On Wednesday, Tsh talked about “guest-ifying” your home now, before the holidays are in full swing. Cleaning, decluttering and preparing for guests ahead of time is an important step, but once you clean and declutter, then what?
If you have young children, things probably won’t stay neat and tidy for very long on their own, and none of us want to spend the holiday season cleaning and organizing rather than baking, visiting friends and family and enjoying all that it has to offer!
I often get asked how we keep our home neat with four little ones. The key is that we literally clean up every single night before bed. We put things back where they belong, wipe down the counters and vacuum/mop any areas that need it. Because we do this as a family, it’s relatively painless and means that we wake up with a clean slate every day.
Here are some more tips to help you maintain your home and keep up with the household chores without sacrificing time with the people you love.
- Keep a pantry inventory to keep track of items your need to replenish.
- Plan your menus so you’re not buying extras you won’t use.
- Clean out your fridge each week before you go grocery shopping and wipe down the shelves as you do.
- Line the bottom of your oven with foil to catch drips and spills.
- Clean up stove spills/boil-overs right away so they don’t build up or harden.
- Get into a habit of running your dishwasher regularly and emptying it right away so that your dirty dishes don’t pile up in the sink. Or wash the dishes by hand.
- Rotate your pantry stockpile regularly.
- Use glass storage containers. They’re healthier AND you can see what’s in them.
Photo from Deal Seeking Mom
- Follow the one toy in, one toy out rule and give away a toy each time a new one is received.
- Clean up every day and put toys away by set so that the mess doesn’t build up over time.
- Rotate toys every 1-2 months rather than having them all available all the time.
- Request clutter-free gifts like craft supplies, experiences and books (you’ll never convince me that children’s books are clutter!).
- Give kids regular age-appropriate chores and have them help maintain their areas.
- Limit the number of bath toys in the tub at a time.
- Wipe down the sink every day. We use my husband’s towel from his shower (he’s supposed to be clean when he gets out, right?) or you could keep rags under the sink to use.
- Keep a written inventory of medicine so you don’t find out you’re out of ibuprofen at 1 o’clock in the morning with a feverish kid.
- Clean the bathroom while bathing your kids.
Photo from Decorating Your Way
- Don’t use your master bedroom as a catch all.
- Don’t let flat surfaces accumulate stuff; find a home for it.
- Think twice before putting something in storage — do you really need to keep it? Is it worth the cost of storing it, the time you’ll have to invest to take care of it and the space you’re giving up?
- Follow the touch-it-once rule — if you pick something up, find a home for it right away rather than setting it down to be taken care of later.
- When you take something out of storage, be sure to put it back in the correctly labeled box when you’re done.
- Store your regular decor in your holiday boxes so they’ll be easy to find when it’s time to pack the seasonal/holiday decor away.
By looking for little ways to maintain your home every day, you’ll cut down on the company-is-coming panic and have more time for the things that really matter!
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How do you maintain your home during busy seasons, especially when you might have more guests than usual?