Routines in the White House :: Cleaning House

Mostly I like cleaning…or at least I like a clean house. Now, I’m not talking immaculate. Nothing crazy-clean like my German grandmother would insist on, but if my house is chaos I start to feel a bit, well…chaotic. With 4 kids running around making messes….there’s a bit of a disconnect between my reality and what I’d like my reality to be.

I used to have a routine: The kind of plan when you did this room this day, this activity this day, then we moved out for renovations. When we moved back in we had 3 three year olds and I was pregnant 2 months later. It all went out the window. It was all out anarchy in our house. I did what I could and didn’t have it in me to fight children to do what I wanted them to.Routines in the White House Cleaning House[4]

Now that I’m not pregnant, Peter is 2 months old, and the triplets are nearing 4 I decided it was time to implement some changes, because honestly my sanity wasn’t going to be able to handle scrapping dried banana off the floor anymore. I haven’t gotten crazy yet about it, but this is what I did do.

*Another toy purge {I do them frequently}
My kids honestly are not interested in playing with toys. They’re interested in dumping them all over the floor, kicking them around the room, and generally not touching them once they’re scattered about. Call me a mean mom. My kids have books in their rooms, some stuffed animals, and a few dolls…that’s it.

Our living room has two boxes of toys; one contains our wooden trains and the other a few random toys and books {which I will be going through again soon}. The only other toys in our living room are 3 Fisher Price Little People buildings {castle, jungle, and a house} and a bag of little people.

*No food beyond the kitchen
I know this sounds like a no brainer, but when you have 3 kids wearing you down…you cave on things. This was one of them. With Ave it wasn’t a big deal. She didn’t spill and didn’t make messes….the other 3….not so much. Elanor has a habit of liking to do pouring exercises on the TV cabinet. Once I did this though cleaning up became infinitely easier, because I wasn’t having to scrape food off of things before putting them away.

*Sweep it all in a pile
     I’ve shared on instagram before how I clean a room: I sweep everything into a pile, sit on the floor and deal with it. Interestingly enough, most of what ends up on the floor is garbage…broken crayons, nonsense and paper, because, again, my kids really don’t play with toys. Once I’ve dealt with the pile the room is clean, because I’ve already swept the floor. How about THAT for multitasking?!

*Stay up and clean
Yup. There are times that I will stay up very late in order to clean the house. What’s the saying? Cleaning your house with kids around is like eating Oreos while brushing your teeth. Exactly. Not always, but probably once a month I will stay up way too late in order to clean the house. I’m not talking spic and span clean, but clean enough that it looks like it’s actually been cleaned.

*A little some of the time
I do try to do a little bit of cleaning every day. I try not to go to bed without picking up the living room and at least having loaded and run the dishwasher. It makes a big difference for me, mentally, to not walk up to a mess, but some times I just don’t have it in me at the end of the day to spend that time {usually 45 minutes or so} to do that little bit.

On those nights, I look at Matt and ask him “What time is Bridget coming?” It’s a running joke. Matt’s grandparents would ask the other when the maid {Bridget} was coming if they didn’t feel like doing the clean up, then blame her for not showing up when it didn’t get done. I like that tradition!

That’s a bit of a peek at how I TRY to keep the house in some state of order.  It’s not perfect, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s one of those things that we have chosen to show ourselves grace in….at least until Mommy is having a total melt down and can’t handle the mess anymore. I will openly admit that our showers get cleaned once every few months, the toilet may be a bit more often, and the floors rarely are mopped, but the  kids are fed, clothed, and kept alive.

Do you have a system that you use for keeping the house clean?


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