Keeping a Clean and Organized House when you Have a Toddler
If you have toddlers, chances are you’ve wondered how to keep your house clean. I know the feeling. You set out to clean the whole house top to bottom while the kids occupy themselves. While In reality, as you clean, your kids are pulling things out of cabinets, drawers, and tubs until you can’t see the floor anymore. The house ends up messier than it was when you started cleaning. All of the time you spent cleaning was time you could have been spending with your kids.
Yes, I know the feeling all too well. If you know me, you know my house is rarely completely clean and I am constantly feeling behind on housework. So, I decided to implement a few things around the house to help keep the mess under control. Some things I have already done, and some I plan to do in the near future so that I can stay sane!
Designate toys to one area of the house.
In our house, we have done our best to keep the toys in the basement. Obviously, toys make their way upstairs all of the time, but we do our best. This way, the rest of the house appears clean and organized. If people come over the mess is downstairs where nobody can see it.
Organize the toys into tubs and put them out of reach.
I did this last summer and it has made all the difference. I bought these tubs and these tubs and sorted all of the toys by category. I chose to put the dolls together, kitchen toys together, etc…but you could also organize them into tubs by putting a few dolls, a few kitchen toys, and a few balls in each tub so you can pull out a tub and have a variety of toys to play with. Then when the kids are done playing, they have to put one tub away before getting out another one. We keep our toy tubs in our storage room, but you could also put them on a shelf, or in the garage. The important thing is that they aren’t just strewn about the house. Since doing this, I have also noticed that my kids engage better. Rather than just pulling EVERYTHING out and not really playing, they have a few toys that they are really playing with.
Put locks on all of the cabinets and drawers.
This is one thing I plan on doing soon. I used to think it was pointless but as my kiddos get older, I realize how necessary they really are! We put locks on some cabinets, but not all of them. The kids know which ones they can get into on their own and do so frequently. Once they open one it only takes a few seconds to pull everything out onto the floor. It doesn’t usually take long to clean up but it is another thing to clean. Putting locks on the cabinets and drawers that the kids frequent can save you a lot of time.
Close the doors to the bedrooms in your house.
Another way to keep the kids from making messes unnecessarily is to close the doors to rooms in the house. This will keep them confined to certain areas of the house, thus keeping the mess confined as well.
Throw out broken toys and knick-knacks that have no purpose.
My biggest pet-peeve is finding little knick-knacks all around the house. Little parts that go to things, toys that don’t work or are broken, and things that are not in their place. Make sure everything has a place to go back to and if it doesn’t, get rid of it. It will also help the kids to know where to put things if everything has a place.
Keep the toys to a minimum.
Go through your kids toys during nap time. Give away or sell any toys that are no longer age appropriate for your kids. If you plan on having more kids, put them in storage for later. Less stuff=less mess. Also, if your kids are anything like mine, they are more fascinated by the rocks in the backyard than they are by toys.
Make a cleaning schedule.
Make a nap time cleaning schedule. Pick one thing to clean each day while the kids nap and write it down. It might look different each week, but having a plan will save you having to think of what needs to be done. There might be things you need to do each day like washing dishes. Figure out the best time to do these tasks and make a habit of doing it at the same time each day.
Clean up after each play time.
Start now teaching your kids to clean up each time to transition to something new. After doing this every day, it will become more of a habit. Of course as toddlers they won’t be the best at it, but at least you are in the routine of doing it and they are learning it as well. Cleaning up small messes throughout the day is much easier than taking an hour to clean up everything at the end of the day.
Keep the kids occupied.
If you do plan to do any cleaning while the kids are awake, give them something to play with that will keep their attention for a while. My go-to is Legos. My daughter sits at the kitchen table and plays with them so the mess is mostly contained. Then I have a good 30 minutes to clean if I need to.
Do a quick clean each night.
After the kids go to bed, take 30 minutes to power clean the house. Think about what needs to be done the most and get it done. Don’t worry about cleaning the entire house at this time. Just enough that you won’t have anxiety about it in the morning.
Most of all, you are making precious memories by playing with your children. Don’t let your anxiety about a messy house get in the way of that. Hopefully these tips will give you more time with your kids and less time cleaning. Remember that this is just a phase of life. A messy house isn’t the worst thing. Soon, there won’t be toys to pick up anymore. While you might feel like you are going insane right now, someday you’ll miss this phase of life. Enjoy it while you can and try not to worry about the state of your house.
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