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#1 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello, I have 4 children ...all 6 and under and I have two questions?
1)How in the world am I supposed to keep my house clean? It has proven to be hard thus far with the messes they have made.
2) How am I to incorporate them helping to clean?
I now know the importance of knowing "how" to clean as a kid. I had to teach myself once I was older. I came from a family that did not teach me. They never made me clean my room....they just wanted me to be a kid and have fun. A funny but sad side note: I had not really done much laundry before and I got mad at my cousin who I was staying with..she did my laundry and I was standing there when she was putting them into the dryer and my jeans were a different color and I thought she had ruined them.....although much to my suprise...that is just how jeans look when they come out of the washer! lol It is truly sad when a teen does not know what
their clothes look like when coming from the washing machine.

But back to the point, I did not know how to nor the importance of clean. So I quickly had to learn when I got married at a young age. For the first while of our marriage, my husband would do the cooking and cleaning because he did not think I knew how to. I later took over when I convinced him I knew how to.
With all of that being said, I want my kids to know this stuff and value it. Now I know I can not give them some tasks but I do have them help with some things such as bringing me their dirty clothes and sometimes putting up their clothes (although sadly most of the time, that ends in a bigger mess).

It has just been so hard keeping the house clean with kids. And of course I have been known to contribute my own share of mess by my hobbies and recycling.
Some of the things that I have had to deal with.....
for instance yesterday while I was out of the kitchen, my 3 year old dumped out his cereal on the table and then dumped his water on it. Ugg.

The 1.5 year old and the three year old have been known to cause their food to go on the floor. Many times with my three year old it has been an accident....but sometimes he was just being honery. The one year old has had a philosophy that if he is done eating the food must be out of his sight.....which has meant it going to the floor (which happens to be carpet....and we do not use a easy vac...we use a rainbow).

My 6 y/o and 3 y/o changing clothes many many many times a day and the clothes getting thrown on the floor just to be put in the dirty clothes later by me...therefore meaning more laundry...ugg

All of the writting all over everything with pens, pencils, crayon, markers, ect.

Toothpaste murals on the bathroom counter and mirror

mucked up windows and mirrors from them touching them with grubby fingers

Well those are just a few.....




I have been stressed about how the house...so any suggestions on how to teach the kids the value of keeping the house clean and helping mommy clean would be great! Thanks!
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#2 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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ugh, i feel for you! i have a 15-month-old and a 33-month-old (so close to the ages of your younges two). having a dog really helps with the food on the floor, lol! my almost-3-yo does "help" clean up when he makes a mess. of course he's not much of a real help, but that teaches him that someone has to clean up when there's a mess, teaches him how to do it, and hopefully he will see that, while cleaning up isn't awful, playing is more fun - so don't make a mess! please! but for the most part, i don't really have advice. my boys are stinkers, and while i do have "clean up" time with them (trying to teach them), i end up doing a lot of work after they're asleep.
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#3 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know what you mean about cleaning when they are sleeping, but it has been way too common for the house to be as messy as it was before once they wake up. And that has been what has been stressing me. Me cleaning and it almost immediately getting messy again. I do not mind cleaning, I just hate redoing myself. And I wish my kids would not make so many messes.
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#4 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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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.

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#5 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 08:28 PM
 
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1) Our idea of clean is much different now - if the house is generally picked up and deep cleaned once a month that is good. Their playroom is the basement, and we try to clean once a week, which helps keep the rest of the house in OK condition.

2) My kids all have a rotating chore list. They have to put their dishes in the dishwasher after every meal (even my 2 YO). My 4 YO and up help empty the dishwasher. All of them help: Load the washing machine, hang clothes to dry, fold clothes/diapers/wipes, sweep, mop. My 5 and 6 YO vacuum the house (with some assistance from us). We split them up into groups of 2 for cleaning - 2 with mommy and 2 with daddy.

If they decide to wear more than 1 outfit a day (without a major accident or me asking), they have laundry duty for the week (curbed that problem VERY fast).

