No matter how long you’ve spent tidying up your house, we all know a single toddler can undo the hours of hard work in thirty seconds flat. From trailing cereal across the carpet to smashing cups in the kitchen, there’s nothing quite like those tiny tornadoes. Here are some easy ways to keep your home and car as clean and presentable as possible.
Being a parent doesn’t have to mean giving up being house proud. Believe it or not, there are simple strategies that can help you cut your chore time in half, and make it easier to keep on top of clutter. Here are some of our tried-and-tested ways to reduce rubbish around your place.
1. Clear that clutter
We’ve all heard the theory ‘if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it away!’ But be honest…has this ever actually worked for you? Instead of throwing things away, you hold on to old clothes in the hopes they’ll one day fit again, or presents you never really wanted but feel too guilty to get rid of. So forget that old theory and follow the new, modern approach to tidying up:
- Divide all your belongings into categories (clothes, books, paperwork etc) t
- Then throw away anything that doesn’t spark joy in you when you see it
This is the Marie Kondo method, named after its founder, a Japanese organising consultant. It’s a much clearer, quicker way to have a clean out, and means you’re only keeping things you genuinely have a connection with instead of rusted old pots and pans you’re hanging on to ‘just in case’.
2. Sort some spillproof sippy cups
During the chaotic toddler years, you’re likely to lose many your treasured plates and cups as they slip out of chubby little hands and smash to pieces on the kitchen floor. But using toddler-designed kitchenware is an easy way to avoid the mess (and the endless cleanups). In particular, a sippy cup for little drinkers is a must. Having their own cup can help toddlers develop a sense of independence (and allows you to turn your back on them without an immediate spill!). We love these easy-to-hold, spill proof and BPA free toddler sippy cups from Phillips Avent.
3. Set up stations
Most new mums set up a ‘baby changing’ station at home, complete with wipes, nappies, baby bottom cream and all the other bits and pieces frazzled parents need, all in the one place. It’s such a successful way to keep track of your baby’s things, many experts now recommend carrying the theory through to the toddler years (and beyond!). Invest in a set of dishes, or other toddler products, and give your child their own cupboard to keep them in the kitchen. In their bedroom, a toybox or special sack can be their own responsibility to keep tidy. As they age, an affordable but colourful tent or a ‘school set up’ station can be other ways to encourage tidy habits. We love the example below, and kids will love having their own Philips toddler products to stack and pack away.
4. Smart cars
Anyone with kids knows that the family car can start to resemble a rubbish tip if you don’t watch out! Spilled drinks, empty chip packets, dirty socks, broken umbrellas…the amount of debris that gathers in the backseat can be shocking! You can avoid the mountain of mess by introducing a few easy systems:
- Instead of letting the kids eat in the car (especially crumbly food like muffins!) stick to using toddler bottles or spill proof cups for drinking in the car. You can use a car-specific set of spill proof cups (like the Philips Avent range) to prevent spilled liquids soaking into the seats and causing mould and nasty smells. Take it next level and serve smoothies, yoghurt or pureed fruit in the sturdier bottles as a satisfying after-school snack for bigger kids.
- Use to ‘in-out’ bag system to keep the car’s interior clean. So much mess in the car is caused by mum not having enough hands to carry everything inside after each trip! Solve this problem by stashing a bunch of reusable bags in the car’s glovebox or boot. Every time you get home, make sure you (and the kids) carry everything inside with you. When you next leave home, take the empty bags back to the car. If you get into the habit, your car will always be empty of the toys and shoes and magazines that kick around back there! As a bonus, you’ll always have bags on hand for the supermarket stop!
5. The hour of power
A common clean-up problem is finding time to tackle the mess. As the week slips by, that pile of laundry in the corner grows, clean dishes run low, and there’s Lego and books and soft toys absolutely everywhere. Instead of trying to manage all the mess on your own, set aside an Hour of Power once a week, where the whole family spends one hour clearing up as a team. This method stops mess spreading, and if you add music to the mix and turn it into a game or a race, it’s a hugely fun and rewarding way to spend an hour together as a family on a Sunday afternoon- plus it gets you set up to start your Monday off fresh.
6. Get hooked on tidying
Do some research into simple accessories that help keep things off the floor – we love the personal hook system, but there are lots out there! A hook for each family member by the door and in the bathroom means everyone has a specific spot for their school blazer, their wet towel, or their schoolbag. This can also work in the kitchen if your kids have their own cups and plates or even snacks that they want to access independently. It may take time to get in the groove, but you’re setting the whole family up for a tidier, happier life – for good.