Keeping the house clean with two kiddos running around

The secret: I don’t! The end. Muahah. (<— it would be so nice to say, “Bye, chores)

I’m just kidding… keeping the house clean (or at least presentable) is something that’s important to me, and I work pretty hard to keep things tidy around here. I read all of the memes about how laundry will wait and the kids will only be little once, and truth is that I can’t relax and enjoy life when things are in shambles around me. I don’t spend a crazy amount of time cleaning, but just like fitness, or eating well, it’s a type of self care. I feel good when my surroundings are clutter-free and cleaned up a bit. 

I got this request for a blog post a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be a fun one to discuss here on the blog. To be honest, it can be tricky to keep the house clean with little ones running around, but I’ve found that doing a little bit every day and outsourcing for help makes a huge difference.

Here are some of my tips for keeping the house clean with two kids:

– I stick to a cleaning schedule and do laundry Every day, I clean the kitchen (usually twice; once after breakfast and after dinner) by wiping down the countertops, appliances, stove, dining table, and switching out the dishes (usually just do this in the morning). In addition to that, I wash and fold one load of laundry. If I do one load a day, it keeps things from getting ridiculous but sometimes I slack on this. I make the beds each day, wipe down bathroom countertops, and run the euphy. Besides the usual daily chores, I’ll have one bigger things I work on each day: floors, bathrooms, wood floors upstairs, wash bedding, dust, etc. If I only do one of these each day, it’s only an extra 20 minutes or so and makes it much easier to maintain.


(Click here to download a PDF printable)

– We have an AMAZING housekeeper who comes every two weeks for a deep clean. She is a real-life angel and does all of the nitty gritty deep cleaning, in addition to washing the bedding and making the house sparkle. We’ve had a bi-monthly cleaner for years now and it’s a non-neogiable in our budget. Otherwise, I feel like I’d never catch up on cleaning stuff. If she could eventually come once a week, that would be a dream come true.

– I clean while the kids are home. This will probably change in the fall since P’s school day will be a little longer, but for now, I work and work out when they’re at camp and then when they’re home chilling afterwards, I clean for a bit. I think it’s good for them to see me working to keep the house beautiful and often, they’ll want to help. They’re excellent at separating laundry into piles, folding towels, and emptying the dishwasher. We tidy up a little, and then we play!

– I focus on priorities. If I get too swamped with work stuff, or get behind on cleaning because the Pilot is out of town, I focus on the important tasks. For me, that’s having an empty sink (no dirty dishes lingering around) and a clean downstairs. If there’s a pile of laundry on our chair upstairs, it doesn’t bother me, but for some reason, having a lot of clutter or feeling crumbs under my feet when I walk makes me feel stressed out. 

The eufy. I rarely have to manually vacuum because of this little wonder. I run it every single day downstairs, and only have to use our cordless vacuum every couple of days to get Caroline hairs off the couch.

Cleaning tips

Some of my favorite cleaning products/hacks:

– Use a Swiffer with a cleaning cloth attached to it instead of the Swiffer pads. I’ll use the Method spray and mop liquid on the floors and then wipe down with the Swiffer. Another awesome floor cleaner: dish soap mixed with water, then rinse with water. It gets all of the grime and makes floors super sparkly! (For our wood floors, I use the Method wood floor cleaner.)

Method is my all-time favorite cleaning brand, and I also buy this castille soap, baking soda, and a huge tub of vinegar. I recently ordered some products from Branch Basics and will report back in a Friday Faves post if I love them!

– Homemade multi-purpose cleaner: water, vinegar, castille soap, and a few drops of lavender. It smells beautiful and makes a great multipurpose cleaner.

Essential oils to keep things smelling lovely. I love using our oil diffuser upstairs and will usually use a mix of lavender and lemon. 

– Resuable cloths. I bought some Norwex, but to be honest, they’re not my favorites. I love these ones from Amazon and always have a couple of clean ones stashed under each sink for washing countertops, the wood table, dusting, and windows.

– I wipe down the couch with a wet washcloth (warm water). It helps to keep it clean and gets any stray dog hairs after I’ve vacuumed the cushions.

– Only touch things once. Don’t move one pile of things to another pile somewhere else. If I’m going to touch anything to move it, it’s to put it completely away where it belongs. Don’t waste energy just moving things around!

– Baking soda is a MIRACLE. If our sink looks a little gross, I’ll add baking soda, make a paste with water, scrub, and it shines. It’s also great for cleaning bathroom tile and tubs.

So friends: drop all of your cleaning hacks on me! How do you keep things tidy with kiddos or pets? Any products you particularly love?



