What helps you maintain tidyness? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 02-18-2011, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't clean up as often as I should even though (maybe because) it's so easy and fast to do. When I had tons of stuff without homes and tons of stuff that needed to leave the house, I'd clean up at least a bit every day.

 

Now, I can let things go for a week, and put it all away and sweep up in less than 30 minutes (while reading a book so most of the work is one-handed) of pretty casual work.

 

But things get pretty crumb-filled in the interim, so...

help?

 

 

Things I'm already doing:

having dd put away one toy before getting out another (I do allow her to play with toys together, but if she just stops playing with one, I at least get her to ask me to clean it up for her)

 

when going from one room to another, taking stuff that belongs in the second room

 

when chasing dd around, putting stuff away as I come across it.

 

brushing off the couch after dd's snacks.

 

 

Most stuff stays put away most of the time, it just takes special effort for enough to be put away that I can sweep. And if I don't sweep, it's crumb land.

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#2 of 29 Old 02-18-2011, 02:11 PM
 
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If it's crummy stuff that is the problem... is there a specific "source"?  I mean, I limit the kiddos to snacks that don't "crumb" (like apple slices) if they're going to be free-ranging with the snacks.  If they want snacks that tend to turn into mess (like dry cereal) then they have to eat/host their tea party/feed their pet dinosaur/whatever it may be in the kitchen.  But that doesn't really prevent the cat hair and rabbit hair from floating around (frequent brushing and the vacuum being the only solutions to that problem that I've found).  So anyway, if there is a known source of the crumbs maybe find a way to limit the source?

 

If it's just the amazing "crummy dirty who knows what stuff" that somehow materializes overnight along the edges of rugs and under bookcases and in the cracks of the floor... would a mini-vac be easier than sweeping?  I use the crevice attachment on our vacuum to hit the hot spots every night after dinner while dh gets the kiddos ready for their shower.  That way I can clean up the bits that fell from the table, anything that landed on the kitchen floor, and the fluffy miracle dirt that appeared around the house during the day.  It takes just a minute or two and since I'm not in a real "let's clean" mindset I'm not really moving anything out of my way... just sort of vacuuming around it.  So maybe something like a dustbuster or lightweight stick vacuum (at our old house we had one that was rechargable, I think it was a dirt devil?) would strike the balance between having things picked up enough to sweep and having things be crummy?


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#3 of 29 Old 02-19-2011, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cat hair, stuff from shoes (even though we mostly take those off at the door, stuff still gets around (I've put a rug by the front door since my last post too soon to know if it helped since I just swept)), snacks, and random "what IS this??" And it's more "crumbs as carpet"

 

Unfortunately we don't have an eat in kitchen or dining room and dd's little table broke.

 

Y'know, I think I need to find my brush that goes with my small dust pan.

 

 

I have a mini vac as well as a big vacuum and HATE both of them. Such a PITA to plug it in to use. But then we don't have carpet so there really aren't that many things I can clean with a vacuum.

 

 

Hmm, it also occurs to me that big part of the problem is that DD is able to make apple slices make crumbs. This whole problem might "magically" vanish when she's a bit older.

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#4 of 29 Old 02-19-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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LOL at the apple slice crumbs!

 

We don't have carpet either... just an IKEA jutte area rug in the living room and another one under the dining room table.  It's an "open floor plan" cabin (a nice way of saying one big room) but I use the rugs and the furniture to define rooms.  The stick vac seems to work pretty well on the floor (painted plywood in most of the cabin, laminate in the addition DH built)... it doesn't have a "beater" but the cat fluff and cereal crumbs don't stick to the floor so a beater really isn't necessary.

 

What about a damp mop sort of thing?  Either a "real" swiffer or a homemade "damp prefold on a stick"?  I bet the shoe tray will help (it does here at least!) and maybe find a "table" of sorts for snacks?  Dh made a set of Japanese style dining tables when dd1 was small... they stand about 12 inches high and for a few years we sat on the floor to eat using those tables and then stacked them up while not in use (our solution to not having a dining room or much floor space)... we've also used small IKEA children's tables or footstools as "food stays on this".  It worked for dd1 and dd2 but ds is a whole 'nother story, so if you have a child with super-crumb ability it might not work.  But I got the idea initially from the Simplify Your Life book where it talks about using tea trays for all food eaten away from the table.  I grabbed some thrift store trays then moved to footstools and till ds anyway it worked great to contain the food mess to a relatively small footprint.


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#5 of 29 Old 02-20-2011, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tea trays!!!! OMG Brilliance!

