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How to Have a Clean House When You Have Small Children

Cleaning with a toddler is…well…not for the fainthearted.

Why is it so hard to keep a clean house?! It took me a while to learn how to clean house with a toddler, or even how to clean with a 1 year old!

Knowing how to get cleaning done with a baby is so helpful.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people clicked on this and expected the post to be about how you CAN’T have a clean home with small children.

Y’know, the type that says to just let go and embrace the chaos?

Those articles have their place, but for some people (ME) having a clean home isn’t just about being house proud.


In truth, we barely ever get visitors so that just isn’t the case.

It is like the state of the home is directly connected to the state of my mind. If it is messy and unkempt, then I feel lost and out of focus.

Hands up if you’re the same?!

Well, sister, I’ve got good news for you, because I’ve got some simple strategies and products that have really helped me to maintain a clean home.

Related: How to Clean Your Entire House in Under 2 Hours

#1 Have a Cleaning Schedule

How to Have a Clean Home When You Have Small Children

First on the list is to have a cleaning schedule.

I’ve seen all kinds of cleaning schedules from the most detailed to the most basic. Find what works for you and put it into practice.

Having just one or two small cleaning jobs a day is a lot more achievable than letting it build up and having a mountain of work to tackle.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, you can download my free cleaning list –> HERE.

Having your cleaning routine written down is especially helpful during times of big transition, such as adding a new baby to the family.

Your mind is often filled to capacity and it is easy to get overwhelmed and forget what has and has not been done.

I also enjoyed having a written cleaning schedule because it was easy to then refer my mother to it when she asked what needed to be done.

For me, cleaning is like meal planning. The jobs just don’t get done (at least not well) unless I put the time in to plan them out.

#2 Get Organized

If you haven’t got any sort of home management systems in place, then now is the time to start.

Even if you do, but you don’t feel as though they are working as well as they could, you need to check out this course about organizing your housewife life.

For all of $5 you’ll get some awesome actionable advice to help simplify things and stay on top of it all. You can find that book HERE. Also, this course on home organization is brilliant!

#3 Use Time-Saving Tools

I don’t like spending money without doing thorough research first, especially when something costs a fair amount.

However, there are certain tools that I am SO GLAD that we invested in because they save time, keep my sanity, and keep my house clean.

Here are some tools worth considering:

1. A Robot Vacuum

Anyone with small children will give testament to the fact that there is junk on the floor all the time.

Crumbs, bits of torn up paper, and who knows what else. You may dread having to drag the vacuum out every night to give the place a good clean.

Well, consider investing in a robot vacuum. Trust me, they’re AMAZING.

How does it work? Every night before we go to bed you can just lift the dining chairs onto the table, pick up toys, cushions, etc so that the floor is clear.

Then set your vacuum to run while everyone is sleeping.

You will wake up in the morning and it is like elves have come and cleaned my living room for you. Seriously, it’ll be one of the best investments you have ever made.

The iLife V7 is a really great option for a very affordable price, but here are a few other brilliant ones worth checking out:

2. A Stick Vacuum

Y’all…dragging out my old vacuum with it’s too-short cord that was forever getting stuck and tangled REALLY slowed me down when it came to cleaning.

Plus, my kids were forever unplugging the darn thing and just generally getting in the way.

I had been eyeing out the Dyson V10 Absolute for several months and finally bit the bullet.


Honestly, I wish I could have bought it sooner because it has made the chore of vacuuming so much faster and easier overall.

3. Vacuum Mop Combo

Disclaimer…I do not own one of these. However, I have heard AMAZING things about them and it looks like such an incredible product.

Imagine being able to vacuum and mop AT THE SAME TIME!

I mean, I don’t know about you, but my floors are forever sticky with who-knows-what toddler food.

Being able to vacuum and mop all at the same time would save me so much effort.

You can find this incredible piece of equipment HERE on Amazon.

It is the Bissell Crosswave Floor & Carpet Cleaner.

4. Use One Cleaner for Almost Everything

I use 2 cleaners total for everything in my home. I have the toilet bowl cleaner and then a DIY solution that I make up (don’t worry it is REALLY quick and easy).

