We all have talents and gifts, situations and challenges, strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure you get the “How do you” questions just as much as I do because we are all different and have unique solutions to our challenges.
One question that I get asked a lot: “How do you keep such a clean house, especially with all those little ones?”
Really, it’s laughable. My house is by far not “so clean.” But I get it, I think. I’ve always been a person who doesn’t like a lot of clutter and mess. When I was little and my sister and I lived with our mom, I can remember my sis having the junkiest of all rooms, and mine, while full of stuff, was usually pretty tidy. Enter my step-mom who is…shall we say…very passionate about cleaning and organizing, and voila! I somehow cannot NOT clean my house.
How do we keep the appearance of clean?
We give the appearance of clean. Meaning, we:
- We put stuff away. Almost everyday before rest time we pick up toys and books and just generally straighten up the house. Every night before bed, we pick up again, making sure that things (most things anyway) find their way back to their places. It makes a huge difference, and it takes 15 minutes–tops. Trust me, we know because we set the timer. Otherwise, wayward four-year olds become even more wayward.
- We purge continually. The other big thing is that over the years, we have purged and purged and purged some more. Recently, a friend and I laughed about my forgetting that she had bought a piece of furniture from us years ago, when we were nothing more than acquaintances. My response to her was, “Girl, I’ve sold so much furniture since then!” And it’s the truth. The more children we bring into our home, the less excess furniture we have.The whole less is more thing…it’s true. Because we have less furniture, we have less clutter and more open spaces. Plus, living in a smaller than average home with a much bigger than average family only allows for so much; eventually, something has to go! Cleaning is easier because there are less surfaces to worry about getting dusty or cluttered.
Daily routines that give that clean feel
Some things we do daily, other than pick up toys, so that Mama doesn’t lose her mind in the mess. I like it neat, even if it’s not actually clean-clean.
You understand the difference, right? Neat to me is counters cleared and wiped, dishes washed and put away, floor swept and/or vacuumed, table wiped, bathrooms presentable.
But the truth is, we only deep clean occasionally. You know, for birthday parties, holidays, and company. It’s that eat off the floor kind of clean. Except, don’t do that in my house. Floors mopped. Windows and glass doors hand print free (do you even know how long that lasts with 5 children 8 and under??). Bathrooms disinfected and spotless. Furniture dusted. This happens a lot less frequently than our daily pick up.
8 Simple Ways to Keep a Clean House:
Here it is. You ready? This is what we do daily is to keep us functioning and this Mama happy.
- Make beds. 1 minute tops is what it takes me to make my bed, and it makes the whole room feel cleaner. (Okay, so it does take the kids more like 2-5 minutes to make their beds.) All the kids also make their beds daily. I should say though that my little ones do not prefer a top sheet, so that helps with the time it takes to make the bed.
- Wash dishes or load the dishwasher.
We don’t have the best luck with dishwashers, but now that we’ve finally replaced it again (insert eyeroll), we just add dishes to it all day and start it at night. However, if you don’t have a dishwasher, I suggest washing dishes at least twice a day, provided you are home all day and that you have several little people you are home with. For us, it was usually after breakfast and after supper.
- Dry and put up dishes. Now with the dishwasher, I unload the dishwasher while I am cooking breakfast, but before, we dried and put up dishes at night, allowing them to air dry during the day. I like for the sink and counters to be tidy before I go to bed just because.
- Fold laundry promptly. As soon as it comes off the line (actually while I’m out there usually) or out of the dryer, I try to fold. Less wrinkles = no ironing. Also, my kids help by doing their own laundry, so it’s a team effort.
- Wipe table after each meal. We kind of have to do that since we have school at our dining room table, but still, it makes the room feel cleaner.
- Sweep kitchen once a day. That’s our goal, anyway. Some days we miss, but usually not too much because 9 sets of feet in and out all day long. Since I originally wrote this post, we have taken up all carpet in our house and put down hard flooring throughout. Because sweeping the entire house multiple times a day was for the birds, we invested in a Shark cordless vacuum.
- Vacuum/sweep dining room nightly. We vacuum the dining room or sweep it, however the mood strikes, every night. Again, cordless Shark to the rescue! I honestly considered a more expensive brand, but we have been nothing but pleased with Shark’s version. And it gets used a lot!
- Quick pick-up. We pick up everything off of the floor (whole house) every night. We set a timer for 10-15 minutes and typically, all join forces, and the whole process is done. Seriously.
Working Together is Key
When I talked about how we make it all work, I pointed out that we are a team, and I couldn’t do this alone. Keeping the house presentable is no different. We all work together–every day. We really do make a great team most of the time. (Remember that I have whole basketball team–including subs–who help me make messes and clean them up.) I encourage you to involve your kiddos in making the house a place you all enjoy. You’ll be teaching them responsibility and keeping your house clean at the same time!
If you are discouraged with how your house looks, try these easy ways to make it neat. Choose one or two and focus on them until they become habit, then try a couple more. Before long, you’ll have good cleaning habits that make your house (if nothing else) look clean!