. . . but the kids are
making memories wreaking havoc!!
Whoever said “Happiness is a clean and organized home” obviously didn’t have kids. Plus, we all know happiness is yoga pants and not having to wear a bra. (Pizza and/or a glass of wine may be involved, also.)
Gone are the days of walking barefoot without fear of stepping in a mystery puddle. (Is it juice? Water? Pee?) Or worse — stepping on a Lego. Or tripping over one of those damn back-flipping “My Little Pony” toys. Or finding a half-eaten bag of Cheetos stuffed under the couch, which you’re pretty sure you ran out of a month ago. You get the point.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of a CLEAN room for two minutes only to come back to dolls, blankies, books, baby wipes, Blu-Rays and Teddy Grahams strewn across the floor while one of my girls is streaking around the house like a drunken frat boy, the other screaming and tailing right behind her. It’s moments like these that reinforce my belief that I may not ever have a clean house again. Or at least not until the girls are in college.
Oh, and let me touch on “de-cluttering”. Hell hath no fury like your kid catching you throwing away ANYTHING. EVER. And don’t think that your ability to smuggle broken toys past your kids like a Mexican drug lord or tossing things out when the kids aren’t home. will work. You’re not fooling ANYONE! Their memories are like that of an elephant’s — they never forget! Jordyn has thrown fits and has scolded me MANY times about throwing away her ripped up coloring books or (un)stuffed animals with limbs barely hanging on that she didn’t even play with anymore. And, tell me, WHY does my child NEED a Ziploc baggie filled with pencil shavings and pebbles??
Does this sound familiar? ….no? Just me?
Ok, well I’m convinced that the secret to a clean house (and KEEPING it clean) is to NEVER ALLOW YOUR KIDS INSIDE. Ok, just kidding… sort of. We all know that’s not going to happen…
So let’s move on to “Plan B”:
These are the top 5 ways I keep our house as organized as possible. As mentioned above, our home is definitely not up to the standards I had BEFORE having kids, but it’s cozy and clean and works for our family!
Think Before you Buy: Is it REALLY Necessary?
I’ve gotta say, personally, this is MY biggest challenge. You know those people that buy into the gimmick and have “SUCKER” written across their foreheads? Yeah, that’d be me I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had buyer’s remorse, was duped into “spend more to save more“, and I may or may not be guilty of hoarding several “As Seen on TV” products that “really work”. Just think about where those things are going to end up over the next month or two. Yup, collecting dust or in a dumpster somewhere. If you don’t bring that crap home, you won’t have to worry about finding a place to store it…or completely forgetting that you even have it.
Clean as you Go
Ok, I know . . . this is a no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done. With tight schedules and having to run off to extinguish the next fire, this one may need a little practice. Dirty a glass? Wash it out. Changing clothes? Put them in the clothes hamper . . . NO, not on the floor NEXT to the hamper. Done playing with a toy? Put it away before taking another one out. This is pretty simple. But, tired happens . . . sick happens . . . lazy happens . . . LIFE happens. So don’t dwell if you get a little behind.
Teach your Kids Cleanliness
NEWS FLASH : Kids CAN clean! Make ’em earn their keep, and tell ’em it builds character. Our 4-year old is capable of making her own bed, folding/putting away her own laundry, cleaning her room, etc.. Heck, even our 1-year old knows what to do when I hand her a dirty diaper and say, “Averie, go throw this in the trash, please.” She toddles across the house and tosses it in the trashcan. Although my kiddos typically have total disregard to the cleanliness of our home, when Mama says it’s time to clean, THEN IT’S TIME TO CLEAN!
Here’s a tip if your little one lacks motivation and needs a bit of encouragement: set a timer. When Jordyn’s room looks like a disaster zone, I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes; if her room is clean by the time it goes off, then she’s rewarded (usually with a fruit snack. My child loves those things.)
Make a List
No really, physically write it down on a piece of paper. I‘m terribly A.D.D.! When I get into “clean mode”, without a tangible list, this is literally my brain:
“I need to start the washing machine.”
<start loading it and find a sippy cup sitting on the dryer>
“Yuck, I need to clean this”
<go to the kitchen to rinse it out and end up partially loading the dishwasher>
“I should go check the car to see if there are anymore sippy cups”
<go out to the car and end up grabbing a couple of empty water bottles and a pair of Jordyn’s shoes…then go back inside to put Jordyn’s shoes in her room and throw away the bottles>
“The trashcan is full, I need to empty it . . . wait, I don’t like the song that’s playing right now; I’ll change it real quick” . . .
You get the picture. Alan loves to make fun of me for this! I’m like a hummingbird zipping from flower to flower. Actually, I’m completely annoyed at myself for not being able to focus on one task at a time, but I’m a LOT better when I have a list in front of me to follow.
Learn to Live with It
You read that correctly – what would Elsa do? LET IT GO! When all else fails, EMBRACE THE MESS! Perfection is obtainable, but it’s NOT realistic when you have a full house, a full-time job and a full plate! I mean, as long as there aren’t any bugs, rodents, dirt, grime or stuff like that, I’m a happy camper. Better yet, just turn the lights off, and voila! No more mess! Go outside and play with the kids. Watch a movie with the family. Go out for ice cream. When your kids grow up (and they WILL grow up faster than you’d like), they’re not going to remember if the house was always organized or if the laundry was always folded and put away. They’re going to remember what an AWESOME mom you were and how much fun they had with you!
Forget about, “Tidy house, tidy mind”; it’s ok to be crazy sometimes! Quit being so dang hard on yourself. It’s time to give yourself a break. Have fun, and enjoy time with your loved ones — you deserve it!