I was a miserable failure of a housewife when I got married. I’ll tell you a story about how hard I thought homemaking was when I was pregnant with our oldest. I’ve always been horrible about the laundry. One day my mom came over when I was about seven or eight months pregnant to help me with our laundry. When I opened our closet a huge mountain of dirty laundry poured out onto the floor. She was shocked that I had so much laundry. To be fair, our air conditioner was out and it was summertime in Arkansas, so honestly I didn’t feel like doing any housework while I was pregnant that year. After our oldest was born, I found that keeping up with all of the day-to-day homemaking tasks got a little more difficult. After all of these years, I’ve finally gotten better with my homemaking skills, and I have a few rule for homemaking with little ones.
The Five Rules of Homemaking with Little Ones
Let’s get real for a second. There will be mess, and lots of it when you have little ones. Just today, I cleaned up my entire kitchen. I swept the floors, cleaned out the microwave, and washed dishes. I even cleaned the crumbs off of the seats of the chairs. Guess what happened after lunchtime? There was a pile of crackers underneath the table and even more dishes to wash. Mess is a fact of life when you are home all day with little ones.
The simplest way I have found to deal with the mess is to just have less stuff to begin with. When my kids have access to a large amount of toys, they tend to just throw them around the house. They aren’t actually playing with the toys. Instead, they are making a huge mess with them! Declutter your home on a regular basis (and you’ll have to do this frequently when you have small children).
Keep only the toys around that your kids truly love. Every few months I go through my kids’ rooms and get rid of stuff. I’ve been amazed at the amount of “junk” toys they end up with. These are the toys that come in “happy meals,” they are the party favors, they are the small pieces to toys that they don’t play with. I end up getting rid of a lot of that stuff, and it makes a difference.
Here are a few of our must-have toys:
- Wooden blocks
- Baby dolls
- Play kitchen food
Make Organizational Bins Your Friend
I use organizational bins for everything! I recently set up a new cube shelving unit in our living room for our homeschool stuff, and I love the organizational bins that are in it. I use two of those bins for baby toys. I also have the same types of bins in my kids’ rooms to sort their toys. I can’t tell you that the bins in their rooms stay organized, but I’m working on teaching them the art of sorting and keeping their things sorted!
I also use the Hefty storage bins for many things. I keep our play kitchen food in one, LEGO duplos in another, and other toys and odds and ends in others. Of all the storage bins I’ve used Hefty is the best because they actually hold up.
Set Clear Rules
This is important for keeping your house in order. We have set a clear rule that there will be no eating in the living room. When we let our kids snack in the living room, food ends up in odd places. Drinks get spilled and then the ants come marching in. All meals are now eaten at the table. I’m also working on implementing actual snack times, though I’ve been pretty lax about that right now with the new baby.
Another rule I stick to is the toy rule. The toys that we keep in the bedrooms do not get to stay out in the living room.
We also have a shoe rule. I bought a bench to go in the entryway and all of the shoes go inside of it. I hate tripping over shoes!
Teach Your Kids to Clean
With five kids to clean up after, I can’t do it all myself. The kids have chores and responsibilities. Mr. Simple and I tell them all the time that we all have to work together to keep our home clean. We do a daily zone system for our chores and it works fairly well. Of course, our kids are still young and often have to be reminded to do their chores.
We work alongside the youngest children. My 16 month old can put toys away in a bin. My three year old can use a small dustpan and broom to get the dirt pile off of the floor and into the trash. My five year old can unload the dishwasher, and my seven year old can take out bathroom trash. Even though they can’t do the chores perfectly, and we often have to go behind them and finish the job, they are learning that they are a valuable member of the family and what they do helps the family as a whole. And, eventually they will be able to do the chores without help!
Hide the Chocolate!
Have a chocolate stash for yourself, mama! (Or whatever you like to indulge in.) Even with all of these rules, I still feel like I’m spinning my wheels most days. There’s always a chore to do, and there’s usually always a pile of something to be put away. That’s life with little kids!
I recently read an article about vacuum lines. I saw a picture of someone’s living room online and noticed their carpet had vacuum lines. I’ve honestly never seen carpet with vacuum lines in person (haha!) Vacuum lines in carpet means there are no little people running around your home and making it a joyful place! Enjoy your children and realize the days of endless laundry, toy piles, and constant reminders to clean up after themselves are temporary!