We always have food on the floor - but it's a laminate floor, and they help sweep. I'm not sure you can really help that at this age.

My kids can't play with pencils/markers/crayons/playdough etc. without asking. And then it's only under supervision at the kitchen table. All toothpaste and other bathroom items are up high out of reach so they can't "play" with them.
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#6 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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Give up on having a magazine or even company clean house for longer than 5 minutes. Decorate with kids or other family members in mind.i am putting in dark floors so you really have to be looking to notice the gunk and spills and dog hair.My couches have a pattern and pretty much everything is washable.I scrub down walls throughout the week.My kitchen is the only regularly cleaned place nowadays.This will pass,this will pass.... and then my house will be scary spotless because I will be so bored.
I am so used to stepping over the contents of my cabinets while cooking.
Encourage them to put thier clothes in one place so you have less places to hunt.Have each little put thier dishes from the table to the kitchen.I keep the kid's dishes in a low cabinet and they can put thier dishes away and set the table.My 2 year loves that.Have your older ones put thier own clothes away.Have a home for each toy and routinely show them how to clean up by 5 or 6 they get it.Laundry sorting can be fun and educational (colors).

joy.gifme, herding 5 critters a cat and a dog. DS 11/01, DS 10/04, DD 2/06, DS 5/07 and DD 9/10

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#7 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by thewaggonerfamily View Post
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.
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
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#8 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really think a lot of my problem comes down to me. Outside of having more kids.....and more mess....I feel as though I have been more lazy over the past couple of years. I think it is due to an overwhelming mess and having to redo myself over and over that I have in a sense given up deep down...so my effort has slacked.
Thankfully my dh has been pretty good about it all....even though he almost did not marry me because he thought I did not know how to clean (I kid you not)....so I really feel bad about the messy house........but like I said he remotely understands...even though he is a complete perfectionist/minimalist. He is more forgiving of the kid's mess than of mine I think....for instance if he knows the kids made a mess he does not really comment on it to me but if I have my recycling piling up then he sometimes nicely says "so when is all of this trash going to leave?" or "when are you going to do something about this?" He has never gotten mad at me (well showed me that he was mad...he may have been mad or annoyed inside) due to a dirty house. Although if I let him have a chance at cleaning it, he would throw most everything away except the bare minimal . He did this once when I left to go out of town for a few days. I was not very pleased when I returned....he knew that I would not be.....since he was throwing so much of my stuff away.

But back to the point......I think perhaps if I made some changes in me, then I would atleast feel better about it all and maybe even would have a cleaner house.
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#9 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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Right now I have 3 kids and one on the way so in less than 3 months I will have 4 kids, 4yrs and under.
I feel your pain with the house. Our house is actually on the market right now. But it being on the market had realy helped me get in the clean and teach the kids how to clean.

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.

It took me a while to get off my butt and clean up messes. I felt that as soon as I cleaned up a bigger mess would happen. Like while I was sweeping teh floor someone would open a bottle of bubbles and dump them on the carpet, or while I was cleaning the bathroom someone would be in the kitchen dumping out flour all over the swept floor ect. 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 and knock on wood we haven't had a disaster mess in quite a while.

As far as every day chores, they boys have to help pick up their room every night before bed. Toys picked up, jammies on, and all clothes in the laundry basket.
Then my dd has to pick up all her dolls and things, get jammies on and pick up her clothes.
No book reading or brushing teeth until their room is picked up.
Then if the living room is messy they all work together with mommy and daddy to pick the living room up.
Every day the 4yr old has to take all the little trash cans down to the kitchen trash, dump them and bring the little cans back to where they go.
Just little things but it get them used to being responsible for their messes.

Thea, wife to Daniel Homeschooling Momma to 4 beautiful, engergetic children.
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#10 of 38 Old 06-23-2008, 11:11 PM
 
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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.

