I often receive comments on Instagram from people asking how I keep my home so tidy with four boys.  I wish I could say I wave my magic wand or wiggle my nose and poof! everything is put away, the dishwasher has been emptied and my floors are sparkling, but no.  It really just boils down to me not sitting on my butt and staying on top of the mess.

This is not groundbreaking information and I’m not reinventing the wheel, this I know, but maybe you’ll find some helpful tips, or maybe you’ll roll your eyes and wonder why I started this blog up again.  Who knows!

First off: I don’t have a cleaning schedule.  If I see mess, I clean it.  If my floors suddenly look dirty, I clean them.  If I just gave the dogs a bath, I’ll clean the tub and floor. See where this is going?  It’s kind of a clean-as-you-go approach to housekeeping.  BUT!  I start every day off on the right foot by making my rounds through the bedrooms.

Call me crazy, but my day is basically ruined if the beds aren’t made.  Now you’re really wondering why I started this blog up again, aren’t you?  I’m sure you’re like, “relax, lady!  They’re just messy beds!”, but simple things make me happy.  Freshly made beds make me really happy.

While I’m at it, I’ll pick up the mess off the boys’ floors and tidy up their desks because somehow a tornado always seems to have ripped through their rooms in the middle of the night.  I try to change the sheets once a week.

The kitchen is probably the cleanest room in the house because it sees the most action.  Keeping on top of dirty dishes is key for me because if you think messy beds ruining my day is crazy, then I’m sure you can imagine what a sink full of dirty dishes will do.  There’s nothing worse than going to put a dirty plate in the dishwasher and realizing it’s full of clean dishes or opening the drawer to pull out a fork and realizing they’re all sitting in the dishwasher.  Dirty.

I’ve mentioned about a million times on Instagram that I like to wake up before everyone else in the house to make coffee, enjoy a few sips of that coffee, watch the news and make lunches, and I often find that this is a good time to (very quietly) empty yesterday’s clean dishes from the dishwasher so that I can immediately load it up again after breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Simple things like taking advantage of a few kid-free minutes in the morning really make a difference in controlling the mess.  While it might be tempting to sit and stare at the wall with coffee dribbling down your chin during those moments, just a little bit of work can make the rest of your day a whole lot easier when there’s homework to help with and dinner to be made.  Also, I never go to bed with a dirty kitchen.  I clean the stove and hood after every meal and try to run a wet rag over the floors at least every other night (sometimes daily).

I’ll probably get myself into some trouble here for admitting this, but Clorox wipes are my best friend.  I use them multiple times a day in the bathrooms because boys can’t ever seem to hit their target.

I probably don’t “deep clean” the bathrooms as often as I should (I mean, sometimes my shower doors are horrendous), but that’s because I’m doing spot cleans on a daily basis.  For full bathroom scrub downs on tubs, showers, sinks and toilets, I like to use All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate from The Laundress.

The dogs.  While they’ve added a whole lot of love and joy to our lives, they’ve also added a whole lot of hair.

I have to vacuum at least every other day to control the dog hair on the rugs and floors.  While my new (old) dark rug is awesome because it hides dirt, it also shows all the dog hair.  You win some, you lose some, I guess.

I just vacuum the hardwoods when I’m vacuuming the rugs, but I have to admit I don’t mop them on a regular basis.  When I do, however, I like to use the same All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate mentioned above.

Dust!  Oh, the dust!  Our house is almost 100 years old and has its original windows, and I’m pretty sure that every dust particle on the face of the planet manages to find its way through them and onto my coffee table.

Again, no simple fix for this other than taking a few minutes out of your day a couple times a week to quickly run a dry rag over the tops of furniture and over shelves.

Let’s see, I think that just leaves mess in general.  I’ve tried to give everything in our house a home.  Our third floor serves as our family room/playroom, and we’re lucky enough to have two big sets of closets up there for the boys’ toys, games, etc. Keeping the amount of “stuff” to a minimum to begin with really helps to control the mess because less stuff = less to pick up.  This room is probably the messiest room of the house because, well, that’s kind of what it’s for – a place for the boys to play, pull out their toys and costumes and throw every lego they own on the floor without me freaking out on the inside a little.  It does always eventually reach a code red on the messiness meter, and that’s when I have to step in to help clean it up.  My boys also like to collect random things like a rubber band with paper clips on it, a receipt from Trader Joe’s and a completely unidentified object that looks like some sort of cone but I have no idea what purpose it serves, and they each have a bin in their closet for these types of lovely treasures.  Also, I keep a pile of the stuff that finds its way downstairs on the steps so I remember take it up with me the next time I make a trip upstairs and put it away.

Like I said, our home has three floors, so there’s a lot of up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down, and I figure I might as well make the most out of those trips.

Luckily my kids are at an age where they can start doing little chores to help out around the house.  Every Sunday they empty all the trash cans on the second and third floors, and they’ve started gathering the dirty laundry for me.  I don’t expect them to share my (extreme?) views on cleanliness, but I think it’s important for them to start helping out in little ways because, sadly, I’m not always going to be there to make their beds or fold their laundry.

This might seem like a lot and you might wonder if all I do all day is clean, but I promise if you take just a little time each day to control the mess you can avoid multiple hours of cleaning on just one day.  I know not everyone finds organization/cleanliness as important as I do, but it’s something I can do to keep from going crazy under a mountain of mess.

47 thoughts on “Housekeeping!

  1. Thanks for sharing. I take your same approach on a lot of things. My husband thinks I need to lower my standards, but I’ve tried to explain to him that for me a clean home is a happy home 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you started a blog again! You seem real and relatable (unlike the majority of bloggers, in my opinion!), and I look forward to reading your blog posts just as much as I love your Instagram account!

