We all know that it’s unrealistic to imagine keeping a house clean around the clock with toddlers living in it. That’s just not part of reallity.

So my goal has been and will continue to be:

Keep The House Not Gross.

I may be undershooting a little bit, but sanity is at stake. So here are my top tips for keeping your home out of the “vile” category and in the “people aren’t scared to sit down when they walk in” range.

  1. Vacuum as much as possible, and leave that broom in its closet.

    Brooms make piles for kids to scatter and are incredibly inefficient. Get you vacuum cleaner a wide floor attachment for the hose and vacuum your hard floors as well as your carpets.And next time you’re house shopping, make a whole house vacuum system an absolute requirement. Mine is a lifesaver. But I vacuumed in my other houses/apartments before this one, too.
  2. Leave it to dry.
    Don’t try to clean up macaroni and cheese or rice off the floor under the table until it’s had a couple of hours to dry, otherwise, it smears everywhere. Give it 2 hours and vacuum and you will have almost no cheese sauce or rice paste stuck to the ground.

    Just *shooop* and it’s gone.

  3. Baby wipes in every room.

    Wanna save your walls? Don’t trust the toddlers to make it from their dining room chair to the bathroom sink. Baby wipes at the table after every meal. Baby wipes in the craft room for pens and markers and chalk. Baby wipes everywhere. All the time.Your sink will thank you as much as your walls. And your white couch. Though, if you have a white couch, then your personality probably won’t resonate with the “not gross” mentality. Anyway, you can buy baby wipes by the thousands on Amazon.
  4. Make A “Mudroom” Bucket.If you don’t have a deck or mudroom where you can strip down filthy yard urchins and wipe them down before releasing them into your home, make a tote that sits by your back door. A large Rubbermaid one will work great for this.Keep it stocked with a package of babywipes (see point 3) and a pair of outside shoes, and when your kid comes in, stand them in the tote to strip their wet or muddy or dusty or grassy clothes and shoes off, wipe them down with babywipes, and release them back into their natural habitat to live free and in the wild.

    Then carry the entire tote to your wash room and empty the clothes into the washer, vacuum out the tote and shoes, and return the whole thing back to its door. No mess. All good. Happy dancing.

  5. Clean Toilets During Bathtime.You know how toddlers NEVER want out of the tub? But you can’t leave them alone? Don’t waste those moments on facebook, girl! Grab some ajax or commet, whichever you use, and give the toilet a quick scrub. Windex the mirror while you are at it.And a damp paper towel picks up hair/shredded bits of toilet paper beautifully if you have an extra 90 seconds to look at the floor.
  6. Make Pickup Time A Game.
    When I say “come be my arms” DinoBoy and Gman come running. (Not Sunshine. She’s a pro at shirking.) I scoop all the mess from whatever room I’m in into the middle and start doing “t-minus” countdowns. I hand them something they know how to put away and they have to beat the timer and get back to me. They love it. And the messes disappear shockingly fast.Piles of puzzles dumped on the floor? It’s puzzle time! Each one that gets finished goes on the shelf. This is usually a competition as well.Another race we do is “find the dirty laundry”. Each kid gets a basket and sees who can collect the most dirty laundry.
  7. My No Fold Laundry system.Stop. Folding. Children’s. Clothes.I’m not kidding. Find a space, whether on your washer, or against a laundry room wall, to put some of those plastic storage dressers, and categorize them. “Bottoms”, “Tops”, and “Pajamas” are my kids’ drawers. I toss the clean, unfolded laundry into the drawers straight out of the dryer and my sanity is preserved.

    Hubby’s clothes still get to be folded.

    More on this over here on the post I wrote about it:
    My No Fold Laundry System 

  8. Minimize The Toy Boxes
    Put away most of your toys. If you have more than a small toybox in each bedroom and a small play corner, then your kids will be too overwhelmed with choices to enjoy any of it.

    Store all the extras and rotate them every quarter! It’s like Christmas comes four times!

Good luck! Remember, “Not Gross” is the important thing. Where children are, there are toys and messes and chaos. Just learn to include them in keeping it under control, and try to keep those toilets and floors from being disgusting, and you’ll be to the other side before you know it!

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Joanna is a mommy to 4 littles: a 1st grader, 3 year old twins, and a baby girl born in 2016.

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