Best Way to Just KEEP a Clean home?

nostalgicfarmMarch 14, 2011

I am a SAHM to a 5, 3 and 8 month old. Every 2 weeks or so, I manage to get the house really clean...leading up to that always feels like chaos. I try me best to get everything clean, but sometimes just get overwhelmed looking around at the mess that has been created within 2 days of a very clean home. I have tried flylady and liked it, but didn't like that I couldn't just get the schedule ahead of just felt like a lot of checking her site. What are your best tips to just keeping the house clean?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My suggestion would be to lower your standards and expectations. You have three young children; you are going to have a messy house. Keep it clean enough so that the children are healthy. Messy is not the same as unhealthy.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First off you need to remember you have 3 small children and your house will get messy much quicker. A certain amount is just to be expected with young children.

One idea is to limit the amount of toys allowed in the main living area. You can rotate the toys, I really think children get less bored with them this way. Also you need some easy place to store them when not in use, do you have that?

Your two older children are old enough to start helping you pick up their toys and do small chores. Things like folding clothes, setting the table, and emptying dishwasher (not everything of course). It might actually take longer in the beginning but with time they will be a real help.

One thing that helps me is to empty the dishwasher right away and never put dirty dishes in the sink. They go right into the dishwasher with no rinse or maybe just a quick one.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a lot of trouble with my Sears Kenmore dishwasher. Altho it was advertised that dishes never need pre-rinsing, I had big problems with dirt remaining on plates dishes and silverware after washing. I had Sears repair crew in several times, one guy let a secret slip. He said, you really need to scrape dishes clean. So when I load it I make sure no food is clinging to plates. No, I don't rinse, but I don't allow food to remain on dishes either.Just a quick swipe with a paper towel is enough. e any dishes you "hold" in a DW are fairly clean. And letting food bits dry and harden would make it even worse.Just a quick swipe with a paper towel is enough.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a Land of Nod 3-bin organizer in my living room that really helps keep most of the toys in the LR. The rest of the toys are sorted and put in a entry shelving area. The 3 and 5 year old come get one container and I generally keep up with getting it back before they get another. They have a lower drawer in the kitchen that holds their plates/cups/silverware...I usually call one of them to have them put those things away when I unload the dishwasher. I am also working towards having the kitchen clean and the dishwasher unloaded BEFORE cooking and then the kids will empty plates and load dishwasher. I run 1-2 loads of dishes a day! I also do clear the food off the plates first as we are on a septic, so I don't need extra particles running through the system.
Baby is 8 months old, so she is just getting to a messmaking phase :)
My days are a lot less stressful when my home is clean. I don't mind a few toys out, but going from "spotless" to "when was this house last cleaned" in 2 days time is driving me nuts and making my mommy job much harder.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

May I suggest one thing? It helped me a lot with the toy mess when my kids were younger. (They are now 21 and 22). I left the playpen out in the family room. It stayed up even tho neither of my kids would go in it. At night, before Daddy came home, the three of us cleaned up by picking up all toys and throwing them in the playpen. It became a giant toybox. This didn't work for books and toys with lots of pieces. But at least it was better than complete chaos.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Funny -- my kids are 8 and 10 -- I was just sweeping the kitchen floor and wondering to myself when they are going to actually start eating over their plates -- the amount of food and crumbs they drop is amazing.

I find, if I let them, my kids would "destroy" the house. Meaning they will play in every room and not clean up after. So, now that they are older, I have restricted them (and their friends) to just a few rooms. At least this way some of my house stays clean!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 3:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My youngest just turned two (her big brother is four) and I finally feel like I am capable of having a handle on things (not that I actually *do*), with no little one to hold all the darned time. So suggestion number one is just hang in there and wait it out. :)

The level of tidy you're talking about, I find I can sort of maintain if I have a solid morning and evening routine. I did get a lot of ideas from Flylady, and from the book Sidetracked Home Executives which is where Flylady started as a jumping-off point. Morning: after breakfast I get all the dishes away and the sink wiped out and the counters cleared off. Sweep the kitchen. Usually the dishwasher is finished and I unload it. Take a shower and get the kids dressed. Feed the pets and scoop the catbox. Run a dustmop around the main floor. Then for afternoon/evening: get all the dishes away after dinner. Wipe down the counters, sink, dinner table. Sweep the kitchen (again). Try to get the kids to help pick up as many toys as possible. After they're in bed, pick up the rest. Take out the kitchen garbage if there's anything in there likely to smell. It's usually time to start the dishwasher too.

Then on top of daily chores I have a running list of weekly and less-frequent chores. In particular, every room of the house is *supposed* to get cleaned weekly, which basically means dusting and sweeping most rooms, cleaning and scrubbing the bathrooms and kitchen. It's *supposed* to ensure that the floors and surfaces are picked up at least that often (because they have to be picked up for me to be able to clean them!) No comment on whether I'm usually up to date on those chores, though. :) Honestly, until that babe is at least 18 months but maybe older, I'd be pretty satisfied with some semblance of daily chores and just let the rest of it go. ;) Figure out what keeps your stress levels down (Toys off the floor? No funky smells?) and just do THAT.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Allison-thanks so much. The baby is really my easy's those other two ;) Luckily the oldest will be going to all-day K in the fall!
I think if I just KEPT UP on the dishes, wipe kitchen counter along with the other stuff I have done, I will feel a lot better about the house. Now that I think about it....there was a reason I wasn't running the dishwasher as much as I should've...all the water was backing-up downstairs, and my FIL has been staying down there, so I haven't ran it at night because of that...yesterday the plumber fixed that problem, so maybe that will help me keep up on that.
Thanks for all the advise .