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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#11 of 38 Old 06-24-2008, 06:37 AM
 
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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

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlessedOne View Post
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.
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.

Quote:
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....
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.
Quote:
3) writing all over......which would be remedied by writing untisels leaving (dh suggests) but easiser said than done
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.
Quote:
4)toy mess (can be remedied)
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

Quote:
5) other general mess........(such as kids getting into our stuff)
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

Quote:
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
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.

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#12 of 38 Old 06-24-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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Just as an fyi. Regular white toothpaste will take crayon off the wall very easily.

Thea, wife to Daniel Homeschooling Momma to 4 beautiful, engergetic children.
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#13 of 38 Old 06-24-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 38 Old 06-25-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mommathea View Post
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.
this has been my battle..... I sometimes sort out tons of stuff to go....but I sometimes do not get it out before kids are back into it....so I am back at square one. And when I do go through stuff, I still have a ton of stuff. For instance, I went through my 3 kids stuff and got out an overflowing cribs worth of stuff and it did not even dent the mess. Then sometimes I go through stages of not wanting to get rid of the kids special things....ugg. And then I have had problems with throwing away broken stuff. I am a big recycler and hate to trash stuff. That has been a HUGE problem.

Quote:
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)
I have done this repeatedly but the kids keep finding them. I have put them UP in our office which they are not supposed to be in. But it is right next to their room and the door does not lock. Both of the rooms are on the lower level of the house....so if I am upstairs in the main living area or in my room...then I do not know if they are truly in their room or in my office.
I have also put them up on top of the refridgerator...but they just climb up and get them.
And also people keep giving them more! For instance my dd came back from my inlaws (who live next door) and she had about 5 or more sparkly gel pens that they had given her! People think that type of thing is a practical gift....but I would rather them have a magnidoodle!!
Also I have some pens and pencils(for me to use to take messages when someone calls or write a grocery list) in a magnetic holder at the top of the fridge....but they just climb up and get into it.
So my efforts have been in vain. =(
Quote:
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.
I do have the kids help some. They are responsible for cleaning their dishes off and putting them on their drainer (they reuse them until the dishwasher gets ran(a couple of days) or until they are too dirty to reuse). And they are to throw away their trash and pick up noticeable food off of the floor.
I pretty much do the rest.
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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
I need to be more diligent about this. I do typically have the kids pick up the messes, but so many times it is not just the mess maker. For instance if my 3 yo dumps cereal, I tell him to pick it up. He has been known to throw a fit and not really clean it much. So I tell my 6 yo to help him so it will get done. Typically my 3yo ended up not cleaning much of it.....and my 6yo is mad because he is not helping and it is his mess. So somehow I need to fix that. I feel bad her having to take up the slack. But I do typically reward her for helping.
And if my 1.5 yo makes a mess, sometimes it has been hard to help him understand picking it up....so many times my 6 yo ends up fixing it. I guess it just takes patience.

I have tried to introduce daily chores for them....but I have slacked in diligence. =(
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#15 of 38 Old 06-25-2008, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
wow that is amazing! I am not sure I would be that disciplined! But I have got to do something. I have been known to walk into my kids room and just get sooooo stressed....and it is not that we do not clean it. It gets cleaned once a week.....but it just has gotten messed up soooo quickly and so bad because they have so much stuff. My hubby wants them to have only 3 toys each.......I partially like the idea, but in reality I do not know that I could do that.

Laundry- we do have too many clothes....my husband has way less....but with that being said, I am constantly trying to make sure he has clothes to wear. Although I understand what you are saying.....you have less stuff so it is not as big of a deal to keep up on. I do not mind washing clothes....I just have not liked putting them up.
The kids have what is called a "once worn" basket. This is for clothes that have not really gotten dirty or anything....such as clothes that have only been worn inside or just to church (they do not stink or have any visible marks). And this basket is the basket they get clothes from to go outside and play and when they are done playing outside, they put them in the dirty clothes and put their inside clothes back on. I may like to protect nature and all....but I can not stand the smell of the outdoors and sweat!

