything back where it belongs. Sure, I look like a crazy person running around the house, competing with myself to get it all done before the timer went off, but this just means we can also count this as 15 minutes of exercise right??
Have you heard of Parkinson’s’ Law? Basically, the time you give something is the time it will take. If you give yourself 60 minutes to organize a cabinet, it will take 60 minutes. However, if you give yourself 20 minutes, it will take 20 minutes. When it comes to cleaning, I find this to be very true. Give yourself less time to do something, there is a good chance you will be able to get it done in that reduced time.
My House Is a Disaster and I don’t Know Where to Start!
Is this what you are thinking right now? Feeling a little overwhlemed by the process of cleaning a messy house? Well, don’t worry mama, I got you! I am going to list out everything you need to take your “my house is a disaster” to, everything has a home and it takes me no time to clean this messy house of mine!
If You Want to Go From a Messy House to a Clean House, You Need to Declutter
YOU NEED TO PURGE. Seriously. Get all Marie Kondo on yourself and throw the shit out. I promise you probably don’t need it. Is that big ass toy train taking up too much space? Keep it on your radar for a week or two. Does it move? Do the kids play with it? HOW do the kids play with it? Does it cause you more stress than fun for your kids? Donate it. Let it be another parent’s problem 😉 Sell it on mom swap and buy yourself a bottle of wine. Then repeat this with all other questionable items.
Everything Needs A Home (AKA Time to Organize)
Does your table or kitchen collect junk throughout the day? Mail, toys, crafts, bills, etc… This is just one example of how easy it is for clutter to collect. Do you know why it is so easy for this to happen? Because these items do not have a designated space to go.
Spend a few minutes creating homes for these things. Have a folder for important mail to go in and recycle the junk. Get a box for all the completed school work that comes home that you want to save. Hang the keys on a hook. Keep sunglasses and wallets in some type of dish or your purse near the front door for easy access to grab and put away.
Do you keep kid’s toys in your living area? Get a cute basket to store them in. It will be easy for your kid(s) to collect their toys in that room and just dump them in the bin!
Set a Timer While You Clean
This is the best tip I can give you! Set a freaking timer! You will more so much more quickly. I do 15-minute clean-ups a few times a day, and I can basically pick up all the clutter in that time. When you focus on something, you can get it done real quick. 15 minutes is enough time to put things away, but not too long where it feels impossible. This can be done with kids running around, or when you’re exhausted right before bed.
Even if you don’t finish everything within the time limit you set, you will feel so proud of yourself and you might want to keep going and take another 5-10 minutes to finish up the job. You can also do another 15-minute cleanup later in the day or you can just call it done and move on with your day. =)
Do More In Less Time
How long does it take you to unload the dishwasher? Fold the laundry? It’s not long, but we have built it up so much in our heads as a dreaded task, it feels like it’s going to take hours. Above I mentioned setting a timer to clean-up. Now I suggest timing yourself when you empty the dishwasher. Chances are it won’t take more than 10 minutes to do. Now, when you think I need to empty the dishwasher, instead of it being a daunting task you continually put off, you can think, I have 10 minutes, I’m going to empty the dishwasher real quick. This example can be used for any home task.
Get Your Kids to Clean the House
Kids love having something to do. They also love competition and races, right? Challenge your kids to clean up something faster than you. I always challenge my 4-year-old to put away 100 legos and you wouldn’t believe how quickly this gets done. He usually loses count and the job ends up completely done. Mom win!
Age Appropriate Tasks
Here are some ideas for age-appropriate tasks that kids can do (from WebMD)
Chores for children ages 2 to 3
- Put toys away
- Fill pet’s food dish
- Put clothes in hamper
- Wipe up spills
- Pile books and magazines
Chores for children ages 4 to 5
Any of the above chores, plus:
- Make their bed
- Empty wastebaskets
- Bring in mail or newspaper
- Clear table
- Pull weeds, if you have a garden
- Use hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
- Water flowers
- Unload utensils from dishwasher
- Wash plastic dishes at sink
- Fix bowl of cereal
Chores for children ages 6 to 7
Any of the above chores, plus:
- Sort laundry
- Sweep floors
- Set and clear table
- Help make and pack lunch
- Weed and rake leaves
- Keep bedroom tidy
Chores for children ages 8 to 9
Any of the above chores, plus:
- Load dishwasher
- Put away groceries
- Help make dinner
- Make own snacks
- Wash table after meals
- Put away own laundry
- Sew buttons
- Make own breakfast
- Peel vegetables
- Cook simple foods, such as toast
- Mop floor
- Take pet for a walk
Chores for children ages 10 and older.
Any of the above chores, plus:
- Unload dishwasher
- Fold laundry
- Clean bathroom
- Wash windows
- Wash car
- Cook simple meal with supervision
- Iron clothes
- Do laundry
- Baby-sit younger siblings (with adult in the home)
- Clean kitchen
- Change their bed sheets
I know this will not be an option for all of us, but I thought it was important to add. Hire help! If you can figure it out financially, hire a house cleaner to come every 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or once a month. We made the decision to hire a house cleaner that comes every 3 weeks and it is life-changing. We never have to worry about the deep cleaning or argue about who is doing what. Anything I can get off my plate, I will take!
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Bonus: How to Clean a VERY Messy Room
We all have that room that turns into a huge dumping ground. It puts the mess in messy house, am I right? My biggest piece of advice for you when tackling a very messy room is baby steps. First go through and eliminate trash. Make piles, trash, donate, keep, not sure. Start there. Slowly go through the mess. Chances are if you advent touched an item in years, and you didn’t even know it was in this messy room of yours, you don’t need it!
Cleaning and Organization Supplies That Will Help Keep Your Home Clean
Yes, I’m telling you to go shopping and buy more stuff aka organizing tools. Hooks to hang things, plastic bins for storage, drawers for miscellanies office supplies. Large trash bags for THE PURGE. I find it easiest to go to Target, buy more than I need, bring it home; figure it out, and then return what I don’t need. It does cause a little bit extra work (having to return unused items), but any excuse to go to Target is a good one.
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Final Thoughts On Keeping Your Home Tidy
Keeping our homes clean can be a daunting task. There is a very good chance your home is messy multiple times a day, and it feels like a never-ending task. My advice to you, don’t let that overwhelm you. Break up home cleaning in small, manageable pieces and you will be amazed by what you can get done.
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