It’s no secret that I love a clean and tidy house. I mean, who doesn’t? But it’s also not a secret that with kids things can get messy.
If you follow me on Instagram @mrs.vesnatanasic and watch our stories, you know that I let my kids help bake bread in the kitchen and make a mess, and you also know that toys get dragged out of the playroom, but everything gets cleaned up.
Someone once told me, “Your house in unrealistic for life with five kids!” To which I replied, not at all and here is why.
Coming from a mom of five, it is possible to have a clean tidy house with little ones. I have five kids ages 7 years old to 6 months old, and our house stays clean. The key is in teaching your kids early on. Over the years we have established some ground rules in our house to make everyone’s lives (especially mine) easier. Everyone has their duties, and chores are part of our household. I teach them early on how to keep their rooms clean and their toys organized, not only to build responsible adults out of my kids but it helps keep our house clean.
My 15 secrets to keeping our house tidy
1. Everything has to have a place (otherwise it belongs in the garbage) so no hoarding things on the kitchen counter
2. When you’re done playing with one set of toys, those get put away before we bring something else out
3. We don’t play with decor nor do we clear out things for kids, they learn that those are mommy’s things and belong there
4. If you don’t have the space, rotate toys so they get the most use out of them and not just dump everything
5. Keeping up with laundry usually means a load every other day for us and I have a rule that I don’t take clothes out of the dryer until I am ready to fold (which also means you cannot wash and dry anymore) this helps me stay on top
6. Yes! I clean my own house (to answer your most FAQ)! Although it took a while to adjust, now it got easier as I split cleaning upstairs and downstairs on different days (+ basement).
7. Everyone is responsible to keep their room tidy — no coming down until beds are made, and things are put away. Obviously, my twenty month old doesn’t do that (yet). She is our main mess maker haha!
8. No toys all over the house — we have a playroom and that’s where most toys are. We gave up our office space to have a playroom on the main level so you better believe it is being used haha! Things they bring out, need to be put back when they are done.
9. I keep the kitchen clutter and mess free by cleaning up as I go — meaning, I clean after I cook. I clean my espresso machine after I am done making coffee, etc. again, kitchen counter/island is not a “catch all situation” in our house. I cannot stand a messy kitchen.
10. Organize drawers, cabinets, closets so that it makes your life easier by sorting everything out as it’s most convenient to use. I have drawer organizers for everything and it’s hard not to keep it tidy when it all has a place.
11. No shoes in the house!
12. Empty dishwasher! I almost never have a sink full of dishes. Not only would it drive me crazy, I just couldn’t function that way. I need my sink cleared out so that I can actually use it. That means that our dishwasher gets used at least twice a day and everyone helps put dishes away. So do yourself a favor, load the dishwasher and run it even if it’s not full.
13. Let the kids clean up after themselves — meaning, after we eat breakfast everyone takes their plate and fork or whatever they were using while eating, clears off the plate in the garbage so there is no food residue and places their plate in the dishwasher. Same goes for lunch & dinner. I have been teaching them this from early one.
14. No food on sofas!
15. Keep cleaning products on hand — which means I have my Thieves household cleaner (the only one I use to clean everything) in every bathroom in the house + towel paper. I have one in our laundry, in our kitchen, in the kids shared bathroom, in our bathroom, etc. you get the point. This makes it easier to clean everything.
Teach them early on.
I am not saying that our house doesn’t get messy and that it’s always tidy. What I am saying is that with a little bit of organization and discipline the house can be tidy. I am a firm believer that we have to spend time with our children and teach them everything. Kids are fast learners, and they all follow each other’s footsteps. When one puts their shoes in designated spot, the next will follow. Younger siblings learn from their older siblings.
Real life examples of the kids keep the house tidy and clean after themselves
Here is a prime example. Boys get home from soccer practice, they take their shoes off, put them in their spot, hang their jackets, and go to take a shower. They bring their dirty clothes downstairs in the laundry. (We don’t have hampers upstairs.)
Here is another example. I fold the laundry, everyone puts their clothes away. We have a step stool in their shared bathroom that they can use if they cannot reach. If they are not home when I fold laundry I usually leave it on their bed (sometimes I will put it away myself).
Here is another example. No coming downstairs until bed is made and things are put away, like if they have legos on the floor or clothes on the bed, etc. whatever it is, the room is tidy before they come down to do school.
Okay one more. When they are done with school (we homeschool, if you’re new around here) they put their school stuff away in the playroom closet (that’s where we keep everything) and sort everything in the right space. Because they know that if they don’t once I see it, I will take everything out on the floor and they will have to organize the whole thing.
I could go on and on with examples but you get the idea. We have these rules, that now are just common sense instead of rules. These became habits over the time and it is just something that is done, no questions asked.
And you may think that it’s a harsh way of living, but I think it’s teaching them to be responsible, to take care of their things and be more independent.
How about you, do we share the same traits?
Follow me on Instagram @mrs.vesnatanasic for more inspo.