How to have children and a clean ‘enough’ house
Do you have any cleaning hacks? I’ve read a few good ones over the last few months, all of which I keep meaning to put to the test. What I really want to know though is a great cleaning hack for cleaning the oven and the highchair – my least favourite jobs! So if anyone has any good ones, I would love to hear about them.
My cleaning ‘hacks’ relate less to cleaning tips (I’m not going to tell you to get your loo sparkling with half a lemon and some soy sauce) and more to how to clean full stop with children around.
It isn’t the easiest thing in the world, let’s be honest, and the house is never going to look like a show home. However, I’m always a tad suspicious of homes that do look that way – you know the ones where there isn’t even a water glass on the draining board and not a children’s drawing in sight.
A home needs to feel like a home and the reality of a busy family home is that there is constant mess. Whilst I do like things neat and tidy I am also a realist and have come to accept that it’s OK to have a clean ‘enough’ home.
What do you think?
So here are my top tips or ‘hacks’ for a clean ‘enough’ home:
- Get yourself a cordless vacuum cleaner – now I am not saying this should be your only one, but this bit of kit has transformed the way I clean and made life much easier, it is fast, easy and hassle free and so good for those quick clean ups you need to do several times a day with children around.
- Use a baby carrier – there isn’t much you can’t do with a baby or toddler strapped to your chest or even your back, cleaning like this means they are out of the way, having close contact with you still, and it’s a great workout as well, because it’s like doing the cleaning with a weight pack on!
- Get the children to help – this is a big one and useful on so many levels! It is important for children to learn these skills but also for them to learn how a family works and that the more they help you, the more time you will have to play with them. You can set them challenges, work together on something, award stars on a star chart for things they have helped with and so on. Even toddlers can help! They love sorting out washing, moving washing from the washing machine to the dryer etc, especially if you make it into a race!
- Make cleaning a game – our vacuum cleaner is rarely just a boring old vacuum, it’s a dragon, or a dinosaur or a monster and it chases the children around the house every day!
- Little but often – I’ve said before that this is the key for me, leaving everything to one day doesn’t work and becomes overwhelming. You end up feeling as if you live in a mess for six days and a palace for one and that doesn’t work for me. Little and often means that you should have at least two or three tidy parts of the house at any one time and that is much more realistic for a busy family.
- Have a good system and stick to it – things go wrong in our house when someone sabotages my system! That might sound like I’m a control freak, but that’s not the case, that’s just how big families have to work. So for example, I always make sure the kitchen is tidy and everything clean and away before I head to bed, that way I have a fresh start in the morning. If things build up then it becomes harder to keep on top of things. Also, I don’t start a job I can’t finish because it becomes more disruptive. So, for example, I don’t tackle the ironing unless I know I have time to iron everything and at least carry it all upstairs, half done piles of things are not the way to go and this makes you much less productive I find.
- Use your children’s strengths – one of our children loves spiders so they have the job of taking all the spiders outside when I find them during cleaning!
- Work smart – if you are emptying bins in the house for example to take outside, get everything ready by the back door, including any recycling or anything else you’ve been meaning to put in garage or garden or even back in the car, then do one trip outside to get rid of it all, rather than 20 trips with bits and bobs throughout the day.
- Clean the shower whilst you are in it – Insane? Perhaps? If you get a non-toxic cleaner like ‘method’ and take it in the shower with you, you can get all the bits you can’t get from dry land and kill two birds with one stone so to speak! Don’t knock it until you have tried it!
- Clean to music, you’ll be faster – and let’s face it music makes everything better!
- Get yourself a fun pod to pop your little one in whilst you clean the floor!
If money was no object I’d get myself a Vax Steam Fresh Combi Multifunction 15-in-1 steam cleaner because it leaves floors dry in 3 minutes or less, which is perfect for busy family life. You can’t keep everyone out of a room while you wait for the floor to dry.
How do you clean with the children around?