one of the questions we get most often is how to keep a clean home with two kids, or heck – without any kids. i think its best to first start off by saying a clean home isnt important for everyone, and thats okay. au contraire, if youre scoffing at someones clean home thinking “that isnt real life, theres no way”, let me tell you its totally completely possible – even without dedicated your every free hour to it. though each families priorities and day-to-day is different, there are a few things we’ve implemented in our home that keep things running smooth, and i feel super duper strong about them.
when we take photos, theyre untouched to omit messes. taking these photos today, i had just put the kids down for a nap – their playroom is clean, the kitchen sink is empty but of one cup, and the laundry basket has three items in it. granted, this isnt our 24/7 — sunday night, our house is an insane mess from being away during our usual weekend advntures — but every night, we fix up. and as the day goes on, we fix up.
a few tips on keeping a clean home:
- make the bed every morning — this has been the toughest one for us, but i’ve noticed a huge difference in the mornings we follow through. it seems like such a silly detail, but its been test proven that productivity increases and the overall comfort clean feeling of our home increases with a well made bed.
- keep up as you go. after breakfast, the kids play and i do the dishes we just dirtied. sometimes, theyre feeling the moods and sit at my feet fussing. and still i do those dishes. it honestly takes three minutes, and then its done. there isnt the pile. after each meal we do this, and it gives us one less thing to worry about come bed time.
- less is more – less stuff seems like a no brainer, but easier said than done. we recently opened a fortune cookie that spoke straight to my heart saying “a bargain is not a bargain if it is not something you’ll use” can i get an amen?! we’re constantly going through our home and pruning to make room for what we do use to shine, encourage, inspire, settle our minds. i’m sure youve all heard of the marie khan method by now, but goodness, has she got a good thing going. if you arent using it and it doesnt spark joy, toss it. if youre keeping something for the once every five years use or a “maybe i’ll use it someday”, toss it. borrow from someone else if you have to. share with each other.
- nightly walk throughs – every night, steve and i spend roughly ten minutes before heading to bed touching up any messes. the usual is a few dishes leftover in the sink, a toy that escaped behind the chair, folding up blankets, or restocking the diaper bag. its a silent few moments that bring our home back in order for the next day. let me tell you, for me personally, there is nothing more calming then waking to a clean home ready to take on the next day — going to bed with the mindset that nothing really has to be done.
- give everything a place – and if it doesnt have one, question if you really honestly need it. the biggest area this has helped is our bathroom, where we were hoarding so many things under the sink that just sat there. we brought what we used most into jars and containers on the counter, and tossed most everything else.
- appreciate white space – the idea that every inch of every wall has to be covered in a collage of picture frames is absolute myth, i swear it. leave a wall bare, or add a single small mirror as a stand alone piece. i suppose this goes back to having less, but for us the two realizations came at different times. after getting rid of so much, we still had cluttered wall space. in cleaning up everything, we forgot to look up from the piles at the walls. following the same rule of if it sparks joy or is useful, we ended up taking a large bag to the thrift store.
- after dinner, i’ll throw a load of laundry in the wash, and before bed, its tossed into the dryer. more often than not, it sits there getting picked at for this or that that we need for the day. but on the off chance it makes it to our drawers, i make a point to fold laundry with oliver there (and soon, maribelle) this makes it insanely difficult, and most of it gets unfolded, but he LOVES to help. the way he swells with pride at throwing his underwear into the drawer in a pile alone makes it worth it. which leads to our next tip..
- lead by example – this has been one of the biggest blessings in parenthood for me. before nap time and before bed, the kids are not only told to put their toys away, but shown. we put them away together, encouraging their good work ethics along the way, and its amazing how much they love it! we’re at the point now where oliver puts his toys away without asking and often without our praise. its a lot easier to clean up with the times come when there isnt a toddler fighting your every move but instead, helping right along beside you.
we truly think its a matter of making it a priority, and would like to think that priority of a clean home will leak into other aspects of our lives. wanting to finish a task, being content with work before play. or heck, work AS play. in our experience, a clean home has meant a cleaner mind. less to worry about, and more time to enjoy together. to be present, creative, and our best self. i would love to hear what ways you keep a clean happy home, or what you plan on changing!
“not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” — phil. 4:11-13