It’s true, cleaning the house with kids around can feel like raking during a tornado. Here are some simple tips to help keep your house clean (or at least clean enough…) during the long summer days when kids are home from school.
⇒ Eat as many meals and snacks as possible outside. Let the squirrels clean-up the crumbs! In fact, spend as much time as possible in general outside. The less you’re indoors, the cleaner your house will stay.
⇒ Fight the urge to come home from summer activities and dump the day’s supplies in the foyer or the hall. There’s no denying that kids require a lot of “stuff” – hats, sunscreen, sporting equipment, snacks, etc. But taking an extra 5 minutes to clean out bags and coolers right when you get home keeps it from becoming a bigger task down the line.
⇒ Put kids in charge of their own rooms. It may not be perfect, but having them make the bed and throw dirty clothes in the hamper goes a long way towards making the room look neat.
⇒ Vacuum. Walking on crumbs is the worst, and vacuum lines in the carpet make a house look cleaner even if the shelves are dusty.
⇒ When attempting any major cleaning (the kitchen, bathrooms, etc.), quarantine the kids to another room in the house, and accept the fact that you are likely sacrificing the room the kids are in for the greater good of the rest of the house.
⇒ Spend a few minutes each night picking up. Even kids who are reluctant cleaners might embrace the task if it means delaying bedtime by a few minutes. If everyone puts away a few toys and crayons, it’s a quick job and clutter is less likely to pile-up. It’s also a great habit for kids (and grown-ups!) year ’round, where part of the pre-bedtime ritual includes taking a minute to tidy your surroundings.
⇒ Lower your standards just a little bit. Summer is busy and fun, and long days spent playing outside don’t lend themselves to housework. If your house feels clean enough to you, perfect! Save the deep cleaning and major organizing projects for the fall. It will be here soon enough.