Let’s be real: kids can make a mess anywhere they go. And while there’s no need to make sure everything is neat and tidy all the time, the threat of actual filth can become very real. I know, guys. I’m not a neat person. There I said it.
Actual picture of me:
If you’re messy as I am and you don’t have a weird partner who loves cleaning as their evening pastime, it’s not just laundry that piles up. It’s everything: toys, dishes, little bits of paper, and more toys.
Sure, we don’t want to sacrifice memories with our kids for the sake of keeping house. But, if your house gets out of control, a huge mess can keep you from making memories too.
Honestly, all that stuff in the way can keep you from doing a lot of things.
Plus, studies show too much disarray in your living space, especially if you’re a stay at home mom trapped in it all day, can impact your emotional health.
While we’ve all found an unwelcomed accident or long lost sippy cup, some messes can get neglected and attract serious pests, create mold, and collect dust, which can agitate your health more than you think causing depression, anxiety, allergies, asthma and more. Studies show many ways clutter and mess can be hurting you and your kids.
I get it, working moms. It’s not easy coming home to the daily tasks that have to be taken care of after a long day on the job. But aside from these chores is the havoc everyone brings home in their wake. A trail appears of books and papers, dishes, clothes, towels, gadgets, toys, wipes and baby gear ON TOP of everything else.
On the other hand, as a stay at home mom, I clean off and on pretty much all day just to keep the mess from adding to today’s chaos.
So here are some tips from a reformed slob, more or less, on keeping that family area a place everyone can enjoy and your living area a spot that feels lived in but still livable.
- Reduce all unnecessary furniture and knick knacks to leave an open space that’s easy and simple to maintain. This space plus windows, light, a mirror, and neutral colored walls with some open spaces, will keep even small areas from feeling cramped. Rugs, pillows, blankets, and lamps help make a room look warm and inviting.
- Consider making the room a no food zone if you haven’t already or restrict snacks and drinks to a spill proof area with a washable surface (like a place mat stuck in place).
- Invest in a hand vacuum and lint rollers. These can keep crumbs and hair at by, and can be easily hidden nearby when not in use.
- Pick up an air sanitizer, plant, oil diffuser or air freshener, safe purifying sprays, fabric febreeze and softener sheets for your furniture and/or pet candle. When your room smells clean, it feels clean and inviting. We can get used to smells in our house and fail to notice them. Chances are, if you have kids and/or pets, you need to clean and freshen your air.
- Restrict toys, kids furniture, and stuffed animals. Pick those easiest to share and clean up. Evaluate items that may be hazardous for the room or not safe for your child. Consider loading an assortment of approved toys and stuffed animals into containers and rotate these so your child doesn’t get bored or overwhelmed. Then, hide these in storage items like ottomans, shelves, fabric cubes, or plastic containers that slide under the couch. It makes pick up time easy for kids when a manageable amount of toys have a place to go. Plus, the room looks presentable in minutes for guests. Trust me, you will feel like you reclaimed your room. It’s a family room, not a kids’ room.
- Get rid of carpets or cover them with rugs for easier cleaning. Carpet is the hardest part of life in high traffic areas, in my opinion. It holds onto hidden dangers and collects stains. Rugs can be shaken out, swept, washed, or even thrown out and replaced easily. Paper towels, broom, and a quick swiffer takes a moment to clean hard floors. If you can afford a robot vacuum that goes over hard woods and small carpet or rugs, reviews suggest this too cuts down daily cleaning and keeps your room tidy and more usable. Life changing.
- Minimize dust by eliminating excess surface space. When there’s no where to pile up mail and cups, they pile up less. Fewer blinds, ledges, and places up high to store dust can make a surprising difference.
- Stuff getting lost in your couch? Use pool noodles and double sided tape to create hidden barriers. You’re welcome. Tired of cushions falling off and burying your things inside? Buy a roll of adhesive Velcro patches from amazon for a few dollars to keep things in place.
- Hide a trash can. You can get trash cans that are wooden, paint them, or sneak them in the corner between and behind furniture. You can also do the same things with a hamper to snatch up rogue socks, blankets, towels, and more. Having these out of the way makes an easier place for them to go that isn’t the floor. Let’s just admit we’re not going to walk each thing to another room when it first appears. If you have stairs, use a cute storage cube or basket to toss every random thing that needs to go upstairs so anyone passing can bring it up. It also keeps items out of the way until then.
- Eliminate the tech clutter. Transfer movies into CD cases to avoid a messy TV area. Hide your TV if possible, and keep electronics out of reach and anchored! Move wires and chords out of the way using power strips and zip ties, etc.
Remember, dirt doesn’t hurt but mess isn’t best. Now, get ready to reclaim and enjoy your space again! What tips would you add to the list?