Children are exhausting, even though they’re also fun. They discard toys in every room. Their clothes never seem to make it into the hamper. Food covers their faces, bodies, the floor, walls and furniture. And the trail of debris they bring with them can make life difficult. A parent’s job is to find order in the chaos. Finding ways to keep up can test any parent’s patience.
Parents what you’ll need in your cleaning armory
Keep the essentials handy
Keeping things at hand is an essential part of keeping up with the mess. A cleaning tote can contain:
- Magic Erasers (the brand name works best)
- rubbing alcohol
- nail polish remover (for getting rid of permanent marker)
- toothpaste (to remove crayon marks from walls)
- rags, and the like.
Before a mess spreads, or dries, after an activity, simply pull out the tote and clean up the mess. Rather than dragging a vacuum around all day, a newer concept is to have a central vacuum system. Another idea: have a cleaning station when kids come back into the house from outside. It can contain hooks for jackets and sweaters, a bin for toys, as well as storage for dirty shoes.
Have a strategy
There isn’t ONE WAY to do things, just because some book somewhere says parents should do things a certain way. The traditional way may not work for you. With laundry, for instance, instead of collecting and sorting everyone’s laundry once per week, try giving each child their own hamper. Assign each child one day of the week for their load. Having a washer with small, medium and large load settings is essential. Newer models are even better since they have a quick wash basket for super small loads. You can focus better on stains that way, as well. However, keep products natural. For instance, soda and vinegar or peroxide work extremely well, and are better for the environment and are healthier for your children than many store bought products.
Find an inspired alternative
With active children in the house, there never seems to be enough storage. That’s especially so when it comes to toys. They seem to invade every crevice of a home if there isn’t a plan. You can purchase various sizes and styles of storage containers to accommodate all kinds of needs. If money is an object, however, DIY storage units can be just as effective and efficient. For example, making a storage unit with old pallets you may have purchased. Then fill them with baskets for toys and craft supplies. In children’s play areas, or bedrooms, fill a cloth shoe organizer pockets with all kinds of goodies. Having a place for everything will limit the number of messes you have to pick up.
Find a new way of doing things
At the end of a play session, refrain from telling children to pick up their mess. Instead, join them. Turn on the music and dance your way to a clean house. Turn dusting, and straightening up into a game. Kids love to play games! Before you know it they’ll be the ones turning on the music and handing you the toys to put in the bin. Any habit, like cleaning, is a conditioned response and must be learned. Bad habits, like making messes then leaving them for you to clean up, is much tougher to eliminate. One can’t erase a habit. You must replace them with new, and updated habits. It’s why the addiction cycle is so hard to break.
Believe it or not, it is possible to have a clean house even if you have children. The trick is to stay ahead of the little bundles of activity with some preparation, planning, and strategies. In the end you’ll also be establishing good habits while demonstrating that work can be fun.
Author bio: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.