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#1 of 14 Old 06-30-2006, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have 4 kids and a fairly small home that has one living area, no eat in kitchen and a formal dining area. My youngest children are all under 4 and rarely nap and when they do it's not at the same time. I admit to being a bit of a packrat, but over the last 6 mos. I have really worked hard at unloading stuff. Now...my real question is how do you keep a clean house with 4 kids. I struggle with this and it goes against my organized, in control personality to just submit to the chaos. I have tried all the "sites" (MM, flylady...what have you) I've taken some ideas from all of them. My mom came and visited and she announced that she doesn't know how I'd do it and I'd probably just need to wait until they're older ( I use her as an example as I'm one of 5 kids...although our birth spacing was much different and our house was tidy always).
I'd love to have people over sometime...but my house is always, always a disaster of toys and laundry.
I guess what I want to know is if I'm alone? Does having kids mean living in a mess?

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#2 of 14 Old 06-30-2006, 03:08 PM
 
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Well so far I have 1 child and our house is pretty constantly messy. I mean dh and I are not neat freaks either but let's blame it on our son...

I guess one thing that comes to mind is to have your children do what they can...like putting toys away, or clothes and dishes away (unless they're too young?) Maybe setting up a chore list with pics to help them remember when their chore is or what their chore is.

Good Luck! (You shouldn't have to do all the cleaning alone!)

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#3 of 14 Old 06-30-2006, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for responding. I was begining to feel like this: So many views and no responses...maybe it is just me

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#4 of 14 Old 06-30-2006, 04:15 PM
 
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I have 2 children. One babe and one toddler. My house is always a mess. I do what I can here and there. Dh and I do the dishes when the kids go to bed at night and anything else gets done whenever I get a chance when both are napping or when dh takes them for a little bit....I have learned to try and live with it...They are only little once
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#5 of 14 Old 06-30-2006, 10:25 PM
 
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We do need to wait till they are older IMO.

It just makes life to stressful and no fun for the children if a person is too concerned about an immaculate home.

Enjoy the time yours kids are little, they grow to fast

And small houses are terrible IMO as there isnt a place for everything. Big family and small house is IMO very hard.
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#6 of 14 Old 07-01-2006, 01:57 AM
 
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I'm working on this myself. I used to have a clean house every day and I would load the dishwasher and tidy the children's rooms every evening while DH bathed them and read them stories, so even their rooms stayed clean. When they had afternoon naps, I would tidy the rest of the house, clean up any toys they had been playing with, clean the kitchen, bathrooms, do laundry, whatever, until they woke up. On the weekends, DH and I would share the big jobs, dusting, vacuuming, mopping, yard work, finishing the laundry, changing sheets, scrubbing the bathroom(s) and we'd be done, free to enjoy the rest of the weekend after a couple of hours of work.

Now we are so far from that, it's a struggle just to get the dining table clean and the dishwasher loaded and turned on every night. There are always clean unfolded clothes in our bedroom, waiting to be folded and put away. There are always stray toys around the house and stuff on the floor, here or there, things the kids had dropped. This past weekend, we totally completely sorted and cleaned out the children's bedrooms, it was a huge job. We took everything out of their rooms them put them back in specific sorted places, we even added labels to shelves and bins and some drawers to show where things belong. We're trying to get the children to help us clean before storytime every night and trying to guide them to clean up one toy or set of toys before they pull out another, making cleaning up so much easier. My children are 4 and 7 though, so not everyone can do this and yet probably, by this age, most people have their children already in the habit of cleaning up...somehow we missed that stage. :

I think that one of my biggest problems is that I leave the cleaning until the evening, after the children are in bed, then I miss out on "me" time and "hubby" time, rushing to tidy things for the next day and then hopping into bed exhausted...only to be exhausted again the next day, when we go about our daily routines. My goal is to stop doing that, to regain some order, get up earlier perhaps and spend an hour in the morning focusing on cleaning and tidying, making sure that at least half an hour in the afternoon (after we get back from our daily adventures) is spent tidying or cleaning again. Then making sure that the kitchen and dining area are both clean after dinner, so that I can relax and enjoy the evening, worry free, after that.

For the OP, with 4 children, do you have one concentrated area that you could corral the children for half an hour at a time, or even 15 minutes, while you accomplish a daily task? Perhaps cleaning another room, or putting in some laundry? Do they play nicely enough for that? Could you work on instituting a more cohesive nap/quiet time into your day, so that say, two of the children are napping and the other two are having quiet time, playing quietly in one contained area so that you can get some work done around the house?
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#7 of 14 Old 07-01-2006, 02:47 AM
 
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I just wanted to say I am so in the same boat, or too small house lol Three kids, a dog, and hubby and I are not that neat either it is messy here. We had a seperate living room and den for awhile and that helped a little, but turned the living room into the master bedroom as we only had two bedrooms and now no closet space. I know I am rambling, but I hope some good solutions come up for both of us
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#8 of 14 Old 07-02-2006, 08:28 PM
 
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I have four kids and a messy house, too. Our house is big, but that means more of a mess. If I didn't have the baby (they are 12, 12, 4, 1), I think it would be much easier, but he takes up so much time! Plus, he hates it when I actually try to accomplish anything, will cry and beg to nurse, hanging on my legs. I keep telling myself that in a few years it's going to be SO much easier, but I don't think I believe myself.

