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How Clean is Your House?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
OK, so I'm driving myself crazy here. Always in the back of my mind I'm afraid someone is going to call social services on me b/c we homeschool AND we have six kids. I'm constantly trying to prove to myself, my dh, my parents, and others that I'm capable of keeping an organized, clean house, clean laundry, stocked (with healthy food) pantry and fridge, run kids here and there as their interests lead us, still have time to play board games, play dough, color, etc., pay bills and find new ways to save money, work out, cook, well, you get the picture. As most of you know homeschooling makes for a "lived in" home. So what's acceptable? What makes social services take your kids? Why am I so paranoid?
post #2 of 51
The house comes last. It is clean, but cluttered. As long as I can find what we need, who cares about anyone else. I joked today that I hoped CPS did not show up today because my floor was a mess and I was not cleaning it up until the refrigerator guy fixed the fridge.

I tell DH, "It's dust, but it's our dust."
post #3 of 51
It's sanitary. It gets the top to bottom cleaning once a month when mil (God bless her) comes over and together we vacuum, mop, dust, sweep, straighten... pretty much every room. I do maintenance in between those cleanings. There are things all over our dining room table, but it's all from today (I clear it off before breakfast). There are dishes next to the sink, but again they're from today. I try very hard not to let things pile up, but there's no way my house is going to look like a Home Depot display.
post #4 of 51
Quote:
I'm constantly trying to prove to myself, my dh, my parents, and others that I'm capable of keeping an organized, clean house, clean laundry, stocked (with healthy food) pantry and fridge, run kids here and there as their interests lead us, still have time to play board games, play dough, color, etc., pay bills and find new ways to save money, work out, cook, well, you get the picture.
You and how many of your clones? Seriously, to do all those things every day you'd have to either have staff or not sleep.
post #5 of 51
Do what I say, not what I do. ;-) My house isn't nearly as clean as I'd like it. Well, it wasn't before we moved. Now, we're living with ILs, and 4 adults for 3 children works out rather well, as does having TONS of room and fewer toys.

Two book recommendations:
1) Mrs. Clean Jean's Housekeeping with Kids: Family Pickup Lines (and Household Routines) That Work with Less Work from You by Tara Aronson
She's a wee bit too scheduled for me, but I still got some really good suggestions, and she's very good about dividing up chores in an age appropriate way. I firmly believe that family meetings are crucial to smooth household workings, and that children and husbands should be involved as much as possible.
2) Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley or FlyLady.net
Where Housekeeping with Kids is about division of labor and getting your family to cooperate, FlyLady is about personal responsibility and about cleaning all the time without cleaning all the time. It's about spending 15 minutes now to save yourself 60 minutes later and about letting go of "perfection" and living in a home.

Right before our move, I was shocked to discover that my husband doesn't mind mopping. Not only that, but he does it faster than me! It may not be perfect, but it's good enough for me, especially when I don't have to do it. The thing is, it never would have occurred to me to ask him, except that we were on a time crunch. I gave him the option of doing two things, thinking he would pick the "not mopping" option, and I was blissfully wrong.

Now, if I could just convince him to put his own dishes in the dishwasher and to take out the trash before it overflows...
post #6 of 51
Ahh the superwoman syndrome. Sucky eh? I think we all fall victim to it from time to time. The houses we see on TV and in movies show women working and parenting and whatever else coming home to sparkling clean home that's perfectly organized. In real life I am not sure how often that happens. :

My home is usually comfortable for me. We have bread on the counter, and creamer and sugar containers by the coffee pot.The dished get done pretty fast when we are home because we just do them as we use them and put them in the dishrack to dry. (We have no dishwasher) We have some recycling stuff in the kitchen on the floor, but it is taken out daily along with the garbage. We have various amounts of clean and dirty laundry about. We have books stacked on the floor in a couple spots, and on the coffee table. I forget to dust until it's pretty awful lol. The toilet/sink/shower are cleaned weekly. We sweep daily. Dd keeps her room pretty tidy, but Ds is more lax about it. It works for us.

We have food that we enjoy eating, and I dare anyone or CPS to say a word about it. My closets are not organized at all lol. If childrens services was ever called they generally look for safety/health and basic living needs types of things. Clean clothes, beds with bedding, a kitchen that isn't covered in garbage or overflowing sinks of dishes, a place suitable for bathing etc. Relax a little if you can. You don't have to be perfect.
post #7 of 51
My house is clean but cluttered. My biggest problem is that my laundry room is the last room that we are repairing and redoing so I don't have a washer and dryer hooked up and the laundry piles when you have 7 children. I go once a week to the laundry mat then i have the problem of getting everyone to put their clothes away! lol

I wash dishes everyday, not that they are all clean all the time. You know dirty dishes multiply as if by magic. We dont' have a dishwasher and I have finally grown mine big enough to help when I need it. The fridge can always be cleaned out and left overs thrown away. And my pantry has groceries, but needs to be more organized.