 

I use those all the time for toys with small parts (Cause you know what's worse than a floor covered in crumbs? A floor covered in crumbs AND small things you don't want to throw away.) why have I not thought to try having dd have a snack on them???

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#6 of 29 Old 02-20-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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LOL... I have to give credit to the Simple Living lady, but yeah... her example was from some B&B where guests took elaborate meals all over the hosue without creating a mess because the food stayed either on the table or on the tea tray.  And dude... it works!  Well, unless you have a toddler who is working through the whole ballistic/gravity/hey mom watch this! phase.

 

Did the door mat help?


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#7 of 29 Old 02-20-2011, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Next up, putting stuff away. Most stuff is put away most of the time, but there's always enough out that I can't just sweep. And unfortunately, I know me, and reducing the crumbs is more likely to make me feel less urge to clear things away to sweep. It'll be more pleasant to have less crumbs, but the crumbs were kind of my main motivation for tidying things away so I could sweep.

 

So far so good on the door mat. Full crumbiness has taken about a week in the past.

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#8 of 29 Old 02-21-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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"brushing off the couch after dd's snacks."

 

- stop letting her have snacks on the couch?  When my kids were small, they had snacks at the dining table or else at the coffee table on stools.

 

We have a small flat & vacuum the living room once a day. After crackers are eaten, we sometimes do a quick spot sweep. But I have to admit we've only developed these habits because DH is Mr. Obliterate All Crumbs Immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

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#9 of 29 Old 02-22-2011, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post

"brushing off the couch after dd's snacks."

 

- stop letting her have snacks on the couch?  When my kids were small, they had snacks at the dining table or else at the coffee table on stools.

 

We have a small flat & vacuum the living room once a day. After crackers are eaten, we sometimes do a quick spot sweep. But I have to admit we've only developed these habits because DH is Mr. Obliterate All Crumbs Immediately.

 

 

 

 

 


Don't have a table. And honestly using the little crumbsweeper is easier than breaking out the broom and dustpan. When she eats on the couch, the crumbs all stay on the couch and I can just crumbsweep when she's done. Whereas when she had a little table before to eat on, there'd be crumbs all around her on the floor and they go surprisingly far and I'd have to almost sweep the entire room.

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#10 of 29 Old 02-22-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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Well, if the crumbs from the couch are not the problem, then I  guess I'll answer the thread's title:

 

What helps you maintain tidiness?

 -  "an iron will and the grace of g-d"  - In other words - schedule and routine + own dislike of mess combined w/ DH's similar dislike - and that both of us work to keep it tidy.

 

If the level of crumbs that you get w/ sweeping your floor only once a week bothers you, maybe try twice a week . Try Monday (after the weekend) and Thursday ?  Do you live with another adult who could do it once a week and share shifts?

 

I am a big fan of housekeeping schedules.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

I don't clean up as often as I should even though (maybe because) it's so easy and fast to do. When I had tons of stuff without homes and tons of stuff that needed to leave the house, I'd clean up at least a bit every day.

 

Now, I can let things go for a week, and put it all away and sweep up in less than 30 minutes (while reading a book so most of the work is one-handed) of pretty casual work.

 

But things get pretty crumb-filled in the interim, so...


 

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#11 of 29 Old 02-23-2011, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Drat, will power and schedules. My banes!

 

Okay, they have worked in the past, hmmm, maybe I just need some warm weather to energize me again.

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#12 of 29 Old 02-23-2011, 10:48 PM
 
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Yes, it's hard to summon the will.

 

My DD (almost 15) the other day asked me "How do you wake up?" and I said something like "You know, I have an alarm clock". But she said, "Yes, I know, but how do you DO it, get out of the warm bed into the cold?".  So, I explained will, how I take a deep breath and just force myself to get out of bed.

 

 I hope warmer weather will help to energize you. It's getting warmer here too.

 

re: schedules - go gentle and easy w/ yourself and them. Start slowly. After a while, you might enjoy it. Think of it as preventive maintenance, or even loving your house, giving it a comb, wash, and massage.

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#13 of 29 Old 02-24-2011, 03:25 AM
 
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preventive maintenance .... i love this way of talking about it

that should help me a bit, thanks ....

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#14 of 29 Old 02-24-2011, 03:49 AM
 
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 Routine is the only thing that works for me. When my kids were little we had baskets and bins to gather toys into and before we went out or to bed I would take two minutes to tidy up. Imade it a routine to tidy the kitchen as I worked and do a thorough tidy/clean before going to bed at night. I often didn't want to do this at night but I always appreciated it firat thing in the morning!

