PLEASE! If your house is clean and you are a parent come and tell us your secrets! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I work from home and go to school, dear children are older so that helps, but still... my house, it isn't a disaster but it could be better.

 

Tell us your secrets to a clean home!


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#2 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 06:12 PM
 
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my house is most definitely clean well the important parts laundry bathroom kitchen and stuff like that. kids toys stay in there bedrooms, kids play they have clean-up duties after.. well of coarse rewards always make them kiddos smile. but as for women have babies that are all still in diapers its a challenge just focus on those things that need to be done right away. take break. reward yourself with something you enjoy. then back to fish where you left off. it doesn't all have to get finished right away.. but i liked too cuz i love coming home to a clean yet organized home. makes me less stressed and ready to start that process all over lol.. 

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#3 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 07:37 PM
 
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My house is usually clean, but oh my goodness, it was not always that way. See, I'm a reformed slob. My house used to be a horrible mess.  Dishes waiting to be done, laundry never handles all the way (but there was a clean pile- I thought that counted!)

It took my getting really sick of it to care enough to make the changes I needed to and put systems in place to have a house I was happy to live in.  

 

1. If there is a ton of stuff left out and lying around, chances are, you have too much stuff.  Get rid of half of it. If that isn't enough, get rid of more. 

 

2. Make your bed when you get up.  You would be amazed at the emotional impact this can have.  A properly made bad is just a good starting point, and it makes that pile of laundry in the corner annoying enough that you might just put it away. If your kids are old enough, have them make their beds, otherwise, help them make theirs before breakfast. 

 

3. Vacuum, sweep, or mop every day.  Partially because it's nice to have everything clean, but mostly because this forces you to get everything off the floor.  It doesn't take long.  We just moved into a 5 br house with 2 living rooms and very old wood floors.  I can sweep and mop the whole house in less than half an hour with one kid on my back and a couple helping.  Bonus, working at that pace, you will break a sweat and get exercise even when you didn't mean to. 

 

4. The dishes. Wash them.  I know this seems like a simple enough concept, but for me it wasn't.  It took until a few years ago for me to get that if I just wash them up as they are used throughout the day, dishes are a relative non-issue.  And that's for a dishwasher-free family of 6. I start breakfast, wash up as I use a pan, or right after breakfast and everything is clean again before I move on to any other task. A sinkful of dishes never takes even 15 minutes, there is just no excuse to leave them for later.  Wash them, wipe down the counters, clean the sink.  You always have a kitchen ready to cook in. 

5. Clean the bathroom while the kids take a bath.  You're stuck in there anyway, grab a rag and get to it. Chances are, the bathroom will be spotless before  the bath is even full. 

6. Laundry.  If you are behind, take one day to make a trip to the nearest laundromat and get it all done in one fell swoop.  Now you have a fresh start and if you keep up with it every day, you'll never again be overwhelmed.  If you have several kids, or kids who make a mess of their room with clothes everywhere, consider a family closet.  Ours is right next to the washer and dryer.  I fold things as they come out of the dryer and they go right into that one closet for the whole family.  

7. Keep surfaces bare. That table everything lands on?  Not any more.  Put up a key rack and a hook for your purse.  Hang pegs up for coats to go on as people come in the door.  Each kid gets one specific folder for homework or stuff that has to be signed and returned somewhere. If it isn't there, it isn't your problem. Obviously, for pre-k kids, they may need some help organizing themselves for this. As for mail, toss junk mail before it comes in the house, sort the rest, and try to keep as many bills as possible electronic. 

8. Shoes- ours all go in a cubby by the door on the mud porch.  they track in all sorts of yuck from outside, and there's no reason to wear them inside.  Leaving them on the mud porch saves a lot on floor mess. 

