One of the things I get asked about a lot is how I always keep my house so clean. It always makes me laugh a little because my house is definitely not always clean and I try to be very transparent about that, but because I have learned (and I’m still learning) to make the most of our very limited space, keeping things neat is as much of a necessity as it is a preference.
When Grayson and I purchased our little 800 square foot home, we thought we would have moved along to the next home long before we decided to start having babies. But here we are, six years into home ownership, five and a half years into marriage, with two surprise babies who we love more than life itself. Just goes to show, ya never know what Jesus has in store (so learn from our mistake and never buy a house without a garage haha… but really)!
I always hesitate to share things like this because obviously, any time you put yourself out there, you’re opening the door for criticism (or at the very least for people to misunderstand you). So, I want to be very straightforward about the fact that I’m no expert, I’m simply sharing a few things that work for us and that I’ve learned from experience while making a very small house a home. These things reflect the season I’m in right now and will probably most definitely change as the kids start school, schedules change, etc. Please know my heart is always to encourage, uplift, and foster community – not to seem like I think my way is the only way or like I have it all together.
People ask a lot what my “cleaning schedule” is, and the truth is, I don’t have one. I just clean as needed. This usually looks like cleaning bathrooms, mopping, and changing sheets once a week. But, as for everything else else, I have found these things help ensure our house never starts to feel “out of control” when it comes to cleaning:
- I never go to bed with a messy kitchen. No dishes in the sink, no clutter on the countertops, no piles of junk to go through. I usually try and run the dishwasher at night, so that I can unload it while the kids are eating breakfast the next morning. I always try to make my coffee the night before so that it’s ready to go the next morning. I love my “me time” in the mornings before Landon and Harper wake up, and there’s something so peaceful about starting the day with a clean kitchen, coffee already made, and morning light pouring in the kitchen window.
- I do at least one load of laundry every day. Even if it’s a small load. There’s nothing worse than letting the laundry pile up and having to waste a whole day working on it. We typically throw our dirty clothes directly into the washer as we take them off (using it like a hamper) and just throw towels into a pile in the laundry room floor until there’s enough for a load of towels, so we really don’t even need a hamper.
- I also always fold my clothes as I take them out of the dryer. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, sometimes those clothes fluff for four or five cycles, but, the idea is that a pile of clean clothes never sits around waiting to be folded. I don’t know why that is such a pet peeve of mine, but there’s something about folding clothes while they’re fresh out of the dryer that just makes them fold more neatly and feel cleaner when you put them on. This is a lot easier to put this into practice if you follow the tip about doing a little laundry every day so it never adds up.
- Landon and Harper are only allowed to play with one set of toys at a time. This is our rule: Wanna play with the play kitchen? Go for it! Wanna dump the basket of toys in the living room out all over the floor? Sure! Wanna dig through the toybox and make the bedroom look like a toy store exploded? Be my guest! But, one mess at a time. This makes the chaos seem so much more manageable and I also think it helps teach them good habits, responsibility, etc.
- I sweep every day. This one works for me because we don’t have any carpet in our home, so if you have carpet, this would probably have to be adjusted. Obviously, there are some areas of the house that I sweep several times a day (like the kitchen), but I sweep over the whole house at least once a day.
- No shoes in the house. I have heard of people doing this and always just kind of rolled my eyes or thought of it as something that’s not really doable for us, but now that we’ve been enforcing this for the last six+ months, it has made such a huge difference. We have a large rug in the living room where we spend a lot of time down in the floor playing, and with two babies, it just has made so much sense for us. It’s always a little awkward the first time someone comes and we have to ask, “hey, would you mind slipping off your shoes?” but it’s made me feel so much better about keeping our home clean and I can tell a big difference.
- I rotate out the kids toys. This is absolutely necessary, since we don’t have a playroom and they share a room, but even if we did have more space, I think toy rotation is a great idea. It keeps them interested and engaged and it’s just a great way to keep them from feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of toys that they don’t truly enjoy and get creative with what they have at the time.
Do you live in a small house and have creative ways to bring a little calm to the chaos? I’d love to hear your tips, as well! Like I said, I’m always learning!
Happy Monday, friends!