sponsored by First Alliance Credit Union
It’s no secret that parents face a ton of challenges, from keeping children safe to preparing dinner every night. However, one of the most frustrating challenges might just be keeping your house tidy. Let’s face it, kids tend to be messy, and the constant effort of keeping your home neat can wear on anyone.
You don’t have to resign yourself to living in a messy home if you have kids. There are several steps you can take that will help make tidying easier and more effective.
1. Make Sure Everything has a Place
The fastest and most effective step you can take to make your home tidier is to make sure that everything has its place. This makes teaching your children how to pick up much easier, and they’re also more likely to put away their toys, for instance, if they know where they’re supposed to go. Remember, though, the place you select to store items has to make sense to everyone in the family.
It’s worth pointing out that adults can apply this tip to their grown-up spaces as well. Take a look at your house and see where your dumping grounds are. In other words, where do things tend to accumulate?
Once you’ve identified your dumping grounds, see what types of items accumulate in those areas. Then figure out where those items should be kept instead. This tip not only makes your house look neater, it will also give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing an item is exactly where it needs to be.
2. Create Kid Friendly Storage Areas
Once you have a place selected for items, make sure you have containers that are easy for children to use. For example, you can use buckets or dedicated toy bins for playthings, preferably ones without lids to make picking up toys easier for tiny hands. You’ll also want to put up kid-height clothes hooks in their bedrooms so they can hang up their clothes.
If going out and buying all these materials would put a strain on your monthly budget, there are several ways to make buying these items more affordable. Looking on Internet classifieds sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace is always a good option, as is visiting your local thrift store to see if they have any secondhand storage units. However, another great option is to use a rewards credit card or personal line of credit to ensure your can get the items you need to solve your space issues quickly, just make sure you are not spending more than your can afford to repay month-to-month.
3. Teach Kids how to Clean Their Rooms
As your children get older, you’ll want to teach them how to help keep your home neat. One of the best places to start is by teaching them how to tidy up their rooms.
When you’re teaching your children how to clean their rooms, you’ll want to start by example, such as showing them where they should put their toys, books and clothes, among other things. Break the room-cleaning process down, give your child specific tasks to do, and don’t forget to let them know they did a good job once they’re finished. As your children get older, you can give them more complex tasks, such as having them fold their clothes or dusting their furniture, possibly in exchange for an allowance.
4. Create a Cleaning Schedule
Trying to clean an entire house when you have kids can quickly become overwhelming. If you break your cleaning tasks down into schedules you do over the course of a week, however, you’ll find that getting your house neat will only take a bit of time each day. Even better, you won’t have to watch your home fall completely into disarray until you get around to picking it up again.
A cleaning routine might look like this:
- Monday—Pick up your bedroom
- Tuesday—Vacuum the house
- Wednesday—Clean the bathroom
- Thursday—Help your children pick up their rooms
- Friday—Pick up the living room
- Saturday—Mop the floors
When you’re constructing your cleaning schedule, try to schedule the tasks that will take the most work on days where you either don’t have many other tasks that need to be done or on days where you know you have more energy. Again, if you have older children, they can take on many household chores too.
5. Get Rid of What you Don’t Need
Kids come with a lot of stuff and that stuff tends to accumulate at a frightening rate, whether it’s a new toy, a school arts and crafts project or just a cool rock a child discovered outside that they now can’t live without. All this stuff can quickly lead to a cluttered home.
As you and your family are tidying up, examine everything you’re picking up and figure out if you actually need it. You might notice your children have outgrown some of their old toys, or that you need to make room on your fridge for some new school art projects. If you find something you can get rid of, do it.
Of course, getting rid of something doesn’t mean you have to throw it in the trash. You can donate old toys, for instance, or sell them on any number of online shopping sites. For school crafts and artwork, you might want to have a special box or file folder where you put your children’s old arts and crafts projects.
6. Get More Space
If your home is always cluttered no matter how hard you try to keep it clean, you might want to consider the possibility that your family has outgrown your home. While this might seem like an extreme solution, the truth is that families do outgrow their houses, and the place you called home before you had children might not have the space you need for an entire family.
Of course, there are a lot of alternatives to buying a new home that can be a lot easier on your banking account. One way to give yourself more space is by buying or constructing a shed for your backyard, where you can store items you only use occasionally, such as camping equipment and holiday decorations.
Another way to give yourself more space is to build an addition for your house. This is more expensive than buying a shed, but it will give you significantly more space. As an added bonus, an addition usually increases the equity of your house, and you can use your home’s equity to fund the project, either with a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.
If you do decide to buy a bigger house, you’ll want to not only think about your current space requirements, but also your requirements for the future. Maybe you plan to have more children, or maybe you want to have a bigger home office to grow your small business. You’ll also need to balance your space requirements with the cost of a new home.
Tidy Up Your Home with First Alliance Credit Union
Keeping your home neat can be a challenge even when it’s just you in an apartment, but it’s exponentially more difficult with children. However, you don’t have to throw up your arms and give in to the mess. You can start by decluttering and getting rid of what you don’t need, then make sure everything has its place and even teach your kids how to keep their rooms clean.
If you need help keeping your house tidy on a budget, become a member of First Alliance Credit Union today. We won’t be able to clean your house for you, but we can help you neaten your house by providing financing for your home-neatening efforts. You can use a First Alliance Rewards Credit Card to give you the funding you need to buy the baskets and storage racks for your children’s belongings (all while earning points you can redeem to treat yourself)! Plus, if the clutter situation is more extreme, getting a home equity line of credit can help you with anything from remodeling a room to optimize storage to adding on an home addition.