How to keep house while living with a million mess-makers

I’m no expert. My house is not clean. I do have some tips and tricks to help you, though.

Raising any number of children and/or pets as well as having a mate, a day job and any kind of a social life while maintaining and keeping a house is a difficult task. Take it from me, it’s tough!

This post is bit lengthy so if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read and nod in agreement I’ve highlighted the main points at the end 🙂

Let’s get to it:

First thing in the morning, MAKE THE BED! as soon as your feet hit the floor, pull up the sheets and blankets, fluff the pillows. If this is the ONLY thing you carry out on the housekeeping front for the day, at least you did something, right?!

The thing about making the bed is it can make the messiest of rooms seem neater and cleaner some how. I guess because the bed typically takes up most of the visual space in any room that if it is neater the room looks neater, fresher, cleaner.

When you go to get into the bed, you feel better about yourself, your house and what you accomplished(or didn’t accomplish) for the day.

Second thing and throughout the day, if you see it clean it. It takes meer seconds to wipe the bathroom counter with your hand towel after washing your face hands and brushing your teeth.

Third, don’t step over around or on it, pick it up and take the seconds to put it where it belongs.

A helpful tip: keep a basket, a box or a bag in a central location of the house. When you come across an item out-of-place put it in the receptacle. Later, take five minutes and empty the receptacle to the items’ proper homes.

Fourth, ask for help. Whether from the kids, husband, friend or neighbor, ask someone to play a game with the kids or take them for a walk. I find I have the most productive housekeeping adventures when I’m alone in the palace. I can turn on the music (helpful tip: upbeat music always motivates me, even in the background) and get stuff done, like the pile of dishes or that basket of laundry.

Frankly, I’ve received housekeeping advice that I should get my stuff done when the kids go to bed but I’m tired and want to go to bed myself so the stuff never gets done. In fact most of my cleaning and housework doesn’t get done until someone is coming over for a visit. Shameful, but true.

We’re all guilty of the mad dash. You get a call, “hey can I stop by, I’ll be there in twenty minutes” and you surprise yourself with how much you can achieve in those urgent twenty minutes.

Why can’t we get this done this on a daily basis? because we don’t care about US seeing our dirt and mess, but we care about other’s seeing it. We can justify to ourselves that we can do it later; the dirt will still be there tomorrow; and we don’t have the time to do it “right” right now so we don’t do it at all.

At least this is the way I think of it all.

I’m the worst offender of letting my laziness dominate whether my house gets cleaned. Sometimes I just have to kick myself in the butt and DO IT, but it’s a mountain in my mind and I don’t have any climbing gear. So the most crucial things get done but the dust piles up in the corner and the laundry sits in the dryer for a day (or three) but my kids are fed and the time I spend with them at this crucial age is priceless and I know we can not get these or any years back so I definitely don’t beat myself up over the dirt but someone’s got to do it and my one month old isn’t picking up a broom so it’s up to me.

Fifth, we have 3 bathrooms so to make it a little easier to be less lazy I keep toilet cleaner and rags in each one so I’m not chasing done, or lugging cleaning supplies all around the house. If I remember or notice it needs it I can just clean it on the spot, not go to get the cleaner and then get sidetracked getting someone a snack or tying a shoe.

Helpful tip: try not to take on a task that takes more than a few minutes. I don’t and can’t sit and scrub down the entire bathroom with all these little ones so, I’ll wipe the counter in the morning when I wash brush. Then later when I take my five minutes at the throne, I’ll scrub it down. Later after I give the kids a shower or bath, I’ll wipe down the shower and tub with their dirty wash clothes and towels. Presto, I cleaned the bathroom today.

Typically I’ll lug out the vacuum and steam mop and do one level of the house all at once. It’s just easier for my laziness to have to take it out, do the job and wind up the chords one time then to clean one whole room at a time.

helpful tip: Cleaning in zones means to dust the whole level, clean the glass, the whole level, vacuum the whole level. Obviously not back to back. We’re not cleaning the whole house at once, just trying to keep dirt at bay and do what we can when we can. It takes a few minutes to dust all the bedrooms and then do snack time or read a story etc. later or the next day clean the glass on all the windows, and the next day vacuum and mop the floors, you get the picture.

Having the right or wrong attitude about cleaning can make a huge difference and although I struggle most with my perfectionism and letting it get the better of me I try to think “progress not perfection” or NOT a thing would get done around here.

The battle of the dirt is an ongoing task so doing a little here and there when we can is the only way to get anything done, when you have kids, that is.

This method of little by little also lets you take back your weekends, so even if you don’t have any kids or pets cleaning the house or apartment doesn’t have to be an all day affair sucking the life out of your weekends. A little in the morning a little in the evening and you are ready for company at any given time.

To recap:

MAKE THE BED

CLEAN AS YOU GO

PICK UP AND PUT AWAY RIGHT AWAY

ASK FOR HELP

KEEP SUPPLIES HANDY

CLEAN IN ZONES

PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

LITTLE BY LITTLE

 

What are your best and worst cleaning mantras? How do you battle the dirt?

Tell me about it in the comments, please.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Are You Drowning in a Sea of Housework? | Blog is where the Home is

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