How to Keep A Clean House With Kids – 5 Doable Steps a Day!

How to keep up and clean the house with little kids? I’m going to teach you the simple way how to stay on top of your housework when you’re a busy mom by doing 5 simple tasks a day!

That phase in your parenting journey where your kids are all little and not yet independent is pretty draining. We’re constantly being reminded that: “these are the days” and to “enjoy every minute because it goes too fast!”

While that’s very true, its not really helpful is it? How are you supposed to enjoy those toddler years when you’re hardly sleeping, and the housework is going to pot around you? I refuse to believe that narrative that these years are just choas and its impossible to keep up on your housework with toddlers! There has to be a way to run your house and parent at the same time. There has to be!

Back in 2017, I had 5 kids 5 and under. Those days were a complete blur and I felt like I was in a hamster wheel, never getting the chance to stop and enjoy my babies. After a year of this situation, I decided something needed to change. I needed a system that would help me keep up on my housework (within reason) and enjoy life with my little kids! I’ve stuck with this method for the past 2 years and I can tell you it has CHANGED MY LIFE.

If you’re feeling like you’re in survival mode during the toddler years, this post is for you! Because nobody enjoys living in a messy house.

a mom and her baby doing laundry together

Why Even Bother Trying to keep a clean house with Kids?

If trying to clean the house with toddlers is like “brushing your teeth while eating Oreos” is there really s point in trying to keep up with the housework? I mean, wouldn’t it be better just to give in to the mess? I’m going to go so far as to say that keeping up on your housework will help you to be a better mother to your baby and toddler.

It might seem like “letting go” would be a relief, and it is at first! But the longer you let things go like the laundry, the dishes and the dusting, the harder and harder its going to be for you to ever get back on track. On a bad day when the kids are just driving you over the edge, you’re going to look around that messy house and feel like there’s no hope.

Of course there will always be those “bad days”. But wouldn’t it be easier to get through them seeing that at least you have some control over your household. I know its a lot easier for me to stay calm through the chaotic times that come with having a baby and toddlers when there’s some sense of order in our home. That smashed PBJ sandwich smashed down into the highchair doesn’t look as bad when I know there isn’t a mountain of laundry also on my plate because I haven’t done it in a week!

Keep your plate as clear as possible so that those accidents and inevitable messes that are piled onto it throughout the day don’t crush you completely.

How Do You Keep Up and Clean House When You’re a Busy Mom?

The short answer is YOU CAN’T. You can’t keep your house clean at all times with a baby and a toddler. They are constantly on the move and in order to keep it clean every minute of every day, you would have to be following them around with a mop all day long!

Here’s the thing, even if you can’t keep a clean house all the time with little kids, you can get your house cleaned in a reasonable amount of time. So what that means is you can have a plan to get your whole house cleaned in a certain amount of time you’ve decided on, if you have a good plan. Check out this post and printable checklist to get your entire house cleaned in 15-30 minutes a day!

You just need to change the way you think about what makes “a clean house”.

5 Steps a day to keep up around your house with Kids:

Here is the method I’ve been using for the past 2 years to keep up and stay on top of my housework with a baby and several toddlers at once. I do one thing in each of these 5 categories every weekday, keeping each task around 15 minutes (if its a bad day, I at least try for 5 minutes)

a laundry basket full of clean laundry

1. Laundry:

Taking one step in your laundry process every day will keep you from falling behind. Here is my simple laundry routine

2. Food Prep:

Every day, I make one or two extra foods for another day. That way I have something to pull out of the freezer on a day I’m feeling overwhelmed. I like to prep a big batch of overnight oats to pull out for breakfasts through the week. Takes me 5 minutes to whip up and it saves me a whole lot of time in the mornings!

more make ahead breakfast ideas

Part of this chore is to keep up on the dishes you use each day. Waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes is a sure way to start the day off on the wrong foot!

a white kitchen sink full of kids dishes. a striped towel lays on the side

3. Cleaning:

Get one extra thing cleaned every day. Its best to follow a cleaning routine to stay focused and not get overwhelmed when things get extra messy. Of course you should try to stay up on basic tidying if possible, but getting that one extra cleaning done each day really does add up over time!

4. Extra Cleaning or Organizing:

This category is more for cleaning the things that you wouldn’t clean in your regular routine cleaning. Spend 15 minutes or less wiping out the inside of a kitchen cabinet for example, cleaning out your car, organizing your closet. Something extra. It really helps me to feel more at peace knowing that I can make a little time each day to get to these things there never seems to be time for.

5. Project or Repairs:

For this category, I try to find something to fix that has broken. And with toddlers in the house, something is always getting broken! A ripped book, a toy that needs gluing. Or you could take 15 minutes to paint over a scribble on the wall.

Other things that you could do for this category are crafty things or home decorating. Something that makes you feel more happy and content in your home! It worth the effort to give this category some attention so that you’re happier being home with your baby and toddler all day.

twin toddler boys making dinner at a kitchen island

Tips for How to Keep Up and Clean House With Kids

Lower your expectations, but make sure you do have expectations!

No your house is not going to be as clean as you were able to keep it before having a baby and a toddler. But, do try and give yourself clear expectations for each day so that you feel like you’ve taken some small steps to keep up with your housework, even on the bad days.

Give yourself time limits for each area of your housework

If you tell yourself, I’m going to clean the garage today. That’s a pretty daunting chore! Most likely you’ll put it off day after day. I mean, who wants to tackle the whole garage?? But if you tell yourself I’m going to spend 15 minutes a day cleaning the garage this week, that doesn’t sound nearly as bad! And you’re going to find its easier to jump into 15 minutes of cleaning rather than a job that will take…who knows how long!

Look for times throughout the day when your baby and toddler are very occupied with something

My kids play best right after breakfast, so instead of settling down with my phone at that time, I try and tackle some of my housework while my hands are free!

Get your kids involved in your housework

Combine your housework with one on one time with your 2 year old. Teach him how to beat an egg or fold a wash cloth. Kids are so eager to be useful and “be big”, take advantage of this opportunity to teach them how to be helpful while they actually want to! Trust me, it doesn’t last!

Let your kids get used to seeing you work

If you are always doing your housework while your kids are napping or watching a movie, they are not going to get used to seeing you busy.. Its good for your toddler to know that mommy had to get things done for the family. The more he or she sees you working, the less they will want to bother you since it won’t be interesting anymore. “mom’s folding laundry again, how boring, what else can I do…”

Naps are a time to relax

Try if you can, to get your housework done outside of naptime. You need some relaxation too! If you put off your chores till the kids are napping, you’re not going to get a break and you’re going to get burned out fast.

a mom doing dishes with her toddler boys.

There You Have it! 5 Steps a Day to keep up and Clean House With Kids

Sticking to these 5 steps every weekday has literally changed my life and I hope that it will help you too! Remember, nothing changes overnight. It takes a month for a habit to stick, so give it a good effort and I promise you’ll see a change in the way you look at your housework and have more time to spend with your toddler and baby.

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Let me know what ways you find to keep up and clean house with your little kids? And feel free to share this post if you found it helpful!

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