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  1. Laura on July 22, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I used to love Method as well, but found most of their products are a 4-5 on EWG. I’ve found Seventh Generation products to be much more reliably clean. I also like the Young Living Thieves household cleaner for countertops, bathrooms, etc.

    • Katie on July 22, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Honestly, the bi-monthly cleaning is how we keep our house clean as well! The woman who cleans our house is incredible (and brings us homemade tamales around the holidays, haha), and we love that it gives us the time back that we would have spent deep cleaning. She doesn’t use natural cleaning products normally, so I just buy the Method and Seventh Generation, and she uses what we have. My dogs love licking the floors (and everything else) so I don’t worry about them getting something toxic this way.

      • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm

        that’s perfect!! our cleaner uses what we have on hand, too.

    • Victoria Lawson on July 22, 2019 at 9:49 am

      I use Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner for everything. I also use their dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, and dish soap.

      • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm

        i’ve heard their products are amazing!

        • Holly on July 24, 2019 at 3:05 pm

          Do you wash your microfiber towels separately? I’ve heard that they should be, but it seems like an added stressor to keep them separate, but I don’t want to ruin them either. Help!

          • Fitnessista on July 24, 2019 at 11:23 pm

            i just toss them in a bucket as i use them, soak with hot water, vinegar (and sometimes add a little dish soap), and rinse. i throw the water in the rocks in the backyard, and toss the towels in the dryer. it’s not perfect, but it works.

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      that’s good to know. i use some seventh generation and have been wanting to try young living! i’m excited to see how the branch basics stacks up because i may swap out some of our standard products for those

  2. Katie on July 22, 2019 at 9:13 am

    My best cleaning hack was training my husband to do his own laundry and make the bed! Ignore the fact that a 35 year old man had to be taught how to do those things. We moved from a house in the suburbs to an apartment in the city last year, so all his outside/maintenance chores vanished. All my ‘indoor chores’ remained the same and I was like, what in Fresh Leave it to Beaver Hell is this retrograde gendered chore division about?

    Also, white vinegar is the cheapest, most versatile, most potent cleaning product known to (wo)man.

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      that made me LOL.
      and amen to the vinegar! such a versatile wonder

    • Amy Austin on July 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      Yassss! Preach 🙂 I love this…………it makes so much sense.

  3. Katie on July 22, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Ahh I love cleaning! We have three cats (and my husband is allergic to them, but was the one who wanted them all), so daily cleaning is a must to make sure their hair and dander is close to non-existent. We vacuum daily, and dust several times a week. I also clean their litter boxes a couple times a day. I always tell my husband, when people walk into our home, I don’t want them to immediately know we have three cats unless they see them running around (meaning it better not smell like them!). I also make sure things are put away at the end of the day so we wake up to a clean house (this includes cat toys and dishes in the kitchen). I’ve found that the less stuff I have on counter tops and bookshelves, the easier it is to wipe down and keep clean. If I have to clean around a bunch of little things I get stressed out. The thing I need to get better on is mopping the floors. We have all hardwood floors and it is a process, but I love clean floors so much I need to make this a priority. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      i’m the same way! the hardwoods are kind of a pain, but they feel so great when they’re done 🙂
      and kudos for you for keeping the house so clean that it doesn’t affect your husband’s allergies. liv wants a cat, but tom and i are both allergic, and i’m not sure i have that dedication haha

    • Molly on July 22, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      I use Branch Basics and I really like it. I have my cleaning people use it too, they come once a month to once every six weeks for our deep cleaning and it is a life saver. I add thieves to Branch Basics and love my essential oil diffuser as well.

  4. megan on July 22, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for the tips! How do you clean your microfiber cloths? I’ve tried running them through the wash, but it doesn’t seem to work, and I worry it’s bad for the environment.

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      i heard a lot about that a couple of years ago, so i started soaking them in a bucket with vinegar and hot wash. i rinse, dump the water in the gravel in the backyard, and put them in the dryer. it’s not perfect but it works pretty well!

  5. Amy on July 22, 2019 at 10:53 am

    It seems very manageable the way you lay it out. Am going to apply some of these ideas!
    I love a couple of non toxic (inexpensive, yay) products from The lavendar countertop spray and the tub/tile cleaner- works well and smells great!!

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      i need to check them out!

  6. Reenie on July 22, 2019 at 11:25 am

    I love NorWex products. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      maybe i need to try again because i wasn’t a fan. everyone is obsessed with them!

  7. Amanda on July 22, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    We sporadically have someone come clean the house. The last time she did, the house smelled soooo good and she even hand washed the dishes that were in the sink. I literally almost cried when I got home because it was so wonderful. It’s the absolute best thing in the world to come home to a clean house.

