How to make the messiest mealtime/playdate seem like it never happened in seconds.

Jo Abi with her daughter.


I let my kids make huge, gigantic messes. I love it. How did I end up this way? We’ll need to go back to my own, crazy childhood…

When I was little if I dropped a single crumb from a biscuit it was the end of the world. There was reprimanding, tut-tutting, I’d be shooed out of the house and I’d be left wondering just how I was meant to eat a biscuit without creating any crumbs at all.

It’s not possible. IT’S NOT POSSIBLE.

I remember our vacuum cleaner. It was as heavy as a car and the cord was always snaking around furniture, waiting to trip us up. When my mum was vacuuming it was survival of the fittest. Get out of the way because mum was stopping for no-one. Once she’d gone to the effort of pulling it out of the cupboard and unwinding the cord it was on. Thinking about that cumbersome grey and orange contraption, I can understand her aversion to mess when we were little.

Thankfully, vacuum cleaners are a lot better these days. They look better, they perform better and they weigh much, much less than a car.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Electrolux Ergorapido. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

So kids get to make messes. They are allowed to eat a biscuit with NO PLATE and I expect nothing less than a trail of crumbs. I never get mad because mess is a part of life, as is cleaning. And biscuit-crumb-acceptance is just the beginning.

They have been known to convert our lounge room into a secret hideout using chairs, blankets, toys, food products, torches and they’ll stay there for hours playing, using their imaginations, having a ball.

I let them dig holes in the backyard, smear the mud all over themselves (once a day max before bath time), pick up decks of cards and fling them all over the room (as long as they help me pick them up) and use my makeup to put on shows. I let them jump on my bed and wear all my shoes, even the ones that cost more than $60.

Sometimes I love the mess.

As a result of my unconventional parenting I have become the most efficient cleaner in my family. My parents and siblings are in total awe of me. “Jo cleans so quickly, I’ve never seen someone clean as quickly as she does,” they whisper to each other as I wiz around the house making it presentable again. I’m quietly relieved my family acknowledges my cleaning prowess as the title of ‘best cook’ has already been taken by my mum, ‘best baker’ has already been taken by my sister, ‘best with money’ has already been taken by my other sister and ‘best at making coffee’ has already been taken by my brother, so ‘fastest cleaner’ belongs to me.

What they don’t know is how I pull it off. I have a secret cleaning system that allows me to be the world’s coolest mum, the world’s fastest cleaner and the world’s happiest homemaker. For the first time, I am willing to reveal these tricks in the hope that even if my family attempts to replicate the system they will never be able to match my stunning results.


The first thing you need is a bit of motivation. Pretend you have a rental inspection in five minutes. Motivated? Then get that body moving. Visitors popping around in two minutes? Get cracking baby.

I start off by going around the entire room with a rubbish bag and scooping up any mess, rubbish and broken toys before assigning the task of putting the bag in the bin to Philip. I then move all the furniture back into place and pick up all the clothes, blankets, towels and anything else the kids have decided to play with that day. Giovanni and Caterina carry them into laundry for me and I sort out which ones are dirty and which ones are clean later.

I then throw the remaining toys and books into giant plastic toy containers and put the lids on. Sometimes the school shoes end up in there, but it doesn’t matter. The lid hides everything.

Jo with her kids – she lets them make mess which has also earned her the “fastest cleaner” title in her family.

The last thing I do is vacuum the floor and the furniture. A cordless vacuum cleaner is an absolute godsend because you can move from room to room without having to switch power points and the kids don’t trip over the cord. I vacuum the floor, the furniture, our computer chair after the kids have left a mess there. A cordless vacuum cleaner also makes it much easier to chase the kids around the house before packing it away.

I want my kids to have a happy and fun-filled childhood and creating mess is part of that. They do give me a heads up when they come up with an idea for a mess and we brainstorm which mess I’d be happy to clean that day. And they are limited to one crazy mess each day. I have my limits.

Vetoed messes include painting the cat (traumatised), throwing flour all over the kitchen (it becomes a paste when you try and clean it) and drawing on the walls (very creative darling but can you use paper next time?).

What’s the point of having awesome cleaning devices if you don’t have some mess to use them on? So decide which are the messes that won’t give you a heart attack and watch your kids have an awesome time.

These messes… probably gave the parents a heart attack.

Whether it’s your kids’ mess after playing or the dreadful biscuit crumbs left on the floor, we all need those hassle-free tools to clean fast and easy. What do you do to be the quickest cleaner at home?

Electrolux Ergorapido is thoughtfully designed for convenience and ease-of-use, being a cordless vacuum it will always be ready for you to just grab & go. The Electrolux Ergorapido is extremely easy to glide, it features a clip-on handheld unit to vacuum couches or even your car, and smart features like the LED lights to easily vacuum around dark areas or underneath furniture. Whether you use it for your main weekly vacuum run or as a secondary vacuum for those quick clean ups, Electrolux Ergorapido is sure to be your best friend around the home.

Ergorapido 18V –  RRP $359

Ergorapido 14.4V – RRP $279

Available at all major electrical retailers Australia wide. 

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