Quick confession right up front: Our house is not necessarily a clean house–it is no where near as clean as it used to be. *just so we’re clear*
“How do you ________?”
We all have talents and gifts, situations and challenges, strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure you get the “How do you” questions just as much as I do because we are all different and have unique solutions to our challenges. The second most often question I get is “How do you keep such a clean house, especially with all those little ones?” (The number one question I talked about here.)
Really, it’s laughable. My house is by far not “so clean.” But I get it, I think. I’ve always been a person who doesn’t like a lot of clutter and mess. When I was little and my sister and I lived with our mom, I can remember my sis having the junkiest of all rooms, and mine, while full of stuff, was usually pretty tidy. After our mom died, we lived with our dad and step-mom, and she (my step-mom) further
ruined coached me. Seriously, she’s a cleaning fanatic, and we learned how to keep a clean house whether we liked it or not. Can I be honest and say I hated it as a teenage girl, but now I am thankful for all that she taught me?
How do we keep the appearance of clean?
I say the appearance of clean because that’s what it is. My life is messy, and so is my house, as I talked about before, but we have gotten good at making it appear nice.
- We put stuff away. Almost everyday before rest time we pick up toys and books and just generally straighten up the house. Every night before bed, we pick up again, making sure that things (most things anyway) find their way back to their places. It makes a huge difference, and it takes 15 minutes–tops. Trust me, we know because we set the timer. Otherwise, wayward four-year olds become even more wayward.
- We purge continually. The other big thing is that over the years, we have purged and purged and purged some more. Recently, a friend and I laughed about my forgetting that she had bought a piece of furniture from us years ago, when we were nothing more than acquaintances. My response to her was, “Girl, I’ve sold so much furniture since then!” And it’s the truth. The more children we bring into our home, the less excess furniture we have.The whole less is more thing…it’s true. Because we have less furniture, we have less clutter and more open spaces. Plus, living in a 1500 sq ft home only allows for so much; eventually, something has to go! Cleaning is easier because there are less surfaces to worry about getting dusty or cluttered.
Daily routines that give that clean feel
Some things we do daily, other than pick up toys, so that Mama doesn’t lose her mind in the mess. I like it neat, even if it’s not actually clean-clean.
You understand the difference, right? Neat to me is counters cleared and wiped, dishes washed and put away, floor swept and/or vacuumed, table wiped, bathrooms presentable.
Clean-clean is clean, ladies. You know, eat off the floor kind of clean? Yeah, don’t do that in my house. Floors mopped. Windows and glass doors hand print free. Bathrooms disinfected and spotless. Furniture dusted. This happens a lot less frequently than our daily pick up–like when we are having serious company only.
8 Simple Ways to Keep a Clean House:
What we do daily is to keep us functioning and this Mama happy.
- Make beds. 1 minute tops is what it takes me to make my bed, and it makes the whole room feel cleaner. (Okay, so it does take the kids more like 2-5 minutes to make their beds.) All the kids also make their beds daily.
- Wash dishes. We don’t have the best luck with dishwashers, so we wash at least twice a day: usually after breakfast and after supper. I say we because our 15 year-old has dishes duty, and I often help.
- Dry and put up dishes. At least at night. Sometimes we let them air dry during the day. (This is our 13 year-old son’s job.)
- Fold laundry promptly. As soon as it comes off the line (actually while I’m out there usually) or out of the dryer, I try to fold. Less wrinkles = no ironing.
- Wipe table after each meal. We kind of have to do that since we have school at our dining room table, but still, it makes the room feel cleaner. (This is our 9 year-old’s job.)
- Sweep kitchen once a day. That’s our goal, anyway. Some days we miss, but usually not too much because 9 sets of feet in and out all day long…yeah, it needs sweeping regularly.
- Vacuum dining room nightly. Tell me who puts carpet in a dining room. One day, I’m ripping that stuff up, but for now, we vacuum every night.
- Quick pick-up. We pick up everything off of the floor (whole house) every night. Usually we have to set a timer and while the big kids do their kitchen chores, Daddy and I help the littles tidy up.
When I talked about how we make it all work, I pointed out that we are a team, and I couldn’t do this alone. Keeping the house presentable is no different. We all work together–every day. We really do make a great team most of the time. (Remember that I have whole basketball team–including subs–who help me make messes and clean them up.) I encourage you to involve your kiddos in making the house a place you all enjoy. You’ll be teaching them responsibility and keeping your house clean at the same time!
If you are discouraged with how your house looks, try these easy ways to make it neat. Choose one or two and focus on them until they become habit, then try a couple more. Before long, you’ll have good cleaning habits that make your house (if nothing else) look clean!