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went to a meeting for disabled people with a certain medical issue. We had a general discussion about living as normally as possible. One woman raised her hand and spoke. She said she was very tired all the time and felt she couldn't keep her house clean. She solved her problem . She said she cleans one room a day.How many rooms does a house have: six or eight? For a person with kids, I'd add: clean the kitchen and bathrooms daily plus one other room. Let the rest go. You can always close the doors to the kids' rooms and ignore their mess. When they get older, offer an allowance for making their beds and keeping toys neat. My kids are now grown but I do remember I ALWAYS take out the kitchen garbage every night so things wouldn't get smelly.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry about the earlier post about my dishwasher. I was replying to a completely different topic.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The trick to the FlyLady method doesn't require getting her schedule. Her core idea is that you do each area in a rotation so nothing gets impossible cluttered and dirty.

It also relies on creating enough spaces for storage so that clutter can be put away ... that old saying of the Shakers starts with "A place for everything" before it gets to "and everything in its place". Or getting rid of stuff.

1 - the 5-year old and a 3-year old are old enough to be part of the solution. Start now or they will grow up assuming that cleanliness is someone else's problem.

Make sure you make it possible for them to take care of their things. Move closet rods lower so they can hang up clothing. Make shelves with bins on them so they can toss their toys in the bins. Make sure they have bookcases for their books.

If they can't read yet, put pictures on the bins.

Lower your standards ... if they have their undies tossed into bins by type, so they can find socks, that's good enough. Don't expect them to have them neatly folded and sorted by color.

2 - Make a rule that toys and books in the main rooms are put away before bedtime or they vanish (if you find a toy on your toy patrol or the public areas, it vanishes for a while).

3 - Look at the "laundry basket Dresser" on ... the two oldest are old enough to help you with laundry, dusting the low areas and cleaning floors, and making the beds. If nothing else, they can haul sheets for you.

4 - Get them trained on the tools and put them to work.

My sister had a small "bissel" type floor sweeper (brushes and crumb pan) that the kids loved to run on the kitchen and carpets, picking up dust and crumbs. She would be cleaning counters and they were busy with the floors, making appropriate vacuum noises.

They had a "leash" for the laundry baskets so they could pull them to their rooms like sleds, before they were big enough to carry them.

When they were tall enough to reach the controls, she taught them how to use the washer and dryer and they were responsible for their own towels and sheets.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Learn to do more than one thing at the same time. While laundry machines are working, do other chores. Take clothes out as soon as finished, fold, put in baskets.

In the kitchen be sure and put back items as soon as used and do not let them accumulate on the counter. Put dishes in dishwasher immediately after a meal. Others can help scrape and put their dishes in dishwasher. Use lightweight dishes so little ones can do so.

When husbands are home they should pitch in to help with the children.

The most important thing is to take time to love/hold/play with your children. After you are dead and gone no one will know the difference whether everything was spotless or not, but your children will always remember their loving, caring mom.

In the 1950's when I was raising 5 children, moms were expected to keep a spotless clean house, keep clothes washed/starched/ironed etc. and be a good wife too. Husbands did not help with housework or with the children (some did but it was rare). Today people do not iron clothes, just wear wrinkles. Houses are not spotless. Moms have more time for themselves and to love/cuddle/play with their children. I loved/played with my children, not as much as I would have enjoyed. Today my children spend a lot of time with their children and the house is in second place where it should be. Times have changed.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When my kids were young, older women would tell me "Enjoy them now. they get big so fast." I remember holding down a full-time job, 52 and a half hours a week. Cleaning the entire house on Saturday morning. Doing laundry on Sunday nights. When they were infants, I made bottles of formula every night to bring to the baby sitter. I was exhausted! I rarely had time to play with or enjoy them. My advice is, let your cleanliness standards down a little. Enjoy your children while they are little.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like to differentiate between Clean and Tidy. Getting little children to actually clean is a bit much, but they can certainly tidy.

Every day, first thing, I wash my face with one of those facial towelettes. When done, I wring it out and swipe down the sink, taps, counter and last the toilet and then throw it out. I buy white towels for all of my bathrooms because they can be washed with bleach if needed, and any towel can go in any bathroom. When they get raggy, I cut them up for cleaning cloths and keep a stack everywhere: in each bath, in the kitchen, in the laundry, tucked away in a dresser drawer - if I need to dust or clean, I always have a rag handy.

Every morning I run around for half an hour and tidy. I thoroughly clean one room a day, that is dust, clean floors, change bedding etc. whatever detail type cleaning that room needs. I also pick one chore each day that can be done and doesn't need to be done again tomorrow, like dusting ceiling fans, or neatening up the pantry. These are usuually small jobs that can be done in a few minutes.

