It amazes me how fast a house can get messy. We clean the house up for company to come over, and shortly thereafter it’s a mess again.

Mostly that’s due to having three young children. Kids just love to play, and that means messes happen. It just takes a moment to forget to ask that they clean up after themselves and the mess just increases from there.

Keeping the house clean is one of the challenges work at home moms deal with. They’re at home, and that means that right or wrong there’s this expectation that they have the time for housework too, and so their house should be nearly spotless. If only it were that simple!

I don’t keep a perfect house. Matter of fact sometimes the mess comes close to driving me crazy because no one cleans without me reminding them, or so it seems much of the time. But I do have some tips to keep things up at least somewhat respectably.

1. Don’t Stress the Mess

Some mess isn’t so bad. If the house is clean enough that you won’t be too embarrassed to let the kids have a friend over, it’s probably not that bad. Depending on how easily you embarrass about house clutter and chaos, that is.

So often my oldest has had a friend over and I’ll feel a bit bad about how the house looks, but their mom comments that her house is about the same or doesn’t say anything. That many people don’t keep a perfect house is something you can learn by visiting your children’s friend’s parents when the kids go to play.

You want things clean enough to be healthy and safe. That doesn’t take perfect, dust free surfaces and constant scrubbing.

2. Get the Kids Cleaning

Kids can start cleaning pretty young. My oldest two are regularly assigned to empty the dishwasher, clear the table, sweep and mop the kitchen floor, clean two of the bathrooms and their own rooms. Plus toy general pickup, of course. Laundry assistance will soon be added to the oldest’s list

It takes time to teach kids to do a new chore correctly, and it’s harder than doing it yourself. I often have to help them get the sweeping or mopping done correctly, but they improve over time and eventually they won’t need help at all.

All other adults living in the home should be helping to clean as well.

3. Quick Cleaning Spurts

You may not have time to really get into the details of cleaning your home every day, but you can probably spare 5-15 minutes here and there to get some work done. That’s time enough to load and unload the dishwasher. Time to sweep or vacuum one room. Time to pick up some clutter.

4. Declutter

One of the biggest sources of messy homes after children is clutter. If you have a lot of stuff, it’s harder to keep it all clean. Simple as that. Take some time and get rid of the stuff you don’t need, and organize the rest.

5. Decide If You Can Afford a Cleaning Service

A cleaning service can work wonders for getting all the cleaning done that is so hard to get to. You still have to have your house generally tidy for them, but they’ll take care of cleaning surfaces, sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, stuff like that. It can be really nice to have someone else scrub down your bathroom for you.

You don’t need to keep your home absolutely perfect. Most of us don’t manage that. Clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be happy is more fun than perfection.