I often get asked how I keep my house so tidy with two young children & how I juggle work/parenting/cooking/cleaning/general ‘lifeing’. It can be tricky & sometimes it feels like you’re spinning multiple plates but we are fortunate in that as a family we seemed to have found a great system that just works for us.
Honestly, I don’t spend every waking second hoovering & dusting. I do let my children play & they do have hoards of hideous plastic toys which despite having a playroom seem to find their way all over the house. We are a normal family.
The difference is that we have a system in place & I’m going to tell you how we do it.
1. Make a plan – write out a list of all the jobs that need doing then segregate them into manageable bitesize chunks. It’s no good feeling overwhelmed & trying to do everything at once or leaving it all until it becomes too much. Work out what needs doing, when & who’s going to do it.
A bit like this –
- Monday – Laundry / hoover downstairs
- Tuesday – Bin day / dust
- Wednesday – Laundry / hoover upstairs
- Thursday – Food shopping / declutter 1 hour
- Friday – Laundry / hoover downstairs
- Weekend – Strip bedding
2. Routine – life is all about routine & us humans love it. From newborn, the crucial part is to get your little bundle of love into a routine so that they will hopefully sleep through the night & be content, confident children. I swear by it. It also works when it comes to housekeeping & knowing what is happening & when is so important. My children know that we tidy up all the toys before each meal so before we have lunch everything is put away & the same at dinner.
3. Involve everybody – housework is not just one persons job. If you live there then unfortunately the mess is particularly yours so you have to participate in tidying it up. I’m ridiculously lucky in that my husband has been super well trained & has probably overtaken me on the tidying front which I never thought possible. He’s the one who will wipe down the sides whilst I sit on the sofa with a cup of tea. God bless that man.
It’s also important to involve your children & even though Rory isn’t even two yet, he knows to help & although both of them are pretty awful at it…it’s the principle of them attempting to help, even if their version is shoving toys into corners of the playroom. Eventually they’ll have jobs such as making their own beds, folding up laundry, emptying the dishwasher & so on.
4. Make it fun – well, as fun as tidying up can be. We actually have a tidying up song with is basically me singing ‘TIDYING UP, YEAH WE’RE TIDYING UP UP UP’ over & over again whilst stomping around & clapping my hands. Crazy I know but hey, it works & motivates a 1 & 3 year old to get away from the TV & help. Mr THTMM & I will mix it up with either racing on who can tidy a room quickest or put on some music & try to complete everything by the end of a song.
5. Little & often – I absolutely swear by this. I’ll regularly decide to have a little ‘whip around’ & get the house back in order. Everything that has generally made it’s way to where it shouldn’t have (or doesn’t ‘live’) gets put away. I’ll spend 10 minutes several times a day running around & complete a couple of little bits whether thats unloading the dishwasher from the night before or sorting out a drawer which has accumulated junk. If you do it constantly then it never builds up or becomes unmanagable or overwhelming.
6. Don’t stress the small stuff – one thing I have learnt is that putting too much pressure on yourself to maintain the Instagram worthy show home is firstly unhealthy & secondly unrealistic. If you don’t even bother getting dressed but the kids are alive & well then you’ve made it through the day successfully. One persons clean & tidy isn’t another’s & even though I may be OCD when it comes to my own home, I couldn’t care less about friends/families when I visit. Remember, we are our own worst critic & nobody is judging as much as you are!