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It's a Mess.... AGAIN!

I love this picture because this is how I feel every day! Baby in one arm and cleaning up toys with the other.
To me, the most annoying part about housework is that once you finish a job it only takes a couple minutes before it starts getting messed up again. Especially picking up after kids!
So the question this week is how do you manage clutter and keep your place clean? Especially if you live in a small place where it gets cluttered really fast when the kids start getting toys out.
And what are your tricks for getting your kids to clean up after themselves?


Anonymous said...

First of all, I believe in having a child pick up their own toys. When they finish with one toy they need to put it away. It helps when you can have cubbies or bookshelf with baskets, plastic boxes with lids or Target has some cute fabric boxes. One could also get the thin plastic boxes to store items under the bed.
Secondly, kids do not need tons of toys. Blocks, Legos,stacking cups, scissors, crayons, paper, books and puzzles are a good to have on hand. Maybe a few hot wheels and few dolls. These items should all be easiy to store.
I feel that many parents spend way to much on toys instead of letting children use their imagination in play...For instance, give a child some shoe boxes or oatmeal boxes with some crayons and glue. Make some playdough and get the cookie cutters out. Or better yet, make some cookie dough and make some roll out cookies and let the child decorate them. This gives a child an opportunity to measure, roll out dough and use cookie cutter.
Just some ideas!!

Shalee said...

I agree that kids like to use their imagination with "non-toys" but aren't we supposed to be stimulating the economy? At least that's what I kept telling myself as I shopped for my 3 year old's birthday. It became my mantra "I'm just helping the economy...I'm just helping..." you get the idea and I am way off subject. This was the exact tricks of the trade that I wanted to do you clean?! Do you have a specified laundry day? Do you clean your whole house on one day and then just tidy it the rest of the week? Do you have a favorite cleaner? My new favorite tub cleaner is the Bar Keepers Friend. I've never seen my tub cleaner. I've heard of people who make sure their kids put away their toy before getting another out but that doesn't seem very likely or fun to me (although my husband is determined it will happen some day.) We are attempting for the first time Saturday chores...does anyone have a good way to do it? I like the idea of working together as a family. I'd like to make cleaning fun by blasting the music through my house and dancing while we work. Sorry for the random comments...I'm really looking forward to reading all of yours.

p.s annie on has a great job chart for her sons that she posted recently.

Bridget said...

Cleaning can definitely be a serious pain! I usually get frustrated when I haven't done it for a while and it just starts to be overwhelming. For our family it definitely works best to have set days for things so I don't feel like I'm always doing laundry or always cleaning. For example, we do all of our laundry on Mondays and then after family night my cute husband helps me put the clothes away. This helps a ton for me, because before I was doing laundry loads for two days and then clean clothes would sit in the baskets. Having a specified time seems to make it easier to get done. For cleaning the house, we just spend an hour on Saturday morning getting jobs done. My hubby takes the bathroom, I take the other stuff and our 3-year-old goes in between us helping with what she can and tidying up her room. (She does some serious dusting). During the week it works best for us to have two mini-cleanups a day. Before quiet time and before going to bed we just help our little girl tidy up (or if it's been a rough day we get her to sleep as quick as we can and then we do it - why push a tempermental little girl to her breaking point?). Since we've been married we've had times where we've been really good at doing Saturday chores and other times when things are just squeaking by. For me having a set time is a serious lifesaver, otherwise I just feel like I'm forever cleaning without anything ever really being finished.

The Mortensens said...

Like Bridget, I have set days for things. Friday is always laundry and clean the house day. Each week, I do the main cleaning: bathroom, mopping, de-cluttering. Then usually a couple times a month, I "deep clean" which is: dusting, washing our sheets every other week, de-junking stuff that has piled up (mail, art projects), and cleaning out my fridge and freezers. It works great doing laundry this same day because I can put loads in, clean, and sort of do it all at the same time. Then it is done and out of my hair for the week. Plus, we like to have Saturday to go have fun, and if I save the cleaning until Sat. it doesn't really get done.

As for picking up toys, we pick up one toy before we get out another one. This has actually worked really well for us, and it isn't a battle, because my little boy knows that I won't let him get stuff out unless his other toys are put away. Sometimes, he has a couple different things out, and that is okay, but as soon as my living room starts looking disastrous, we clean up. I ALWAYS clean up with him, and he is a great little cleaner. I think he does it because I'm doing it too. We pick up twice a day, before naps and before bed time. After we pick up in the evening, he always gets some type of reward, like reading books, or some extra fun crazy time with Dad or something. We've always tried to make cleaning something that we just do, not something that we dread and HAVE to do. So far, so good.

For Shalee, my favorite cleaner are those clorox wipes. I have some under my kitchen sink, and in my bathroom. They are wonderful because they clean multi-surfaces and I can tidy up and get things clean and disinfected throughout the week. I like to just wipe down my bathroom like mid-week, just the toilet and sink, and these little wipes are wonderful!

Janalee said...

