How do I keep my house clean and tidy? I work like a slave every day, still the kids are not helping the matter at all.
By Martina from Jacksonville, FL
I do this all the time, when I see lots of dishes are piling up in the sink, I start hiding most of them and leave only a few. If clothes are a problem, I reduce the inventory until said problem is fixed. If it is a mess that they are making, I take away the things they are making a mess out of. Anything extra I put on freecycle.org in my area and get rid of it. I keep a bucket of soapy shampoo water in the bath and they can throw in their socks instead of letting them get under beds and such. I have plastic trash bins to store things in all out on the patio, and I could put a wooden table topper on them but I just leave them as they are.
I have a play pen I got off of freecycle.org and it is a throw away stash place for junk.
It is mostly the things I make that I like the most; like the fabric spray, fabric softener and water, or the pine sol water, pine sol and water.
I like to use paper plates if they just don't get it and leave a mess all over the place. =When it is paper or toys, again, I find a place to store them out of sight. I might even take half of it out and either store it or give it away.
I also save change, and when the kids are low on money I pay them to clean up. It is bribery but it works, or else I pay them to go get me water or to take things to the kitchen. I have a wonder broom that is wonderful. I couldn't live without it. It is rubber and when drug along the carpet in short sweeps cleans like no ones business, and I generally use rags on the bottom of a swiffer or just my shoes and a wet towel with pine sol to sweep the floor. It is mainly a matter of environmental control. I also watch the kinds of toys and gifts I get them..don't want little things all on the floor, the dogs will eat them. LOL Hope this provides some inspiration.
I agree about not getting kids the real little toys,etc. The smaller the items the more mess they make. Also when my girls were little when they would get a new doll for Christmas, we got rid of the old one. Their board games and puzzles were kept on a shelf in the coat closet, not in their rooms, and when they wanted one of those things, they used it in the family area, not in their rooms or where ever.
As soon as my girls started walking, when it was nap time or bed time, we made a routine of them helping me pick up their toys and putting them in the toy box. We didn't get them all picked up, but it helped to teach them what to do. Their books and coloring books and crayons were also kept where they had to ask for them and use them in a certain area, be it on the living room floor, etc.
Both my girls shared a toy box that was about 2'x2'x3' and that is where they kept their dolls, doll clothes, the stuffed animals that they had, and a few of my old dresses that they used for pretend dress up. When it came to dolls and stuffed animals, they were always the larger sized ones.
Instead of feeling like a slave to cleaning make the cleaning fun for you and the children and, unless they're tiny toddlers, it's more than possible for them to help :-)
Dishes? Make it a game who scrapes, washes or dries. Laundry? Make it fun to sort clothes by color and a make it a game who's going to load the washer, who's going to put in the laundry soap, who gets to push the right buttons to turn on the washing machine, who gets to put the washed laundry in the dryer and who gets to be the first to take the items out of the dryer and fold them. Dusting? Who wins to have the feather duster. Vacuuming? Who thinks they can do the best job without hitting the walls or furniture with the vacuum.
Bottom line: make it a fun game and the children will be learning how to do these chores, how to pitch in and have pride for doing so :-)
Your bedroom messy? Oh well, you live with it and if critters take over because of it or you can't find something you're really looking for or it's dirty or damaged when you do find it? Well, oh so sad too bad and they'll figure out it's their responsibility eventually ;-)
You could create a chore list based on the age of you children. I have four kids; each one has one chore a day. (A chore that takes less than 30 min to do) Vacuum, dishes sweep and mop, dog duties, ect... along with keeping their rooms clean. I pay them for their chores. I divide the money daily for each chore. (5 chores 5$) If the chore is not completed by a certain time or correctly, I have them redo the chore and lose the money for that day.
Go to www.flylady.com. It has helped me tremendously!
Having raised four kids and knowing the sheer number of excess toys their kids have, I'd subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy. If the kids aren't swamped in dozens of toys, not only will your home automatically be neater, they'll appreciate what they have. Giving away their older, gently-used toys will make some poorer child very happy. Thrift shops of all stripes are more than glad to process them, and of course there's always the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.
I'm also an advocate of turning cleaning into a game, a la Mary Poppins (without the magic, of course, lol!) Poor as we always were, I never could make the "chore chart" work for my brood. Simply put, I lacked the means for those cash incentives.
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