I try, and usually but not always succeed, to leave the kitchen tidy before I go to bed. I make enough mess in the kitchen getting breakfast and lunches and feeding pets without starting out in a mess!!

I put a load of laundry in the washer at night, and hang it out right after everybody has gone to school or where ever. One load each day. Probably not so easy if you have three little ones.

Also, nearly everything I have is unbreakable and washable. After four teapots, I bought a stainless one at a restaurant supply. Same with milk and sugar things. Very little carpet, only wood, ceramic or tile.

Make sure you have the absolute best tools you can afford. When a man has a job to do, the first thing he looks at are his tools and his workspace. Do the same for yourself, this is your job. I hope I have helped; I know this from years and years of raising kids and now raising a grandchild. It is not easy to lower your standards! (My family thinks I am magic: I invented the self-cleaning house *LOL*)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With three small children, as stated, you are going to have to lower your standards. I would suggest, if you can afford it, to look into getting a house cleaner in maybe once a month. It sounds like you're overwhelmed.

Basically the fly lady site is trying to retrain your cleaning habits. I don't go for the shiny sink but do make sure the kitchen is clean before going to bed at night. Getting up to a messy kitchen can just ruin your outlook on the day.

Write down all your chores, one by one, and plan your attack. Decide which ones need to be done weekly, monthly, etc. Some people have even used index cards and a recipe box in order to keep them on track. Take your assigned daily chores out of the box. (If you do this write one chore per card.) When done place them in the future day that they need to be attacked again. Chores are a job that is unpaid and unappreciated, but oh so noticed when not done, so kind of treat them as such. Heck pass a few of those cards to your hubby and eventually to the kids as they become older.

Not to do with chores but when my kids were in school and involved in sports, I went to a dayrunner. Something to think about as you stated your oldest will be starting school. If you have a smart phone there are probably apps available.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jak1-"My family thinks I am magic: I invented the self-cleaning house"

That's how I chose my user name. My family seems to think everything inside and out is done by fairies.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

NO shoes in the house! And have a routine.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My suggestion is when you get it clean again, if you use something put it away right then. That is the key to my non messy home. The junk that is scattered around is stuff you or yours used then just laid it down. I have had people say to me after a meal, "you cook this meal and your kitchen is is still clean". It's not a phobia, it's just easier that way.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Every day, take a look around and ask yourself the question, What ONE THING would make the biggest difference? Then do it (or have kiddos do it). Then, go on to the next biggest thing. For me, it's always 1) declutter/put things away (everyone in the family should do this, except the 8 month old); 2) clean the floor; 3) clean any shiny reflective surfaces that are dirty.

In the kitchen, I think the FlyLady is right on with the clean sink. I have a rule that dirty dishes should NEVER be left in the sink, and clean dishes should NEVER be left in the dishwasher. Everything in the kitchen should be cleaned right after it is dirtied, otherwise it takes 10X as long, plus I hate to think about the proliferating bacteria in the place where we prep and eat our food.

Invest in tools and cleaning products that save time and/or make cleaning easier. My favorites:
microfiber cloths (should almost always replace rags, sponges, etc) -- lots of them. I have about 60, just keep pulling them out till I have a decent size load to wash.
Mr Clean Magic Eraser - for tough jobs
microfiber mop with LOTS of replacement heads
Swiffer Vac to do the kitchen and entryway every day. Much faster and more effective than broom, much faster than getting out the canister vac, so it's worth it even though the battery only lasts a year or two. Might even upgrade to Dyson, Hoover Linx, or Roomba for frequent floor cleaning.
Swiffer dusters. They really are the fastest, easiest tool for grabbing dust, and get into really tight small places so nicely. I always try to find washable/reusable rather than disposable cleaning products, but this is a disposable that is just faster AND locks up the dust better than any of my other dusting tools (I have feather, wool, and various microfiber). I'm allergic to dust, and children develop allergy more easily in a dusty environment, so it is worth it to me to buy these dusters and throw the dust away. I can whip around a room and lock up most of the dust far faster than with other dusting tools.

Look for "sticking points" or annoyances in your cleaning routine and look for products or tools to make those things faster and easier.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are two cleaning "mantras" yu might find useful: ETE-Erase the Evidence. after you shower, quickly clean the bathroom, after lunch put the food away and clear the table and wash dishes or load them in the dishwasher. Etc. And "The Three D's" which are dinner,dishes,duds. Make good meals, wash the dishes, and wash clothing for everryone. Anything else can wait.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

ETE-Erase the Evidence
Love it and 'must' remember that!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 4:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
ink marks
How to remove ink (lines from a pen) on a sofa? Also,...
Urine stain on rug from dog
My sweet doggie has tinkled two different times on...
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
Toilet hard water stains
We have a 1/2 bath that rarely is used, so there's...
Getting Cigarette Smoke Out of Clothes
My daughter's friend gave her a lot of clothes. Friend...
Help! Lime Away hurt my sink!
Hi all, I had a new cleaning lady work in my cottage...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™