For me getting the beds made everyday makes me feel like the house is much cleaner and neater. We also vaccuum at least twice a day. My 20 month old leaves crumbs and my 8 month old is pretty much still EBF. Not a great combo.

My desk always has stuff piled up on it, but I know where things are. Dh gets frustrated w/ it.

I have all the homeschooling stuff on 2 book shelves in the living room and have several Rubbermaid plastic 3 drawer carts for paper, spirals, folders, etc, etc

Our house is very tiny so if things aren't picked up it is easy to become frustrated.
post #8 of 51
My house tends not to be cluttered, but it's dusty. ;-) We have two dogs and 4 kids, what can i say? (I can't function in clutter)

I cannot work in clutter, so I do a run through each day and have a lot of baskets and 'official landing areas' for stuff.

I don't do it alone, however. Dh is a huge help, and the kids are pretty good with alittle prompting. Gently, of course. My teen vaccums the house once a week, fi. There is no way on earth one person should, or can, clean up after everyone. My teens also know how to run the washer and dryer. Handy skill, i tell you.

I think 'clean' is realtive. A little dust and dirt makes for strong immune systems. (That's true). But 'too much' (varies for every family) disorder can turn a home into an uncomfrotable place to be.

I also do not think one has to do playdough and boards games everyday! lol Nothing has to be done everyday! I find my hsers and I work extra hard at organiing when we plan special things for overselves. It's amazing how fast we are when we are treating ourselves to our fav lunch at our fav coffee shop. Cleaning isn't great fun, and as a slacker, I need motivation.
post #9 of 51
I can't stand clutter. I shut down when the house gets bad and I just can't do anything at all so I HAVE to keep on it- so the only clutter is the kid's toys and such. Our house is finally 3bdr and soon to be 2ba but it only has three closets in the whole house so we have very little storage space.

Now and then I'll walk into a room and notice dust bunnies in the corner of the walls and things like that. The house could use a ceiling to floor cleaning, but I try to keep up on the vacuuming, dishes (it has to be rolled across the kitchen and hooked to my sink to work- easier to wash by hand ), keeping the fridge cleaned out etc.

The things I tend to let go is mopping and dusting but I'm working on those things. I used to hate vacuuming but my MIL gave me an Oreck and now I don't mind vacuuming because that thing is so light and easy to push and works great. And I can use it on wood floors- which is great because we only have carpet in one room now.

We do usually have a paper bag with recycling in it sitting next to our garbage can and it gets taken out daily or every other day. The thing that bugs me is when my kids throw their clothes all over the house playing dress up and things like that. I don't like messes... the kids building something with Lincoln Logs in the middle of the floor doesn't bother me if they pick up when they're done, but I can't stand things just being thrown about for no reason.

Ya know, when I describe it- our house doesn't sound that bad... I'm just a perfectionist.

PS- and don't get me wrong, some days the sink does get full of dishes and we have to set things next to the sink or there's crumbs all over the floor. Sometimes the kitchen floor is sticky... we just try to keep up. It was really bad when I had m/s, I couldn't stand it but didn't have the oomph to fix it.
post #10 of 51
It's CLEAN - there's no filth or anything unsanitary. But it's a total MESS - it looks like crap as a matter of fact - our place is too small for us, and until we move (next fall), I can keep the house clean but not neat in the least.
post #11 of 51
I meant to answer your DSS question-- didn't want to ignore your fears.

Wanted to ask-- do you fear someone in your life will call social services on you? It would take a lot more than a cluttered home for DSS to take kids away. Even if someone with a grudge against you did call, one would hope it would take DSS more than a house of clutter and toys to remove kids. While investigations are common if there is a nasty-ass MIL or neighbor in the picture, most kids are not taken away from 'normal' messy homes . I would think most social workers know what it's like to be a loving, if overwhlemed, parent. The social workers I have personally known aren't exactly Mrs Cleavers themselve. lol

I would think they would be looking for safety issues-- the things we read about in the newspapers-- human or animal feces all over the floor, molding food everywhere, and kids in cages or something.

I know people have good reason to fear DSS at times, but social workers aren't likely to remove kids from a safe, even if messy, home.
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekblad8
What makes social services take your kids?

A lot more than a messy house. They are so overworked, and can't always find a good place for kids who truly need it - they're not going to come around looking for properly cared for kids to take. You need to chill out, mama!
post #13 of 51
CPS would look for dangers--is it so dirty that it's a health hazard? If not, then I wouldn't worry.

I was JUST telling a friend yesterday that,while I like the IDEA of a clean house, when it comes right down to it, there are always more interesting things to do than clean.

We do the dishes daily, (although, that doesn't mean that the sink isn't full of dishes at this very moment.) I usually throw a load of laundry in every day, so it doesn't get out of hand. I vacumm twice a week (we have lots of pets) but other than that...I clean when it looks dirty. We always have "stuff" out--a work in progress, a half-done puzzle, art creations, books--that doesn't bother me. I DO have a limit to what I can tolerate when it comes to other clutter though (things like yesterday's paper, last week's mail, clothing strewn about, etc.) so my family sometimes hears me say, "Can we do something with this room? I'm starting to feel edgy."
post #14 of 51
Thread Starter 
I love you guys! I was shaking my head in agreement to alot of your answers. Makes me feel SO much better!

