Is it even possible to keep your house clean with a toddler at home?
For real, some days it feels like a tornado has gone through the house! I don’t know why, but toddlers can be master mess makers. It’s just how they are.
Between leaving their toys scatters everywhere, to dropping (or throwing…) their food everywhere, to drawing graffiti on the walls with anything available, it can be tough to keep a clean house when a toddler is following in your wake.
But, I have good news for you! It is totally possible to keep a clean house, even if you have a toddler (or more) following you around and seemingly undoing everything you just did.
And believe it or not, it’s not too difficult to do, either!
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How To Keep Your House Clean With A Toddler
1. Have A Place For Everything
One of the biggest reasons moms have a difficult time keeping the house clean is that there are often items that don’t have a designated place.
Maybe it’s a bunch of toys that don’t fit in the toy box. Or a stack of magazines that keeps getting relocated every time you try to clean.
Whatever it is, you need to find a place for it.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “a place for everything, and everything in it’s place.” Well, I’m here to tell you it’s true. So, so very true!
If you have items floating around your house without a place to go, they will inevitably continue to be relocated and cause your house to continue to be cluttered and unkept.
Finding a place for everything may call for some organization. Or, it may call for some cleaning out. Maybe your kids don’t actually need or use all of their toys. Maybe some of them can be donated. Or perhaps all they need is a new storage system to put their books and toys. (I’m personally a big fan of cube storage units!)
If you want to keep your house clean, you have to make it a priority to make a place for everything. Without a place for everything, you will simply be unable to fully clean up your house.
2. Minimize Clutter
This goes right along with having a place for everything.
If something doesn’t have a place, is unused, or un-needed, it may be time to clear it out of your house entirely.
Clutter is a huge problem for many families. And many families are getting sick of it. That’s why minimalism is becoming such a big trend!
While I’m not typically one to follow every trend that shows itself, I will say that minimalism is not necessarily a bad trend to be following.
One of the great benefits of minimalism is that when you get rid of unnecessary clutter, it will become much easier to keep your house clean. It only makes sense that with less stuff, it will be quicker and easier to keep up with the mess. Even with a toddler!
I know, it can be difficult to live minimally when you have kids. After all, babies and little kids need so much stuff! But, I believe that it is possible, if it is truly something you want to do and set your mind to it.
3. Clean A Little Bit Every Day
Another great way to keep up with housework and keep your house clean with a toddler is to commit to cleaning a little bit every day.
Many people don’t enjoy cleaning (kudos to you if you do!), and therefore tend to put it all off with the intent of doing it all in one day. This is a perfectly fine method if it works for you. But the reality is that this method is difficult to keep up with when you have a toddler.
The truth is that toddlers make messes, every day. Waiting to clean everything all at once can lead to the messes piling up into even greater messes.
I’ve personally found that I am able to keep up with my toddler’s messes when I commit to cleaning a little bit every day. Plus, it’s not nearly as time consuming and I don’t miss out on as much time that I would otherwise be spending with him.
Rather than doing a full house clean on Saturday, I do one cleaning chore per day. For instance, one day I might run the vacuum through the house and mop the floors. Another day I will clean the bathroom.
By cleaning this way, I find that I get the work done much faster. And by consistently cleaning areas of the house at a time, the mess stays to a minimal and always feels at least relatively clean.
4. Clean As You Go
Another great way to keep your house clean with a toddler is to clean as you go.
Did your toddler spill his cheerios all over the table at breakfast? Don’t wait till the end of the day to clean it up. Take the time to clean it up as soon as he finishes eating. That way, the table is all ready for lunch later, and you won’t feel like your dining area is a mess all morning or day.
Pro Tip: Does your dining area have carpeted floors? Consider getting a splat mat to put under your little one’s highchair or chair to help keep the carpet clean and make clean up easier. (This is especially helpful if you live in an apartment like we do!)
One way I clean up as I go is by cleaning up my toddler’s toys before every nap.
Either while he is eating a snack before he takes his naps, or right after I put him down for one, I do a quick go-through of the main areas of our apartment and pick up the toys that he left lying around.
Usually he doesn’t drag out too many toys between naps, so by cleaning up a little each time, it keeps the house feeling cleaned up and tidy.
As soon as he learns to pick up his toys himself (he doesn’t quite understand that just yet), we will implement putting away toys before naps as part of our daily routine.
5. Clean Basic Areas Every Day
If you really want to keep a clean house with a toddler, it is important to clean the main areas of the house every day.
This doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, either.
Every day, take a few minutes to make your bed as soon as you get up. Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket as soon as you take them off. Wash up the dishes or load the dishwasher after every meal. Wipe off the table and counters after every snack or meal.
I promise you, none of these tasks will take a huge amount of time or effort if you commit to doing them regularly. And the house will be so much cleaner because of it!
You will feel better. Your husband will feel better. Your kids will feel better.
It’s a simple thing, but it makes such a big difference.
6. Do One Load of Laundry Every Day
One of the biggest things that gets piled up in the house of a busy mom is laundry.
If you have a child, chances are you have a whole lot of laundry.
From clothes to burp clothes to washcloths and towels…the list goes on and on. But you don’t have to let the laundry overtake you.
To stay on top of the laundry and thereby help keep your toddler and house clean, try doing one load of laundry a day.
Doing one load a day helps to keep the laundry from piling up so quickly, especially if you have more than one child.
Designate one day to do the laundry for each family member. Wash your clothes one day, your husband’s the next, then your oldest child, and so on. Don’t forget to designate a day to wash towels and miscellaneous laundry as well!
Even if you are a working mom, this is one task that is not difficult to do and will greatly help you keep your house clean–toddler or no toddler. Start a load in the morning before you head out the door, then switch it to the dryer during lunch or after you get home. Then take the time to fold it at some point before you go to bed.
Doing this one simple task will help you stay on top of things, help you be more productive, and help your house stay clean.
7. Do A Quick Tidying Up Every Night
One thing that has really helped me to keep my apartment clean with a toddler running around is to do a quick tidying every night.
Right after we put my son down for bed, I take a few minutes to walk through my apartment and pick up stray toys laying around and put them in the toy box. I put blankets and pillows back on the couch (my toddler loves to pull them off…) and straighten up any end tables that have been moved.
I also take this time to clean up my son’s highchair and wipe the table off. All this takes about five to ten minutes, tops. But the outcome is so worth it.
This simple routine leaves the place feeling picked up and cleaner, and provides a much more relaxing atmosphere for the rest of the night.
8. Make A Weekly Cleaning Plan
Lastly, a weekly cleaning plan can greatly help you to keep your house clean, especially if your house is large or you have a lot of kids.
If you have never made a plan for your weekly cleaning, I recommend writing it down on pen and paper, or in your planner.
First list out everything that needs to be cleaned over the course of the week. Then, pick one or two tasks to do each day. Breaking up the list into days helps to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with the amount of cleaning.
I have personally found that I am able to clean faster and more efficiently when I do it a little at a time every day as opposed to doing the entire workload in one day. Breaking it up helps prevent me from getting bored or feeling worn out by the job.
Having a plan of action and then following through with it can definitely aid you in keeping a clean house, even with a toddler!
What helps you to keep your house clean with small kids? Share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!