10 Ways to Keep a Clean House With Young 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.

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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.

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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.

Related post: What Normal Looks Like 

About the writer

Lori is an artist, a writer at The Next Step, a wife, and a mom. She tries to see the humor in each challenge of raising a 5 year old and twins who are 3 - all girls.  When she stumbles along the way, she gets up and tries again. Ear plugs are her main accessory.


E. Burben 11 months ago

Nothing makes the time pass more quickly and puts people in a cheerier mood than some upbeat tunes. Your kids will dance and sing their way to a tidier place. With younger children, you can play “wax museum,” where kids must freeze in place like a wax statue every time the music stops.

Cardea 12 months ago

I loved this post & I get the humor but my mom’s BF was really like this. We couldn’t play at her house or take out any toys. Away from home her kids were monsters & destroyed my room every time they came over & then left it for me to clean up. I hated to see them coming.

sophia 1 year ago

I didnt clean the house becuse I dont want to clean my room.

Hols 1 year ago

Invite mom over, she will feel compelled to clean. Problem solved.

*this may only work with my mom

Sammi 1 year ago

My grandson is 6, and lives with us. He has Autism and he loves to shred paper, or cardboard, or boxes from the pantry, and canned goods labels, and pretty much anything else he can get his hands on, oh, and labels from 2 liter soda bottles. I would have to remove every shredable item from my home. And then I could have a clean home, but an unhappy angel… Can’t have that. On the bright side, I have never had to invest in a paper shredder, or worry about identity theft from someone getting information from my trash. There is so much shredded paper in my trash, they would never be able to put anything back together!

Me 1 year ago

Uh, thy might as well be in military school!

Jen Sowden 1 year ago

All I need is to save enough money to send the husband on vacation with the kids for three weeks and spend the first 4 days cleaning, the next 4 days painting, another 4 days recovering from the work, and 3-4 days to sit in the peaceful calm of my sparkling clean house.

Marnie Chan Demeterio 1 year ago

I thought “Get your own spotless apartment and leave the kids with hubby” would be on the list.

Suzy Millar 1 year ago

Lol, hilarious and true. Who wants a clean house anyway?

Alicia Lucero 1 year ago

Ha! Yeah right!!

Brittney Nicole Gilmore 1 year ago

LOL I knew there was an easy, logical way to do it!

Vanessa Franklin 1 year ago

Leave the house!

Alison Wilkinson 1 year ago

Very funny! Wish i had followed a few of them…

Marilyn Graham 1 year ago

Too funny……they did mention the biggest kid if the husband…..

Giselle Avila Lujano 1 year ago

I wish…

Lauren Christine 1 year ago

Hire a cleaning lady

Kimberly Thompson 1 year ago

Love it! It’s too late on toys thing, but I think she’s on to something with the not feeding the husband thing. He makes the most mess some days!

Krysta Barnhart 1 year ago

Lol…you can tell by the comments who actually Read the post :) I have 6 kids and when they were all younger (like 11, 9, 6, 4, 2 and newborn) it was Tough…I mean, sometimes you couldn’t see the floor in the boys room! 5 years later it has improved a lot… Hang in there mamas ; )

Lindsay Sadler Keane 1 year ago

#4. I can deal with all the other crap.

Cindy Allen Gillespie 1 year ago

How about don’t have a physically and mentally demanding full time job? That would also help…

Rheanna Rocha 1 year ago

Real tips : clean up messes as they happen, have the kiddos pick up toys at the end of the day (it’s a waste of time to pick up after kids constantly all day), unload the dishwasher as soon as it’s done, laundry done and put away in completion one load at a time (we do about 3 or 4 loads a week, family of 3), sort the mail and put away immediately, sweep up the kitchen floor/wipe down kitchen/load dishes into dishwasher after all meals, everyone eats at the table to contain the mess and crumbs, and have a cleaning schedule. I vacuum, dust, and mop downstairs on Monday, upstairs on Tuesday, all bathrooms on Wednesday, really clean the kitchen on Thursday, and do bill payment, meal planning and grocery shopping on Friday. Most days I spend half an hour to an hour on those tasks.

Colleen Pitcher Warren 1 year ago


Merry Sunshine 1 year ago

Damn. Am I the only one who opened this hoping for a magic bullet of cleanliness. Sigh. Guess I’ll just continue averting my eyes from the chaos.:)

Stephanie Trujillo 1 year ago

What a waste!!!

Strawbie Wiegand 1 year ago

Get a life people.

Jen Hoover 1 year ago

Beads. Beads should be added to this list of things never to have, give, or let them use.. They spill and its game over. You’ll be finding the, for months..

Nancy 1 year ago

Or never get married and never have kids. That might work. Lol. My house is always messy and I don’t care. We try to clean one room a day to spotless and rotate it. That way each room is clean like once a week. Haha

Jane Hughes 1 year ago


Eliza Besosa 1 year ago


Maria Leticia Vazquez Alvarez 1 year ago

Put the toys, tv, kids, husband, confined into one room and order take away. Then you will only need to clean one room, or maybe just keep the door closed.

Scouter Betty Jean Marino 1 year ago


    Angela Roster 1 year ago

    Starting by making things go away. I’m tryyyyyying!

Allison Campbell Hyson 1 year ago


Morg Pan 1 year ago

#10 should say Don’t have kids!

Nicole Miano 1 year ago

Lol! Awesome!

Sheila Kuras-Maki 1 year ago

Sadly I began reading this hoping for real answers!!! Guess my OCD type A personality just will have to try and relax! I will need to try and embrace the messes!!!

Debora Frank 1 year ago

Got me!

Tracy Webb Simpson 1 year ago


Shannon Klein 1 year ago

Um, I actually do most of these (still getting over the PTSD of a newborn) and yet my house is not clean- WTH!?

Michelle A. Cropper 1 year ago

You can’t necessarily have a “clean house” but you can make it easier on yourself as a mom. One, don’t let your kids eat any where other than the kitchen so it’s easier to clean up messes. Two, pick out your kids favorite toys and leave those out. Put the rest away in a storage space. Then switch out the toys every 3-6 months. Three, try to leave what chores you can for the end of the day. I now do the laundry during the day and try to save the dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning up for the end of the day. The really deep cleaning, like mopping the floors and cleaning the bathroom I leave for when the kids and hubby are asleep. These three things have really helped me to not be so exhausted this pregnancy.

Allison Spiva Hunt 1 year ago

I’ll give tips. Have a cleaning schedule: Monday- bathrooms, Tuesday- dust and vacuum etc. then you only spend 30/40 mins a day doing something. You have to do it every week though then it will just seem like house is always clean. May not be perfect or spotless but it will always be visitor ready. Do one load of laundry a day and it will never get too ahead of you. Pick up at end of day and have kids help.

    Stephanie Terkelsen 1 year ago

    Good tips, just wish it were that easy around here. Bathrooms are pretty much a daily thing in this place with all the boys (including my husband) running around. Laundry though can definitely work that way as long as you stick to it. Unfortunately I spend a good 30 minutes just rounding up dirty clothes and garbage (because no one can seem to figure out where the garbage can is). Then there is the animal hair. I like the way you think though. I need to figure out some way to schedule it all out so I’m not stuck spending every second trying to keep up.


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