I have found that I have better control on the clutter and messes if I stick to a routine. So I've made out a map of my routine week. I cannot do laundry all on one day and we are blessed to finaly have our own washer and dryer so I do one load each day first thing in the morning. One tip I learned was don't go to bed with out having a clean sink. Dishes are one of those disaster chores that if it gets neglected for one meal it can get out of hand real fast. But if the sink is clean before breakfast starts it is sooooo much easier to keep it that way. Same with the floors. Run the vacuum just before the kids go to bed. As far the kids cleaning up after themselves I threaten to tos their toys and misplaced belongings in the trash. I only had to do it once and now they know that I am dead serious and I just have to remind them once. This really only goes well with the common areas in the home.
I use a system that so far works great for us. I made a list of thier favorite daily activities -play outside, watch fav. TV show, bedtime story, snacks, time in bath, etc. I tape a sheet of paper on the fridge, one for each child, with 6 boxes. The first three are free spaces and the I pick three of those activities/priviledges for the last boxes. Each misbehavior I check off one box. Once that priviledge is checked off it gets taken away until the next morning. For older kids/tees a weekly chart would work better with weekend privileges included in the last boxes and they should have more priviledge boxes than free boxes. Its a system I learned in a book at the library "Smart Discipline" by Larry J. Koenig.
Also, for motivational efforts, I remind myself that one day I'll be free from the broke student living and student loan debt that I'll be able to afford a maid service once a week. I know I wouldn't ever really do that, but it keeps me looking ahead to better times! (no toddler messes!)

Anna said...

Do laundry whats that? Just kidding, I hate laundry, I wash it but I detest folding it and putting it away. It tends to sit in the laundry basket in the laundry room for far too long. Argh!! If I could afford a housekeeper that would be THEIR job!!! :) In our house no dinner until the toys are picked up, it helps that we have a play room in the basement with 99% of the toys, I do keep a few on the main floor because the girls like to be by me. The girls love the typical nursery "clean up" song so we sing that as we clean. My oldest is 2 (3 in a week...if I let her) she is so eager to help that right now its easy to get her to clean up. My 1 year olds favorite thing to do is dump out the box of toys and then throw them, I let her and then together we clean up, of course she'll put 2 things in and try to take 1 one out, but I find with lots of praise she is a good helper. I also pay my 2 year old an allowance if she does her chores, I was payed an allowance each week if I kept my room clean, mowed lawn...etc. So that is something I have started with my two year old, then if she wants a snack or toy she can use her money or save it, so far she just wants to save it...good girl. To de clutter my house I wait until the girls are napping and then go through the toys this happens about every other month, and get rid of toys, especially before birthday's or Christmas.

Christine Archibald said...

Wow, some of you sound so organized! I clean a little each day, doing what is needed and what I have time for. We usually have a deep clean time on Saturday but it is not a set time and if we have other fun plans it gets pushed to another day. There are a few things that I don't ignore, dishes being one. I try to run a load of dishes before I go to bed. Ian's toys are usually all over the place but we have a few bins around to put them in so it isn't too hard to clean them up. For awhile I was trying to get Ian to pick up a few toys before we went up to bed. I need to start that again. The hardest chores for me are vacuuming and cleaning the floors. Ian always wants to help with the floors, which would be great if he actually moved the vacuum around! I take turns with him, if he doesn't melt down when I touch the vacuum, but then it takes forever to get the job done. With the laminate flooring downstairs I let him have one broom and I use another. That one is easier.
Ian loves to help with the cleaning and wants to spray the cleaner for me. I am OK with him squirting the windex but started to get nervous about him squirting other bathroom cleaners, etc. So I bought some natural cleaners and I love them. I have tried a few of the Greenworks products from Clorox as well as Mrs Meyers products. The Mrs. Meyers is a concentrated product so I bought a spray bottle to mix it and keep some handy. It smells sooo good. I bought it at World Market and used a coupon (they frequently have good coupons). I am trying to use up all of my other cleaners so that I can only have natural healthy cleaners in the house. I do use those sanitizing wipes too and I will keep those.
I have just resigned myself to the fact that house will not be picture perfect until the kids are moving out, and two...this is my never ending job, it can't be ignored, so keep on it!

molly and geoff archibald said...

Go Christine! I actually just read something about those Clorox "GreenWorks" cleaners, though--someone on another blog I read was talking about how it's a lot of marketing and how the chemicals are a lot of the same ones in the regular Clorox stuff...but they also had good things to say about the Mrs. Meyers brand too. I am also trying to use up all my other cleaners so I can justify the money to buy the nice smelling Mrs. Meyers. :)

As for toy clean up, we are trying REALLY hard not to fall into the trap of more toys, more toys, more toys!! It's tough because for the first time in our married life, we have a little extra space to move around--we just finished our basement and we'll be putting a playroom together down there. My goal is to keep the number of toys relatively sane and to help Quinn be able to put them away independently...this is obviously something we're continuing to work on. :)

The Paynes said...

I'm with Anna, toys belong in a specific place and not the bedrooms. That way, the only thing to clean up in there is dirty clothes and blankets. I turn on some music and make them clean up the playroom and wait for it to be done before snacks/other fun things. It's a pain, but gets it done. I will deep clean the room every month or so and throw away/donate broken/used toys. We have a separate cabinet for arts and crafts supplies. It helps to keep markers and glue away from dolls. I can't set a routine for my cleaning since I hate to feel like I have to do something, so I'll make a list and start crossing things off all week. If it's not done by Sat night, it wasn't that important. I have used just water and baking soda to clean my tubs. Works, just takes a lot of elbow grease!