Originally Posted by Kivgaen
Food spills that never got wiped up, mud from snowy boots, stickers suck on the floors, oatmeal spills and bread crumbs or drink spills in kitchen from my husband's "helpers" who never bother to clean up after themselves... etc, etc. It's really hard to mop the floors when they are covered with toys, and by the time the toys are picked up, we don't feel like cleaning anymore.
Here's our solution to all this . . . big, cheap area rugs from Menards at all doors. (They're rubber-backed, designed basically to both trap yet repel dirt--even if you get mud on them, the mud sits on the surface, dries and you can quickly vacuum it off.) All shoes come off on the rug when the family enters the house. You can keep slippers there to change into, or just go socks (I and the kid just do socks, the husband does slippers.)
We have cheapie rag rugs in front of the oven/range, fridge and sink in the kitchen. These catch 90% of the kitchen spills and junk. Figure out where the worse spills tend to happen and toss a rag rug down there. Once they get gross, toss them through the washer.
We have a carpet under the dinette table where all food must be eaten. Since it sounds like your family tends toward the spilly and crumbly, I'd suggest one of the big, cheap area rugs from Menards here too. (We have a much nicer rug there, but messy food rarely gets onto it; it's generally just crumbs.)
In order of what needs to be done most with this setup: generally, the dinette rug can do with a vacuum once a week. The rag rugs from the kitchen can do with a shake-out about once a week too (I take them to the back door and shake them out.) They get washed when they get nasty, or about once a quarter (every 3-4 months). The floor IN the kitchen gets swept weekly and I generally do a quick "spot-mop" with a wet rag every two weeks.
The area rugs by the doors get a vacuum about once every two weeks, with the rest of the carpeting in the house (upstairs, and family room has carpeting). The wood floors outside the kitchen get a sweeping and a swifering about once every 3-4 weeks, and a mopping about once a quarter.
All members of the household are required to wipe up spills on the floor immediately. More than spills getting nasty: if you have wood floors, highly acidic spills can very easily eat into and damage the wood. That's my fear here: growing up we had old, very expensive to repair/impossible to replace wood floors in our house, and we experienced some wood-damaging spills because they weren't wiped up right away. My dad has only really been able to repair those areas because he took out the floors from another part of the house (to put down tile) and "reprocessed" that wood to be used to replace damaged wood.
(Just to note: I only have one kid and I understand that more than one kid means more frequent cleaning. But my mom basically had the same rules and all-wood floors with area rugs, and once of us generally got assigned to sweep and spot-mop with a rag about once a week, while another vacuumed. It kept things clean enough to wander about in socks.)