Keeping a clean house with kids around isn’t an easy task, and it’s one that most people don’t enjoy. However, with a few tips for keeping your house clean, the overall chore is a bit less tedious. Breaking it down into small chunks becomes less time-intensive and more about habit making and daily instinctive rituals that help with daily maintenance.
By breaking the cleaning down into small daily tasks, the actual “cleaning” part becomes less. Here are some of the habits for keeping your house clean and tidy. This list may sound daunting at first, so pick one to get started and add another the next week and so on until you’ve got them all down.
Thank you to Neato Robotics for sponsoring this conversation Tips for Keeping your House Clean. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Tips for Keeping Your House Clean
Simply put, the less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to clean. However, this task will be a task to approach over time, so no one is asking you to Marie Kondo your home in one day to make it easier to clean going forward.
By taking a little time here and there to declutter, you will save yourself time cleaning in the long run in your cleaning going forward, thus this is the first tip for keeping your house clean. If everything is organized, easy, and accessible, it’s easier to clean. No paperwork on the dining room table or kitchen counter means you can just clean them rather than putting away stacks of paper before cleaning. It also makes it easier for your family to help with the cleaning. No one can use the argument that they didn’t know where an item belonged so they just left it out. Nope.
Get Your Whole Family Involved
This brings me to my second tip for keeping your house clean. Yes, on one hand, it is generally faster to just do it yourself. But then guess who is stuck doing it all the time? Yes, that’s right. You. My kids are now all teenagers. There are zero reasons they can’t be cleaning and cleaning effectively. When they don’t, it’s because they are being lazy. Younger kids can start with age-appropriate activities such as putting away their clothes, helping with dishes, setting the table, etc. They will grow into bigger chores. But older kids should be able to contribute with minimal to no reminders.
Lower Your Expectations
This isn’t to suggest that you should be happy living in filth. When my firstborn was 6 months old, I would go around after him every night, pick his toys up, and put them back in a bin. I could not stand having toys on the floor. As an ESTJ, Type A person, I definitely like things done my way. It didn’t take me long to realize that my time was better spent with my child or husband or enjoying a good book rather than picking up toys that would be out again 10 hours later. Some things I simply had to learn to let go of, including seeing a few toys scattered around.
Lowering your expectations also means that the cleaning my child does probably isn’t the same quality that I would do. But they did it, without asking, and I didn’t have to do it. That’s a win, even if it isn’t perfect. Don't sweat the small stuff, right? At the end of the day, It’s only clean for 4 minutes, and then the dog sheds, my nephew drops a crumb, or someone tracks dirt in. It’s an endless cycle with kids and pets. It’s not worth stressing over the details of perfection when it comes to brass tacks.
Give Items a Home in the Rooms Where They Are Used
Decluttering is a great start, but that only gets you so far. A little organization goes a long way when it comes to tips for keeping your home clean. The easiest way to accomplish this is by keeping the items you use in the room where you use them. Make your life easier!
Play cards or board games in the living room? Store them in there. Do you watch movies in the family room? Keep them there. Throw blankets for the family room couch? Fold them and store them in there. You get the idea. If I had to run to another room–or worse, upstairs—every time I needed something, it would never get put away when I was done.
Put Things Away When You Are Done With Them
Here’s the next time for keeping your house clean and tidy: always put things away when you’re done using them. This particular one drives me bonkers with people in my house. NO ONE but me does this and it drives me crazy.
Sorting the mail? Put it away as soon as you are finished. Finished playing a board game? Put it away before you start another. It’s really simple to make rules for younger kids, too, regarding putting items back. We have house rules. No snacks or meals until you picked up your game/toy/coloring/whatever you were working on before you wanted to go eat. Cleaning up after yourself should be automatic.
Grab As You Go: Never Leave a Room Empty-Handed
This is probably the easiest tip for keeping your home clean and tidy. It’s so simple, it’s almost a no-brainer. This tip works especially well if you have a big central gathering area in your house or a second story because you know items collect and need to be put away.
Are you headed upstairs? Take a quick look around and see what needs to go up. Guaranteed you’ll find a sweatshirt or book or toy that hasn’t made its way back upstairs yet.
Are you in the kitchen headed to the family room? There’s probably something sitting on the counter that got dropped in passing when someone walked in the door that needs returning.
You get the drift. You’re already headed there, give that item a lift to its home and put it away.
As things do collect and haven't been put away, I call my kids to whatever room has the collection of items and hand them items to go put away, one or two per child at a time, until they are all put away.
Clean As You Go
For me, this is the best tip for keeping your house clean. It seems obvious, but sometimes there are aspects of this that get overlooked and it makes for a lot of extra cleaning later. I hate nothing more than getting ready to cook dinner and find a sink full of dishes or the pan I need is dirty. I much prefer washing the dishes as I go along. Once that final dish is cooking, I wash (or at least put in the dishwasher) all the rest of the dishes used to prepare that meal. After you eat, load the dirty dishes right into the dishwasher.
Clean as you go is perfect for working in conjunction with the Grab As You Go. I might be cleaning in the kitchen and realize there is a stash of items that need to be put away, and I’ll ask the kids to come help deliver them to their homes. Teamwork makes the dream work. That 10 or 15 minutes together means I’m not up by myself for an extra hour later that night or taking an hour out of the workday.