 

Now that my kids are older I am still trying to make tidying up part of the routine. It is harder when they all have hobbies and homework projects and so on all over th eplace but we keep at it. I feel like a broken record sometimes with adding that tidying up is part of every job but it is slowly sticking with them. We heat with wood so a lot of mess comes in with the wood. That means that when someone is asked to bring in wood they have to get it, stack it, and sweep up the bits that fall to the floor - then you're done. Making a sandwich means putting food back in the cupboard and knives in the dishwasher. We all have to work at it!

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#15 of 29 Old 02-24-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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Locking the children outside and not letting myself touch anything seems to work.


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#16 of 29 Old 02-24-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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Locking the children outside



My mom worked after my little brother was school age. The only way she got things mopped up was to have us clean our rooms and then shoo us outside on Saturday mornings while she swept and mopped. Then, we'd pile in the car and go to the library and then stop for a treat. The floors were always dry by the time we got back.

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#17 of 29 Old 02-25-2011, 01:17 AM
 
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That sounds like so much fun! I'll have to steal that idea when I have older kids :)

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My mom worked after my little brother was school age. The only way she got things mopped up was to have us clean our rooms and then shoo us outside on Saturday mornings while she swept and mopped. Then, we'd pile in the car and go to the library and then stop for a treat. The floors were always dry by the time we got back.




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#18 of 29 Old 02-25-2011, 01:29 AM
 
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well, I have a house with very distinct rooms, and pretty much the ones that get trashed are the bedroom, the dining room, and the kitchen. On the weekends, I do practically no cleaning, except one Sunday afternoon per month I mop all the floors while my husband takes out all the trash and recycling. However, normally nothing gets done---which means a very dirty and cluttered house on Monday. So monday is weekend recovery---which means I do 2 loads of laundry and clean the three abovementioned rooms to spotless (Kitchen: doing all the dishes from weekend, wiping counters, taking out compost. Dining room: clearing off dining room table, clearing off hutch, scrubbing table. Bedroom: organize surfaces that become catchalls, clean "stuff" off floor, bring any dishes into kitchen.) Then Tuesday is when I sweep the floors, wash diapers, clean the bathroom, and fold all the laundry from the day before. Wednesday I focus-clean the kitchen, cleaning/organizing, wiping down appliances, cleaning stovetop (I have a gas range, so have to wash all the little parts that get cruddy); I also do 2 loads of laundry. Thursday, I focus-clean the dining room and do my weekly baking: bread, muffins, cookies, granola bars. I also fold laundry from the day before. Friday, I focus-clean the bedroom as well as a general tidying of the whole house so it's spotless to begin our slovenly weekends :) Fridays I also wash our bed sheets and remake bed and wash my husband's uniforms (no folding because the sheets go right back on the bed and my husband's uniforms just get hung up in the wardrobe). 


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#19 of 29 Old 02-25-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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Does your little one have a little hand broom and dustpan? My guys love to sweep.  It is the one thing they all like to do.  Maybe you can get some help from your LO with the sweeping?  With a little practice, they can get pretty good. 


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#20 of 29 Old 02-25-2011, 06:04 PM
 
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I really second this! My 4 year old and 2 (almost 3) year old LOVE to use the hand broom and sweep. They also love to use the carpet sweeper.

 

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Does your little one have a little hand broom and dustpan? My guys love to sweep.  It is the one thing they all like to do.  Maybe you can get some help from your LO with the sweeping?  With a little practice, they can get pretty good. 




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#21 of 29 Old 02-27-2011, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She does have her own little broom that I even made a shorter handle for. We check periodically to see if she's got the coordination for it yet (i.e. she goes to get her broom to "help" while I'm sweeping). So far, no, no she doesn't. Her idea of "sweeping" is to use the broom like a shuffle board all through the pile I've just swept up. She's really enthusiastic When she can sweep, it's going to be great.

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#22 of 29 Old 02-27-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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My little guys have small hand brooms that came with dust pans. Cheep Target brand version. Much easier then a regular broom even in smaller verison! Maybe a thought :) I know I havent had to sweep up a pile in a while lol. I always get mommy its my turn!!!

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#23 of 29 Old 02-27-2011, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Possibly, it's already a pretty small broom though, about 10" wide at the widest point. And the handle comes up lower than her chest, so it's shorter to her than the regular broom is to me.

 

It also doesn't help matters that half the time she insists on using my full-size broom, but she isn't that much better with her small broom.

 

Really, she just needs to mature a bit. By the time she's 3 she'll be have it sorted out enough to practice and get better.

 

Meanwhile, the tray for snacks is really working.

 

And she's already very good about "we need to put away this toy first then we can get that toy." Sometimes she'll initiate that on her own even.

