Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In the Middle of everywhere
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me, herding 5 critters a cat and a dog. DS 11/01, DS 10/04, DD 2/06, DS 5/07 and DD 9/10
Welcome to my world! <warm smile> Really. Having been through this 6 times, My best advice is "This too shall pass". I'm sure I could have immaculate rooms without kid writing on the walls, no goobers on the flat surfaces and pristine furniture, but when I am all over it I am an evil (w)itch with a capital "b". But when I try to keep things reasonably sanitary and enjoy my kids and realize that before I know it they will be a grown up and in drivers training (my oldest) and I will be longing for this sweet, although messy little kid days I do much better. So when its driving you nuts remember that both the bad and the good will pass before you know it. I also let (make) them clean up their messes, even if I have to go over it later when they are not around to see. They feel a great deal of accomplishment at spraying a spray bottle of water and wiping with a clean rag. Especially when its an accident I find it is good to ask "What shall we do to fix it?" And teaching that when we mess something up we try to fix it and do better next time. But I also have to explain to guests that our doorknobs may not shine, but my kids eyes shine instead. We also play clean up games. Like "who can put away 5 things?" or "who can put away 3 blue things" and "chase" with the vacuum. For really destructive kids we do tomato staking.
I will tell you some of the biggest issues that I would like to resolve (some are my downfalls or should I say laziness...lol)....
1) Getting the clothes put up after they are washed.
|2) crumb/food plagued floors (another huge pet peeve). I can not stand dirty floors but our vacuum is a rainbow so it is not too overly simple to get out and put up....|
|3) writing all over......which would be remedied by writing untisels leaving (dh suggests) but easiser said than done|
|4)toy mess (can be remedied)|
|5) other general mess........(such as kids getting into our stuff)|
|6) children getting out their clothes from the drawers and throwing them on the floor the top 2 and the last are the major ones|
1. Declutter. I mean seriously declutter. Take one day and have the kids do a toy hunt. And pile all the toys in 1 room. Go through the toys and throw out anything that is even remotly broken or missing pieces. Freecycle, craigs list, ect. Just get it out of the house.
Any other toys that are left, designate a play room. Get a toy box or equivilent and fill it. Any leftover toys get put in trash bags or rubbermaid boxes and stored in the attic, garage, ect.
You can switch out these toys as needed.
Do the same for books.
|2. Take all pens, markers, pencils, crayons, paint, ect anything that could make a mark and put them in a box or zipbag. Store those in your closet or office. (we actualy have all the kids art stuff in the garage and they can't use them unless I get them out for them)|
|3. Include the kids in kitchen clean up. Even my 18mo old takes his fork or spoon to the dishwasher when he is done.
At first I didn't allow the kids to eat unless everyone was sitting down at the same time for food. Then when the food was done Everyone picked up. The older one 4yrs scraped plates in the trash, and can put them in the dishwasher, the 3yr old can put siverwear in the dishwasher, and everyone picks big chunks of food off the floor.
|But when I started immediatly having the mess maker get down on the floor beside me and clean up while the other kids were off playing they soon realized that messes weren't all that fun|
You are right on the money about too many clothes making laundry more of a chore than it needs to be. I've been decluttering slowly but surely over the last months, and really culled things as we moved. Now that we are in what we think is our forever house I've really made an affort to get systems in place that will work for me.
Here's my laundry system: the kids share the master bedroom with the walk in closet. We put the washer and dryer in the closet. We put four hanging sweater bags--the kinds with six cubbies each--along the rod. Each night, the kids undress for their baths and toss their clothes right in the washing machine, where other dirty laundry (clothes from the kitchen, wet socks, running clothes, tc) has been tossed all day. I put my jamps on then, too. Then I run the machine. By the time they are done with their baths and we've done our reading, the clothes are done and ready for the dryer. When the clothes are dry and the kids are asleep I put their clothes out at the foot of their beds for them (the boys and I wear the same things day after day, which really cuts down on the stuff that has to be put away, Dh and dd like a bit of variety.) What remains gets put on the hanging bags.
We have some things stored, but we each have very few clothes in circulation at a given time. I wear about three different things, my boys two, my dd four or five. It really makes life so much easier.
I also do a load of laundry in the morning--sheets, towels, pajamas. Again, the pajams just get put into the communal jamps basket until bed, when they get put on again.
One way to declutter clothes is to imagine you are packing for a trip. Of course when you are traveling, you only pack what you love, what looks good on you, and what you really need. Store (a good half-measure for the faint of heart) or pass on the rest.
Having written all this, I really have to commiserate. I've mastered laundry, but the rest of it can really bog me down, too.
