Easy Tips to Keep a House Clean With Small Kids

It’s no secret that keeping a spotless house with little ones around is almost an impossible task. No matter how many times you do the dishes, sweep the floors or try to de-clutter, mess after mess somehow piles up within minutes. In our house, this seems to be the case every day, no matter how hard I try.

This got me thinking long and hard of a NEW strategy to maintain the appearance of a clean house even with a little one running around and getting into everything…especially with Spring in the air!

What I found was that there are a few areas a mom can focus on to achieve this appearance.

Easy cleaning tips for the home when you have small kids. Three ways you can declutter and organize with little time.

1. Clean as you go

Sometimes I wonder how moms with young ones seem to have such a tidy home.  When I look around and see how organized everything is, it makes me feel a bit inadequate and question why I can’t do the same…that was until I discovered what they were doing.  Loading the dishes and wiping down the counters, while cooking dinner. Organizing cabinets and using natural cleaners to wipe down sink while watching kids in the bath.  Call it multi-tasking or just cleaning up as you go about your daily routine, but it really is how you need to start when big chunks of time aren’t available.

2. Use storage bins

This is probably the best kept secret of all. When you’re looking for a quick way to de-clutter, storage bins offer a great solution.  Our kitchen table somehow always ends up with at least one week’s worth of accumulated mail and random objects that need to find a permanent home. If a guest shows up on short-notice, I like to use these storage bins to at least fake the appearance of an immaculate kitchen table for the day.  It doesn’t offer the ultimate solution, but it really does help you get started in organizing things my categories — a bin for mail, a bin for magazines or a bin for random toys).

3. Don’t put things off for too long

I know all to well how easy it is to put things off (especially cleaning) when you are exhausted from chasing a toddler all day.  But I’ve definitely learned that an essential step in actually achieving a tidy home is to avoid putting things off for too long. Case in point: delaying laundry.  It’s so easy to keep running clothes through the dryer when you don’t feel like folding clothes. But the issue with this is it only leads to more and more clothes piling up.  Folding the clothes AND putting them away as soon as you can really does help you avoid the never-ending laundry cycle.

I hope these tips will help you take little steps to maintaining the clean home of your dreams, even with young kids around.

If you have any other tips to add please let me know in the comments!

Also, be sure to check out 12 additional areas to focus on for a spotless home!

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  1. Great tips! Storage bins are everything!

  2. Great idea to stay on top of things. Being organized and productive even when you are tired is difficult yet shows great rewards!


  3. Great tips!

    I’d also like to point out that these are good for people without small ones, because I know for a fact that life would be much easier for me if I did your #1 and #3. I’ve already got the storage bin tip down pact…but there comes a point when you have to not let those pile up too…sometimes I can’t even remember what they hold anymore.

  4. I absolutely hate folding clothes…but my 2 year old loves helping with laundry. I typically wash mine and my 2 kids’ clothes together. Then folding clothes becomes a family task. 2 year-old helps sort the clothes into 3 piles. 7 year-old folds his own pile and then I fold mine and 2 year-old’s pile and then she helps carry folded clothes to our rooms.

  5. More storage bins are on order! As well as under the bed storage bins. Like you our table gets assorted mail and glasses cluttering it, but it usually takes an hour to tidy. I’ll start tidying more as I go along, but my girls are older now and I need to persuade them to help out more.

  6. Tackling as you go is key! I discussed how I keep up with dishes on my blog http://thejewishlady.com/mt-neverest/

  7. I liked the first one, clean as you go. Its simple enough AND it works!! Im not a daddy yet, for that matter im not even married. But i surely will ask my girlfriend to pay your blog a visit!

  8. I agree with Yona! I have no little ones but these tips apply to me as well. Putting things off is my problem when it comes to cleaning. After a long day of work, it is so easy to come home and get involved in a good book or something, instead of spending a little time tidying up and before you know it, the entire house is a disaster!!

  9. I definitely do points 1 & 2, however I really need to work on 3! I am always delaying doing laundry or mopping floors – and then it gets to the point where I’m scrambling for things to wear and walking on a sticky floor!

  10. It’s hard to keep a home clean with big kids too. Clean as you go is so important. I also try and chunk out large tasks like dusting blinds or baseboards (which I hate doing) into a set time slot so it gets done. Otherwise, I’d totally blow both off.

  11. This is great! My messes drive me crazy! I love the idea of cleaning as you go! It makes all of the difference for me, especially when I’m cooking or baking.

    Thanks for the great tips!

  12. These are some great tips, and as a mother of two small children I’m always looking for some new ways to simplify my life. The first one I do a lot already, which really helps, but the 2nd tip is something I definitely need to look into! I have so much stuff that is just stashed away and needs to be more organized! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I love your article, I’m an OCD myself and I always though that cleaning your house clean and kids never go together! Good to see that people manage, maybe I will be less scared ha ha ha

  14. These are great tips! No kids here yet but I was a nanny for 3 years so I know it can be so hard to keep a house clean with kids!

