If you have kids, how do YOU keep your home clean without literally following your kids around the house?

I have a large home and I cannot, for the life of me, keep my home clean. If we could afford it, I would love to hire someone. However, since I'm now at home with my kids and not working, it's NOT an option : ( rarely have company over and at times am embarassed to invited people in.

My kids are 14, 9, 2 and 1. My messes are not only all over my floor from my little ones, but on the floor and any flat surface from my older kids and husband. Okay, I'm a little guilty at times.

We struggle with the chore chart. We may be 70% with that. I spend what seems to be all of my time DOING LAUNDRY,taking care of the little ones, playing, reading stories, and cleaning up their messes during the day. During nap time, I'm eating my lunch, checking email, picking up toys, and prepping for dinner. After my older kids come home, the cleaning day is pretty much done. It seems all of my cleaning is not really cleaning at all, just superficial picking up.


After all are in bed, I often will stay up and clean. But then, I don't get to go to bed with my husband and I'm tired. It just seems to get messy anyway. Suggestions from experience are greatly welcomed! How the heck do people do it?

Update 2:

Great suggestion so far. Please keep them coming!

My husband does do a lot when he's home. As for the kids, I surely want the little ones to have good habits. I guess we will have to undo bad habits of my older kids.

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Download some templates here http://www.how-clean.com/how-clean-house-daily and configure your own schedule according to how many rooms and how many people live in the house. Split the "weekly" tasks for each day of the week. Split the "monthly" and "as needed" tasks and assign each one to a different month of the year. Then you know what to do each day and you know that this week is "windows washing" month, for example. So you just focus on the daily tasks and the task of the month/week. At the begining you might want to do other monthly tasks just because they need to be done but in the end you will have more time for yourself and things will get better done.

    Also check out the tasks that can be done by your

    14 years old http://www.how-clean.com/chores-13-years-old-kid

    9 years old http://www.how-clean.com/chores-8-10-years-old-kid

    2 years old http://www.how-clean.com/chores-2-3-years-old-kid

    Teach them how to do the chores and assign them the responsibility. 14 and 9 years old can get an allowance for each chore taken care of. The 2 years old can get rewarded with a favourite tv show, video game or story. Never reward your children with food.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well your 2 older kids should be able to atleast clean there rooms, and thats leaves you with the other things to worry about. I would suggest alliminate extras, things you dont need lying around and walk around your house with a trash bag and throw away broken toys, papers, magazines, ect...My frind has this rule of if she sees any toys on the floor it goes to the trash regardless if its in good condition that way her kids never put things on the floor.

    Another thing, that I do is power clean, I clean so fast as if company is coming over, you will be surprise how much you did in 1 hour, lol.

    But at the end you can not expect a clean house everyday.

    You should bring someone like 1 time a week to clean, look it the yellow pages for house cleaners, that way they will do the heavy cleaning.

    Good Luck!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    sound like the chore chart needs to be more in effect for the 14 and 9 year old, so that the 2 year old and later the 1 year old can follow from their example. You shouldn't be the only one picking up things, your husband should help too. He can help in putting his stuff back in place, and also talking to the older kids in picking up after themselves as well. If the chore chart is not followed, for every chore, then -1 hour of TV time (or some "cruel" thing like that) Good luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    Seems to me that your kids have too many toys and have not been taught to pick up after themselves. I wouldn't expect the 2 and 1 year old to do so, but you can certainly expect the older 2 and hubby to pick up his own stuff.

    I really don't understand why you are doing laundry all the time, but it is also a common complaint among some of my friends. How many changes of clothing do you folks go through? If jeans or shirts are clean, you hang them up, air them out and wear them again. Jammies only get washed once a week unless they stink (diaper leaks). Towels are exchanged once a week as are bedsheets. Babies should have bibs on that cover for feeding until they no longer spill on themselves (often 3 years old). If not, you need a bigger bib. Droolers, well, you pretty much have to change a shirt every day.

    I am not criticizing you, but my Mom managed 8 kids with a clean house. I'm managing a man and his 3 teenagers. It can be done, but I'd be willing to bet that you have lots of clutter and need to get rid of some of that. I'm a self-admitted packrat, so that is certainly one of my issues.

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  • I paid my older kids to help out. The chore chart is only as effective as the rewards that go with it.

    Why are you the only one doing the laundry? I might wash and dry the laundry, but come time to fold and every abled bodied person is called to come get their clothes from the pile and put them away.

    Playing with the little ones? Time to make a game of picking things up. The one year old isn't old enough yet to collect much, but the two year old can start playing what my kids called "collecting". In other words, pick something for them to pick up and tell them to collect it: dirty clothes, toy cars, blocks, whatever. To complete a collection all of that item has to be "filed": clothes in the hamper, toys where they belong, books in the bookcase, etc.