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#9 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 10:57 AM
 
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My aunt gave me the best advice when my kids were littler...Dirt and toys/clutter are two different things. Keep the garbage emptied, dishes done, and make your bed and the rest of the house will just look like normal kids playing.
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#10 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 03:35 PM
 
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I think I like your aunt^^^
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#11 of 14 Old 07-03-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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my only hope is that the impossibly hard times when all the kids are little is but brief. Do your kids help with things at all? I've got #2 on the way, and #1 is still so little-- I'm kind of scared. #1 really likes "helping" with everything. of course he's not really much help, but maybe he will be soon!

I like a lot of what montessorri philosophy says about the capabilities of young children; that they actually love to work, and can do much more than we might think, if we teach them and give them good tools. I remember this from my own younger siblings.

anyway, I know my house sure isn't set up like the ideal montessorri environment for a young child, but I'm trying to lose extra things and find good places and systems for things.

another thing is that I don't really know any other moms of bigger families very well; especially not closely spaced. My own mother, who is teaching young mothers, says that she has recently met a lot of young catholic mothers with big families, who seem to manage beautifully. I haven't found any forums of these beautifully-managing mothers of many young children, but I think it would really help to meet some people who really know how to do it. I have tons of questions for them!
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#12 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by libbylu
my only hope is that the impossibly hard times when all the kids are little is but brief. Do your kids help with things at all? I've got #2 on the way, and #1 is still so little-- I'm kind of scared. #1 really likes "helping" with everything. of course he's not really much help, but maybe he will be soon!

I like a lot of what montessorri philosophy says about the capabilities of young children; that they actually love to work, and can do much more than we might think, if we teach them and give them good tools. I remember this from my own younger siblings.

anyway, I know my house sure isn't set up like the ideal montessorri environment for a young child, but I'm trying to lose extra things and find good places and systems for things.

another thing is that I don't really know any other moms of bigger families very well; especially not closely spaced. My own mother, who is teaching young mothers, says that she has recently met a lot of young catholic mothers with big families, who seem to manage beautifully. I haven't found any forums of these beautifully-managing mothers of many young children, but I think it would really help to meet some people who really know how to do it. I have tons of questions for them!
I wonder if that's my problem, I'm a catholic No...I'm only kidding. I do try to involve the kids and there are areas that are clean. I use the pp philosphy of clutter v. dirt. My house isn't dirty, but it is cluttered. My kids probably have too many toys (although I have been purging and freecycling like a madwoman), too much laundry (again passing on bags and bags of clothes they've outgrown). It's nice to hear that I've got some company in my boat. I keep resisting the urge for us to move to a bigger house. We live in a pricey area and I don't want to be house poor. I like the freedom that living in the home we're in allows in regards to being able to be home with my younger children...if we were in more house I'd have to work alot more. I guess I should remember that it's a choice that dh & I have made and the kids seem really happy. They're already growing up so fast. Already my 15mos. will help pickup stuff. So maybe there's lite at the end of the tunnel.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#13 of 14 Old 07-04-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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One thing that has helped at our house is to put child locks on almost everything. Drawers, cabinets, and such. I also lock the door to my bedroom during the day because there's no reason for the kids to be in there, and they just get in there and mess up the bed or drag toys in there or get into my desk.

Decluttering has helped so much too. I am constantly decluttering. I have a box in the garage for donation so when I find something that needs to go, I just put it in the box right away. When it's full I drive to to Goodwill.

We all have about 10 outfits each, plus a few dress up clothes. I have some large storage containers that say "to grow into" for each girl. When 5yo outgrows something it goes in 2yo's to grow into box immediately. When 2yo outgrows something it goes in the box to either give to SIL (expecting a baby any day, if it's a girl she will get lots of clothes for it!) or to donate. 5yo's "to grow into" box has things that were passed down to her from friends, or things I found on sale that are too big for her yet. When the kids need new clothes it's easy to dig through the boxes and see what's there before I buy any more clothes.

When the dryer beeps I just go in there and hang the clothes up immediately so they don't get wrinkled and need ironing. I throw the foldables into a basket (socks and undies) to sort when I have a chance to sit down and do it.

Also keep a three-compartment hamper in the laundry room: colored clothes, white clothes, towels and linens. When one is full, I do a load. I don't keep hampers anywhere else. It's just more stuff to keep track of. Everyone except 2yo knows how to sort their own clothes into the right hampers.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#14 of 14 Old 07-05-2006, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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