 

9.  Food only at the table.  We are lax on this right now as our table hasn't arrived yet following our move and it is driving me bonkers for kids to be eating and leaving crumbs everywhere.  Having them eat only at the table sets healthy lifestyle habits and it minimizes the mess throughout the house. Drinks in lidded cups are allowed throughout the house, open cups need to be at the table unless the kid is significantly beyond the 'spills will happen' stage. 

10. Go to bed only after the house is clean.  In general, a quick pick up will only take a couple minutes at night walking through each room.  It's worth doing this so you start with a clean house in the morning. I had to bend this rule for a couple months after new babies when they were in the 'mom will stay with me in bed or I will scream' stage, but that passes soon enough.  If you have a partner they can do this while you sleep and nurse the baby. 

 

Mostly, remember that once you get to baseline clean maintenance only takes a little time each day.  But getting there means investing at least an hour a day until everything is done.  Do it in 10 minute spurts and reward yourself with ice cream if you have to;  it takes time to get into the habit of staying on top of it all.  Just start somewhere- one little corner of the house- and work out from there.

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#4 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 07:53 PM
 
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Here's one of my favorite guides on the subject of keeping a home reasonably clean while raising kids, nursing babies, and managing a whole host of other responsibilities...

 

http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/2010/01/reasonably-clean-fairly-neat-and.html

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#5 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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Great ideas Rainbowasylum!  I like your idea of sweeping/vacuuming daily—forcing me to clear everything off of the floors! 


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#6 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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It helps to force me to do it, and I always feel better afterwards.  It seemed daunting until I actually started timing it and realized how little time it takes in the course of the day to stay on top of it all.  I grew up in a house that was constantly a chaotic mess, and I want my kids to have a different experience.  It was never filthy or dangerous- just always a bit crazy and out of control.  I remember going for evening walks with my mom- we looked in the windows and it was beautiful, but from the inside?  There were piles of books and stuff all over the place. 

I probably lean a little closer to neat-freak these days, but I never want my kids to feel like they can't have friends over because the house is untidy. 

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#7 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 03:13 AM
 
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ok, I KNOW this isnt the reply you are after but can I just say, to anyone reading this who has a messy house-I love my friends slightly chaotic houses. Seriously. I'd much rather spend an afternoon with someone with a bit of chaos, kid projects everywhere and lego underfoot than someone where everything has a place and everything is actually in said space ROTFLMAO.gif. I truly do not find it that relaxing to be sitting in a showroom, I'd rather have interesting bits of evidence of my friends lives.

 

That said, if you're struggling to do stuff you really do have to do, like the dishes, then ok, a few strategies might be cool.

 

Sorry, as you were.


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#8 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 07:41 AM
 
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I don't have a clean house, but I have found this site SUPER helpful in helping me get closer to that goal.

 

Warning: contains profanity. And is generally not for polite company! It's sort of the anti-flylady (I like the idea of flylady, but I find her annoying and condescending and I hate a lot of her advice). 

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#9 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't ever have to worry about sitting in a show room :lol:

 

There are herbs drying in the pantry and shoes shoved next to the fridge. This mornings tea cup sits empty next to the sink and the kombucha is waiting for a cheesecloth top. Never fear the showroom here.
 


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#10 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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I agree with sweeping the floor every day. (That was a lot of great advice, RainbowAsylum!) After we moved early last year my husband asked me to mop the kitchen and dining room floor (same floor) after sweeping it daily, so I do that for him. It helps that it's an easy mop, not one that requires a bucket and fresh soapy water. All I have to do is fill it with vinegar once a week or so and spray it for each swipe(?). And yes, it helps that I have to take everything off the floor first, even if it means seeing what a big mess my children made with their food and toys that should be in the living room.

 

We don't have enough rooms to have a playroom, and we don't want our children staying up at night playing with their toys instead of sleeping, so our toys are in the living room. Need I say that it's the cleanest on days that my children stay over with their grandparents and I clean all I want? But when they really want to do something, like watch an episode of Narnia or go swim at Grandma and Grandpa's, they clean with help.