 

I need to mark on my calendar "menstruation sucks your energy, CLEAN NOW!!!" so I can get things all squared away before PMS knocks me on my rear. It's just astonishing how I feel now compared to a week ago. I need to remember to arrange things so I can just loaf during my low energy time and not end up with a ton to deal with when my energy finally comes back.


Cause I felt totally overwhelmed and really most people in this forum would look at what I'm whining about and would laugh.

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#24 of 29 Old 03-15-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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Oh hunny I am right there with you. PMS puts me down for the count. I have even upped my vitamins and stuff and nothing helps. Its just ugh. I totally get ya.
 

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Possibly, it's already a pretty small broom though, about 10" wide at the widest point. And the handle comes up lower than her chest, so it's shorter to her than the regular broom is to me.

 

It also doesn't help matters that half the time she insists on using my full-size broom, but she isn't that much better with her small broom.

 

Really, she just needs to mature a bit. By the time she's 3 she'll be have it sorted out enough to practice and get better.

 

Meanwhile, the tray for snacks is really working.

 

And she's already very good about "we need to put away this toy first then we can get that toy." Sometimes she'll initiate that on her own even.

 

I need to mark on my calendar "menstruation sucks your energy, CLEAN NOW!!!" so I can get things all squared away before PMS knocks me on my rear. It's just astonishing how I feel now compared to a week ago. I need to remember to arrange things so I can just loaf during my low energy time and not end up with a ton to deal with when my energy finally comes back.


Cause I felt totally overwhelmed and really most people in this forum would look at what I'm whining about and would laugh.



 


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#25 of 29 Old 03-15-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Oh hunny I am right there with you. PMS puts me down for the count. I have even upped my vitamins and stuff and nothing helps. Its just ugh. I totally get ya.
 



 


Add me to the PMS low energy club....I get nothing done for a week before Aunt Flo arrives!

 


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#26 of 29 Old 03-16-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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I have two approaches to this. The first one is to find something super light and simple that you love to use (like a mini vac or a hand vac) that you can aim to use daily (or maybe 2-3 times a week).

 

My other is to say nuts to devices and just take a tissue or what you can during some random time in the day and get the bulk of it. I sometimes find if I wait until I can do it perfectly it doens't get done whereas if I just do what I can when I can it at least gets it finished. Instead of lugging out a device and having a system, just take 3 seconds, get on your knees and get it done (I found I cleaned more if I just got on my knees and took care of the kitchen floor after doing dishes then grab a fresh dish cloth than I did when I tried to sweep first, then get the mop and bucket, etc. The latter may be more thorough, but the former gave insta-results and actually got done).

 

....and I apparently missed the fact that this thread had two pages. You may disregard this post since you've got it sorted out!


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#27 of 29 Old 03-16-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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nod.gif I love this advice. And try to do the same thing. Little by little, clean up small messes before they become big. I really dislike lugging out devices.

[quote name="eirual"
Instead of lugging out a device and having a system, just take 3 seconds, get on your knees and get it done (I found I cleaned more if I just got on my knees and took care of the kitchen floor after doing dishes then grab a fresh dish cloth than I did when I tried to sweep first, then get the mop and bucket, etc. The latter may be more thorough, but the former gave insta-results and actually got done

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#28 of 29 Old 03-16-2011, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eirual View Post

I have two approaches to this. The first one is to find something super light and simple that you love to use (like a mini vac or a hand vac) that you can aim to use daily (or maybe 2-3 times a week).

 

My other is to say nuts to devices and just take a tissue or what you can during some random time in the day and get the bulk of it. I sometimes find if I wait until I can do it perfectly it doens't get done whereas if I just do what I can when I can it at least gets it finished. Instead of lugging out a device and having a system, just take 3 seconds, get on your knees and get it done (I found I cleaned more if I just got on my knees and took care of the kitchen floor after doing dishes then grab a fresh dish cloth than I did when I tried to sweep first, then get the mop and bucket, etc. The latter may be more thorough, but the former gave insta-results and actually got done).

This is actually really helpful. I have all of dd's flats from when she was in diapers, if I just use one a day the floor will start to get and stay cleaner. And dd would be able to wipe at least a bit with another cloth which would occupy her and make the floor even more clean.
 

 

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#29 of 29 Old 03-17-2011, 04:52 AM
 
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Living with minimal amount of stuff  in a small apartment (600 sf) & clean as you go. I always put away dirty dishes in dishwasher and hand wash pots and pans right away after dinner. We also have a small cordless vacuum that is easy to run for a quick clean-up. I'n not a particularly great housekeeper and this is the only thing that works for me.

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