Ah spring. That time of year when we feel like we should clean up a bit. Actually, spring kinda makes me want to clean up a lot. Something about the sky being blue again, I think.

And babies and toddlers make it all the more…. difficult, shall we say.

My 8pm rituals.

My 8pm rituals.

I’ll be straight with ya: I don’t have a cleaning person that comes to my house to rescue me on a weekly basis (ok, I sometimes call someone every few months, but that’s about it). Thought I’d share my daily to-do’s that help me stay on top of the ongoing mess at my house. Feel free to steal, borrow and/or share should something work for you!

1) Clean the kitchen every night, NO MATTER WHAT. (Granted, I do have my nights when I say “to heck with it all”… but I don’t do it often.) After my girls go to sleep around 8pm, I take about 30 minutes to wipe the table, clean the floor and load the dishwasher (yes, I run my dishwasher every single night before going to bed). My Swiffer and my magic dust-buster are my very best friends right around 9pm. No dishes allowed in the sink overnight. Waking up to a clean kitchen just starts your next day right.

2) Unload those clean dishes (that washed themselves in your dishwasher while you were sleeping the night before) while your kids are eating breakfast (assuming that your little ones feed themselves, that is). I sip coffee while I do it. There, now it’s done before your day starts (which personally encourages me to put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher during the day, as opposed to letting them sit in the sink to pile up and stare at me).

3) Turn your bed-making into a game, right after breakfast. After feeding my two little munchkins, we head into my bedroom as part of our morning routine and make the bed together. Yes, TOGETHER. I came up with this goofy-but-effective method of fixing the bed when my first babe was a few months old. It worked so well that I did it with my second baby too. And, it’s still working in my morning routine, except now my toddler is actually helpful with pulling the blankets up (most days, anyways).

4) Use that TV for when you need to make dinner. A little TV never hurt kids. If there was no Sofia the First or Tinkerbell movies, my husband would come from work to an empty table every night. During the day, my girls and I have our activities, fun-time and/or errands, but from 4:30-5:30, that TV gets USED. Luckily, they are mesmerized and will sit still to watch their fave characters while I figure out what the heck we’re all going to eat for dinner and cook it up before tummies start growling.

5) Make folding laundry a group effort. (I seriously do this with my 2.5 year old and 1 year old.) The baby sits on the floor with a few clean socks on the ground to play with and watches me as I fold my laundry and “quiz” my toddler on what item of clean laundry belongs to who in our house. It goes something like this: I pull a shirt out of the dryer, say “Who does this belong to,” “Papa!” she cries, I fold it, and on and on. Hey, it makes me do it and is kinda funny at the same time. Not to mention it’s decent quality time with my girls too.

6) Have a small goal for baby’s naptime. I always try and do 15 minutes of a little housework while my girls are napping. If you do one LITTLE thing every day, it adds up to a clean house at the end of the week. Monday: Scrub toilets. Tuesday: Clean windows. You get it…

7) Don’t be afraid of coffee. (You think I’m joking?) I do 1.5 cups in the morning and a cup in the early afternoon.

I guess the main point is to have cleaning as a recurring part of your day’s routine… EVERY day. My kids have gotten used to it now. We make messes, but cleaning up is part of our everyday equation. (My first child bought this hook, line and sinker.)

As far as those piles of mail, disheveled closets and other miscellaneous messes that somehow weasel their way into your home, you just gotta send the kids to grandma’s house or call a babysitter to keep everyone out of your way while you sort it all out.

Or you could just call a cleaning service too.



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