Kids Home for Summer? 8 Ways to Keep the House Clean

Father and daughter playing with Lego

Keeping the house clean is never easy — but when the kids are home for summer (or indefinitely due to COVID)? Then a neat and tidy house is harder to come by than ever.

Fortunately, a little creativity can help here.

Are you having trouble keeping your house clean with the kiddos in and out all day? Try these handy methods on for size:

1. Try a toy checkout system.

If you’ve got little ones who have a tendency to leave toys, trucks, and trains all over the house, try implementing some sort of checkout system. Each child gets one toy at a time, and when they’re ready to use a new one, they have to put the first one away and “check” the new one out.

This keeps discarded toys from taking over your home or requiring constant pickup. It’s also a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in your kiddos (they have to keep track of that first toy if they want to play with more). 

2. Create a mudroom area.

Mudrooms are a great way to keep dirt and mess at bay. Make sure it has a storage spot for shoes, rain coats, umbrellas, wet pool towels, and more, and put down rugs to keep the floor from getting muddy or grimy. 

If you don’t have the space for a full mudroom, just install a mudroom-style bench or shelves in your entryway or along a front hallway. You might consider adding some hooks for hanging up keys, too.

3. Institute a chore chart.

Chore charts are also a smart way to keep your home tidy and clean. Assign each child age-appropriate responsibilities — things like changing the trash, making their bed, sweeping the floor, or even just clearing away the dishes, and spread out the chores evenly so everyone is doing their part.

You can even add a competitive element to it. Every time a child completes a chore, they can earn something — a star or point, for example — which they can later use toward some sort of reward or prize.

4. Stock up on baskets and tubs.

It’s not the most organized solution, but if you’re really desperate to keep the house clean for the summer, invest in some large-sized bins and baskets, and position them throughout your home. Though your kids may not be able to put everything in its right place, they can certainly clear the floor and pile it all in a basket or bin with ease. It’ll keep the house tidy (and ensure you’re not stepping on any more of those blocks or Legos!)

5. Invest in a robotic vacuum.

You might also consider buying a robotic vacuum like a Roomba or iRobot. They’ll take the tedious task of vacuuming off your hands, and you can even set up regular schedules, so it runs daily, weekly, or while you’re away at work. Just make sure you clean the brushes often and empty the dirt receptacle.

6. Make everyone enter through the garage.

Ask that the kids (and their guests) come and go through the garage rather than through your front door. You can even put a shelf just inside the garage door that has towels, a shoe rack, hand sanitizer, and more to make sure everyone tidies up before entering the house.

If you don’t have a garage, entering through the back door is another good option. Just make sure you put down a heavy duty mat on both sides of the door to keep dirt at bay.

7. Keep toys to specific areas of the house.

Outlaw toys from the living room, kitchen, and other shared spaces, and give them all designated spots in the kids’ bedrooms or in their game room or playroom. In the event things do get messy, this keeps you from having to run all over the house picking up toys and games. Since they’re all concentrated to one or two areas, it’s much easier (and faster) to clean up.

8. Make it fun for the kids.

Your kiddos might even help you keep the house clean if you find a way to make it fun. Turn organizing into a race, give them dusting mitts and see who can collect the most, or do a Pippi Longstocking-style mop skate-off if they’re on the older end. If you can turn it into a game, you can bet they’ll be gung-ho to help you out.

The bottom line

Keeping your house clean isn’t impossible — even with the kiddos around 24-7. Do you need cash to cover that Roomba or just for a good professional deep cleaning? A cash-out refinance may be able to help. 

Get in touch with a loan officer at Embrace Home Loans today to learn more about your options.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.