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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

june cleans house

I wonder how exactly June Cleaver would have gone about cleaning house. Certainly not in yoga pants and an old T-shirt. Her in her billowing skirt and pearls and crisply pressed blouse. Maybe I should try that, make it an occasion, you know? I bet it helps.
we recently packed up the contents of the toy closet...and taped it shut.

In any case. Its a lot of work trying to keep on top of the clutter three kids and two adults produce in a very small space. A. Lot. Of. Work.

It feels like all I do all day is pick up. Of course I do do it all day, which is why it probably feels like that. Teething rings off the floor, dirty socks on the shoe rack, playmobile knights on the couch, discarded juice boxes under the couch. Bend, reach, swoop, toss, sweep, reach, bend, swoop, toss. ALL DAY. (I think June had LESS to pick up right, Beaver's baseball card collection, some bikes, maybe a ball?)

Which is fine. It is part of the gig, right?

I was doing this today full force, always the three day weekend produces MUCH more clutter, laundry, etc.

And so, we go at it. And I was thinking today that I have developed some rules for myself so as to stay on top of it, especially because of the small space issue. Not rules really, strategies is a better word. Strategies for trying to maintain a house that is presentable whilst chasing three small kids, in a small space. There, that sounds better.
can you find the baby? HA.

So, here are my thoughts. And this isnt to sound snotty about ow clean my house is. As I type my house is a wreck. But I did as much as I could today, so, you know? But these little things do make a difference I think. Even for your own sanity.

1) Keep it simple. Only have stuff out that you use. I have boxes of kitchen gadgetry in storage. No room for the miscelaneous in this kitchen. Same goes with the kids stuff. If they havent played with it in a week, it doesnt need to be out. Our toy room has a closet. If the train set has gone untouched for awhile, into the closet it goes. I am a ruthless ogre, I know.

2) When I am going downstairs, or coming upstairs, I try to bring something that needs to go in that direction. That sounds funny. You know what I mean. Conserve energy, but be efficient. This is important in managing a house with small kids. As you well know.

3) Keep it organized. A place for everything and everything in its place. (I am SURE June said something like that in some episode, right? While offering the Beav freshly squeezed OJ on a platter) This is perhaps my key rule/strategy/thing.

4) Finish what you start. When you are gonna clean the kitchen, clean the kitchen. Leaving pans soaking overnight (ahem, dada) is not finishing the job. This just makes you feel better when you spend the rest of the day holding your cranky baby and/or scrubbing up pee stains from the toddler. At least I got the kitchen cleaned up!

5) Cleaning off the stove and countertop and table are PART of cleaning the kitchen too. Having a clean stovetop makes a kitchen feel actually clean. This maybe is just my quirk? Sometimes when I dont have time to clean the whole kitchen I shove all the dishes in the sink and wipe down the stove and the counter top. It makes me feel like I can pretend the kitchen is clean.

6) With the monster jobs, [folding and putting away all the clothes, my nemesis (and seriously I suck at it)] doing it little by little over a day is sometime the only way to get it done.

7) Try out a rhythm to when you do certain chores. When the kids are sitting in the tub, I wipe down the sink, toilet, etc. with the Clorox bleach wipes I store right in the bathroom. It takes five minutes, and I am sitting there anyway, you know? In the morning when the sun is shining in the kitchen window I do dishes while sipping my second cup of coffee. (If its not sunny I am not as inspired, seriously, is that weird of me?) Finding the little moments like this is key to getting it done.

8) Pick up loose clutter at the end of the day. Waking up to a straightened house is just nicer. (Also prevents tripping over crap when you wake up to take a child to pee at 3am.)

9) Have the counter cleared off and coffee supplies ready to go at the end of the day too, it just makes staggering up at 7am that much easier, am I right?

10) Involve the kids, and from an early age. Make up a song. We sing "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere! Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share" (although little miss insists the last word is "smare" which drives her brother crazy. Its SHARE! SHARE!) If they know, from the get go, that picking up after you play is just what you do, well, that is half the battle.

11) Prioritize projects. Dont try and bite off more than you can chew. This is a tough one for me. I get in these moods. LETS GET IT ALL DONE NOW! But then dinner needs cooked and the kids want to play outside and, it doesnt all get done, NOW. It can get done though, eventually. So I pick one thing I work on, like for the whole week. I am gonna get that play room toy closet cleaned out. This week I am gonna fold all the fabric in my craft area. (GULP. Havent done that one yet) You get what I mean.

12) Start small. Pick up one corner, just one, where you can sit and have that third cup of coffee in peace. Ignore the rest. (For now anyway)

13) Dont sweat the unimportant stuff. Like cleaning out the fridge. Or scrubbing down the grout with a toothbrush. Or mopping the floors every day. There will be a time in life when that stuff gets done regularly. It isnt when you have small kids in the house (not often anyway)

14) Bribery. I will get fresh flowers. Which then inspires me to clean up the room they are in, and really well. Can't put pretty flowers on a dirty countertop! And of course bribe the kids. Lets pick up the whole house before dada comes up and then go have a popsicle outside while we wait for his bus! YAY! This is FUN! (sometimes this even actually works, HA)

Hmm. That is all I got right now. Its been a long LONG LOOOOOONG day.

Do you have any tips to share with me? Lets talk.


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