 

We have a windowsill that sticks out of the rest of the house into the backyard (I'm not sure what that's called), and before a friend gave us a tall cabinet, we used to put coloring books on it. Now it's plants and as little else as possible. I clean it at least once a week and when it needs it.

 

I'm trying to get in the habit of cleaning my bathroom sink once a month, and wash sheets about that often unless someone gets sick. (My mom and some others I know wash sheets weekly, but I don't see the need. I am probably a little too loose in that area, or I just think it's a lot of trouble to go to to wash sheets and make the beds in the same day since it's hard to find other sheets that match.)

 

The last rule I can think of that my family uses is requiring our children to do certain things before they get certain things they want, like a trip to the library when I'm done typing this. They made their beds and finished their schoolwork.

 

Thanks for this thread, ian'smommaya! It's a great idea and I hope to learn more as more mothers post.


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#11 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pepperedmoth View Post

I don't have a clean house, but I have found this site SUPER helpful in helping me get closer to that goal.

 

Warning: contains profanity. And is generally not for polite company! It's sort of the anti-flylady (I like the idea of flylady, but I find her annoying and condescending and I hate a lot of her advice). 


LOVE UFYH, it is so inspiring and supportive! I like a little profanity, it makes things more realistic. I have never cleaned my house without uttering a few off color terms.

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#12 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have the app! I looooove ufyh! Although, obviously I still want tips from you all.


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#13 of 32 Old 09-01-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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Love this thread. Was raised with weekend cleaning routines but it's somehow lost translation into my life as a parent. I hate the constant clean up of messes that is part of living in our home. I'm sorry, but my family are all a bunch of slobs!!! It's very disheartening, overwhelming, embarrassing and I hate it. Definitely need to declutter more.


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#14 of 32 Old 09-02-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pepperedmoth View Post

I don't have a clean house, but I have found this site SUPER helpful in helping me get closer to that goal.

Warning: contains profanity. And is generally not for polite company! It's sort of the anti-flylady (I like the idea of flylady, but I find her annoying and condescending and I hate a lot of her advice). 
Bwhahahahahahaha! ROTFLMAO.gif Omg, what a fantastic site! Into The Feed it goes!

For me, I absolutely looooved this book. It helped me figure out WTF my issues were that were contributing to my inability to get my life organized (which of course translates to getting your house clean and organized) and keeping it that way. I strongly believe that all the techniques in the world won't help you achieve and maintain the results you want if the underlying issues aren't addressed. I highly recommend it in your arsenal against the ever-mess. The first two chapters will lay your solid foundation so even if life is insane for you, if you're ready to make the switch, get those in. It's amazing how much time, energy, etc. you gain when you're organized and are able to be on top of your game. It's a lot of hard work but completely 100% worth it. GL OP and anyone else looking to get on with it!
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#15 of 32 Old 09-02-2013, 01:06 PM
 
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I have a clean house but it's no showroom.  It's comfortable and lived in but CLEAN.  I vacuum daily.  But I have 3 kids in and out of the house all day, 2 shedding cats, and I'm petsitting a guinea pig who likes to kick shavings out of his cage when he's not fed fast enough.  I do dishes a few times a day usually.  But I have 3 kids.  One meal and both sinks are full.  I do a general tidy several times a day.  But that's necessary when your house is 800sqft.  Everything has a place.  The less that's out in the house, the less it looks cluttered and messy.  The kitchen usually has stuff out on the counters whether it's beans soaking, a crockpot with dinner, the juice cup someone is putting up away from the cats so she can come back to it, or a few bruised apples I plan to turn into sauce when I have a chance, etc.  I do little things when I have a moment like wipe down the bathroom while my youngest is in the shower washing herself and I'm waiting to wash her hair for her.  I will fold a laundry while watching a movie and bring it up and put it away next time I get upstairs to pee or break up a fight.  Vacuuming is done promptly each morning after the bus stop runs before my babysitting charge comes for the day.  I leave my kids responsible for cleaning their room before bedtime each night, putting dirty clothing in the hamper to be washed, and picking up their dirty dishes to the sink after use.  They also have little chores like putting away clean dishes or bringing me a load of laundry out of the dryer when they come upstairs or setting the table for meals.  My little ones bring the recycling to the can outside daily and bring it to the curb and back once a week.  Sheets are changed once a week on Sunday when the kids are home to help.  Dusting is done twice a week whenever I get a moment.  Lots of "clean house" things are done as a matter of habit immediately as needed.  For example, I always wipe the counters after I do the dishes as a matter of routine.  Takes 2 seconds and makes a difference in how the house looks.  