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      i ask the pilot if it’s weird that i’m in love with our cleaner. coming home to a clean house is the most magical gift ever <3

  8. Diana on July 22, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I am the same way about the sink. I hate looking at a sink full of dishes. And it sounds counter-intuitive, but having white counters and bar stools has helped because I can SEE the mess! I bought a really cheap little vacuum off of Amazon too to run under the dining table to catch crumbs from my toddlers. They LOVE using it, so I added that to their chores and while they vacuum around with their little lightweight one, I bust out the beastly Dyson and do the rugs. I also use a water/vinegar/tee tree oil blend for my all purpose cleaner, and a water/rubbing alcohol for windows. Saves money and we never run out because I always have those ingredients!

    • Beth on July 23, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      What little cheap vacuum did you get from amazon?

  9. Nic on July 22, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I got some heavy duty air purifiers and was surprised at how much dust they cut down on. No more dust motes. Much MUCH less dusting of furniture/surfaces required. And I have two fluffy kitties. Totally worth the investment

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      i’ve been wanting one! which ones do you have??

      • Nic on July 22, 2019 at 4:34 pm

        Blue Pure, off amazon.

  10. Anne on July 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    I am the same, can’t relax until chores are done. Doesn’t have to be spotless- but totally agree on piles and crumbs underfoot. My husband thinks it’s a waste of time I put the toys away every night. But I hate seeing them strewn everywhere and for me to trip on! Lately our son has been getting better at putting them away singing his little ‘clean up clean up’ song. I had a cleaning lady come once and I loved it, I should really do this again, I just felt weird sitting there playing with my kids while she cleaned. Or I feel like I have to leave the house which can also feel like a chore getting 2 little ones out the door. But I really should look into this again for the deep cleaning.

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      ours comes when the kids are at school or camp and i leave as soon as she gets there! i felt weird sitting on my computer (even though i’m working) when she’s here. after school or camp, ill take the girls somewhere fun for a couple of hours and we come home just as she’s finishing up!

  11. Sara Ciccarelli on July 22, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    I absolutely love this article !! Having 2 little ones well a 7 year old and 18 month old it is crazy stressful trying to get everything cleaned. Not just getting the cleaning done but keeping it clean after ive put all the work into cleaning it!!

  12. Stephanie on July 23, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    lolololol I read the first line and burst out laughing.

  13. Kara on July 23, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing your cleaning schedule! We have someone come every 2 weeks also, but I know I need to do more on my own. Reading all you do daily has motivated me to do more in between her cleanings!

  14. Jessie R on July 24, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Yes to separating out the chores throughout the week! I do the same thing, I don’t feel bad when I skip a day because I know I’ll get to it in less than a week 😀

  15. Valerie on July 25, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for sharing your chore chart. It says Windows on here. You clean them inside and out ever week? What exactly is that?

    • Fitnessista on July 25, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      no no no haha. just the windows inside and the backyard door – they get fingerprint smears. i also do all the bathroom mirrors and any decorative mirrors

  16. Diane on August 1, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Love your take on having a clean house as part of self care.

    • Nicole on August 31, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks for sharing your schedule! I also like to do a bit each day to keep things under control. If you don’t mind me asking, what deep cleaning does your cleaning lady do? We have someone come every other week, but they pretty much do the same things you do throughout the week. Would love to know what type of services we need to ask for to “make things sparkle”. Thank you

      • Fitnessista on September 1, 2019 at 10:36 am

        She does everything I do, but also moves furniture, moves the stove, cleans the oven, dusts all the fans, blinds, and cleans the baseboards 🙂

  17. Jennifer on August 3, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Daily laundry is the way to go. I don’t understand why people just put it off till the weekend, forcing them to stay at home, or taking very short trips. And wiping down the kitchen as you cook- or as you put it daily, just makes life easier.

    Although one tip I think everyone should try- get kids involved! I let my toddler “help” clean the house. Right now I am usually doing all the work, but to him it is fun, and I hope that as he gets older he can do easy things (and maybe some of the things that I just don’t want to do, like sweeping or taking out compost)

  18. Lloyd Bronson on October 22, 2019 at 10:01 am

    I’m glad that you bring up how beneficial a bi-weekly cleaner is to your home in the process of keeping it as clean as possible. I’ve noticed that with the advent of my children growing in age, my home has become messier. I’ll look to hire house cleaning services to help us out!

  19. Charles Leary on December 10, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    thanks for sharing your thought as I’m a cleaning freak it helps me a lot. I use vacuum clear when in rush

  20. Billy on December 25, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Especially the schedule chart you have shared is very helpful. It makes my life very simple and organized. 🙂

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