As a mom of two fur babies, the other thing that really helps my daily cleaning is a robotic vacuum. If you have hardwood floors, area rugs, and dogs, you need a Neato robotic vacuum. Neato has several models, but the Neato D7 is the best robot vacuum cleaner in their line-up. It has all of the newest features such as zone cleaning, multiple floor plan mapping, “No-Go Lines,” and more–including Turbo Mode, which picks up pet hair and tough debris.
Rather than me having to get out my regular vacuum every day to vacuum dog hair, dust, and whatever my nephews drop on the floor when they are visiting, the Neato D7 does the daily maintenance for me so I only do the deep cleaning once a week. So I say you should clean as you go to keep a clean home, but really I let the Neato D7 clean as it goes.
One of the really cool features about the Neato D7 is that you can map “trouble areas’, so areas like the dinner table and kitchen that are heavy traffic areas can be cleaned more often rather than cleaning the whole downstairs every single day. The multiple zone mapping feature lets you create a zone for the dinner table and a zone for the kitchen and Zone Cleaning lets you send the Neato D7 off to spot clean whatever needs it.
While our downstairs is a pretty open floor plan, there are a few walls and odd corners (kitchen peninsula) and transition for hardwood to area rug. The Neato D7’s LaserSmart technology intelligently navigates your home while the Virtual No-Go Lines tell your robot vacuum to stay away from areas that you designate (like the corner of the couch that is the same height as the robot vacuum–because we all know what happens when it tries to go under the couch).
Do a 15-Minute Daily Pick-Up
Another very easy way to keep your house clean is to spend about 15 minutes in the evenings picking up. You don’t have to make this stressful or complicated, but it can have a big effect on the clutter and helps prevent piles, and helps make the rest of your weekly housekeeping easier. Grab your Free Printable 15-Minute Daily Pick-Up Checklist here.
Here are a few of the tasks we try to check off in our 15-minute cleaning bursts:
- Fold throw blankets lying around the family room and put them away
- Pick up any toys and return them to the little kid toy bin in the family room or kids’ rooms
- Put away shoes left by the door
- Hang up coats or put away hoodies that may have been strewn about
- Finish putting away any clean dishes
- Finish loading the dishwasher and make sure it’s running
- Wipe down the kitchen counters and dining table
- Put away anything left on the dining table
- Put away anything left on the kitchen counter
- Fold any laundry left on top of the dryer
- Wrangle the recycling and make sure it’s sorted and where it should all be
If everyone takes just 10-15 minutes nightly to pick up the extra items and contribute, your weekly cleaning will go so much faster.
Keep Basic Cleaning Supplies Where You Use Them
I will caveat this one by saying that if you have very young kids, do what is safe and practical. Our kids are older, and we use all-natural cleaning products so we don’t have to worry about accidental poisoning and such.
If you keep your cleaning supplies near the places you use them, this can make your cleaning more efficient, making it easier to keep your house clean.
I have cleaning supplies in each of the bathrooms and the kitchen. This way, when someone gets out of the shower, they can spray down the tile with the tile spray immediately. They will NEVER do it if they have to go down to get it from underneath the kitchen sink. There’s also an all-purpose cleaner and cloths and toilet cleaner and brush in each bathroom so it’s easy to clean when you have a moment, but also no one can come to tell me they couldn’t find the cleaning supplies for their bathroom. The counter and table cleaning spray are under the kitchen sink and the cloths are in a drawer right next to it. If the cleaning supplies are right here, it takes just a few minutes to do the cleaning. Otherwise, it takes longer to go get them than to do the actual cleaning.
Do Laundry Daily
We have a household of 6. If we waited to all do laundry on the same day, it would never get done. To simplify our laundry, we spread out laundry throughout the week and everyone does their own. Between our laundry, household laundry, and dog linens, we basically do laundry daily to keep our laundry in control.
Another way to simplify laundry is when you change your clothes, put the dirty clothes straight in the hamper. When the laundry comes out of the washing machine, hang up items that need hanging immediately. You’ll likely have less ironing to do unless you have lots of collared shirts.
Make a Daily Cleaning Schedule
A daily cleaning schedule is another thing that can help keep your home tidy and save time when you do your deep cleaning. This isn’t intended to take an hour every day, but it is intended to work in conjunction with the other tips for keeping your home clean and tidy. Each of these is designed for you to do a few quick tasks per day to shorten your deep cleaning day.
Here’s what our schedule looks like. Keep in mind, you may need to alter this list based on your household schedule and your trash day. Grab your Free Printable Daily Cleaning Schedule Checklist here.
- Sunday: Family cleaning day to get ready for the week ahead
- Monday: Pick up the Family Room
- Tuesday: Clean out the fridge (depends on trash day)
- Wednesday: Wipe down the Bathrooms
- Thursday: Wipe down the Kitchen
- Friday: Pick up Bedrooms and upstairs
- Saturday: Dust, vacuum, and mop floors
Do you have favorite Tips for Keeping Your House Clean? Tell us in the comments below!