 

I don't have a museum of a home.  It's very.....shabby chic.  :wink  People who come to my home aren't afraid to put their feet up on the coffee table or leave a plate out while they visit or whatever.  But they also don't have a problem yelling "5 second rule" and picking up a goldfish off the floor for their toddler to eat.  I don't spend tons of time cleaning but I do like to keep up with it in little pieces.  I'm a single mom with 3 kids.  I have 3 jobs.  I'm busy.  I still maintain that if you do it in little bits, you don't need to be a slave to your home.

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#16 of 32 Old 09-02-2013, 10:47 PM
 
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I have a clean and tidy house, and it's still cozy. We are four people (me, DP, 5yo and 2yo, homeschoolers) in about 850 sq ft, no basement or garage.
The key for us is LESS STUFF. The less stuff we have, the less there is to whip up into a mess.
We have few toys and not many clothes, but we do have a lot of art and craft and science supplies at the ready and available at kid-height on open shelves for the kids. We've always expected the kids to use our things respectfully and to take care of what we have, which means helping to put things away once they're finished.

Some tips that work for us:
We eat at the kitchen table only.
Dishes go straight into the dishwasher.
Table (where we all seem to end up doing our projects/work/art) is cleared before meals (projects and Important Things go on the sideboard for meals, but must have a home by the end of the day) and before bedtime.
We have one set of towels that we use. One set of linens, with a spare for accidents.
We have about 4-6 outfits each, and about 2 or 3 pairs of shoes.
We empty our fridge between shopping days and only buy what we need for our meal plan. We don't have a pantry, per se, although we do keep a few cans in a cupboard.
We clean up once before afternoon quiet time, and once again before bedtime, with the kids. It's part of everyday rhythm/expectations.
We keep surfaces clear.
We don't keep much of the kids' art/creations. We take pictures if it's important.
We ask for memberships/experiences when people ask for gift ideas for the kids.
We live within our means. No debt goes a long way to keeping our focus to what we have and not what we want.
We stay out of stores as much as possible ... Kids don't ask for what they don't know exists,
We watch Netflix, so as to avoid commercials. It might sound like it has nothing to do with a tidy home, but I honestly think that simplicity can lead to a calm home.
We don't do allowance ... The kids do their part as members of the family and don't get paid any more than I do. We all contribute. That way, it's not seen as a chore, but rather a regular part of their day and not a big deal at all.
Everything has a home, and it goes to its home before bed.
We make three meals and several snacks every day and are using our home all day long, and if it weren't organized and mostly free of clutter, I'd be more anxious and crabby. I also work from home, and need the house in order before I go into my office.
My office is actually a converted walk-in closet, which we don't need, thanks to less stuff. We also have another empty closet, which is a recording studio, and we made the storage space under the stairs into a cozy play area, hideaway for the kids. That leaves four very small closets to store absolutely everything we own. Front closets for jackets, shoes, keys, wallets, backpacks. Linens, meds, cleaners, tp in one. Camping gear, hand me downs that are waiting to be grown into, seasonal stuff in another, and my & dp's clothes in one half of the last closet and tools/skis/tax files, etc in the other half.
Again, lots about "less is more," but it honestly all helps when it comes to a tidy house!
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#17 of 32 Old 09-03-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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I am like justmama - my house is clean but definitely lived in. smile.gif . My son homeschools and my husband works from home, plus I have two more littles and two labradors, so we are pretty much all here everyday. so for us, the key is a daily routine that we really try to stick to.

