How do you keep your house clean? Time Management advice.

Lisa Marie - posted on 02/10/2009 ( 43 moms have responded )

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I'm trying to figure out how to balance spending time with my kids and keeping my house clean. It seems the house goes weeks without being cleaned. Aside from a housekeeper, what do you do to get that time you need to keep a tidy home?

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Stacy - posted on 02/11/2009

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Ok, so my house is not Better Homes and Gardens Clean by any means. I grew up the oldest of five girls and my single mom worked nights. Imagine the mess! So to me, a cluttered home is a lived in home.



My husband does not agree. (enough said, right?) :)  So I've found a few tricks that help me throught the day.



#1 If you don't already have one, invest in a dishwasher. Even if it's a portable one, it will save you HOURS.



#2 Laundry first thing in the morning, one load at a time. Just fold what's in the dryer, fill it with the washer stuff and start another washer load. (this only works if you have less than 4 kids)



#3 Baskets. Toys in the living room? Play a quick song and put all the toys in the basket before the song is over. This is great for kids AND adults.



#4 Sweep under the table while the kids are still sitting there. Of course, don't give them a bowl of kix and sweep right away. When they're just about done, sweep up so they don't get in the way! While you're at it, might as well finish the rest of the room!



#5 Work on one pile at nap time, then take a break! If you've got a cluttered area, work on just a small portion- something acheivable in 5-10 minutes, and stop there. It'll be there for tomorrow's nap time. Rest so your kids can have you when they wake up.



Like I said, my house isn't spotless, but I'm usually able to vaccuum each day. I can find stuff (most of the time) and my kitchen is fairly clean.



One more thing: We are wives, house keepers, moms and teachers. But we are not the husband's maid. He can take his own dishes to the sink, pick up his own dirty clothes and bathe the kids once a week.

Anna - posted on 02/11/2009

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You'll all laugh... but I time how much housework I do (not including cooking, shopping or childcare related stuff) and virtually pay myself an hourly rate which I keep track of. When I want to spend a little bit of money on myself - just a coffee or a magazine or something - I deduct the amount spent from my 'wages'. When I want to get something a bit bigger (shoes, lunch) I usually go mad mopping floors and changing bed sheets to ensure I have enough 'in the account'! As of this minute I have £12.36 in reserve but have to add on todays time. It also has the benefit of making me think twice before unnecessary expenditure!

Flylady is great as well. Ideas like 'go clean your light switches' are a revelation to me! I never knew they got dirty until I cleaned them!

Jewelie - posted on 02/12/2009

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www.flylady.net



Once you begin to do housework this way and see the results, you will never want to go back to the former "last minute--company's comin' ", do-everything-in-one-day cleaning again!  It works!

Kelly - posted on 02/11/2009

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It's not easy, that's for sure. A friend of mine recently said that she was sure someone was breaking into her house and making a mess while she was sleeping, because no matter how clean it was when she went to bed, it looked like a mess when she woke up!

I try to get things done while my son is napping, or after he goes to bed. He's only 20 months old but he likes to help too. If I spray windex on the coffee table, he'll spend 10 minutes wiping it down. (It may not be perfect, but the fingerprints and spots are gone and he's proud of the job he's done!) He loves to play with the swiffer, so we make a game of it! I'll clean the bathroom while he's playing in the tub (but always watching him) which is a great time saver, and loves the extra playtime. Like the other girls said, once you get your house the way you want it, it'll be easier and try a schedule, but remember it doesn't need to be set in stone. Your kids are #1 and they really don't care if you never got to wash the floor on tuesday, they'll remember the time you spent together!

[deleted account]

A wise SAHM said the following in another topic regarding the same subject: "Cleaning the house while people are still living in it is like shoveling the walk while it is still snowing."  That gave me the best laugh I had had in days!  BUT...........it drives me nuts to live in chaos.  There is nothing I hate worse than waking up to a dirty kitchen, to have to wash a coffee cup to pour a cup.  To have to dig to the bottom of the sink to wash a cup to have a cup is even worse.  So what I do is before bed, I make sure that my kitchen is clean.  Not spotless but that the dish washer is loaded and running and that what doesn't fit is rinsed and ready to go in the next load.  When I get up in the morning, after I feed my son, I unload and reload the dishwasher.  After breakfast, while he is playing, I spend about 10 minutes sweeping and sorta tidying things up, spot cleaning the floor, etc.  Then, the rest of the day is all about him.  During nap time I sometimes nap, sometimes I use that time to get my shower, I always use naptime to do something for me.  After morning nap and lunch, when he is playing, I try to vacuum and sweep (again) and then I just spend time with him the rest of the afternoon until Daddy gets home.  I'm lucky enough to be able to rely on my fiance to do some of the chores.  He does laundry....not the way I do laundry...sometimes he doesn't turn the shirts right side out before he hangs them....but they get hung and folded and put away so I choose to not fight that fight and just be grateful lol.  If you can get your man involved, do it.  Someone also said on a similar subject not to worry about the house being a mess because one day we'll all have clean quiet houses and we'll MISS the noise and mess. 

