Six tips to Keeping a Clean House (with young kids!)

My twin sister, Terry, keeps one of the tidiest houses I've ever seen.  Seriously, it's like walking into a magazine!  And if you're thinking that she spends all of her time cleaning, rest assured she does not.  She has 3 small kids, works part-time, is a fitness nut, and edits 2 posts for this blog every single week!  Yeah, she's pretty much a super hero in my book.  So a couple of weeks ago, I asked my sis to share a few tips on how she keeps such a clean home with such a busy schedule.  I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.

Take it away, sis!…

Hi guys! I'm one of those people that likes simplicity and organization, but living with young children is busy and messy (and obviously utterly fantastic!). So for me, keeping a clean and tidy house is paramount to keeping my sanity.  Here are six tips that I live by to keep a clean and functional house.

One // Do a little cleaning a lot of the time instead of a lot of cleaning a little of the time.  

Don't wait until the house is disaster zone to clean.  Got five minutes?  Wipe down the  countertops.  Ten minutes?  That's plenty of time to mop the living room.  You get the idea.

Two // Put those little people to work!  

After all, they are responsible for their share of the mess, so why shouldn't they help clean up?  This kid cleaning set has been a hit for all my kids at all their ages--baby to 6.  My kids also can't get enough of spraying the dry mop spry on the hardwood floors before I mop it up.  Though this more of a 'helping out' lesson than true help, kids can legitimately help by picking up, which I have varying amounts of luck with.

Three // Save those deep cleans for nap/quiet time, when you can really break a sweat.  

That way you can get the house in shape without interruptions and without sacrificing a trip to the park.  And when all else fails, cleaning time is a great time for Sesame Street.

Four // Keep food at the table.  

Don't want to dry clean your curtains?  Keep those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the table.  Just don't forget to wash hands after.  My children have to ask to be excused before leaving the table (and depositing their plates in the sink), that way, I can see how they ate and how clean they are before they leave the table.

Five // Clean up one mess before making the next.  

After we make a big mess in the playroom, we pick up before moving outside to make a new mess.  The same goes with cooking...clean as you go instead of letting messes build up!

Six // Have a place for everything, and…

The biggest and most important tip to keeping a clean home is having a place for everything in your home.  Whether it's your computer or your kids' bike, have a place for everything in your home and keep those things in their places.  If you don't have a place for it, you don't need it!



p.s. photos are from Terry's living room.  They just sold this house, but moved into an 1911 beauty in Portland OR, so I'm hoping she'll share that house with us too!