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Expert Advice: How To Keep Your Busy Family Home Tidy

Being a mother is quite challenging: you have to make sure everyone gets where they have to be each day, reach deadlines at work and keep the house tidy.

So when one of our mums needed some advice on how she could keep the house clean and presentable, Caroline Power from the Irish Countrywomen’s Association had some advice on what families can do to keep things tidy even if you have a very busy home.

As a working mum of three children under 11 with a dog who constantly moults and a family that seems to be blind to dirt, I am in need of some efficient housekeeping tips. Can you please advise me on some ways I can make sure the kitchen, bathroom and sitting room remain clean and presentable? I need some sort of system in place where we all pull our weight!

Caroline’s Answer:

Just like this household, I have a very busy family home with four children, an assortment of pets and working at the same time, and it is just not possible to have it in perfect condition all the time.

Over the years my standards have changed and I no longer look for perfection in my home. It is clean, warm and comfortable. When the children were young it was hell for leather at the weekends trying to get all the housework done, so that little had to be done during the week. But this left me having an exhausting weekend, irritable and going back to work on Monday tired and out of sorts. So a better plan had to be devised that would get the work done but leave more time for fun stuff at the weekends.

READ MORE: The Mental Load

Do The Kitchen Every Day

Firstly, the kitchen needs to be kept sorted on a daily basis. Everyone needs to pitch in after dinner every evening. Children can learn to empty and fill the dishwasher. Have a daily/weekly rota to cut down on the rows about who does what. Filling the dog’s water bowl and food dish, as well as sweeping the floor when the meal is finished, can be added to the daily/weekly rota. If possible, empty the dishwasher every night so that it is empty every morning and breakfast dishes can be piled in quickly in the morning before everyone leaves for school/work. There is nothing worse than coming home from a hard day’s work to have to clean up after the breakfast before you can even start the dinner. It can take a bit of time to get a routine going, but once everyone is involved, the routine will become quicker.

READ MORE: 8 Ways To Get Your Kids To Help With Chores

Make Tidying A Habit

The bathroom and sitting room cleaning do not need to be tackled on a daily basis. However, cleaning and tidying are two completely different jobs. Once the place is tidy, cleaning is much easier to tackle. So keep the tidying to a daily basis and then the cleaning to a weekly time slot.

Encourage the children to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. Do not let it accumulate over the week so that by the end of the week every toy in the house has arrived in the sitting room. Insist that children look after their own belongings. The sitting room is a family room, to be used by all, not just a toy room for them.

Similarly, teach them to clean their toothbrush and put it back where it belongs after each use. This also goes for hanging up towels on rails and not on the floor and cleaning away the toothpaste they might spit around the sink. These three things can have a big impact on keeping the bathroom presentable from one day to the next.

READ MORE: Lazy Organisation Tips For Every Mum

Get The Kids Involved

Once the bathroom and sitting room remain tidier, the weekly clean is much easier to tackle. Again, try to let the children do some of the jobs. There is no reason why they can’t learn to vacuum, dust, clean a sink, toilet and shower. They can all have a chore they must do every week. Don’t expect perfect results initially but they will improve as time goes on. Also if the chore time is not too prolonged, they soon get over doing some housework. Expect some grumbling, but remain firm and it will soon become the norm.

All of the above works when it is practiced, but as I have stated before, family life is not predictable so use the ideas as, and when, it fits into your family space.

READ MORE: The 4 Best Ways To Deal With Your Messy House

About Caroline: Caroline Power previously held the position of county president of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA). She is a keen crafts maker and baker and is knowledgeable on all aspects of home-making.


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