12 Tips to Keep a Clean House with Kids (from a mom of 4)

how to clean your house with a baby

Inside: Keeping your house clean with kids might feel impossible (let’s be real – some days, it is!). But these proven tips will make keeping the house tidy with kids so much easier.

When you first start having kids, you realize how hard it is to actually do anything with children. Seriously, how much effort does it take to go anywhere! You used to just grab your purse and hop in your car. Now? An hour later, and five trips back inside (make that six), you’re off!

Cleaning the house is another one of those things that gets exponentially harder with kids.

In the beginning, when you only have a baby, the two main problems are finding the energy to clean the house and having your hands free to clean anything (this baby carrier has been a personal life-saver for that – but mastering doing the dishes while wearing it takes practice).

Overcoming those two obstacles to cleaning can feel like climbing Mt. Everest, but oh my goodness, are your problems just beginning! As that baby grows, and maybe you add one or two (or three, like me) kids to the mix, keeping your house tidy feels darn near impossible.

Read More»

10 Cheap Decorating Ideas to Make Your Home Beautiful (even when you’re broke)

decorate on a budget

Inside: Just because you don’t have a lot to spend doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your home! Use these cheap decorating ideas to create a home you love for next to nothing.

I have a confession: I compulsively rearrange my furniture.

I do it all the time, to the point where my husband wonders whether or not the house is ever going to look the same when he walks in the door after work.

Why do I do it? It’s not exactly easy to rearrange furniture by yourself.

I do it because it’s the king of all cheap decorating ideas.

Rearranging furniture gives your home a whole new look for FREE.

I want my home to be beautiful, but we have very little money to invest in making it so. I had to get creative to make a home I love with only a few dollars to spare.

Thankfully, creativity (and necessity) birthed several cheap decorating ideas that I wouldn’t trade for all the expensive home decorations in the world.

Read More»

The Toy Checkout System (perfect for big families!)

toy checkout system
Inside: Have you gotten rid of SO many toys, but you still feel overwhelmed by what’s left? Try the toy checkout system – perfect for bigger families that end up keeping more toys.

I became a minimalist – well, as much a minimalist as you can be with a husband who decidedly isn’t (frugal though he may be) and four small kiddos.

I was tired of cleaning up all the time, especially the toys. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  I wanted to homeschool and needed time and energy to do it.

So naturally, like many other exhausted and desperate moms of my generation, I picked up a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and got to work. I pared down that toy collection.

Then I pared it down again. And again. And again. But it never felt like enough.

Read More»

The Best Way to Declutter Toys

When you take the plunge into minimalism, many books recommend starting with toys if you have kids. You’ll see a huge difference which will give you the momentum to continue. But when you have multiple kids (especially of different genders), decluttering toys can get complicated fast.

I started with toys after reading the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it was an oh-so-painful process. I debated a long time over things like dolls and Little People and wooden blocks. Hopefully sharing my experience will save you some of the decision fatigue I experienced.

I’ll give you the simple questions that I eventually (after much debate) came up with in order to decide what to toss and what to keep. I’ll also show you exactly what remained after we decluttered. Your toy collection will probably look different, but I always find it really helpful to see what other families end up keeping when they finish decluttering toys.

Read More»

Dollar Store Fridge Organization (for $5 or less!)

fridge organization cheap, refrigerator organization, dollar store fridge organization, how to organize the fridge for cheap

The fridge in our current rental house leaves a lot to be desired as far as fridge organization goes. The interior has three measly (awful) shelves and two drawers – there’s not even a deli drawer! Our last apartment was a brand new, luxury building: I was spoiled, for sure.

For months, I lived with a less than ideal, disorganized fridge, but I constantly misplaced items, forgetting about produce or leftovers until it was too late. I definitely needed fridge organization help but didn’t get desperate enough to figure out a solution until last week. I finally got fed up with wasting money and time and started brainstorming.

Read More»

Kid’s Artwork: The Simplest Way to Eliminate the Overwhelm

easy storage solution for kids art

I’m a big fan of simple storage solutions designed to work with your family’s habits, not against them. Today, I’m sharing my super simple method for figuring out how to store your kid’s artwork.

If there’s anything that can bring on decision fatigue, it’s deciding what to do with ALL THE PAPER. Seriously, how can one child (let alone two more) produce so much art?!

And when I say art, I’m referring of course to the hundreds of indecipherable drawings just one of my kids can produce in a week.