I agree with previous points about minimizing clutter. The majority of our mail is junk so I drop it in the recycling bin on the way into the house. I keep a bin around periodically to put donations in - anything I notice around the house that is not being used regularly. I am very, very judicious about what I bring into the house and buy very little. I participate in clothing swaps and sales regularly to keep the kids clothes under control.

The kids and I clean their rooms & take care of their laundry every morning. Since we do it every day it takes 5-10 min tops and in the process I am teaching them how to make a bed, fold socks, run the washing machine, etc.

In the evening we all do a 5-minute clean up. I set a timer and we all do it together. This way three rooms get picked up in 5 minutes. Awesome.

I do the dishes every night after dinner and do hand washing throughout the day as it's used. Then the pots & pans don't pile up too much.

On the weekend I will often ask DH to take the kids somewhere for 2 hrs and I wash floors, bathrooms, vacuum the stairs, etc. The deeper cleaning. I don't mind it as much as I get some much needed alone time and dh gets some good time w the kids too.
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#18 of 32 Old 09-03-2013, 07:51 PM
 
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I don't have a secret, but I'm subbing to hear y'alls. I live in income-based housing and we have at minimum monthly inspections, but in reality I moved in on the 10th of August and have had someone come into my house 3 times so far and it's supposed to be very clean everytime they come in. So I'm just scrambling at the end of the day to make sure everything is clean.


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#19 of 32 Old 09-03-2013, 09:33 PM
 
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Wow, those inspections sound invasive. I'd like to keep my house visitor-ready as we moved into a close-knit village where drop-ins are common. Subbing for tips!

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#20 of 32 Old 09-04-2013, 09:03 PM
 
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Wow, those inspections sound invasive. I'd like to keep my house visitor-ready as we moved into a close-knit village where drop-ins are common. Subbing for tips!

They kinda are. It's a small price to pay for living in a new apartment for super-cheap. Between Section 8 and our donors though, we are often "on show" Kinda creepy.

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#21 of 32 Old 09-05-2013, 12:54 AM
 
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I'm a slob, I'll admit it.  But this is what has been working well for me recently.  And, yeah, it's just for one room of the house, but it's a start!

 

So, I'mma gonna talk about my sewing room.  I've had one nearly all of my marriage but it's never, ever been organized.  And I couldn't even think about decorating it.  Over the course of the last couple months I did a hardcore purge of my fabric stash and felt ready to get the ball rolling.  I'm nearly done with everything, including decorating.  This is a huge deal for me, because I have a very hard time finishing projects.

 

I've found these last few weeks it's been very easy for me to keep the sewing room clean.  It's a beautiful, inviting room, and I want it to stay that way.  It really helps that everything has a home, and I've been focusing on putting away one project before starting another.  Like, if I'm working on drafting a pattern I'll put away all my drafting supplies before I get out the sewing supplies.

 

I know it sounds really elementary, but I think it's supposed to be.  So, my advice in a nutshell:

 

1)  Purge, purge, purge.  Feel good about passing things one because it helps someone else.

2)  Make your space beautiful.

3)  Follow through with what you're doing in the moment, including clean-up.

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#22 of 32 Old 09-07-2013, 12:06 PM
 
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I'm a slob, I'll admit it.  But this is what has been working well for me recently.  And, yeah, it's just for one room of the house, but it's a start!

 

So, I'mma gonna talk about my sewing room.  I've had one nearly all of my marriage but it's never, ever been organized.  And I couldn't even think about decorating it.  Over the course of the last couple months I did a hardcore purge of my fabric stash and felt ready to get the ball rolling.  I'm nearly done with everything, including decorating.  This is a huge deal for me, because I have a very hard time finishing projects.

