The hardest part when the boys were little was getting the house tidy enough before I could even start to think about actually cleaning. I used to play a game of hide and seek before hubbie came home, spending ages going room to room “searching” for the boys, whilst quickly tidying the room I was currently in…
If your quite theatrical about it, they don’t have a clue and keep hiding and you get PLENTY of time to put ALL the toys back where they belong! Even when the playroom looked ransacked, it could be restored to a pretty decent condition after a few rounds of hide and seek! It was a clever move really because otherwise the house would have been on its last legs.
I would also have been lost without my Dyson hover - when the room was finally looking quite orderly (depending on how many games of hide and seek I had managed!) I would give it a quick vacuum to get up all their snack crumbs and other general chaos! They would regularly crush a rice cake or a Rusk and scatter it near and far so hooray that I always had a decent vacuum to cope!
Don’t overlook the humble baby wipe as part of your cleaning kit, its such a useful aid in keeping the house clean and if you have children you probably have these in stock.
De-clutter regularly, children will hang onto everything if you let them, so gradually remove toys that they have outgrown or that are missing pieces or broken when they are not around to see. If it means sneaking them out under the cover of darkness do that! Most of the time they forget they ever had them but if not come up with a back story, like our old dancing Mickey toy who is still currently going round entertaining people on cruises… to this day youngest still mentions him!
Get the children involved, younger children especially love “helping out”; give them some chores to feel like they are contributing, even if its just a feather duster to wave around a bit whilst you get on with the more serious jobs. If they are occupied they are less likely to grumble that you are cleaning up. Mine always had those pretend hovers so I could get on with the real hovering. Anything like that will capture their attention and give you a chance to get what is needed done.