Some families are just fine with a little mess in their lives… But for those of you who crave a clean home, car, and a child with clothes that aren’t riddled with stains, these tips are for you!
When your kids are at the kitchen table – let the mess fly! However, when they’re buckled into their car seats, only allow snacks that won’t stain. Granola bars are a perfect neat and tidy backseat snack, as is string cheese. Choose foods that you won’t find ground into the crevices of your back seat later.
Keep a plastic trash bag in the backseat for any garbage that finds its way into the car. Did you child receive a new toy? He can throw the packaging away in the trash instead of tearing it off and leaving pieces everywhere. That granola bar wrapper? That goes in the trash, too. Keeping a dust buster in back can’t hurt either. One family we know asks their daughter to do a quick dust busting of the back seat each time she gets out of her car seat after a long drive.
Making room for a small compartment for toys and books is also a great idea. Just as you would in your house, let your children know that every toy has its place and should be returned to that place when the car pulls into the driveway.
One rule that is tricky to enforce, but works wonders is the “all food is to be eaten at the table” rule. Sure, the occasional snack on the couch while watching a movie is fine, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be eaten at the table to avoid staining your furniture. When your children’s friends come to play, that rule should be strictly enforced, as group mealtimes often turn into mayhem.
Bins, bins, bins. Every toy, book, musical instrument, and stuffed animal has its place, and we’re not talking about the floor. After playtime, encourage your kids to toss everything in some neatly arranged bins, and your house will look tidy again. This is a quick job, and you can even motivate your kids to finish throwing their items in bins before the end of a favorite song, to make cleaning up fun.
On that note, teaching kids to clean is a great way to keep your house tidy. Some of your least favorite jobs can be performed by even young children. Dusting is an easy task that a young child can do, as is sweeping, or wiping down surfaces. Getting them started with one chore a day also helps them to learn to be responsible for their messes.
The Family’s Clothes
How many times have you picked up an adorable children’s sweater at the store, only to find that the tag says “hand wash only”? We’ve even encountered bibs (that’s right) that were to be washed by hand and laid flat to dry. Do yourself a favor, and don’t purchase any everyday clothing for your kids that aren’t machine washable!
Choose your detergent wisely. Some stains can be pretty tough to remove, especially after an item of clothing has been sitting at the bottom of the hamper for a few days. OxiClean gets high marks for its stain removing power. Prefer a natural alternative? Some natural detergents can be a little weak in the stain-fighting department, but Seventh Generation Free and Clear has proven to be tough. Keeping a travel size Spray ‘N Wash on you at all times allows you to attack stains when they first appear, giving them a fighting chance in the laundry later.
Is your house sparkling, despite little feet and hands everywhere? Does your car look brand new? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments!