10 Ways to Keep a Clean House With Kids



1. Don’t buy toys.  The fewer toys you have in your house, the fewer things you have to pick up off the floor.  It’s a scientific fact that toys have a greater gravitational pull than anything else and will always, always end up on the floor.

2. Don’t let your kids play with the toys that other people give them.  Convince them that toys are only for looking at; see above reason.

3. Don’t feed your kids anything crumbly.  No cookies, bread, crackers, pretzels, cereal, or granola bars.  Especially granola bars – they get stuck to the carpet and hurt like hell when you step on them.

4. Don’t have pets. Between the hair, the slobber, and the extra poop that enters your life, you must resist every request, demand, or wheedle for a cat, dog, or rodent that your kids throw at you.

5. Don’t feed your husband.  Cleaning up the extra dishes from his meal, and the extra pots & pans from cooking his dinner after you have snacked on cheese & crackers and given the kids peanut butter sandwiches, are just not worth it – if you want to keep a clean house.

6. Vacuum every 28 minutes whether it needs it or not.

7. Never ever host play dates. The only thing worse than cleaning up after your kids, is cleaning up after other peoples kids.

8. Do not give your children crayons.  No matter how many times you tell them “ON. PAPER. ONLY!”  they will continue to color on floors, walls, and furniture.

9. Do not give your children stickers.  No matter how many time you tell them, “ON. PAPER. ONLY!” your husband will allow them to put stickers on the windows that will carry over to the floors, walls, and furniture.

10. Do not, under any circumstances, allow your children to play outside.  Not only will they track in rain, mud, snow and dirt, but you’ll be dealing with piles of boots, gloves and hats.

Spotless house guaranteed!

But, if having your house “show ready” is not high on your priority list, and you would rather spend your time making memories with your kids than preventing them from messing up the house, perhaps these tips aren’t for you.  Personally, I think my house is good enough. For all the screaming and fighting going on, there is also peals of laughter, belly-shaking giggles, and lots of great childhood memories being made.


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  1. 1

    Mom Off Meth says

    My husband, (who I am separated from, but still lives here) puts too much food into his mouth at each bite, so half of it falls on the floor, because he stands up when he eats. And he walks away.

    I have four kids. I rarely ever let anyone past the entry way.

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  2. 2

    The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful says

    Who wants to make memories when one can recline upon a spotless divan directly in the firing line of a ray of sunshine streaming through spotless windows and not be able to see NOT EVEN ONE TEENY TINY DUST MOTE? Eat that for breakfast, muthaf#@kahs!

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  3. 4

    Janine Huldie says

    Lori, you couldn’t have said it better and this is probably why my house is a disaster 9 times out of 10, but as my husband says, “Are they having fun?” Well, yes they are!!!

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  4. 5

    Amy - Funny is Family says

    If a messy house is an indication of memories being made, I am WINNING. Based on the situation in my car, we are doing some serious memory making there, too.

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  5. 11

    JDaniel4's Mom says

    I so need to only offer food picnic style on our deck. It would really make the crumb issue disappear. My son would go for it, but my husband might protest.

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  6. 12

    Anita @ Losing Austin says

    Crap, I’ve been doing it wrong!

    But actually, our one big tip is to have a regularly scheduled time when people come over- every Friday night for us- so we MUST get the house clean. Then, the weekend is better, and we don’t worry about it again till the next Friday, but because we get it truly clean and show ready that once a week, it never gets as bad anymore. Except when we cancel that Friday night and then catching up is a beast!

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  7. 13

    Debbie says

    Good job Lori. When my kids were small I was one that was always picking up the house. Take it from me it is not worth it. Like you say, making those memories is wonderful.

    I love seeing the little finger prints on the sliding glass door or even the TV. They grow up fast enough and there is always time to have a clean house. Thanks for sharing

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  8. 15

    Venassa says

    I can’t believe I never thought of all this before!
    As long as the mess is semi-manageable, I’ll deal. But I swear I sweep every 28 minutes and there’s still sand everywhere.

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  9. 17

    Amanda says

    I had a friend of a friend who wouldn’t even let anyone bring in a potted plant while her kids were little because of the extra work it would create.

    My house is always covered with a thin layer of dog & cat hair, but since I’ve rejected every request for a new pet for the last 2 1/2 years, I think I’m doing pretty well!

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  10. 18

    Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense says

    I was white-knuckling the hell out of number four for six years… But it turns out my dog is one of the cleaner house members. The order is: Me, 3yo daughter, pet snake, dog, 7yo son, husband. Well, to be honest, the son and husband tie.

    I always tell myself I’m going to vacuum more frequently, but… THE CANISTER!!!! I CURSE WHOEVER INVENTED THE CANISTER.

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  11. 19

    Kate @ zMOMbie.com says

    See, I actually find that #4 greatly helps with #3. I couldn’t keep this places clean from milk drips, crumbs, and spills without the dogs. Anytime something needs cleaned up, I call for “Clean-up Aisle 5″ and the dogs come and take care of it for me. Sometimes they even lick the kiddo’s fingers clean for me. :)

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  12. 22

    grownandflown says

    Lori, a full and complete list except I take the opposite view of #4. We have always had one or two (three would be simply too many!) chocolate labs as pets. They eat everything so, in balance, clean up more than they contribute to the mess. They adore being underneath the kitchen table when we eat and sometimes crumbs float miraculously right into their open mouths!

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  13. 23

    MomChalant says

    I agree – no toy buying overload. Kids like useless crap around the house anyways, like paper towel rolls, water bottles, pens, random books. Those kinds of things you can just throw away at the end of every day.

    I learned that’s much better than buying 32859375 toys the hard way : )

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  14. 24

    Samantha says

    I leave my house untidy on purpose… when people come to visit me, it makes them feel less horrible about how dirty their houses are! You’re welcome, friends! :)

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