I don’t know about your toddler, but mine loves to take things out as soon as I put them away. He loves scattering things around the house while giggling and having the best time. But just because you’re toddler doesn’t know how to pick up after themselves yet doesn’t mean your house has to always be a disaster zone until they grow a little more.
Those who know me know that I am a clean freak! I can’t go to bed if the dishes aren’t clean and if there’s any sort of mess around the house. Even with my toddler I’m able to keep these standards, and even feel comfortable having guests over last minute, without the cleaning frenzy rush!
Here are my tips for how I keep my house clean and inviting while having a toddler.
I definitely had to lower my expectations of what clean was once I had a kid. I used to love having my entire house spotless all the time, but now we live with face and hand prints on all the windows and mirrors that are below knee height. A few toys scattered here and there don’t bother me anymore, neither do a few dishes waiting to be loaded in the dishwasher.
Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t tolerate my house being a mess, but my standards have loosened up a bit and that’s ok! This is Gideon’s home too and he needs to feel comfortable and happy while living here. Picking up each toy as he takes it out isn’t going to make him feel welcome in his own home.
Make it Easy
I tried to make our toy storage situation as easy for everyone as I could. We have a couple of cute fabric bins that keep a lot of the toys hidden away when they aren’t being played with (the ugly ones mostly to be honest!). We have a spot for stuffed animals, a spot for cars (front and center, our boy loves to drive his cars around!), a spot for Duplo blocks and a spot for his play kitchen, plus a bookshelf for his books.
Since doing this, cleaning up toys has been a breeze. Most things just go into a bin, or get tossed into their appropriate place. Gideon helps me pick up his toys before nap time and before bed time, though I do finish the job while he is sleeping usually.
Involve Them in Cleaning
Gideon recently transitioned from two naps a day to one. I used to do all of the cleaning while he was napping, but now that time has been cut in half! Being in my third trimester of this pregnancy, I want to use that remaining nap time for rest too, so that leaves me with cleaning while Gideon is awake.
It can definitely take much longer to get cleaning done with him there, but so far it has been fun to involve him in keeping his home clean and teaching him how to do it. At only 15 months old, he doesn’t actually help that much, but I do give him a cleaning cloth that matches the one I am using at the time. He will usually try wiping things when he sees me dusting, and he loves chasing the vacuum cleaner around! Even if he’s not helping much yet, I still want to keep the effort to keep him involved so that as he grows he will have more opportunity to learn these skills.
Keep a Schedule
I never ever used to have a cleaning schedule until I moved. I used to just clean the whole apartment in an hour while Gideon was napping and still have so much time to myself afterward. But being pregnant, plus the fact that this apartment is over double the size of our last, and that I am involving Gideon in the cleaning process, I need to split different tasks between days to keep it more manageable.
I also have different things that I do regularly, like running the dishwasher before bed each night and unloading it in the morning, vacuuming every night, and doing diaper laundry every other night while Gideon is in bed. I also get all the toys picked up at nap time and bed time so we don’t have to look at them while we get some kid free time! This routine ensures that at least the bare minimum will always be clean!
These tips have really helped me to have a tidy home with my toddler still happily running around it! Hopefully they help you feel more at home in your home, while not being overwhelmed trying to clean constantly! Let me us know your cleaning tips in the comments and if you have any other questions about my home with a toddler feel free to Ask a Bestie!