You can find how to make that at the end of THIS POST.

#4 Have A Place For Everything

This is almost more important than the cleaning schedule.

When we moved into our home almost two years ago, the storage needed adding to. I could never get the place looking clean enough because there just weren’t places to actually put things.

Flash forward to now and we’re much more organised. All toys have their home, as well as the rest of the things we have in our home. It makes clean up a breeze and much less of a chore.

How to Have a Clean Home When You Have Small Children

#5 Limit Toys

The tip about having a place for everything is also great for setting boundaries.

If the toys can’t fit in their toy box, then it means we have too many and its time to purge.

We tend to do a good toy purge every 3-6 months. Honestly, it often takes place shortly after Christmas and birthdays. The kids receive an abundance of new toys and there is just nowhere to put them.

As well as giving you the opportunity to declutter, it also can give your children a chance to donate the toys that they no longer play with.

#6 Designate Areas for Toys

Is your struggle that you feel overwhelmed by toys?

If you’ve already purged them, then the next thing I would recommend is having designated areas for them.

Set boundaries for your children and be consistent with them.

This can be especially helpful for things like duplo that can get really messy.

My eldest is currently 4 and loves playing with Lego. But in order to stop it from spreading from one end of the house to the other, we limit it to being in my bedroom.

He has his quiet time in there everyday for a couple of hours and plays with it then.

Decide where you want toys to live and be played with and then stick to your guns.

How to Have a Clean Home When You Have Small Children

#7 Recruit Your Children

Do not become a slave to your family!

Part of being a great mom is not just taking care of your toddlers and cleaning up after them, but also teaching them how to clean up after themselves.

Here is a great list of chores for 2-year olds as well as an in-depth post on how to get kids started with chores at a young age.

My little ones love to use the feather duster and dust down the baseboards.

We also set a timer and all pick up the toys as fast as we can. They think it is a fun game, but it keeps their attention and gets the job done very quickly.

#8 How to Clean House with a Baby – Babywear!

Most of the time I just clean when the baby is napping or playing on their own.

However, there are those days (weeks!) where they’re teething or just do not want to be put down.

When that happens and I’m really desperate, I babywear.

I personally love soft baby carriers, but have used more structured ones as well.

Here are some great options:

#9 Encourage Outdoor Play

You know what I’ve found? My kids make less of a mess in the house when I kick them outside. Groundbreaking, right? 😉

In all seriousness, outdoor play is wonderful for your children and it’ll mean less mess inside, so it is a win-win.

#10 Use a Plastic Table Cloth for Activities

If you are forced into having everyone crammed inside because of weather, or whatever else, here’s a great tip for activities.

Use a plastic table cloth.

That way, whether they’re painting, drawing, gluing, etc, your table isn’t going to get damaged and the mess is a whole lot easier to clean up.

You can get them for super cheap here on Amazon.

#11 Use TV When Necessary

Have you seen this video about what it is like to try and clean with a baby/toddler?

It is worth a watch even just for the sake of solidarity.

Sometimes you just need them to sit still long enough so that you can tidy up something without them coming behind you and undoing it all.

That’s when TV can come in handy.

You don’t HAVE to use this option, but also realise that you’re not a bad mom if you do.

#12 Use a Timer in 10-minute increments

Doing anything without being interrupted is really challenging when you have little ones.

So here’s a hack…just focus on cleaning for 10 minutes at a time.

This post actually teaches you how to keep your house clean in just 10 minutes a day.

10 minutes sounds a lot less daunting and is more achievable.

Plus, setting a timer will help you to stay focused on completing one job at a time because there is a minor sense of urgency.

#13 Prioritize Your Cleaning Tasks

The harsh truth is that when you are raising toddlers and babies, your time is severely limited.

I’m not suggesting that you lower your standards (chances are that you already have). Instead, I’m suggesting that you figure out what mess stresses you out the most.

Is it the toys? Is it the dishes? An untidy bathroom?

Whatever it is, make that your priority and let the rest come second.