    Husband may be the only one working, but that doesn't mean he should be making your job harder. Tell him how you feel and then give him the choice, either he helps out a bit more, or you are going back to work so you can hire a maid. I got my hubby in shape by getting a part time job on his days off. After a couple of weeks, he was a lot more helpful about not making messes and leaving them for me.

  • 1 decade ago

    You take something out, you put it away. Period. Even the one year old is old enough to grasp that concept. Toys go in toy bins with clearly labeled pictures of what is to go inside.

    Your 14 and 9 yr old are old enough to do their own laundry. So is your husband. Right there, you should get some relief just by showing the kids how to do it--especially the 14 yr old.

    Designate specific areas for toys--kids' rooms, a playroom, whatever. Only 1 toy at a time is allowed out of that space from each child--no exceptions.

    When your older two children go to school, go through the house with a laundry basket--anything that was left out by either one of them is picked up, thrown in the basket, and not returned to them for two weeks. If the same items keep getting taken by you, you reserve the right to drop it off at Goodwill and explain that they must not appreciate the item if they are willing to leave it out.

    One thing that works great is to have a roll away bin for under the bed that you can throw bills and other paperwork so it's not on your counter and pull it out once a week to make sure everything is being taken care of.

    Each day you need to take time for one cleaning task and eat lunch with the little ones--that way you can clean during nap time. Example:

    Monday: you do sinks, toilets, and counters in the bathrooms. That should take you ten minutes.

    Tuesday: Vacuum 1 floor

    Wednesday: Clean mirrors/glass surfaces and Dust 1 floor

    Thursday: Dust other floor

    Friday: Vacuum second floor

    Saturday: disinfect showers/sinks (incl. kitchen)

    Sunday: scrub floors if necessary

    Your kids need to take on some responsibility--my 4 and 7 yr old niece and nephew take care of recycling, dishes, vacuuming, making their beds, setting the table, laundry, and making their beds. If kids that young can do all of that, there's no reason why your 9 and 14 yr old can't do it, too. Even your 2 yr old can help set the table.

  • Ari
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Well, with 4 kids you are going to be hard pressed to keep the house clean around the clock. I only have one 12 month old and he keeps me on my toes.

    I clean while he is occupied (napping, eating in his high chair, etc) or I get him to help me. He is still young enough to take some kind of pleasure from this. But even if he didn't enjoy it - he'd be doing it. Lord knows its not the highlight if my day!

    Once the place is clean (and you will have to have a new and flexible definition of the word) I make sure that messes do not accumulate by having him play with one toy or set of them at a time. Then he or I, (or both), pick them up before moving to the next thing.

    There is no simple way to answer for what will work with your kids. The most invaluable thing though is to start early teaching them that they MUST clean up after themselves as they go. This way the mess is never too big and one person never has to clean it all. No one person should have too. If any of them disagree including the Father, I say appoint that person as the one to clean up after everyone.

    Discipline is key. Your kids will learn to do one of two things:

    1. Loathe a mess

    2. Live with messes

    Either will last a lifetime.

    Source(s): Good Luck!
  • 1 decade ago

    Wow!! I'm getting stressed just reading this lol. First thing is to get your 14yr old and 9 yr old and start designating chores. Get hubby involved also. Even the 2yr old can start learning to pick up toys if you make a game of it. Don't make yourself crazy, you have a family, little ones, believe me one day these little ones will be grown and gone and you will miss the mess. Believe me I miss the little messes

  • ...
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    first, lower your standards. a little mess during the day is a sign of lots of creative play. :-)

    second, try having one or two times during the day when everybody drops what they're doing and helps clean up. (okay, the 1- and 2-year-olds aren't going to help much, but they'll feel excited if they can put a couple of toys in the bin, and the older kids will actually be helpful). at our house, we do a major cleanup before dinner (and i do an extra cleanup before bed). we put on music and do our best to make it a cheerful and fun experience.

    third, if you can afford it, get a roomba (robotic vacuum cleaner)! seriously, it's my favorite possession. it's expensive but not nearly as much ashiring someone to help out. i run mine continuously in different parts of the house. not only are my floors way cleaner than when i finally used to get around to vacuuming, but the kids think it's so fun to watch it go around and vacuum that they actually pick their toys up off the floor without any prompting so that they can turn it on! :-)

    the laundry thing kills me, too (i also have 4). there are weeks when everybody's clothes just end up sorted in the laundry room rather than actually carried back to their various rooms. but life goes on....

    the good news is that most other parents have pretty messy houses, too, in my experience, so don't be too embarrassed to keep up a friendship. i have one friend with a terminally messy house who says she keeps it that way so we all feel better about our (also not-so-hot) housekeeping. :-) in the end, friends are way more important than spotlessness.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well my kids who are 17 16 15 13 know what is expected, they do laundry and fold it, and dishes too.But the family room is always a mess, and its in the back so people dont see it, but if i know we have company then things get put away...My kids learnt the hard way leave things lying round it goes in the trash and i work full time so they have to help or know allowance. and yes some of there thing have been trashed

    Source(s): mom of 4
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