My problem with storing clothes is that I forget about them until they are not the right size..........and also I do not have a lot of storage area.

It sounds like you are doing great....what you have said is very inspiring!
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#16 of 38 Old 06-25-2008, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
the person that said that definitely had kids! lol
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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.
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! I just really need to discipline myself to put up the clothes as soon as they are done...so then I do not have them piling up and then making me dread it even more.
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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 wish I could rip up all of the carpet but we rent. =( I know, I think carpet in kitchen, dining rooms and bathrooms is completely stupid and when we build our house we will not have any carpet in said places....and may not have any carpet at all! Which kind of makes our 2k vaccumm of less value....lol. It has hard floor attatchments....but I doubt I use them. But I will still keep it for vaccing the furniture and cobwebs. 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.....
The sad thing about the carpet is that the house we live in is old (70s or 80s) and when my in laws (who we rent from) bought it in 99 they put new carpet in in 2000. Although for some dumb reason they did like the builder and put it all over. *rolls eyes*......and the majority of it WAS beige. They did that before I lived here and before dh and I had kids.
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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 have tried..so far all efforts have failed.....details in other post.
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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 have tried so many different ways.....I think it all comes down to the majority of them needing to leave.
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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 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....and they just climb up and get into them.
There are not a lot of places in my home that kids can not get to. Very few rooms have locks.....and many do not have doors even....such the bedrooms. I put thing up high and when I am not looking they have climbed up to get them.
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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.
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!
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#17 of 38 Old 06-25-2008, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
yes I definitely need to declutter and purge....I just have to kick the pack rat out.......>>>>>me<<<<<

I like to clean when dh is home.....but he prefers for me to have it all done by the time he gets home so he can spend time with me.

thanks for the advice!
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#18 of 38 Old 06-25-2008, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok today I have been slightly motivated to clean.....but just have not been able to. My youngest son has been sleeping more (and his room is what really needs to be tackled) and besides that, my newborn has been overly 'mommy wanting' today.
ugg
But I have looked at the messy spots in my house and figured out how to fix some of them....just need to do it....so I have half the battle won...lol

here is a perdicament.....
new baby and new baby gifts

tons of cute little baby stuff........but even though I like it, a part of me does not want to keep it all. I know my track record for baby baby stuff. I tend to want to keep it for sentimental purposes. So with that being said, I do not want to keep all of that stuff! I know I could just get over the sentimental kick...but I think it would be easier for me to just not keep most of the stuff in the first place. But then I feel bad that they gave it to me and it is rude not to use it.
I still have a little bit of stuff from my first dd but not a lot and most of it is stained.
So there is some need for nice cute baby clothes, but like I said, I know if I let attached to those outfits, I will want to keep them (I know it is weird).
So I am trying to figure out what to do.

With my first dd, I kept 8 boxes of baby stuff for a couple of years before I finally went through it and got it down to one or two boxes (I have only found one so far....and it does not have a lot of clothes that will work for my newborn right now).
If I new I could stay on top of laundry...I would do like one mamma suggested and have just a few outfits out. But even so, many of the ones I have from my older dd are not the right size or are stained.

So I am up against a wall.
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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!
Yep that's really the kicker (says she who has a basket of laundry all nicely folded, but waiting to be put away.. dh is sleeping as he works nights )

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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.....
Actually leather, or pleather hehe, does have downsides. My inlaws have the loveliest leather lounge suite, it does require regular leather conditioner to be applied, it can scratch easily (fake leather is even worse about this I think), and you have to be constantly vigilant with kids & toys... sharp toys will tear a hole it in. I gave leather some thought, but now I think when/if we get new furniture I'll get something with with removable/recoverable cushions
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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....
Ouch.. with no other options for kidproof storage, I feel for ya! Would it be possible to find an inexpensive wardrobe that can have a lock added? or even a 2nd hand file cabinet that locks (for the things that are the most destructive like markers, crayons, scissors and such) I totally feel your pain about the adorable little miscreants that are our children though... the ONLY way to keep mine out of things like that is lock & key

