My Must-Have Products for a Tidy Home


Back in the glory days of having one child, I wrote an article about how I kept my house nice and tidy. Sweet, sweet summer Sarah. Turns out that adding a child somehow triples the mess. Like compounding interest or some other math thing I don’t really understand. Anyhoo, it’s not actually been THAT bad. (She writes as her children are literally playing in the dirt outside.) I mostly stick to my rules, but lean heavily on rule number #5 Give Grace & Manage Expectations. It’s just taken a bit more effort and some very helpful products. 

#1 Cordless Stick Vacuum. I expressed my love for my Dyson V6 Motorhead in my previous article, but it has since been relegated to quick messes upstairs because the battery wasn’t holding a charge very long. It’s been replaced by a Christmas present from my dad, a Tineco. This model came with two heads – one for hard floors and one for carpet – and about 18 other attachments. It is lovely. I can use it for hard to reach spots around kitchen appliances, baseboards, air vents, couch crevices, and the collector of all crumbs: car seats in the minivan. It’s got fantastic battery life, auto and manually adjustable power levels, a switch to keep it on so I don’t have to hold the button down when I’ll be using it for a while, and a light on the front that makes vacuuming in the dark weirdly satisfying, but gross. It’s also easy to take apart and clean. I had to watch Youtube videos and void my warranty to get my Dyson apart when it got dirty. I took apart, cleaned, and reassembled the Tineco without needing to consult the manual. Very well-designed. 

#2 Force of Nature cleaner. I don’t remember how I found this, but I’m glad I did. This multi-purpose cleaner is safe to use on food surfaces, around kids and animals, and is an EPA registered disinfectant and sanitizer. This sounds like a sponsored post, but I promise I’m just a genuine fan. (Although, hit me up, Force of Nature.) You purchase a kit that comes with an electrolyzing device and activator capsules. You fill up the device with water, put in the contents of one capsule, and then some science-y thing happens with vinegar and salt and electricity and boom! Cleaner. I purchased reusable glass bottles to keep my cleaner in, and I use it daily on pretty much everything, including the kids’ high chair tray when they were still using one. The capsules are cheaper than purchasing bottles of cleaner from the store, so the kit will save me money over time.

#3 O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop. I hate cleaning floors, but I love my spin mop. I don’t do it as often as I should, but when I get a quiet morning while the kids are in preschool, I blast some worship music and mop the mess out of the floors. I usually use Go Clean Co.’s method, so I vacuum, mop once, empty the bucket and rinse the mop head, then refill and mop again. Squeaky clean. At least until the kids come home and dump half the playground’s bark out of their shoes. 

#4 Disposable Gloves & Disinfecting Wipes. Is this a low-waste solution? No. Do I care? Also no. When it comes to toilets, let me just get it done and over with. I use single-use kitchen prep gloves and keep a container of disinfecting wipes in each bathroom. When things start looking gnarly, I wipe everything down and keep my hands clean in the process. Germaphobe style. 

#5 Hate Stains Miss Mouth’s Messy Eaters Stain Remover Spray. I am genuinely upset that I just learned about this spray last month. This would have been so helpful when the kids were learning to eat. My son wiped blueberries all over his cute little Scarlet & Gold Aubie t-shirt at a birthday party, and I was prepared to have to call it because y’all know blueberries can be rough. Another mom whips this spray out and lets me try it. I just sprayed it on his shirt and the stains disappeared like some Harry Potter level wizardry. I immediately bought some on Amazon while still at the party. 

#6. Better Life Stain and Odor Eliminator. I did lots of shopping for something to clean up pee accidents on carpets and furniture when my daughter started learning to use the potty. This was the winner. Non-toxic, biodegradable, safe for kids and pets, and doesn’t smell like harsh chemicals. Just soak up as much of the mess as you can, then spray and blot with a damp towel. No rinsing or scrubbing required. 

#7 Lysol Laundry Sanitizer. I add this germ-killer to any load of laundry that’s got really messy or stinky clothes in it, or when any of us are sick. It makes me feel better when washing clothes with diaper messes or vomit on them. Does it keep sickness from spreading? Who knows. But it makes me feel better. Come to think of it, vinegar probably works just as well. 

Now I need to wrangle my little Savages and bathe them before dinner. I just watched my daughter throw a hand full of dirt in the air like confetti. Happy tidying!