5 Tips to Keeping Your Home Tidy

I like order and enjoy a tidy home.  However, I don't like things sterile.  My house echoes the fact that I have a large family, one with lots of littles.  We can keep our homes in order even in the midst of toddlers and teens by practicing a few daily habits.  Here are my five top tips for keeping things tidy.

1. Make the bed!

It is amazing how clean a room looks when the bed is made.  Once your feet hit the floor in the morning, take two minutes and make your bed.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and starts your day off right.  Teach your children to do the same.  Put covers/bedding on their beds that are easy for them to pull up and over the pillow.  One Mom I know lets her younger ones use sleeping bags on top of their beds for easy bed making.  :)

2. Contain It!
We have a variety of containers throughout our house in areas where they are most needed.  Collapsible containers from The Christmas Tree shop, stacked on a shelf, provide a wonderful spot for toys. At $1 a piece they are easy on the pocket book and come in a variety of colors that are easy on the eyes.  :)   Wicker baskets, tins, photo boxes... there are so many options.  We use containers in the kitchen to keep utensils together and produce within view.  We use baskets in the living areas to corral the kids toys so they are not all over the floor and are within easy reach so the kids can pick up in no time at all.  We label the containers so the children, and guests, know where items belong.  Example: Label a basket "Cars" or "Candles" depending what the item is you are containing.
Having a place for your items is so helpful.

It has also been awesome to have a container for paper.  We have a hot spot on our counter that seems to collect paper and such.  By putting a pretty box with a lid in that area I can corral all the paper and then go through it on the weekend when I pay the bills.  That way nothing is misplaced/lost and it stays out of sight.  The children even know what to do with paper when they are helping tidy... they just put it in the box.  :)

3. Keep counters clear.
This one is easier said than done in our home.  Our kitchen is the first room you walk into in our abode and we have little counter space.  It is easy for dishes to stack up, papers to collect, and all manner of trinkets to find their way to the counter.  To help with this I keep an empty dishpan under the sink to collect dishes that cannot go immediately into the dishwasher.  I also have the children scan the counters periodically for items that they have placed there.  If I find items that belong to them then they go into a holding  basket for a week unless they earn them back.  I find it much easier to cook dinner and remain to have a sense of accomplishment if my counters are clear.

*Another tip: I keep my dish drying rack off the counter when it is empty so it does not take up such valuable space.  I have a spot for it nearby but it would also fit under my sink if needed or on top of the refrigerator.

4. Have set times during the day where you tidy.

This is not a deep cleaning, this is a quick, efficient tidy.  We set the timer for 15 minutes and we all work together to do a tidy two to three times a day; before school, before Daddy gets home and before bed.  I assign everyone a zone (living room, dining area, kitchen...) and they just pick up what is in that room that needs to be taken care of.  It is really helpful and when we work as a team it is amazing how fast it goes.  We often beat the clock by 5 or more minutes.  Play music to keep the mood light.

5. Focus on a zone.
I have divided our home into zones... the kitchen is a zone, bathrooms are a zone, the living room and dining room are each a zone, and the bedrooms are a combined zone.  Each day we have a specific zone that we focus on and we pamper that area of the house.  We look high and low and notice what needs our attention... cobwebs on the ceiling, finger prints on the windows, dust collecting on the baseboards, this is when we tackle that area.  Again, when we all work together it goes by quickly.  I set the timer, each person has their assignment and we get it done.  When the timer dings we are done.  If everything did not get completed that is alright, we can jump in where we left off next week.  This little sanity saver keeps me from doing a spring cleaning each year.  Now, there are days when we miss a zone and that is alright.  Things happen.  I just start off on the day we are on with the assigned zone.  Example: Mondays are bathrooms, Tuesdays we are in the kitchen, Wednesday it is the dining room and sitting area and so on.  If I miss Tuesdays due to unexpected events then I just pick up with the dining room on Wednesday and we will get back to the kitchen the following week.  :)

These small steps have made life with many littles much more manageable.  Is my house Martha Stewart ready, uh, nope... but it is tidy and still says "love lives here".

Now it is your turn.  Please leave a comment below telling us about some of your tips to keeping order in your home.

Cheering you on,