cleaning up toys
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How To Keep House Clean

The secret to how to keep house clean is shared along with the four steps to keep your house clean with a family and kids!

If your kiddos are anything like my kiddos, they play really hard. Like they take out all the toys. They create tons of imaginative adventures all over the house. And they move from room to room with new stories to play out. So keeping the house clean and tidy may seem like a challenge. But I have a trick that is totally going to change your life. This trick is the key on how to keep house clean while letting your kids play all over! It is my tried-and-true strategy that has helped thousands of families stop the messes on a daily basis. 

And no, it does not involve getting rid of everyone who lives in your house so things stay clean. 

The trick is to do a nightly tidy. And by nightly, I mean every single night.

Now I know what you are saying. That is so much work. I can never make that happen. No one in my family will do this. 

Hear me out. I have the exact formula for making the nightly tidy a thing. 

grey couch with cushions to demonstrate how to keep house clean

Why Do A Nightly Tidy

The point of a nightly tidy is to put your entire house back together after the kids play. The reason why I find a nightly tidy so helpful is that every day your kids can create new imaginative ideas because they aren’t stuck with the stories from the previous day. It also helps you keep track of things. And you are less likely to buy more things when you do a nightly tidy. 

When you put everything back where it needs to go every single night, you wake up to a home that is totally refreshed. You can start your day on a positive note. Instead of feeling like you are already behind because you have to pick up the mess from the day before. 

So what are the steps to do a nightly tidy?

Step One

The very first step to doing a nightly tidy is to make a plan. The plan is simply where you are going to start and where you are going to end. I also recommend that you get a laundry basket prior to your first nightly tidy. The laundry basket will be used to collect things that are in the wrong location. Because we all know the kids enjoy taking things from one room to another. So using the laundry basket will help you collect things that go in other rooms so your hands aren’t full of stuff.

I also recommend downloading my free nightly tidy cheat sheet. This cheat sheet has space for you to write out your plan for how you are going to do your nightly tidy.


Step Two

Once you made your plan, it is time to execute that plan! 

I would expect your first tidy to take 30 minutes. I expect this because you haven’t done one before, so giving yourself more time will help you stay on track and not feel overwhelmed. 

Start with explaining what you are doing with the entire family. Share that you are going to be cleaning up the house before bed. Everyone will help.

Personally, I like starting in the basement and working our way up the stairs. Everyone in the family helps. The kids pick things they are going to clean up. While I pick things I can do. In our basement, I put the couch cushions back on along with putting pillows and blankets away. The kids put away the toys and games. 

Any items that are in the room we are cleaning that don’t belong, go in the laundry basket. When we move into the new room, we check the laundry basket for things that may belong there. 

Usually when we are cleaning the basement, we have doll toys that go in the playroom. So when we get to the playroom, we look in the laundry basket for those toys to put away. 

Work your way around so that every room is clean.

Step Three

Repeat every night. Yes, every night. Now, one thing I have had clients do is only do the main level of their house. They do the basement on the weekends. What is important is that you find a system that works for you. Maybe you just need to put away the toys to keep the house clean. Maybe you need every room put back together. Or maybe you just don’t want things lying on the floor so you don’t step on them in the morning. Whatever you want to do with your nightly tidy is what you should do every day. 

We use this as our pre-bedtime wind down. First we clean up the house, then we go get ready for bed. It has been a great transition for the kids because they know what to expect. 

Now there are times when the kids want to set something out to play with the following day. Or they may have created something they want to keep up, like a fort in the basement. I am fine with that. But I don’t want to see that fort staying up for weeks at a time.

I have a story about this. I was on a client consult (which means I was walking through the home to see if we could help this person organize things). This women showed me her playroom, which was a dining room turned into a playroom. As I was taking notes, she told me that her son created this building out of MagnaTiles so she couldn’t take it down. I asked how long it was up for.

And she told me 3 years.

I said, how long? Because I thought I misheard her.

But it was 3 years prior that her son constructed that building out of MagnaTiles and he didn’t want her to take it down. Now it was sitting in the corner of her former dining room. 

Doing a nightly tidy will prevent situations like the one above from happening. Your kids will be comfortable with taking down their creations because they know they can do new ones next time. This allows for more creativity. Because when you are stuck on one way to do things, you never grow!

Step Four

The last step in the nightly tidy is taking note of areas you may need to declutter. In order to keep your house clean, you have to put everything away. And when you do a nightly tidy, you put everything away. So when you do your nightly tidy and a room is taking longer than you expect to clean up, you know that room needs to be decluttered. 

Look at how long it takes to put things back into place. Each room should be relatively quick. But if something is taking longer because bins aren’t organized or nothing has a spot, then you can do a declutter and organizing session to make that room easier to clean up every night. 

It is a good way to gauge what needs to be decluttered. You want everything to be quick and easy when cleaning your house for the nightly tidy.

Inside the Nightly Tidy Cheat Sheet, I have ways you can check to see if a space needs to be decluttered and how you can go about doing that. You can download the cheat sheet below.

How To Keep House Clean

Now I want you to make a plan for how you are going to do a nightly tidy. Then you are going to share the plan with your family. Actually do the plan every single night. Then every morning you can walk into your clean house because you kept it clean every night by doing a nightly tidy!

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The Organized Mama is your ultimate resource for all things organizing with families in mind. Our mission is to share practical tips, tricks, and tutorials everyone in the family can follow!