Keep a clean house with kids underfoot

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I was reading a post on another blog over the weekend about people having trouble cleaning the house with kids underfoot. I started to comment, but it got too long – so I decided to write here.

The first thing you have to do when you have kids is give up the idea of perfection. I had trouble with this one at first!

The next step is finding a plan that works for you. That’s how Secret Confessions of a Clean Freak came about.

The next step is finding ways to encourage the kids to be willing participants. Here’s what worked for me –

When my daughter was little, we had bins for everything. There was a BIG Rubbermaid bin in the dining room for art supplies. When they were done, they had to throw everything in the bin before they could move on to the next thing.

In my daughter’s room we had bins or crates for everything. There were 3 crates of beanie babies. A bin for dog, a bin for cars, stuffed animals lived on the top bunk of the bunk bed.

There were waste cans in every room. Garbage goes in the cans, dishes go by the sink, etc.

The neighborhood kids wanted to be able to continue playing at our house; we had so much for them to do. Movies and nintendo in the front room, art in the dining room, computer games in the back office… but I am a single working mom. They knew that if they left a mess, they wouldn’t be welcome. They knew I was serious. It was the price of admission.

I don’t yell much, but when I did – they didn’t like it one little bit. I always found that amusing. And getting kicked out was devastating for them. When I would get home from work at night, I would have a stream of kids following me up the stairs. I think they were at my house more than at home.

They didn’t clean up at home – but they did at my house.

Here are 3 tips to make this work –

  • Start them young.

  • Make it easy for them to do.

  • Give them a good reason to do it.




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