Ah, the tidy house. To many parents, it’s a long lost dream, one that was swiftly consigned to the trash can as soon as their first baby was born. What was once a well-organised, beautifully maintained home is now a child’s jungle, one laden with more dust, dirt marks, and toys than most people can live with. So what is the secret then, for creating a house that’s in tip-top condition and also home to small children? Below, we take a look at six practices that’ll prevent you from having to make a choice between a lovely home and your kids!
Change Your Ways
Hey now, have you ever thought: maybe it’s not the kids at all...it’s you? If you’ve long been a neat freak, it might be time to change your ways and soften your insistence on a perfectly maintained home, at least until the children are old enough to understand the benefits of a tidy house. Of course, no-ones suggesting that you give up the ambition entirely - that could quickly spell disaster - but just accept that you can’t have everything at all times in life.
If you can’t keep the home organized, then you can at least organize the chaos that disrupts the house. Homes usually get turned inside out during only a brief period of madness, when the children are running around, throwing toys, and otherwise tiring themselves out. If you can limit this time to a particular time of day, you’ll be able to have a greater handle on your tidying up. If you’re constantly keeping your child in a state of enthusiasm without letting them get their release, you’ll be finding toys and other messes all day long. Let them play to the heart’s content: they’ll crash soon afterward! And that’s when you sweep in….
Parents run on autopilot, rarely stopping to think about what or why they’re doing any one thing. Make tidying as you go about your business part of your routine. You’re unlikely to be able to set aside a morning each week to get the house into shape; instead, use those multi tasking skills you’ll have undoubtedly have acquired and pick up the pieces throughout the day. Catching up with the latest news is a prime opportunity to get some dusting taken care of! It’ll keep the house in presentable condition until you’re able to get down to work.
It’s not so much the small tidy issues that affect our homes: it’s the big ones, the mud and spilled juices that can quickly have our homes looking shabby. You can’t prevent them from happening, but you can do something about them. If your carpet has been subjected to stain after stain, don't let it mess up the appearance of your hallway: get it deep cleaned by someone like Dan Dan the Carpet Man. Your carpet will look like new, and you’ll finally be able to move on from that spilled milk. You can do your bit, too, by committing to a deep cleaning session when your child is visiting their grandparents or in nursery school.
If you’re trying to juggle a home, a job, a relationship, and several children, then it won’t be any great surprise that the cleanliness of the home is the first one to be knocked down the pecking order. If you don’t have the time to get your house in shape, look at hiring a professional cleaner. Even if they only come once every week or two, they’ll be able to give your home that deep scrub it needs. It doesn’t even need to be a regular job - it’s possible to bring in help only when it’s needed. If the entire home is looking scruffy and you’re due to host a dinner party, take the stress off your shoulders by bringing in outside help for a one-off job.
You and your partner are a team when it comes to everything else, why not extend it to how you clean the home? You can double up and divide responsibilities, based on each person’s strengths and availability. It could be as simple as setting a couple of hours each week where one parent minds the child and the other takes care of the cleaning. Just make sure neither parent is left with all the less than glamorous jobs!
In reality, you likely won’t have your home looking its best until your children are old enough to know better, but with a bit of grit and determination, you can claw back your home from the grip of untidiness!