  15. Great tips! I love storage bins as well. I’ve been using the Motivated Mom’s Chore Planner to keep on top of keeping my house clean. It has daily tasks to check off and I love it!

    http://www.motivatedmoms.com/products/ebooks/2014-ebooks/ (I’m not affiliated with them, but wanted to share the link because I really do think it’s awesome!)

  16. Oh, the days of having little ones running around the house. My are all teens now, but the messes are still there. These are great tips to keep up with it all. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I don’t have a little one yet, but I do try to incorporate “tidying up as I go” into my daily routine. It definitely helps and I see from your post that it is good practice to get into for when I start having kids!

  18. What an inspiration. It is hard to clean with a tiny person! I just wrote a post on how to clean during nap time. Sadly my three year old gave up naps right after I wrote the post. lol. I will publish it anyway.

    We Three Crabs

  19. I love your tips. Although my girls are 14 & 12, I still find it hard to keep things as clean as I’d like. I have always loved the flylady (flylady.com) ideas of 15 minutes at a time. You can do anything for 15 minutes. She also uses a zone system so you have a specific room to focus on each week.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  20. Great tips! I don’t have little ones, but I do have a husband — and sometimes the house can get a bit out of hand, esp. when we are both working crazy schedules. I love the clean as you go (in theory) and storage bins. Will need to get a few target bins — Mail that needs attention, magazines and things I want to get to, odds and ends that somehow found their way to the table and need to return home…AND then, I need to recycle all that junk mail instead of putting it on the table!

  21. I think having a basket for each child to put miscellaneous items in during cleanup can be very helpful. When the basket gets full, its time to go through it…it’s likely that most of it has been forgotten about by that point so it can be thrown away. And I agree that procrastination can definitely be a culprit with clutter. If it takes less than 1 minute, just do it now!

  22. I like too minimize what we have. It’s easier to clean up ten toys than twenty. Folding half a dozen shirts is faster than a dozen.

  23. These are great tips!! I put in one load of laundry and do the dishes/dishwasher/clean kitchen every morning. Since I have made this a habit, it keeps my kitchen clean and I never see Mount Laundry.

  24. Yes to all of those! I also have a cleaning schedule that I try to stick to. That really held to keep me from falling behind.

  25. Great tips! I have three kids, 4 and under, and I’m ALWAYS cleaning up after them. It seems like a tidy home is near impossible. Toy baskets are my best friends. 🙂

  26. I try to clean as I go also. I always wash the tub just before the kids bath time and when the kids are in the tub it’s the perfect time to clean the bathroom.
    I use bins for random toys around the house, and then take the bins to the kids room and put the toys away, but I had never thought to use bins for the clutter on my table as well!!!
    Laundry…I’m great at keeping the laundry clean, but horrible at folding and putting away! More often than not you will find a couple of laundry baskets full of clean clothes just waiting to be folded and put away! (Shh don’t tell!)
    ~Sheila ~SeeSheilaRun ~

  27. Great tips! Now to follow them 🙂 Thanks for linking to Turn it up Tuesday!

  28. Great tips! I have such a hard time finding time to clean up. Question though about the storage bins, where do you store them? I like that idea!

  29. You’ve got me with that laundry tip- I will fold all the clothes and leave them on the guest bed. We start stealing clean clothes off the bed until they’re gone and it’s time to do laundry again!

  30. Keeping a clean house is such a struggle. Shucks, my kids are much older and I still have trouble.

  31. Cleaning as a go is a rule I live by. It is the only thing that keeps my house in order. I am very anti-clutter so as I walk from one side of the house to the other I take items with me that belong in the direction I am headed. If I am not going all the way to the home of the item I at least take it as far as I go – one room closer to its home. Another rule I live by is if it doesn’t have a place, it doesn’t belong in my house!

  32. I would also add: let go of perfection and teach the kids how to help from a young age. In our family, I have the motto “Everyone helps.” If you teach kids to help from the time they are little, helping doesn’t become a punishment, it’s just a way of life. Even the youngest kids can help with stuff. And even before they are genuinely helpful, at least “helping” keeps them from destroying other things in the meantime.

  33. thanks for co-hosting the hop love the article I definitely use bins it makes it easier are your familiar with flylady lovely technique called the room rescue its where you and the kids run and around and pick up for 10 minutes you’d be surprised at what you can do in 10 minutes

  34. My house always seems to be out of control too (3 small kids), but I have found that as long as I go around and pick up all the little pieces of trash that has accumulated around the house daily, and pick up the laundry even my husband comes home and compliments how nice the house looks. It’s amazing.

  35. I hear you on this one! I have two little ones of my own and I run a home day care… so the house is often crazy and messy. I try to really limit the stuff in our house and TRY to do a morning and night routine to keep up with things. I love the book Sink Reflections for this problem. Thanks for sharing.

