November 1, 2010

Housekeeping Survival Guide

For parents of small hellions children.

I have three very active, rambunctious and messy boys. I also have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1350 square foot home that I love... but that means 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1350 square feet that I have to clean. WHILE raising the above mentioned children.

Here is a cleaning survival guide that I have compiled that allows me to keep this house clean, raise my children, cook good food, and keep the hubs happy and maybe have a bit of sanity at the end of the day. It's geared towards women, since that's what I am, but daddys can  take it and use it too. It's also geared toward stay-at-homes, but a working parent could take it and run with it on a weekend too.

Dress The Part
I know I don't get as much done when I'm in my "lounge" wear. So get dressed into what you would normally wear when doing housework. For me it's jeans and a t-shirt. Put your hair up. Put a bra on (or take it off). Wear an apron if you want. Put shoes on if you need to. Be comfortable, but not too comfortable, otherwise sitting around will be too easy.

Set The Mood
I work better when I have something to listen to. That's usually podcasts, but sometimes it's music. Put something on so you can listen and use your brain so that you don't get bored and want to go do something else.

Make A List
Any one who's been reading my site for awhile will know that I'm an OCD list keeping freak of nature. A to do list will make things a bajillion times easier. For me, it's just a reminder of things I need to get done, since my children have nursed out every brain cell devoted to memory. It's also a good motivator. When I'm done I can cross something off and having that visual makes me more productive. I've even thought about getting gold stars to make myself feel special.

Make it as vague or detailed as you need. For me, I have things like "Bathrooms" and "Dust" on mine. But if you need to be more specific to help keep you on track - or you really like crossing things off - you could put "Scrub Toilet", "Wipe Down Sink" or "Dust Nightstands".

Top Down 
I have found (and I'm sure you'll hear this elsewhere) that the best way to clean is from top to bottom. Start with dusting the top of the shelves, clean off the cabinets, wipe down the table, pick up the toys. Sweeping and vacuuming at the end will mean that you won't have to do it again because you decided to dust last and the dust buffalo from the entertainment center threw themselves to the floor.

Child Labor
Your kids have hands, legs, and a brain (hopefully). Put them to work. My kids have been cleaning up their toys since before they were a year old. Basically, if they can move around on their own, they can help. Give them a damp rag to dust. Kids like helping parents, and they get a kick when you cheer for them at the end. No where does it say that momma has to do all the work by herself. And making kids work with you will teach them good life lessons, like earning their keep and taking direction.

One Room At a Time
If you're feeling overwhelmed by a huge list of things to be done, take it one room at a time. Pick a small room. Clean the bathroom first. Clean the toilet, scrub the sink, wipe the counter, mop the floor. Then when you're done walk out and close the door behind you. Or take it one task at a time if that helps. Go through and wipe all the counters. Or do all the dusting.

Important Room
Along the same lines as One Room At a Time is picking an important room and keeping that one room clean. I have certain rooms that I have to keep clean in order to stay sane. This is usually my kitchen, but sometimes it can be the office (if I'm working a lot) or the bedroom (if I need the peace at the end of the day). When I'm having a busy week and can't keep up with the whole house I make sure to at least keep that one important room clean. If all you can do for a period of time is worry about this one room, it's a small step to making you feel better.

"Prefold" The Laundry
Making sure that all the clothing is right side out as you put it into the washer will mean less time when it comes to the actual folding. As someone who despises, hates, and loathes folding laundry, anything to make that time shorter makes me happy. It also means they'll be cleaner since everything will be flat. I've found a lot of kid socks that where still dirty and covered with grass because they were bunched up when I tossed them in the wash.

Speaking of laundry, put a load in before you start anything else. The awesome thing about washers and dryers is they don't need you there to work. It's a hands-free chore, for the most part. When the load is done, put in another and go back to the chore you were doing. This can also apply for dishes, if you have a dishwasher. I don't have a dishwasher. No, I'm not bitter. Why?

It's All In The Timing
I get most of my chores done when the kids go down for "Quiet Time". I've given up on naps. They don't happen... But I digress. There are some things that the kids can't help with (or rather, I am less crazy if they aren't helping). Like mopping the floor. Works much better when little feet aren't running across it. Make use of the kid free time you have. Be that naptime, or play time outside, or watching a movie. Unless you're a momma of a wee newborn babe, in which case please just go to sleep. Everyone will love you more if you're not a cranky-pants. Even if your house is messy.

Call In The Calvary
When all else fails, call in the maid and let her do it while you take a long hot bath and eat chocolate...

HAHAHAHA. I crack myself up.


Farm Girl said...

You are so funny, and man do I wish I had this list when I was your age.
I had to figure it all out on my own.
I do like that part where you call in a maid. That would be awesome.

I know you do always a very nice job and really, my favorite part is you are OCD you fit in so nicely with all of us. :)
Very cute post!

NetRaptor said...

Hm, those are all good suggestions! I've kind of vaguely thought these things for a while, but it's nice to see them spelled out so clearly.

Lynn said...

Love this post. I'm gonna need to get me some gold stars to reward myself for doing my home chores :)

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