*contributed by Olivia Prat

With young children to run around after, it can be hard for any mummy to keep a house clean. We’re not the Stepford Wives and not all of us can afford the luxury of a cleaner – so how can you keep your house clean with the chaos of children running around? Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along my many years of motherhood that should be embraced.

Be ruthless

If you’ve got a few kids or are just preparing for your first baby, there is always room for a little de-clutter. This is the time when you have to be most ruthless, as hoarding things for sentimental value may make your feel warm and fuzzy, but it won’t do your home any favours! Be ruthless – if it’s an item of clothing you haven’t worn in a year, ditch it. If it’s an old toy that your baby hasn’t played with for years, take it to a charity shop. You’ll be amazed at just how much room you can create by having a good old feng-shui of your bedroom.

Invest in good storage solutions

Unless you have been blessed with a mansion for a home, often the best way to keep the mess to a minimum is to look for ways of saving space. One great way of storing all your kids’ toys, clothes and any other bric-a-brac is to invest in a space saving bed. These are far easier on the eye than nasty storage boxes, and if you need to have a last minute dash to tidy up before guests arrive, what could be easier than pulling out an under-the-bed drawer?

Get the kids involved

Whenever I find myself tired of clearing up after the kids, rather than scolding them for making the mess in the first place, I try to make a game of it, for example – first one to tidy their room first gets the bunk bed! Siblings love a bit of healthy competition, so try to reward them with incentives. This will teach them the benefits of working to earn something and will also take the burden off you to tidy up!

Use an organisational system

This is my personal favourite, and can be used with your kids too. Consider labelling storage compartments, for example, sock drawers, toy boxes etc, and encourage your children to identify what goes where. This will help with the aforementioned ‘tidying up’ games and will also help you to keep tabs on where you’ve put everything – perfect for if you’re running out of the house in a hurry and need a last minute grab of the nearest dummy.

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