"GIRL, how is your house so clean with six children, work and school and all the sh*t fights?"
The truth is, if you come mid nerf battle on a spaghetti bolognese day there is just no hiding that eight people definitely live and eat here.
But for the most part it's tidy. And that makes me happy. I suppose we stick to a few simple rules.
1. Kids help
We paint, we build blocks, we get muddy outside. The kids can have tons of messy fun but they must clean up after themselves, always. Toys go back away, dirty clothes go in the wash and clean clothes go in their allotted spots.
They know how to put things in the bin. Get themselves dressed. How to put their clothes in the wash. Where their shoes and bags go. How to make their beds. It's just routine and habit. I'm not a slave driver. But they have responsibilities and for the most part, they enjoy them.
2. Throw sh*t out
No but seriously. I only have pots and pans I use regularly, I have minimal furniture, enough blankets for each person in the house but we don't have useless sh*t. No one needs six sheet sets; you just don't. You don't need a set of Tupperware you've never used before. I know Aunt Betty gave you it for your seventh wedding anniversary but if you're not using it, it goes.
And that broken toy on top of the fridge that's been there for two years that you're 'totally going to fix any day now' - THROW it out. If it doesn't make you happy and you don't use it regularly, you do not need it. Maybe someone else does?
3. Stuff is sorted. Always. Mostly always
New stuff comes in and old stuff goes out. Things stay folded. We try and keep it regularly sorted. We have a blanket cupboard, a dinosaur storage box, an art storage box, a gift wrapping area, a vacuum cupboard, a cleaning cupboard. You get the picture.
Things that aren't used again, we throw. Everything has a place. Organisation is the key. Our drawers aren't full of crap except for our ONE "crap drawer". Everyone needs one "full of crap drawer". With pens and rubber bands and hair ties and paddle pop sticks and takeaway menus.
That's life. That's messy, wonderful life.
4. Utilise your morning
I never close the door for school run on a dirty house. Well, almost never. I make sure the kids have tidied their rooms and made their beds. If they mess the lounge playing forts in the morning, they tidy it up as we walk out the door. The sink and benches must be clear and washing swapped first thing. It works and it's done by about 7.20.
The rest of my day is clear when I step out of the door at 8.20am. OK 8.30 ... or maybe 8.43.
We're always bloody late. My house is clean. Trust me we're not late because it's clean; it's normally shoes. It's always because of shoes. We're not miracle workers, our kids still manage to lose their shoes. Every. Damn. Day.
5. One DEEP clean day
One per week every week. Floors, bathrooms, toilets, sinks, bedding, wipe over of tables, TVs, fridges and microwaves. Done. Don't over complicate. It takes about two hours. Don't put pressure on yourself every day. The morning clean should be enough. And then your one deep clean day, turn the music up for deep clean day. I love Saturday mornings and just get it done.
6. No need to vacuum
Not every time. Invest in a broom with a dust pan and a spray mop. A mop that sprays disinfectant on the floor and wipes it up. I love my spray mop. It works wonderfully well. His name is Peter and he's one of my best friends. I use him after dinner. And after spills and lollipops and then I throw the cloth that attaches to the bottom in the wash. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
A sweet scent is as inviting as fresh throw cushions. They make your house feel fresh. They make it smell like apples when it doesn't smell like apples. F*ck I love apples. And I love candles. And when it's been a really bad morning Glen 20 and candles in combination work a treat. Preferably in a well-vented area and not at the same time. That sh*t's flammable. Also open windows and doors; fresh air is as good as a bloody holiday.
And there you have it. Keep on top of things. Don't worry about it all week. One morning a quick wham bam thank you Ma'am cleaning session. And Bob's your uncle.
God, I put in a lot of sayings into one post. You're welcome.
I hope this has kind of helped. I've sprained my ankle so naturally my house looks like a tornado has hit it and everyone threw their belongings and ran for cover and no one's been sighted since.
My husband is "helping". Don't tell him, but he just kind of moves mess around. He's trying though, and he makes me tea so I should probably shut right up.
Because at the end of the day some of my best memories from when I was a kid was sitting in a three-week-old sheet fort I built in my parents' lounge room surrounded by food crumbs watching Harry Potter.
A clean house does not make memories. But staying on top of things gives you more time to make them.
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