Sometimes even I can’t believe that I’m a mother of four. I wouldn’t trade being a mom and having a big family for anything, despite how hard it can be. Among the many challenges of parenthood is keeping the house clean and tidy. Multiply the mess by however many children you have and it’s no wonder that parents often feel overwhelmed by clutter at home.
Try as you might to keep your house clean and organized, clutter is inevitable when there are kids around. Fortunately, with the right system in place, it is possible to stay on top of things and maintain a clean house, even when you have a big family.
Today I’m sharing tips that can help you tackle house cleaning tasks smoothly and consistently, even with a large family.
How To Keep A Clean House With A Big Family
Decluttering is the key to having a clean home and keeping it that way. A house packed full of stuff is much harder to maintain. Plus, visual clutter is overwhelming and demotivating. Start with a big decluttering session and then declutter regularly to maintain a tidier home.
A great way to keep things from piling up is to follow the “1 in, 1 out” rule. For each thing you bring into your home, get rid of something else.
Toys are an important part of child play but it’s easy to become overwhelmed when there are dozens of them constantly scattered around your house. Rotating toys is an easy way to keep the mess to a minimum.
First, I strongly recommend decluttering your toys. This will ensure that you don’t have unused or broken toys adding to the clutter. Then, consider rotating the toys you have. Toy rotation is an effective Montessori method that involves giving your children access to only some of their toys at a time, and then swapping them for different ones. This tip can make a huge difference for parents overwhelmed by toys.
Establish A Cleaning Schedule
Establishing a cleaning schedule can turn household chores into a habit and make it much easier to maintain a clean and organized home. One great way to use a cleaning schedule is to assign a task to each day of the week. This is a great way for busy families to stay on top of things.
You can also use a loop schedule. With a loop schedule, you write down a list of cleaning tasks and then accomplish at least one task per day. Once you’ve completed all the tasks on your list, you start again from the top. This makes cleaning feel less daunting overall.
When you create a cleaning routine, be sure to schedule periodic deep clean days as well!
Create Daily Clean Up Time(s)
No matter whether you have one child or ten, it’s impossible to keep your house clean at all times. Establishing set clean-up times throughout the day can help you maintain a clean house with kids and let you actually live in it.
For many families, it makes the most sense to have a clean-up session after mealtimes or in the evening as the first step in everyone’s nighttime routine.
Use A Chore Chart
A chore chart is a great way to keep track of chores and who they are assigned to. It can also keep your kids from constantly coming to you asking what chores they need to do. Instead, you can direct each child to their chart. Try using a chart like this one that you can stick on your fridge so everyone can see it.
Anything that can help decrease your mental load is a win in my book!
Keep Surfaces Clear
Surfaces like countertops and tables seem to attract clutter. All it takes is for you to sit one thing down, and then suddenly the surface is covered in random items that belong elsewhere.
Make a habit of keeping those surfaces clear by putting things away in the first place.
As a mom, I often feel obligated to take on the bulk of the cleaning. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but other times it’s necessary to delegate tasks. It’s important to get family members involved to teach the importance of working together and supporting each other. In two-parent households, it’s also important for children to see their parents working together to clean the house.
Start when your kids are young by assigning them tasks that are appropriate for their age and skill level. Kids as young as two can usually accomplish at least one chore on their own (with supervision), such as picking up their toys or unloading the dishwasher.
Avoid Dumping Opportunities For Toddlers
What is it with toddlers and their affinity for dumping anything and everything? Little ones, in particular, will jump on any opportunity to remove everything from boxes, bags, baskets, and even drawers and cabinets.
It’s a phase that they will eventually grow out of, but in the meantime, you can remove the temptation. Place dumping opportunities out of reach of your little ones and use safety clips to keep cabinet doors and drawers closed.
Break Down Large Tasks Into Manageable Steps
Big tasks, like trying to clean your living room or the kids’ bathroom can be overwhelming. Not to mention they can take a lot of time, which every parent knows is a hot commodity. Make things easier by breaking down those large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.
Vacuum the living room when you have a minute and then dust the furniture the next time you have a few minutes to spare. Or clean the toilet while your kids are preoccupied and then scrub the tub after you shower. But momma, don’t try to do it all at once!
Give Everything A Home
A great tip for eliminating visual clutter and keeping your house clean is to give everything a home. This means that every item in your house has a place where it belongs when it’s not in use and everyone knows that place.
Everything has a place and everyone knows that place. There are some obvious ones, like the coat rack or closet for jackets, a bookshelf for books, or the kitchen cabinets for dishes. You will probably have to create a home for other items. Baskets, like this woven storage basket or this cotton rope basket, are great for putting things away.
Do A Load Of Laundry Every Day
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the laundry piles up in our home. I’ve found that doing at least one load of laundry every day keeps it manageable. It’s even more manageable if you can teach your children to fold laundry and put their own clothes away. My post on How to Organize Baby Clothes is super helpful for putting away all of those tiny clothes.
Use A System For Papers
Papers pile up fast. As much as I wish I could just throw away any papers I find around the house, there are some that I have to hold on to. Rather than having a pile (or more) of papers lying somewhere, create a system for storing and organizing them.
Unless you have a ton of important papers to keep, you don’t have to use a bulky filing cabinet to store them. Instead, use a filing box or expandable file folder that you store out of sight. And if you have lots of your kids’ creative work piling up, use my tips for storing children’s artwork!
Teach Your Kids How To Clean Their Own Rooms
As easy as it is to tell your kids to clean their room, it’s pointless if they don’t know how to do it.
Save yourself time and frustration in the long run by showing your kids how to properly clean their rooms. This includes vacuuming and dusting, as well as putting things away where they belong. Do it with them once or twice and then they’ll be much more likely to clean their space properly.
Clean As You Go
To keep your home as clean as possible, clean as you go. Do the dishes after each mealtime. Wipe down the bathroom counter after you wash your hands. Put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper as soon as you take them off.
These seemingly small tasks make a big difference overall.
Be Realistic With Your Expectations
Having a pristine, clutter-free home is an unrealistic goal for a big family. This was a hard thing for me to accept, but important nonetheless. A big family and a home are blessings. Before you know it, your kids will fly the coop and you might even miss the mess. Mama, try to be realistic with your expectations and realize that the occasional mess is a part of this very precious time in your life.
With a few simple tricks and methods, keeping a clean house with a big family is possible.
Cleaning your house doesn’t have to feel like a constant burden. Being consistent and incorporating some of these tips and tricks can make keeping your home clean more manageable.
What are some of the ways you keep a clean house with a big family?
For more tips and tricks on maintaining a happy and healthy home, head over to my blog.