Keeping your home clean is not just about the daily cleaning. Your family’s habits play a vital part in a mostly clean and organized home. Kids that leave their books everywhere have a harder time finding them when it’s time to do homework. Teens who never put their clothes in the laundry usually don’t have much to wear.
While these regular habits don’t deal directly with cleaning, they will help create an environment that is easier for you to clean. Think of them as community rules to help everyone do their part in taking care of the home.
Setting the Stage for Success: Regular Habits
Clean up as soon as you’re finished with something.
There should be no “I’ll do it later” when it comes to cleaning up projects, crafts, or anything else in the family home. “I’ll do it later” is an accident waiting to happen.
Keep the job as small as possible to ensure you can clean up quickly. If you’re using chemical cleaners around kids, these must be out of their reach and put away in a locked cabinet as soon as possible.
I can guarantee you with 99% certainty that your child will find whatever cleaner or tool you left out because you were going to put it away later. My kids have been known to walk off with tools while my husband and I were using them. If your kids are too young to understand not touching adult stuff, then keep the cleaners and tools out of their reach. When kids are older, protect yourself by using a container for your cleaning or project. Then, you won’t be wondering where you put that screwdriver down.
Decide what the family rule will be for toys.
Toys can be a nightmare. Did you ever step on a Lego while rushing to comfort a child wailing from a nightmare? Yes, you know what I mean!
Are toys only for certain areas in the house? Do kids need to put a toy away before getting out a new one (good rule for board games), or can they play organically with a variety of toys and then clean up?
I would advise against keeping toys in the bedroom unless you have a smaller family. My four younger kids share 2 bedrooms. Between the dresser, 2 beds, and bookcase, there’s not much room left for anything else. One project on my list is to create a treasure box for each of the younger children in case they have a special rock or toy figure they don’t want to share with everyone else. Otherwise, the toys stay out of the bedrooms.
Involve your kids in taking care of the home as soon as they can help.
Your kids live in your home, too. They make messes. They need to learn to help clean up the messes.
My youngest son loved to stand on a chair next to the washing machine and throw the dirty laundry into the machine. Sometimes, it made the process about two times as long, however, he felt like he was “helping Mommy.” That’s so important to kids. They want to help and do what their parents are doing. Encourage them as much as you can while setting limits when it’s only feasible for you to do the job.