I would confiscate all markers and pens and bring them out when people are really drawing/working/writing.
Good luck. It's daunting, but bit by bit you can find a way to make things a little more sane. Make meals during naps so they aren't running roughshod while you are busy in the kitchen. Have a ten minute toy hurl where everything has to get into a toy basket, on a shelf etc. before every meal. Have bags for outings partially packed so you can pick up and go and no one has time to roll the toilet paper down the stairs.
When all else fails, leave it all and get outside where you don't have to think about anything but enjoying your kids!
Just wanted to add: agree with moomathea that it is a good idea to have the messmaker help in the clean up--it takes one child out of the mess-making picture and gives them a little one on one time with mom. For a while I have been using this as a discipline method. When a child has done something that requires my attention--spoken rudely to someone, hurt someone, etc--I get him/her invovled in whatever I am doing. Mr. A and Ms. C are squabbling over the bubble wand? "Hey guys, come on ove here I need a hand with this. A, please bring this basket upstairs, C hold this for a second while I move this, please. There. Great. Oh what a big help you are, etc." It works well. It's not a punishment--they get praise and attention and a real sense of how needed and capable they are, and they get out of whatever behavioral knot has them wound up. A little off topic, but moomathea's post made me think of it in this contet too.
Hope this opus helps. One reason I don't post often is that when I do I prattle on and on.
I read something once that 'cleaning house while kids are growing, is like shoveling while it's stilll snowing' : and ain't THAT the truth???!! I think the key is to expect your house to be clean (as in sanitary) but not always tidy
|This is the bane of my existence as well! If I do a load of washing every day, hang it out AND *fold it straight from the line* I have a much better chance of not finding it dumped in a pile somewhere or sitting on my bed when I try to get in it. If I fold it straight from the line & put it in the basket I'll put it right away.. if I just grab it off the line in a hurry.. nope you can put money on the fact that that pile of laundry will haunt me for a day or two lol.|
|Ah the vac I loved to hate! I had one and got rid of it because it was such a nuisance to use that I couldn't be bothered. Rip out all carpet? That'd be my first choice, but maybe not possible . Carpet in dining rooms.. builders should be SHOT for that! Maybe a clear shower curtain for under your food tossers chair? If you get a decent one you could just shake it into the trash then toss it in the washer with the next load.|
|I have become obsessive about keeping pens up because one of my boys scribbled all over a few walls at the last house we RENTED *sigh* Much scrubbing ensued...some of it by him even I'm all about the pencil box collection now lol, we have them in a cabinet & the older kiddos know where they are but the little guy can't reach.|
|I've found that getting rid of a LOT of unused toys has saved my sanity on this one. If you've done that already, baskets/bins rawk. Even the 2yo will toss blocks into a bin if he sees the brothers doing it|
|I guess with that one it really depends on the 'stuff' These days I'm happy to say I don't *have* a lotta 'stuff' for them to get into! My craft stuff hides on shelves in my bedroom and that's the most dangerous stuff so they can't find it|
|I had that exact problem too..my now 4yo LOVES to change clothes.. and he has to rifle thru the entire drawer to find exactly what he wants to wear or there will be screaming . Too many clothes is definitely a problem.. I have thinned their's out a lot and now they each have a drawer in the dresser plus one for everyone's jammies, and the two small top drawers are undies & socks. The big sanity saver on this one.. the dresser lives in MY room, NOT theirs. It never occurred to me till the now 4yo (who was then 2) pulled the dresser OVER on himself as he tried to climb it to get to the top drawer to see what new & exciting things I had hidden there lol.|
I haven't read all the replies yet, but here is my 2 cents.
De-clutter! If the kitchen counters, my desk, my room, etc. all of the places where my stuff is are clear/ clean, it makes a world of difference.
As far as the kids go. It's hard when they are all so young. At one point, when all 3 of mine were under the age of 2...well cleaning just had to take a back seat to just getting through the day...getting everyone dressed, fed, napped --- well that is pretty much all I got done. So, definitely give yourself a break...At that point in our lives, I pretty much did the laundry/ cleaning on the weekends when DH was home to help with the kids and the cleaning. Obviously, there is day to day stuff that has to get done, like the dishes. But laundry, dusting, etc. that stuff could wait.
As far as the kids helping. I've got little bins and baskets for all their toys. It helps that they can just toss their toys in them. Not having to put them in a specific place or on shelves, is the way to go. IMO. Also, toy purge. We have so many toys and probably 1/3 to 1/2 of them get burried in the bottom of a basket and aren't played with daily. You could just put 1/2 of their toys in a rubbermaid tote or something and rotate. Or donate if they are toys that just don't get played with often. I'm definitely in the less is more way of mind with toys.
