How to keep your house tidy with kids and work full-time

If you’re reading this, I assume you or your spouse work full-time and cringe every time you walk through the door to see the previous day’s mess slapping you in the face. I’ve been there and done that; and I’m not going back. Follow along so you can make the escape, too. I’ll even break it down by room.

How do I keep my kitchen clean?

This is such a tricky one. It seems like no matter the day, we are always cleaning the kitchen! But try these things that help me cut down on big clean ups.

  • Rinse your dishes out after you use them and keep your sink empty & food-free every night.
  • Clear the counters and wipe them down every morning before you leave to work. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to do this before bed, so there’s no harm in doing it the 8 minutes before you leave to work.
  • Don’t put mail, paperwork, other random things on the counter. Take it where it belongs from the beginning or just throw it away.
  • Don’t pile up trash bags by your trash can. Take them outside every day or as needed.

Sweep and mop your floors when you can; a clean counter and empty sink is what makes a kitchen look and feel clean. It also helps the kitchen smell better!

How do I keep my dining room/eating area clean?

Say goodbye to piled up messes and food stained tables. Start doing these things to keep your eating area just for that: eating.

  • Wipe the table down after every meal instead of waiting the next day or later. It takes 2 minutes!
  • If the family always piles stuff onto the table like backpacks, paperwork, etc., grab a small cube shelf from the dollar store or Walmart, label the slots, and voila- there’s a new home for those things.
  • Use plastic placemats if your kids are feeding themselves but aren’t pros. You can rinse them off quickly and put them away.

Dining rooms aren’t typically the horror areas of a home, so let’s now look at the dirtiest of dirties…

How do I keep the playroom clean?

The dreaded cleaning of the playroom. I used to think the answer was to just close the playroom doors and only clean it once a week. But there’s a better solution.

  • Cube shelf organizers are magical. Get some colorful, fun fabric cubes to fill it with and use it for storage. Label the shelf, not the fabric cube so it’s easy for any adult or big kid to tidy up.
  • Limit the number of toys and types of items allowed. I only have a swing/slide play set, small trampoline, and foam crawling structure as the main playing items in our playroom.
  • Use the storage items to section off areas to contain the mess. I use my cubed storage shelf to section off a table and chair sitting area for arts and crafts or tv time. If colored pencils are on the floor, at least I know they’re right next to the drawer they’re supposed to be in.
  • No shoes allowed.
  • No bringing other toys from the bedroom to the playroom.

It may feel weird at first, but setting some playroom rules will help keep you and your kids on your toes.

How do I keep the living room clean?

living room furniture near kitchen

Ah, the lovely and cozy heart of the home. Let’s keep it beating and happy, shall we?!

  • Get one or two storage baskets for blankets and pillows and another for random toys or non-living-room-items. Throughout the day or night, as you go from the living room to other rooms, take an item or 2 and return it where it belongs. “clean as you go”
  • Keep a shoe rack or shoe closet nearby.
  • Keep a laundry basket downstairs (if applicable) or nearby to store the random clothes that get taken off and thrown on the living room floor. (Then wash it during laundry time, obviously).

There isn’t a perfect answer, but hopefully this helps! Now to the beast, the kids’ room.

How do I keep the kid’s room clean?

In short, you don’t. But there’s a way to do that while still having a beautiful, not so junky room for the kiddos.

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  • Don’t put a lot of ‘furniture’ in the room. Kids really just need a bed and a dresser; and awesome wall decor. The other ‘furniture’ can consist of storage items and their toys. Declutter their room by not filling it in the first place.
  • Toy storage units like these work great, because you can just toss it all in there, organized by toy or not, and instantly have a cleaner bedroom. There are no latches or tops that kids have to struggle with.
  • Don’t block windows with furniture if you can help it. Windows just instantly make it feel cleaner.
  • Use colorful fabric laundry bags as toy storage.
  • Don’t store anything under the bed, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Keep all smaller toys in cube drawer storage or easy to open containers that can be stored on low shelves or stacked against the wall.

The key for a clean kid’s room is to make it ‘kid cleaning friendly’. Store things in low places, make it fun and easy to store, etc. My 4 year old can clean her entire room without any help from me; and that’s the way I like it.

The products that can save the day…

It’s not required, but having these products definitely are a saving grace for me. I’ve dropped some links to make filling your cart easy peasy and not stressy lemon zesty.

Robot Vacuum – It’s not a name brand you heard of, but it cleans my downstairs every night at 9pm, talks to me when it needs to, works with Alexa, uses logical navigation/cleaning path, and does a damn good job. And it’s way more budget friendly than some others for the quality. Right now there’s even a $60 off coupon when you check out. There are also mop attachments you can get!

Cordless Vacuum Cleaner – You’re probably thinking why I have a robot vacuum and a cordless vacuum. Because kids. Frida, my robot vacuum, helps keep me from losing my ever loving mind by going through and picking up the end of day messes. But my cordless vacuum helps me quickly get a GREAT clean anywhere, at anytime, exactly where I need it. Chips fell on the floor and got stepped on, dog fur, allergy time and I need to suck the life out of the house, ya know.

Storage baskets – For here, for there, for every freaking where. Put some of these baskets in the play room, the living room, the bedroom, laundry room. Open storage like this lets you have a home for items and let’s you keep an eye on what’s in it.

Hope this helped!

I know it may not be the end all be all answers you were hoping for, because yes, it’s going to require some effort and a little bit of time from you in the beginning. But if you can put in the effort now, you’ll for sure reap the benefits later.

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