9 genius ways to clean up your kids' messes

They sure are cute, and they sure are messy! Give these easy tricks a try to make the cleaning process stress-free!

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  • Moms and dads are no strangers to trying to pick Play-Doh out of the carpet. Luckily, some experienced veterans weigh in on how to keep your house, clothes and cars (and sanity!) intact when you have little munchkins running around, inadvertently wreaking havoc.

  • Play time's over

  • Ah, Play-Doh. It's the go-to afternoon activity that can win mom some quiet time. But, after the rolling pins and cookie cutters have been abandoned for coloring books and dress up, Play-Doh doesn't seem like a very good idea anymore, as globs have found their way into carpet and clothes. The best plan of action? Pick up larger pieces on the counter or hard surfaces using another big blob of Play-Doh, but let smaller pieces in the carpet or clothes dry completely and then simply vacuum up.

  • The aspiring artist

  • Coloring on paper doesn't hold a candle to coloring on the walls. A baby wipe should get things looking as good as new if your kid works best in crayons. For marker masterpieces, hand sanitizer or Magic Erasers usually do the trick.

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  • All that glitters isn't gold

  • Don't fall into the trap of buying that pretty glittered wrapping paper for the holidays, and don't even think about letting the kids use the glitter without your help. But let's face it: It's so pretty. So when a glitter mess happens, loosen pieces from the carpet then suck up with the vacuum. Rolling a lint roller around can also pick up those pesky sparkles, and coconut oil can help remove glitter from your face.

  • Flour power

  • Flour, pancake mix, baby powder and/or powdered sugar seem to be a tempting thing to get into as a kid. Be sure to snap a picture of "kitchen snow angels" to keep your good humor, then plug in the vacuum. If you are "lucky" enough to have some sort of liquid added to the flour, vacuum up what you can, then make a sudsy solution with soap and water and get scrubbing. Blot dry, and leave it overnight for good measure before vacuuming again.

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  • Tummy troubles

  • Mmmm waking up in the middle of the night to find the flu has hit everyone under the age of eight sure is a treat. Sheets, pillows, stuffed animals and carpet now have that very distinctive sour vomit smell. Yikes. This blogger knows firsthand how to get things looking and smelling just like new. Soak sheets and blankets in Borax and laundry detergent before washing like normal; Soak stuffed animals, clothing and carpet with hydrogen peroxide, laundry soap and baking soda.

  • Crumbs, crumbs, everywhere

  • Kids and crumbs go hand in hand; it's inevitable. Though it's crazy fun to play with, this magic goo is also super helpful when it comes to cleaning up. Get crumbs out of keyboards, the corners of your kitchen, everything plastic in your car and all those other nooks and crannies that crumbs seem to find their way into.

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  • Cleaned and polished

  • Spilt milk may not be worth crying about, but spilt polish just might be. Timing is key, because the polish gets harder to clean as it dries. This blogger was able to clean up a hot pink mishap with just a couple of ingredients.

  • Normally I could blame this on the kids..but not today. #mommymadeamess #spillednailpolish #navyblue

    A photo posted by jenniferashleysherman (@jenniferashleysherman) on

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  • Unstick stickers

  • Finding stickers on anything but paper isn't very exciting. But don't fret; surprisingly, there are quite a few ways to get 'em off. Soaking the stickers with vinegar, blasting them with a blowdryer, or even using mayonnaise can get stickers off basically everything.

  • Creams galore

  • Whether it's diaper rash cream, lotion or Vaseline, there seems to be bottles of problems hiding in your home. No matter the creamy liquid, use a spoon to get as much as you can off clothes or carpet before covering with baking soda or cornstarch to soak up the extra liquid before vacuuming up, and blotting with water and dish soap.

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  • And hey — what doesn't come out of the carpet makes a great story.

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Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.

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