Anyhoo...this is what works for us. Hope you can find a solution that is good for you.
I sometimes do fold it as I get it out.....but whether I fold it or not fold it, if I do not get it put up right away it has been known to be strung across the floor or become the new lounge chair for the kids!
|Although I can use a duster for cobwebs and we plan on having (forgive me all you animal protectors!!!)*whispers* -leather furniture- *runs and puts a bag over head*....I would prefer immatation...but hubby is for the real. A part of me likes the idea of leather because it could be wiped clean instead of having to pull cushion covers off and washed...but I do not like the feel of leather and I do not like the idea of sitting on dead animals...that is why I prefer immatation....it has all the perks and no downfalls..ok I got off track....back to the subject.....|
|I do have a lot of useless stuff that needs to go....
I have my hobbie stuff in the office(which they are not to be in).....but the door does not lock and the room adjoins their room.....which is on a different level than our room and the main quarters...so when they are in their room...unless I am there for all I know they could be in the office.
Besides that I have pens/pencils that I keep on the top of the fridge for messages and lists....
|wow! I really need to get rid of clothes.....that is a huge issue. But I guess I think I would have to do laundry twice as often because of less clothes.
thanks for your advice!
thanks for all of the advice
I do like the idea of a locking filing cabinet or something of the like.
My hubby and I talked a little bit yesterday about our cleaning issues. We did not really get anywhere.....we just went over things that I already knew. For instance, he said he does not mind if the floor is vacced, he just wants it to be picked up (meaning no toys ect). Well that is great, but I want it to be vacced...that is a huge deal to me.
|So far I have about 3 LARGE boxes of stuff to leave. So I am starting to get somewhere.
Thanks for everyone's help!
Sounds like you DID get somewhere... He can pick up the toys, then you can vaccum My strategy for the toys all thru the house on the floors is to give the boys a shopping bag (reusable one) and tell them to go shop all the toys into those bags lol... it actually works more often than not! Then I can vacc without having to bend over 50times to pick up toys.
Oh.. and that locked filing cabinet thing? Only works if it's locked I guess dh gave the boys some drawing paper & didn't lock it back : Sometimes ya just gotta laugh eh? lol
W00t! Three boxes is a great effort : (don't we just love him? lol)
I can't stand putting clothes away either, so I do all the laundry on one day and fold it all and put it away once. I hated the "do a load every day" method. I'm not sure how it will work with 4 kids though-I only have 2 and do 5-6 loads/wk-on Mondays. I'm sure the washing machine and dryer hate mondays as much as DH does Maybe doing 3-4 loads twice a week? I just hated always feeling like I either need to wash/dry or put away laundry... now when it's done it's done!
so there is no fix?!?!?!?!?!? outside of sending your kids to live with relatives.....hehehe I am kidding.
well I was hoping someone found some sort of fix.
I will tell you some of the biggest issues that I would like to resolve (some are my downfalls or should I say laziness...lol)....
1) Getting the clothes put up after they are washed. I am pretty good about washing....although if I go a couple of days without doing any laundry I have to play 'catch up' and then have loads of clothes to put up. I fold them up and put them in the basket.......but I do not get them put up right away.....and before I know it they are being wollowed on the floor by my kids(which is a major pet peeve of mine). I know the simple solution is to just put them up right away...but for some reason this has been a downfall for me. I think it is because they have too many clothes. I need to get rid of atleast half of their clothes.
And I have tried to have the kids put up their own clothes, but it has ended in them just being thrown in the the wrong drawers (if they even make it there). So I have not been doing that much lately......
2) crumb/food plagued floors (another huge pet peeve). I can not stand dirty floors but our vacuum is a rainbow so it is not too overly simple to get out and put up....and due to dustiness of common vacs, I would not change from my rainbow. I have purchased cheap vacs as 'in-between vacs' but have not been happy with the majority of them due to the dustiness of them. And sadly we ONLY have carpet....so vacuuming is not avoidable. I vac atleast once a week and used to 'spot vac' multiple times a day, but the dust of the cheap vacs started to get to me. So I stopped....which has resulted in me being upset about the floors getting dirtied after I vacced with the rainbow.
3) writing all over......which would be remedied by writing untisels leaving (dh suggests) but easiser said than done
4)toy mess (can be remedied)
5) other general mess........(such as kids getting into our stuff)
6) children getting out their clothes from the drawers and throwing them on the floor
the top 2 and the last are the major ones