Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This House is a Mess!

My goodness it's not easy keeping a house neat and tidy when you have kids. Those toddler years especially are challenging. There is no secret to a clean house. There is no getting around it, at some point you just have to clean. Don't despair however, there are a few tricks that seasoned mothers like myself have learned.

Have I said this before? The less you have the easier it is to keep clean. I remember living in a roomy three bedroom apartment that became a crowded three bedroom apartment a few month before the birth of my son. Babies come with a lot of stuff. My suggestion to mothers that are expecting is not to open and unpack everything. Some things you may find you don't like or don't need. You may be able to return them and get more diapers. Secondly, don't buy all the hype. A mobile is really unnecessary and so temporary. You are going to have to take it down the minute your child can pull himself up. Most of the time he is in his crib, he'll be sleeping (hopefully), so it's not going to stimulate him visually. There is plenty to stimulate him visually in his natural world. Be choosy about the things you have in your home. If it's not useful or beautiful (in a way that makes you feel good and doesn't cause stress) , you probably shouldn't keep it.

  • Start with a clean home.
If your home has been neglected, you need to clean it, there is just no getting around it. Buckle down and clean. My suggestion would be to clean, but not organize at this point. It'll become overwhelming and it won't get done. Get yourself a box and put everything that is not in it's place in the box. Get everything off your floors and mop or vacuum them. Get everything off your counters and shelves and dust and wipe. Once your home is clean, floors mopped, dust bunnies cleaned up, everything dusted, then you can slowly begin to organize.

  • 30 minutes a day
When you get up in the morning take 15 minutes to clean up, even is it means getting up 15 minutes earlier. Make your bed. After you use the bathroom and brush your teeth, take a wipe (I love Kirkland baby wipe from Costco, but the Clorox wipes work well too) and wipe down all the surfaces of your bathroom. After breakfast, put everything in the dishwasher and wipe down all the counters, sweep the floor. Before going to bed, take 15 minutes to put things back where they belong, including your clothes and shoes. Vacuum your carpets. Have your kids get into this habit by helping them put their toys "to sleep" before they get ready for bed.

  • Once a week
Once a week clean your bathroom, kitchen and dust the furniture. Instill your child's help if he is old enough (even a toddler can help wipe down surfaces, especially if you are using baby wipes).

  • Let it go
Understand that there are times when cleaning has to take a back seat. If you or your child are sick. If you just had a baby. If it's the middle of the day and your kids are making forts with the couch cushions. In times like these, you have to put cleaning aside and sometimes even accept the help of family and friends. I know your sister doesn't fold towels the way you like or that your friend doesn't know where your pots and pans go, it's okay.

Life is sometimes a mess and then you feel better and you clean it up and you go on your way. Your house will be like that too.

Happy Cleaning,


p.s. If you need some serious help, check out The Fly Lady.