Read More»

The Simplest, Cheapest LEGO Storage Solution

lego, lego storage, lego bin, organize legos, organize blocks

Inside: Are you frustrated by your current system for organizing LEGOs©? Try this simple, cheap LEGO storage solution instead!

We recently inherited my younger brother’s LEGO collection. I’m talking thousands upon thousands of LEGOs, and that’s after giving several sets away to my sister.

I have never seen so many LEGO people and accessories in one place, and my first thought was “Why oh why did I take these?!”. I spent the past two years decluttering toys, and the thought of adding so many at once was slightly overwhelming.

But once we took them home, I haven’t regretted it once. LEGOs are a classic and versatile toy that will last forever.

My next thought was, of course, how the heck am I going to store all those LEGOs?!

We had a small bin of LEGOs before, but that small bin was nowhere near big enough for the collection we have now.

Simple, Cheap LEGO Storage

I had momentary, glorious visions of LEGOs sorted by color, a drawer for each one – like this one. You know, the ones made for A-type moms like me who adore beautiful storage solutions.

Then, an image of thousands of LEGOs being dumped onto the floor cross my mind. 

I imagined the pain of stepping on those LEGOs (have you ever stepped on one? curse words have flown across my brain, and thankfully not my mouth). And I envisioned carefully sorting the thousands back into their color coded drawers…again and again and again.

I abandoned that idea pretty quickly.

I definitely needed to think outside the box on this one. Having just read The House That Cleans Itself, I started thinking about a storage solution that could actually work for their habits, not mine.

Simple cheap LEGO storage that actually works (no more kids dumping out ALL the LEGOs)

Choose Storage that Works

Before rushing to purchase a storage container, I stopped to observe how my kids play with LEGOs, and I thought carefully about how I wanted them to play with LEGOs.

I value creativity in play and believe that building with LEGOs can be a great tool for learning. Building the sets according to the directions does not really foster that creativity I’m going for.

Building sets does teach other things like patience, perspective, counting, and perseverance, and we did reserve a couple of carefully preserved, whole sets for when my daughter needs a longer building project.

In general though, I wanted the kids to build new creations that challenged their spatial reasoning and engineering skills. My three-year-old is constantly coming up with ships like this one.

organize LEGOs, LEGO storage



After careful observation, I landed on what may be the cheapest, simplest LEGO storage solution on Pinterest to date. Short of leaving them in the cardboard box, you can’t find a cheaper solution. This container was only $17.99 at Target, and I’m sure you can get it cheaper on sale or with a coupon.

4 Reasons this LEGO Storage Solution Works

1) It’s portable.

organize LEGOs, LEGO storage

We can carry the entire collection from room to room, though up and down the stairs does take a bit of effort. That way, when one of the boys wants to play with them during rest time, we can easily shift them from the play room to their room.

2) It fits under beds.

We live in a relatively small house, though nowhere near as small as our apartment in Boston was. When we need extra floor space, the bin is designed to fit under beds. Perfect!

3) Multiple kids can sort from all sides.

organize LEGOs, LEGO storage

When the LEGO collection is put in the middle of a room, several kids can look at the same time, a couple on each side.

4) It never gets dumped.

With our old LEGO bin, the bricks were constantly being dumped out in order to find whatever piece they were looking for. Now, they never get dumped.  There may be a handful of pieces scattered next to it (I’m thinking of a solution for this one). But these can easily be tossed back into the main bin.

Read Next: The Smart Way to Organize Your Home (when you have a disorganized family)

Pin this for later!

LEGO Storage | LEGO Organization | Best Way to Organize LEGOS | Cheap LEGO Storage Solution | Simple LEGO Storage | How to Store LEGOs

Why You Need to Fold Your Clothes the KonMari Way

minimalism, the life changing magic of tidying up, the marie kondo method for folding clothes

Inside: Folding your clothes using the Kon Mari method will literally change your life. No more messy drawers!

Laundry and dishes. The two constants of life with kids, and ever so controversial.

The way you fold clothes is kind of like the way you load the dishwasher: everyone has her own method. Have you ever watched someone load your dishwasher, horrified at their misplacement of cups and bowls, knowing that you will [secretly] rearrange it later? (Is it really just me?)

Read More»

The Smart Way to Organize Your Home (when you have a disorganized family)

how to organize the disorganized family, organizing with a disorganized family

Have you ever spent hours rearranging and organizing your home only to have it be a disaster the very next day? 

You think angrily to yourself, our house could be clean and orderly if everyone else would just get on board.

Read More»
© Copyright This Simple Balance - Theme by Pexeto