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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!
Oh yeah.. I keep thinking I have no clothes, but my closet is packed. Today I got the laundry in from the line and as I was folding it I counted at LEAST 6 shirts of MINE .. that I wear all the time. Now I'm wondering why on earth I don't go in and just donate MOST of what is in my closet! I rarely if ever wear it.. and if it moves on to a better home, it makes space for new things that I love if I find them

Can you suggest to DH if he lets you have the time to get this done while he's home, that it will make cleaning so much easier & less time consuming in the future that you'd have that much more time for him?

Baby stuff: I kept one or two cute special outfits from each kiddo.. and they got worn by the next kiddos.. and I gave all the rest to friends, or to lifeline. Even the things that were gifted to me.. I didn't feel rude, I told myself that by giving them to someone that WOULD use them I was honoring that gift even moreso

Good luck!

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#20 of 38 Old 06-26-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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It might be useful for you to get a mini stick vacuum. We have a Eureka Quick-up and even DS (15 months old) uses it some, it's that light.
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#21 of 38 Old 06-30-2008, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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 basically he is more into visiable cleaning and I am into deep cleaning. So between us both it all has to be done. He did say that he was going to try to be more on top of keeping his stuff clean. He had started to slack off. Which his slacking off does not amount to much perhaps a few clothes out here and there...that is about it. He is a tidy person for the most part.



I will say that the kids and I went through that room of theirs. It is much better but far from perfect. I went through the toys that they had out and got rid of most of them (they still have some for me to go through in the closet). I also went through the dressers of clothes and got out some clothes.

So far I have about 3 LARGE boxes of stuff to leave. So I am starting to get somewhere.


Thanks for everyone's help!
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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.
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

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So far I have about 3 LARGE boxes of stuff to leave. So I am starting to get somewhere.

Thanks for everyone's help!
W00t! Three boxes is a great effort : (don't we just love him? lol)

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#23 of 38 Old 07-01-2008, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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 like the shopping idea....I bet mt kids would do that.
thanks
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#24 of 38 Old 07-01-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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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!
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I like the shopping idea....I bet mt kids would do that.
thanks
That reminds me of a pickup game we played for a while. It was rescue the toys from the vacuum monster. The vacuum loved to eat toys that were left on the floor, and the kids had to pick up the toys as fast as they could before the vacuum at them.

Thea, wife to Daniel Homeschooling Momma to 4 beautiful, engergetic children.
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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!
I hate the all week laundry also. With a family of 5 I can usually do laundry on Monday and Tuesday. Clothes on Monday, towels and linens on Tuesday. I have a super big washer and can hang most stuff out on the line to dry, when the line fills I the rest of the clothes go in the dryer. Then everything gets folded that night after the kids go to bed while I watch my favorite tv show. Then in the morning the kids help put everything away.

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#27 of 38 Old 07-03-2008, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been continuely going through stuff and although I have ran out of boxes, I would guess that I have about 5 boxes of stuff to leave. I have noticed that since I went through their clothes and got rid of a ton of stuff, I do not dread putting up clothes as much...because now there is room for them and I do not have to try to pack the clothes in an already over flowing drawer...so that is good. Also I have found myself less stressed when their room gets messy because I took out a ton of their stuff. So even when they do get out all of the toys, it still only takes about 15 minutes for them to clean (when I am there guiding them in what to do). Last night we quickly picked up the room before bedtime. I hope to do that when needed until they get the idea that is it better to just put the stuff up when they are done playing with it instead of waiting until they are tired. I know my progress is not perfect, but it is infact progress...which makes me feel better.
I have also realized that my kids have started helping me out without me having to mention anything....which is great. So things are getting better.