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[deleted account]

Kitchen - I usually do this room when cooking dinner or preparing breakfast. I stack the dishwasher as I go until it is full and put it through a full wash cycle, usually the last thing at night then unpack in the morning during the morning routine.



Lounge/dining room - the dishes are automatically taken to the kitchen when finish eating/drinking. Newspapers into the bin when finish reading and mail placed in the office in a tray (after paying the bill or responding to the contents) for filing. Toys gets packed away when the kids are having their day nap or in bed for the night. Vacuum once a week, usually on the day I am home with the youngest child - the one that is always making sure things are tidy!!! She does help with putting toys away and lifting the boxes up onto the dining table, makes it easier to vacuum the floor in one go! Of course, it gets a extra clean up when expecting visitors.



Office/bedrooms - gets a proper once over with filing and everything else that is in the office when I am on holidays at home. I am a teacher but my husband works through my holidays! I also sort out the kids clothes and change over what they grow out of and put in the next size up for them to start wearing if they are running out of clothes to wear! Clothes in the rooms on floors gets put into laundry for washing and beds changed once a week.



Laundry - gets done usually two or three loads spread over several days, do one load and leave the clothes on the line to dry depending on weather - wet days takes 2 or 3 days, sunny days takes one day (I live in an apartment and rules here states that can't have clothes drying on balcony!). During our winters - I now take the big items (mainly adult clothes)to the local laundry to wash and dry, ironing only when needed for work or going out. If I have time on my hands, I do the ironing as much as I can.



Bathroom - I clean the shower every couple of days whenever I am having a shower or finishing up the kids bath. It also gets a proper clean once a week due to mould growth and other family members picking up athletics foot. Toilets gets a clean when I see any marks or someone does a really huge poop!



This seems excessive but only doing a little bit each days is easier on me and the family... my husband is from a country where they have a maid but can't afford it here in my country. If it is really needed, we get someone in to do a spring clean the whole house, including windows and the oven! LOL! Will have to sort out the oven in the next few weeks now that our winter is over and will be using it less through the summer.

Sarah - posted on 05/19/2011

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It is funny...clean? Whats that? Seems as I clean one room, the kids destroy another...
Basically, I clean every other day. Sometimes at night when kids are sleeping too.

Carrie - posted on 05/19/2011

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I am fortunate to have a housekeeper come in every other week. However, with a toddler your house goes from clean to trashed in 0.02 seconds. I usually wait until he goes to bed and that gives me time to clean the kitchen and living room where we spend most of our time. The upstairs can wait for "every other week"

Rebecca - posted on 05/19/2011

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When my ds (24 mo) wakes up, I make him breakfast. While he is eating I do the dishes (i found that doing the dishes at least once, or twice a day makes it easier and faster) then I clean and wipe down the counters and table down. Then I find it easier to clean 1 room a day. Before he takes a nap or goes to bed I have him pick up his own toys, then while he sleeps for ex. I'll completely clean the bathroom, takes about 1/2 hour or so. And if I have to mop, I do this while he is sleeping so it can dry before he wakes up. Then in the other rooms I can just pick up random misc stuff throughout the day (or after he falls asleep), which doesn't take up much time. My df sweeps and vaccums and takes out the trash. On some days we do not do any cleaning, but by focusing on really cleaning 1 room a day will mean that you are not overwhelmed and your house in general stays cleaner for a while (especially if ur cleaning like it's spring cleaning) from then it's all just upkeep. As for laundry, I do it when I have time. It does not take up much time to put it in the wash, then put it in the dryer. My son likes to "help" me fold the clothes and if he's not interested then he will go play somewhere else for the 5-10 mins it takes to fold. I cannot live in a messy house for too long, so if I need to spend a while cleaning everywhere I have df play with him in his room while I clean everywhere else and then I feel so much better that I can play with him and it's clean and I'm not thinking about what I have to do in every room of the house.

Eron - posted on 02/13/2009

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Quoting Tammy:



I TOOK HIS HAND AND FOLLOWED






Mrs. Roy L. Peifer




My dishes went unwashed today,

I didn't make the bed,

I took his hand and followed

Where his eager footsteps led.



Oh yes, we went adventuring,

My little son and I...

Exploring all the great outdoors

Beneath the summer sky



We waded in a crystal stream,

We wandered through a wood...

My kitchen wasn't swept today

But life was gay and good.



We found a cool, sun-dappled glade

And now my small son knows

How Mother Bunny hides her nest,

Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.



We watched a robin feed her young,

We climbed a sunlit hill...

Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,

We plucked a daffodil.



That my house was neglected,

That I didn't brush the stairs,

In twenty years, no one on earth

Will know, or even care.