  3. We have 17 month old twins and I usually “return to ready” the house when they go down for naps and for the night. It is hard to keep up with it all though because when they’re awake we have to pay attention because they’re at that age where they’re constantly trying to leap off furniture and injure themselves and what not! haha. But – this post gave me goals for the future! 🙂

    1. Totally! That’s why I find a few minutes during the time they’re sleeping, etc. is the perfect opportunity to get stuff done. And wow, I don’t know how you manage with twins!

  4. a made bed.. something i have never understood. make a bed, leave for work, come home and unmake the bed… hahaha i just don’t get it?! i’ve never made my bed, never will, and i don’t make my kids haha. i take the same approach as you to the rest of my home, though 🙂

    1. What can I say? It just makes me feel good. Also, since I don’t leave for work, I pass by the unmade beds all day long and they make me itch. Haha!

  5. I like your approach, clean it when it needs it! That is kind of how I operate too! Your Instagram feed is honestly my favorite and I know I will like your blog just as much! I’m so glad you’ve decided to blog again!

  6. Sarah, you’re my favourite. Your Instagram feed inspires me and uplifts me.. it puts a little spring in my step as a fellow mom and homemaker. Your design sense, which shines through all you do, is on point, girl! Just want you to know how much I appreciate your voice and am so glad you’re dipping back into blogging, however much you choose. Thank you, truly!

  7. That was fun, I love housekeeping and learning how others do it. Your schedule seems reasonable to me! In fact, I vacuum every single day because I have 8 kids and that’s a lot of dirt. We have a much smaller house and I actually delegate about 3/4 of what you listed to my kids, but they are older. And only my 15 and 17 year olds get the bathrooms really clean. Somehow no one else sees it! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and real life.

    1. That’s so great that they’re able to help out! But yeah, I’m the type of person who would clean before the cleaning lady came (if I had one), so I imagine I’ll probably forever be doing it solo. Haha!

  8. I have a question about the cleaning solution you recommended…. on the website it says to “always wipe dry”. Do you do that? I’m thinking specifically on hardwoods, that seems like more work. Thanks!

  9. OH thank the lord but I thought I was the only person out there with the same cleaning manners LOL, I didn’t roll my eyes while reading this I just smiled bigger as I kept reading it. I have two little boys as well and I know what you mean about the collection or random things ONLY they know what they are, they both have a drawer in their night stands where they keep their little items they collect!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Haha! I’m glad to hear that! And yes, every week during the school year they come home with “prizes” from the prize box. Their collection of treasures continues to grow and grow. Haha!

  10. Love your Instagram so much. Been following along for a couple years and always find you and your home so inspiring and REAL. Just popping in to contribute an encouraging word 👋🏼

  11. Love this, it’s exactly my approach, although I still think your house looks cleaner, probably because I still have too much shit lying around, definitely something I have to work on. Like you said: less stuff = less stuff to then have to pick up. It’s been a goal of mine this year to get rid of A LOT of stuff…
    Also I CAN NOT get into an unmade bed!! If I have to leave for work early and I can’t make my bed (because there are little people and a big person still in it) I think about my unmade bed while I’m at work. Drives me crazy.

    1. Haha! I’m the same way. I think about that unmade bed all day, and it just doesn’t feel as good getting into it at night when it hasn’t been made in the morning.

  12. You have such a beautiful home and spirit. Would you mind sharing what brand and color you painted that pale pink dresser? It’s so lovely!

  13. Love seeing your “new” blog! I need some of your enthusiasm for cleaning! Beautiful home! Love, love, love all of the pictures!

  14. I’m loving your blog and the things to share here. Thanks for your tips on cleaning. I always felt like I needed a system but feel validated in just cleaning as you go.

    1. I think coming up with a system that feels right for you is key. Whether that’s a schedule or managing the mess, as long as it gets done!

  15. Im excited to read your new blog. I’d love to read about your house styling ideas and managing 4 kids. Especially how to deal with crazy boys. My two older boys don’t always get along. Perhaps a blog on how they handle school life too? Thanks and although I’m not a clean freak, beds made first thing in the morning are a must and I have to make them because no one else gets it quite right especially hubby!

    1. Believe me, mine don’t always get along. There is A LOT of bickering that goes on, but then they are quick to recover and play nicely together. I’ll never understand. Haha!

  16. Love love loving your blog. I’m a momma to a 4, 3, and 1 1/2 year old and I take the same approach to cleaning. You described it perfectly. Just keeping on top of it, then it’s more routine than a chore. And you have such a nice fluid way of writing that’s super enjoyable to read. Looking forward to more.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing! I love the simplicity of your home, yet decorated with such thoughtfulness. It’s calming and soothing. Do you mind sharing where you purchase your bed sheets? I’m looking myself for fluffy linen ones like those pictured in the second photo with the wrought-iron bed.

  18. I wish I could have this sort of commitment so that my house can stay looking clean and actually cleaning doesn’t take an eternity. The longest I’ve stayed on top of things consecutively is a week. Having a clean home gives me peace…. but but struggling and failing to stay on top of he mess that my girls leave gives me stress and like I’m stretching myself impossibly thin with everything else. I wish I had it figured out, like you do! Hopefully someday I can get there.

  19. Whoa! Girl you are 🙌🏻🎉 my house is constant chaos lol ~ I wish I stayed on it better! 3 kids 2 animals and my husband and myself in a little 1400 sqft house – I feel like if we move it’s a disaster ha!!

    I also choose coffee with gfs, lunches, lovely day mimosas opportunities more than I care to admit, which often distracts my cleaning too lol..

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