  36. <i don't have kids, but I have myself, which in some cases can be worse!
    I am the queen of procrastination, I'm teaching myself to tackle stuff right form the begginig!
    great tips, thanks for sharin!:)

  37. I love the storage bin idea! A habit I stick to every single day is going through the mail once it is in the house. From there I sort it into shredding, bills and magazines. I put the date the bills are due on the flap of the envelope and put them in their file in the office. I shred the shreddables. Then place the new magazine by my hubby’s chair or mine, depending on who it belongs to.

  38. First off, I absolutely love your blog, colors, design and content! Secondly, I really needed this advice. Although we do not have kids, as we prepare, I have wondered about best strategies for maintaining an orderly home. Your third suggestion about not putting things off too long is exactly where I am and what I am learning to do as it is just the two of us. Thanks so much!

  39. So true about the laundry, just delaying the inevitable, right!? 🙂 Visiting from #SITSBlogging!

  40. Love the tips! I don’t have kids yet, but I read a lot of discouraging articles about keeping a clean house after they arrive. These are very manageable tips!

  41. I really need to invest in storage bins.Thanks for the tips! #SITSSharefest

  42. Cleaning as you go is my favorite – if everyone picked their own mess as they made it, and threw in a little bit of “extra cleanup” as well, my house would look soooo much neater! Cartons and baskets are great too – I have a large number of them and they’re so handy. But most important I think: training those little ones when they’re young and keeping them responsible for it! Once they turn into teens a “lazy/messy” bug seems to strike ’em! 🙂

  43. These are some great tips. I’d like to add one more, although I can’t take credit for it, and at this time cannot recall which blogger implanted the idea, just know it isn’t mine. Limiting toys. She splits toys in three bins, only letting her kids play with one bin at a time, and alternating them out each month. The kids are really excited to receive the “new” toys and they actually get used. We used to have toys around that were thrown there just on the way to get to toys that they want. No more of that!

  44. Great tips! My kids are grown now but I do agree with your advice. Even without kids, cleaning as you go really cuts down on the work you would have to do later. Thanks for the great post!

  45. Hi Ana! These are great tips! May I also add that spending as much time out of the house as possible helps too. LOL Storage bins are a must, aren’t they! And ottomans with storage! Visiting via SITS.

  46. Great tips! I think back to when I had little kids and how difficult it was to keep things looking halfway decent. Here are some tips that helped me. Set up a toy area and enforce it. Ideally it should be a corner of a room where the rest of the family hangs out also – then you can supervise them and it makes them feel more like a part of the family. I used an old school desk in the corner of the livingroom where he could eat his snacks, and play with toys while we were watching TV. Also, I think you can to get them into good habits of picking their toys up and putting them away several times a day. Now that mine are older, I WISH I had trained them like that – their rooms are a disaster! I think it’s also helpful to focus on keeping the “public” rooms looking fairly nice, but not worry so much about the “private areas” like bedroom, laundry room, non-public bathroom, etc. It’s kind of like pick your battles… #SITSSharefest

  47. We use storage bins for toys, clothes..you name it.

  48. I find that there’s a sense of relief after I’ve cleaned up, even if it’s just a little bit. I’ve learned not to try to clean up everything in our play room, but by putting a little bit away I find myself feeling more relieved!

  49. I agree with all of your suggestions, especially clean as you go. I don’t have toddlers in the home anymore, but I am trying to teach my daughters to do this in their own rooms (making the bed, hanging up their clothes, putting books away). I think young moms also need to give themselves a little grace. Taking care of little ones is a hard job, but they’re only young once 🙂

  50. Ahhhhhh I have 2 little ones, too! Cleaning tends to be a process for real. Rooms could be clean one minute and then totally mess the next! Help!!!!! Also, laundry folding is my greatest challenge. In fact, I just finished folding 20 minutes ago. Well, I guess you just did…thanks for the tips.

  51. We have specific cleaning times that help keep our house clean. We have also cut majorly back on many items/junk to help keep it clean and it is working!

  52. Great tips! I don’t have small children at home anymore, but I still think these would work well for me. I do remember those days, though, where there were cars and Legos all over the floor ALL OF THE TIME. Thanks for sharing, Ana! ~ Bobbi

  53. I must confess to putting things off for too long – and then having to spend a whole day cleaning at the weekend. Clean as you go is really the only way to avoid wasting my free time which could be spent having fun with the kids.

  54. Clean as you go is something I have always known would be great for me, if I could get into the habit. I need to really focus on that. I’ve used bins, and they are great. I don’t have any cleaning tips to add because I am terrible at housekeeping!


  1. […] Forget about having an immaculate home…at least for now. You are totally within your right to slack off a bit and you shouldn’t feel guilty. With so much going on in your life keeping a perfectly clean house isn’t always possible if you are doing it alone. If you are hell-bent on getting that clean home appearance however, check out my easy tips for tidying up. […]

  2. […] Easy Tips to Keep a House Clean With Small Kids from Mommy’s Bundle […]

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