 

I've found these last few weeks it's been very easy for me to keep the sewing room clean.  It's a beautiful, inviting room, and I want it to stay that way.  It really helps that everything has a home, and I've been focusing on putting away one project before starting another.  Like, if I'm working on drafting a pattern I'll put away all my drafting supplies before I get out the sewing supplies.

 

I know it sounds really elementary, but I think it's supposed to be.  So, my advice in a nutshell:

 

1)  Purge, purge, purge.  Feel good about passing things one because it helps someone else.

2)  Make your space beautiful.

3)  Follow through with what you're doing in the moment, including clean-up.

 

*clap* Good for you! Just reading about your efforts to organize your sewing room and make it beautiful made my day!


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#23 of 32 Old 09-12-2013, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I decorated the living room a couple of months ago and just realized how much less I mind neatening it up I mind. I didn't realize it until you said something! Thanks!
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#24 of 32 Old 10-01-2013, 06:19 AM
 
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Thanks for the tips!

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#25 of 32 Old 10-28-2013, 08:48 AM
 
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Lots of great tips here!

 

I don't have any more advice to give other than what has been posted, but just a little story for some perspective.  My MIL is an OCD clean freak.  If there was a directory of clean freaks, she would be the spokeswoman on the cover.  Her house is immaculate now, and was when she had four kids.  People told her that her house didn't look like she had kids.  Guess what?  My husband wishes she would have spent less time cleaning and more time with them.  So don't forget that in the striving for a clean home.  Being clean and organized is good, but not if it detracts from family time.  Remember, kids are small only for so long, and you probably will have many years when they are gone to have a display home--enjoy them while you can!!  ;)

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#26 of 32 Old 10-28-2013, 10:42 AM
 
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Thank you, heldt123! I will try to remember that the next time I get upset, grouchy, irritated, and otherwise sick of my children's messes.


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#27 of 32 Old 12-04-2013, 03:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperedmoth View Post
 

I don't have a clean house, but I have found this site SUPER helpful in helping me get closer to that goal.

 

Warning: contains profanity. And is generally not for polite company! It's sort of the anti-flylady (I like the idea of flylady, but I find her annoying and condescending and I hate a lot of her advice). 

THANK YOU! I love what the FlyLady is trying to do, but I couldn't get past a lot of her cheery, sun shines out my butt, cutesy attitude. I can't wait to explore this link further - as soon as I get my lovely little hellions tucked into their very unmade beds...

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#28 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 11:06 AM
 
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Limiting certain activities to certain areas of the house is the best solution, I found. Painting and crafts in kitchen only, no playing in the bedroom, things like that. I sequester my dog also for the same reason. It makes cleaning a lot less difficult. Every so often it was necessary to say: this has to be cleaned up before [going to a friend's house, getting out more toys, having dinner, etc].

 

The other approach I used with my child was to emphasize that her space affected and reflected upon her. How she could get more from life through taking responsibility for her possessions so that she had space to play and work and ease in finding what she needed in good condition when she needed it. How successful adults require these skills (and I set an example). Also the benefits of self-esteem and presentation to others, with confidence, by being neat and clean.

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#29 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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My wife is a perfectionist and always is on the move.  When my kids make a mess, she makes them pick it up and she helps.  I help too when I'm home and not working but it is alot of work.  You just have to keep after the kids and follow up.  Pretty soon the kids understand and they actually start cleaning up after themselves.


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#30 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 12:34 PM
 
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ALL of what Rainbow said. That was a big thing for me. And realizing, it only takes me 10 minutes to fold that load of laundry. But if I put it off, it piles and piles and I'm there longer and usually grumpy about having to do it. I have older kids (12 and 10) that are responsible for helping. along with that stuff, most everything else posted, we do. We have 5 kids, one on the way. We have to keep it tidy. We also purge a lot and don't bring a lot in.


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