Friday, April 15, 2011

CleanUpCleanUp- 7 QuickTakes

I think it was Erma Bombeck who said that "cleaning your house while you are raising children is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing." Well- sometimes it is actually a good idea to shovel while it's snowing! Might as well- slow and steady might save your here are my 7 quick ideas to keeping the house good enough for a husband to come home to- and don't you feel PEACEFUL when the kitchen sink is clean- and ready for more dirty dishes?!

Some of these quick takes are (hobbit) pipe dreams that I haven't implemented, others are 50/50 successes, and others are advice that I actually am not hypocritical can guess which is which!

keeping your home livable and presentable
while raising children, not grass

1. read Like Mother, Like Daughter for advice and inspiration- not this blog. I know Leila says she isn't perfect, but I bet she doesn't have birth certificates in the hutch and three jars of open salsa verde in her fridge (at least they're fresh). Also, Flylady's site is chock full of inspiration and has nothing to do with perfectionism.

2. make dinner while you make breakfast- a slow cooker and perhaps a rice cooker is important for this. You might just prep the food and then finish at 5:30 or so, but there is not much worse than 5:30 with nothing but a frozen whole chicken, half-gone broccoli and some raw potatoes.

3. for homeschoolers- if your kids were in private school, they would have a uniform and they would have less clothes. yes,yes- I know they are all hand-me-downs or thrifted BUT the kids have too many clothes. What to do? First- always say yes to hand-me-downs and always say no to loans (what if they get torn or stained?) Look through the bags without anyone watching and immediately Goodwill (in black bags) anything that is not what you want or need. Keep this Goodwill bag in the car and get rid of it. After you have vetted the hand-me-downs, then ask your kids what they like. Anything they don't want or need, Goodwill immediately (yes- I made 'Goodwill' a verb). Go through their clothes, pack and put away anything that is out of season....and most of all, consider buying those navy blue uniform skirts and pants that are on sale in the Fall. On a school day, this is what they wear with whatever top they like. It will cut down on dilly-dallying and they will always look nice.

4. pack more than half of the toys away and then consider getting rid of things that are not missed. Some kids get into carefully packed away toys and clothes, so make room in the garage or even your closet. Goodwill things when it is practical.

5. for moms of young children, do NOT pick up after the kids. If you have packed most of the toys away to rotate in and out, there won't be that many. Then, have the kids pick up before nap time and before daddy comes home. Don't nag the sweet kids about leaving things out in between these times lest they lose heart. And you will know that there will be times when the floor isn't covered in matchbox cars.

6. complaining kids? Have everybody do something; give specific instructions to each kid and have them work in different rooms if need be. Give the toddler a moist cloth. Give the three year old a small broom and dust pan and go from there. Put on some upbeat music- NOT the soundtrack of The Mission! Have a smile on your face and popsicles in the freezer for when you're done. Then cleaning isn't seen as the worst thing ever.

7. get yourself a kitchen maid and an upstairs maid if you have kids 9 and up (or even younger if you are brave)- every week my kitchen and upstairs maids switch- it even determines which big girl sits with which little kid. The kitchen maid does the dishes and any other kitchen task like sweeping and wiping counters. She also chooses recipes and makes dinner on Mondays. The upstairs maid is designated little kid wrangler and deals with trash and laundry. She is also in charge of Family Fun Fridays (which sometimes turn into Family Fun 15 Minutes). As the Momma, I reserve the right to help them and also have them be flexible with helping each other.
 Happy Cleaning!
It's our duty, so we might as well do it marginally well 


  1. My favorites are numbers 3 and 5. I love the idea of keeping the big black bag in the car. I mistakenly keep it in the house until it is full. Of course, when I do that, dearly beloved items get "rescued" from the Goodwill bag. As for number 5, as of yesterday I now have a 9 year old in the house. I have to remind myself that he is capable of being a pretty big helper. Oh, and I also love number 6. It is helpful to remember that it doesn't have to be total drudgery. It can be fun. Right now, I have 5 children 9 and under. My biggest problem is being interrupted with the needs of the baby and the 2 year old. I can't ever seem to finish a task!

  2. Elizabeth- it is a challenge (difficult, but not impossible) to keep the house livable- but training the kids to do their share as they are able is a gift to their future spouse!...the key for me is keeping clutter down as much as possible.

  3. some wonderful advice!

    my boys go to catholic school, and on the rare days they get to be out of uniform ... wow, what an ordeal. really, thank goodness for uniforms!

    and i totally agree that an uncluttered home really adds to an overall peaceful home. toys in our home are picked up every night - without fail - and everyone pitches in.

    i just spent the last month spring cleaning, and just this morning i was thinking what a blessing to have a place for everything.

    thanks for sharing your words of wisdom!

  4. I never heard of the uniform idea for homeschoolers...I do like it though...why not?

    I will definitely be sharing this with my sister, mom of 3, when they come visit next week!!

  5. Like shoveling snow while it's still snowing? Yes, that describes my house EXACTLY! How had I not heard that before?

    I love Leila! Wish I had found that blog years ago. I certainly needed it then. (Not that I don't need it now!) Her take on things is just delightful--and so helpful!

  6. Another great idea for a Quick Takes post! I appreciate #5 because I have a two year old and so far she likes cleaning up her things....we sing the Clean Up Song! She knows that most of the adults in her life won't let her go from mess to mess so she has to clean up what she is doing before she gets out another big thing to play with. I mean, it's not perfect - there are lots of times when there is too much out at one time, but generally I feel like she is developing good habits. I don't want to be that parent that wishes she had started things young but ended up letting too much slide and made things difficult later on. Do you know of Dr. Ray Guarendi? I like his parenting advice very much. He says not to pick up after kids either because it teaches them that it's YOUR job and not theirs.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  7. Great post! As I wrote, I am in the midst of purging my home. We're in a constant state of shoveling snow! LOL.

    ~Glad you're going to check into that diet/program. You know I always resisted a "vegan" diet because Jesus ate meat, so these folks can't tell me it's wrong. But indeed, I've come to the conclusion that Jesus didn't eat it glutonously, as we Americans unwittingly do. Nor was it tainted with the toxins we have today. But... I will follow the biblical example and still enjoy meat on feast days and special celebrations. So far, so good!

  8. Since moving to New England I have learned that shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard can be a wise move-- keep ahead of it so you don't break your back trying to move several feet of heavy wet snow all at once. But it certainly can be dispiriting.

    I totally agree with #1. I love Leila!

    #3-- Good advice I need to take it. Last fall I got six gigantic garbage bags full of boy clothes from newborn to 5T, all unsorted. I never finished sorting them just because it was such a huge task. I was pregnant and tired, I couldn't do it when the kids were awake because they'd mess up my system. I had to put everything away at the end of each sorting session and didn't immediately take the "goodwill" clothes away because we don't have a handy goodwill so I was planning to try to pass them on to another mother and had this ridiculous idea that I should hand them on only once they were all sorted. Then I'd forget what had been slated to keep and what to give away the next time I sat down to work on it. Oh such a mess!!! And I just got 3 more bags. I need to get out from under the mountain somehow. My first thing to do after Easter.

    I have a very hard time with #4 just because we have no storage space. I do my best to put things away but can't bring myself to get rid of excess toys. At least not enough of them.

  9. Sis- Have you been on memoriesoncloverlane yet? She is inspiring!!! Avila has a uniform, now!! Love you!

  10. Miss you, love you. Caren has an Alabama friend that knows and loves your blog. MAMA


thanks for commenting! (comments on old posts are moderated)