I will admit, I’ll never be known as a great housekeeper. Even when I was single, there were always other things I enjoyed more than cleaning my house. When you’re single, you can let it slide a bit. Add a husband and four children to the mix, and it becomes a necessity. Here are my tips for keeping the cleaning chaos in your home to a reasonable level.
1 Lower Your Standards
Seriously. There are days when I think that there will never be a time when I won’t find sand in the carpet, Barbie shoes in the heater vents, or marker on the walls. This will not last forever. When the toys are gone, the children will have moved out, too, and I will miss these days.
2. Create a Schedule
Instead of rushing around, pulling your hair out when you have three hampers full of laundry to wash, fold, and put away, how about doing a little bit each day? My house runs smoother when I tackle projects a small chunk at a time. I’ve checked out FlyLady in the past, but have never made it past the ‘FlyFetus’ stage. I’m also a big fan of the Home Routines app for your iPod, iPhone, or iPad.
3. Hire Help
I know this is not a feasible option for everyone, but a few hours each month could go a long way in keeping your house clean, and your sanity intact.
4. Enlist Your Husband’s Help
I’m a firm believer in the team approach to family management. Look at the household tasks, and divide them up as you see fit. In my house, I am the queen of laundry, shopping for children’s clothing, and keeping the majority of the house clean. My husband’s domains are maintaining the cars, the yard, and the kitchen. He cooks eighty percent of the time, and keeps the kitchen mess under control. Find a system that works for your home and your marriage.
5. Chores for Children
Mom isn’t the only person who lives in the house, so I dare say she shouldn’t be the only person to clean it. Even small children can help out at home. My kids love (and fight over) helping out with laundry, washing windows, and dusting.
6. A Place for Everything
Ready for your children to start helping out? Make it easy for them. Every room needs a trash can, a laundry hamper (in the bedrooms), and a basket of some sort. Children learn quickly – dirty clothes in the hamper, garbage in the trash can, and toys in the basket. Ta da!
7. Safe Tools for Small Fry
Be sure and play it safe with cleaning products around children. In our house, the kids get a spray bottle of vinegar and water, along with a microfiber rag: safe for cleaning toys, doors, and the occasional window. Keep dangerous supplies out of reach.
8. Encourage a Strong Sense of Self
With my boys, I walk into the living room, and say, “Who wants to help Mommy?” They knock each other down, trying to be the first in line. They love feeling like they are a part of our team, and praise goes miles with them. If you have a child who likes to help, encourage them as much as you can.
9. Get Rid of It!
The less you have in your home, the less you have to pick up and clean. Decluttering gets rid of things you don’t need, blesses others who may be in need, and makes you feel a whole lot lighter. I keep a box by the front door for Goodwill, and drop items there as I am picking up. When the box is full, it goes out the door, and into the car, ready for drop off.
10. Trade Time With Friends
A lot of us are on the same sinking ship – feeling overwhelmed with children at home and a seemingly insurmountable to do list. Call one of your friends – perhaps a fellow homeschooling mother- and offer to trade a few hours of child care with her, so that both of you can have a sense of accomplishment.
I’d love to hear more of your thoughts and ideas in the comment section!
Keep your eyes closed when you go to Dianna’s house at The Kennedy Adventures. She’s too busy training for a half marathon and teaching others about her faith to even clean the markers off the walls these days. She hopes to get her house back in order for the summer. Until then, find her on Twitter.