I have an oreck too and LOVE it! I got it for Christmas last year and it has been a dream

My neighbor hates us. She doesn't like that we have six kids or that we homeschool. She has a major grudge against us and used to call the association all the time on us (like once my kids got snow on her front porch). The association has stopped listening to her or caring so she called the township and the police and said our yard was unsanitary. They both ignored her (because it's not) so now I'm afraid she'll call css next. Her husband is a state trooper and I'm just paranoid that he would have "connections" ya know?
post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
I was JUST telling a friend yesterday that,while I like the IDEA of a clean house, when it comes right down to it, there are always more interesting things to do than clean.
Ditto!! I'd love to have a clean house but rooms only stay clean as long as no on is in them. Right now with putting Christmas stuff aWay (we just took our tree down ), it looks like our house is a snowglobe someone turned upside down and shook. One day I told DH that some days I'm just too lazy to be super clean and I'm a big enough woman to admit it . I'd rather read a book than spend the day picking up and repicking up over and over the kids stuff.
post #16 of 51
My biggest problem is clean diapers. I assemble them in the living room, where I fold laundry. I change most diapers in there. It just seems silly to cart them back to the diaper drawer, only to haul them out one at a time. So they tend to stack up on the back of the couch.

You all did inspired me. I went and vaccuumed the living room and kitchen and into the dining room as far as the cord would reach. I use the Dust Buster around the table after every meal, which helps.

I did Flylady for about a year. Then despite her sunny outlook, I started getting resentful that if I had a free 15 minutes, I was doing a routine. Some stuff I kept, some I ditched. Since we have rusty water, the daily swish and swipe in the bathroom is a big deal.

The problem is that DH honestly does not see the things that I do. Until he trips on something or it is piled as high as his face, then he is oblivious. He helps when I ask, but I deeply resent that I have to ask and that he does not see it.

On the CPS thing--one county in our state only requires that you have food, heat and electricity. You don't even have to have running water!!
post #17 of 51
Thank you mama! My home is clean but not neat, kwim. I have 4 kids, with 3 of them under 4 and a dh who wasn't a neatnik when I met him and certainly hasn't gotten neater with the years . I've had to ease up on myself becuz I was feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Never really getting anywhere. Now i'm working on purging our house and passing on stuff to someone who could use it. We also have a smallish home so I'm trying to be creative in how we use the space we have. The kids do their work in the dining room which is also the playroom, my office, my sewing & craft room and of course the only dining space we have. They don't seem to mind the clutter at all. Our biggest obstacle is laundry. We have way too much. Well, I'm a work in progress...

Oh and I wouldn't worry about CPS. Even if the nasty neighbor makes a complaint it has to be a valid one and CPS will see right through that, it's more of a nuisance than anything. They're not expecting kids to live in sterile clinic homes. They just want them safe and happy. No worries mama!
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by annab
My biggest problem is clean diapers. I assemble them in the living room, where I fold laundry. I change most diapers in there. It just seems silly to cart them back to the diaper drawer, only to haul them out one at a time. So they tend to stack up on the back of the couch.
I was doing the same thing, so I bought a small, very cheap, wire cart (3 shelves & wheels - the shelves are almost the perfect size for a folded-in-half prefold), and I kept it in the living room. That worked very well (since the move, diapers live in a suitcase ).
post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlipFlops
A lot more than a messy house. They are so overworked, and can't always find a good place for kids who truly need it - they're not going to come around looking for properly cared for kids to take. You need to chill out, mama!
Yup. I used to work at a photo lab and we developed pictures for CPS. The homes that children were taken from were deplorable--slovenly. We're talking animal feces, human feces, piles and piles of rotting garbage, etc. Nothing like a normal, lived-in house that could use a once-over with a mop.

Our house is clean in its own way. I have piles of magazines and books here and there that I need to go through or don't know what to do with (I want to save them but don't know where to put them). The playroom, where we spend most of our time, is always clean, but that's because I'm a total freak about it. The bathroom always has varying amounts of laundry in it and the sink always has at least a couple of dishes (we don't have a dishwasher). The table is rarely completely cleaned off. Alexander's room is always clean (he's just a tidy child) but London's is oftentimes a disaster area.

We have a blue chair in the living room that is the catch-all for things that have no permanent homes. Right now it's holding the diaper bag, a bunch of mail, and a pack of seeds. My desk is the catch-all for my room, which is often cluttered with photography stuff, sewing stuff, random clothes, and a bunch of socks that are missing a mate.
post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
We always have "stuff" out--a work in progress, a half-done puzzle, art creations, books--that doesn't bother me. I DO have a limit to what I can tolerate when it comes to other clutter though (things like yesterday's paper, last week's mail, clothing strewn about, etc.) so my family sometimes hears me say, "Can we do something with this room? I'm starting to feel edgy."
We sound very similar.
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