It doesn’t matter how tidy you are. Your kids simply don’t prioritize cleaning the house as much as you do. We have all the tips for a cleaner home when your kids still live there.
As a successful realtor in Bettendorf, Amy Laing has walked through hundreds of homes in the Quad Cities. She’s seen it all. And as a mom of two, she’s here to share some expert tips to keep your house clean when you have kids at home.
These tips are perfect for those of us who are getting ready to sell our home because spacious and clutter-free homes show better and sell faster. These tips for a cleaner home are also great for any family who has kids living there!
Focus on the clutter-catch-alls
When a potential buyer (or your mother-in-law) walks into your home, clutter will probably be the first thing that pops out. And no wonder – having kids comes with loads of “stuff” – from toys to snacks and from bags to schoolwork. Amy says that there are a lot of places that tend to be clutter magnets in family homes.
Concentrate on these areas first for the maximum impact:
- Entrances often have piles of mail, schoolwork and shoes. Add shoe racks, cubbies and bins to catch shoes and bags when you enter the house.
- Living rooms often double as playrooms. Invest in storage or decorative bins for toys to keep them corralled and hidden when they aren’t in use.
- Kitchen/dining rooms can also become catch-alls for clutter. Instead of piles of paperwork, mail or keys on countertops, create designated drop zones. Not only will it look better, but you’ll also be able to find your phone, keys or permission slip when you need it.
Toys can be a major source of frustration for parents! There are so many of them! And they are all over!
“While kids are home limit the amount of toys they have out to play with and keep ones they don’t play with stored away,” Amy recommends. “Once they lose interest in their current toys swap them out with the some of the toys stored away. It will feel like they are getting new toys!”
Routines will also help keep everything under control. Have a scheduled clean/pick up time everyday. It could be before snack or lunch time, or before nap or bedtime.
And make sure your expectations are clear and specific.
“(Setting clear expectations) has helped me as a mom to avoid disappointment and arguments,” Amy explains. “Your version of clean may be completely different than your child’s.”
Tips for a cleaner home with kids living there include being completely clear that when you say to clean the bathroom, it also means to pick up the dirty clothes, wipe down mirrors and counters, clean the toilet and empty the garbage can. A checklist can be really helpful.
Amy also suggests working as a team to keep the house clean.
“Not one person always gets the house dirty, so not just one person should clean it all,” she says.
Make it fun.
Beyond routines, you can also (try to) make cleaning fun and get the help from your kids you desperately need.
- See who can pick up the toys the fastest or try to guess how long it will take to pick up toys and see if they can beat that time.
- Maybe you can even have a cleaning champion each day – complete with a special perk for the victor.
- Set a timer and do a 10 minute tidy with all the kids involved in a separate space.
“If homes need to be de-cluttered, be proactive, and get unused items and collectables packed away,” Amy suggests. This could mean storing items that are rarely used or even purging items you’ll never need again.
And just like Rome wasn’t built in a day – your home won’t be decluttered in a day either. But, taken in bite-size chunks – the toy room today, the coat closet next week – it will be better in no time. When you’re thinking of tips for a cleaner home even when kids live there, start with less stuff.
Creating a cleaning rhythm can be a lifesaver.
(Home-selling tip: Even if your home sale is not right around the corner, start the process now. The sooner you can declutter, the better.)
Think about where grime is missed
Most of us sweep the floors and clean toilets (at least once in a while). But when was the last time you cleaned the following hidden areas of grime?
- Stairway walls.
- Light switches.
- Lower windows or glass doors.
(Bonus: These are spots that also collect germs – so cleaning them could keep your family healthier. Hello, cold and flu season!)
You likely have heard of spring cleaning, but deep cleaning can (and should) be done throughout the year. If you are going to sell your house, cleaning really counts.
“Some of the best and fastest-selling houses have been thoroughly deep cleaned,” Amy explains. “This means cleaning you don’t do on a regular basis.”
This will include cleaning ceiling fans, woodwork and baseboards, window sills and screens, and air vents and registers.
Perhaps having your kids home all last year wrecked havoc on your home – or maybe you just need a clean start for summer. Try some of these tips to get a good start on a cleaner and more decluttered home with kids.