I just have a handful of major things to get done...which have been slacked off on because of doing other cleaning things

-4 loads of laundry (which most of it was probably clean...but it came from the kids' floor...so when they cleaned their room...they decided it was all dirty so they would not have to put it back into the drawers...instead mommy has to rewash it and put it up......*sigh*) I think it means you have a lot of clothes when you can make a load for about every color of the rainbow! My remaining loads are:
-white (possibly two)
-black
-beige towels
I had started out with a yellow load, but I then decided to just make it a light colored clothes load (such as khaki, yellow, light green, possibly some light blues)
-possibly a dark clothes load depending on how much

my loads from yesterday were:
-blue
-red
-blankets/colored towels

VACUUM!!! the floor is soooo nasty!!!

and pick up all of the cluttered spots...including closets.........this is the big task....ugg

If I get all of that done and maintain it then maybe my house would stay presentable.
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#28 of 38 Old 07-03-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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With 4 young children can you clean? Or do you more kind of corral the mess?
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#29 of 38 Old 07-03-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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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
1) Clean laundry mountains are a huge issue here. (We do 4 loads a day) I THINK I finally have it figured out after trying all sorts of systems. (We have basically a laundry closet off the kitchen, If I had a real laundry room, I'd have a family closet there.) What I finally did was hang one of those day of the week hanging closet organizers (ya know, the ones you put a whole outfit for each day in?) and I fold as it comes out of the dryer. Each kid gets a cubbyhole and because they are small they can (have to) carry them up pretty much after each load. Makes it much less overwhelming for them to put them away, so they actually make it to the drawer.

2)Sounds like you need to drag the rainbow vacuum out everyday. Maybe during the 11:00 news?

3)We have not mastered this one. The older kids leave writing utensils and scissors and super glue and nailpolish out all the time! ARGH! I do have a secret hiding place for the Sharpies. BTW Magic Erasers get everything including sharpie marker off walls. Ask me how I know?:

4)3x a day toy tidy?

5)If you figure this one out, LMK. I have pretty much everything that is precious to me packed away. <sigh> I like having nice things, but so much has been wrecked, I have determined it is not worth it to me.

6)Make them practice folding and putting them away 10x everytime they dump them out? It would get old for them, fast. (I'd hope?!)

Katie, mama to Katherine 19, Christian 17, Johannah 15, Nicholas 10, Genevieve 8, Matthew 5, Andrew 11/16/09 10#6oz home waterbirth and madly in love with  my husband, Scott

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#30 of 38 Old 07-04-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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Drat! I typed a disorganized but longer response and clicked "Go" instead of "Post Quick Reply."

Basically what I said was a few things help me keep things running smoothly around here:

* having the kids clean up when we're all cleaning up, or we're all cleaning up together to finish more quickly so we can go outside/ go to the park/pop popcorn and watch a movie/or whatever our plans are.

* my priorities about having a clean house change often -- w/ a new baby not so important, but when we're in a groove or not as busy, I try to get more done.

* my expectation now is that everything is relatively clean and neat, but that it might not get done all at once very often. So I have a rotation of bigger cleaning tasks and try to get one or two done per day, plus daily dishes/laundry/sweeping/diaper stuffing.

* I try to set the little ones up to succeed. I am probably later to move kids from high chair to regular chair, from crib to big kid bed, from stroller/sling to walking on his/her own, but I try to say yes and let them be independent as often as I can and when it will work well for all of us. I also don't let kiddos have full run of the house until a little later than some friends I know. I've tried a broad range of approaches and having them in our family room with a gate works well for some tasks I am doing and like walking free, I let them roam when it works well for all of us.

* and like Cari said about her clothes...I really have just purged and purged b/c less things that we use all the time are easier to take care of and keep neat and clean. It's been hard w/ a few * ahem * beloved packrats, but once the initial resistance wears off, they enjoy the freedom of not having all the broken toys, extra papers, etc.

* Holly * rural Seattle suburban SAHM to Elizabeth 11 * Cole 9 * Annie 5 * Blaise 3 * and Urban 2 mos *
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