But that I've helped my little boy

To noble manhood grow,

In twenty years, the whole wide world

May look and see and know.






REALLY love this poem xxx

Barb - posted on 02/13/2009

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The best way to do it is, clean as you go. I know it can be difficult with little ones, but one thing that may help is, only allow a few toys out at a time, in a designated area. When my girls were little, we had a toy room, and toys were to be kept in there at all times. When the kids were done playing, we did the Barney "clean up song". Everyone pitched in as a fun game! As far as your other chores, same idea. Try to put things away as they are used, and don't allow a pile up. That way, you are not so overwhelmed at the end of a very busy day!

Karen - posted on 02/13/2009

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Quoting Christine:



Quoting Nicole:

www.flylady.net!!!! Wonderful tool!






Exactly what I was going to suggest too!






That's what I was thinking too!!! I just started FLYlady but man does it work for me! Now, if I could just convince my hubby that it does.... ;-)

Melinda - posted on 02/12/2009

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I just want to thank all the ladies who reinforced that kids grow up too fast. Their post make me feel better. I like a clean house. I hate to clean, however I do understand it's important too. My kids are far more important than if my shelfs are clean and organized.

Jennifer - posted on 02/12/2009

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Assign each day of the week to clean a specific thing. For example, Mondays clean bathrooms, Tuesdays clean floors, Wed vaccuum etc. This way the house gets cleaned and you aren't spending all your time cleaning and more time with kiddies!

[deleted account]

I have a 7 month old and 2 dogs that shed. Our house was on te market from nov until now, We just sold it. For the past 3 months I have gotten up in the mornining wen my husband is home and I clean while he looks after our daughter. I also clean when she is down for a nap. Everyday I choose 3 things I want to be done.

Since our house has sold I am still cleaning all the time becasue I like how it looks and how it makes me feel.

I get up do my work out, feed my daughter my husband goes to work from 11:30am - 7:30 pm so in the mornings I get a load of laundry in dishes done our bedroom clean the nursery clean and then throughout the day I just tidy. Most people come in and can not believe that we actually live here its that clean.

I do think that if Im at home the house should be clean most days I let it slip sometimes but I do think that Im at home looking after Niomi and the dogs I can look after the house since my husband is the one working every day.

Bernadette - posted on 02/12/2009

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flylady.net



It's a cute approach to organizing the upkeep of your house.  They have great suggestions.



...honestly, most of my house cleaning gets done in the hour after the kids are in bed.  I've found it impossible to keep it tidy throughout the day but so long as it's clean underneath it's not so frustrating.

[deleted account]

I like everyone ideas... I think too that my son is more important than a super clean house. My husband and I work on the laundry and the deep cleaning on the weekends... I clean the kitchen everyday and vaccuum everyother. I tidy up when he is napping.



 

Priscilla - posted on 02/11/2009

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I only have one kid as of now..I'm expecting another in August. As of now, it's like i have three kids because he's so active. I clean, and the next day it's like i didn't. I tell my boys to help me, but sometimes they "forget". So, besides me going on strike and getting a housekeeper, I do two rooms a day. Yesteray I did my bedroom and bath. The next day I'll do my son's room and the laundry room and his bath. I do the kitchen everyday. I do all this in the morning after i have breakfast and the by the time i finish, i go out with my son. Before I would try to cover everything at once and this would make me go nuts! My husband said to pace myself and do things little by little.

[deleted account]

I made a "chore chart". I put 1 or 2 things down each day and if nothing else gets done, that does! My boyfriend works a ft day job and then a pt job 3 nights a week so I dont like to clean on the weekends, thats family time. I got my son involved to. He makes his bed every morning, not the way I would but hey its made. He knows he needs to put his toys away when mommy asks him to. I also got in the habit, if he wants to take a new toy out he has put the other toy away first. I do my laundry @ night. I've always heard its better for your electric bill? I am not sure but thats my only "me" time so I start it right before bed & bath time then when I finally sit down to watch some tv I fold clothes. Everyone has their own thing.. thats mine. Good luck with whatever you do but make your child #1! The dirt/clutter will be there tomo   :)

Sarah - posted on 02/11/2009

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I clean during naps, and also pick up behind the kids daily :) I do the best I can and try to get something done every day.

Bethany - posted on 02/11/2009

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Well, my husband and I had the same problem becuase I never felt like cleaning once he got home from work because I just wanted to spend time with my family.  So, I cam up with a method of doing certain (attainable) goals each day.  For example:



Mon.- Make beds, do  a  few loads of laundry



Tues.- Beds..finish and put away laundry



Wed.- Beds; Clean kitchen



Thurs.- Beds; CLean living room



Fri.- Gather trash for hubby



(I put make the beds on every day becuase at least if I don't accomplish anything else, I can say I made the beds!) haha  I can't always get everything done on my list depending on the day, but according to my grandma: "Your kids won't ever remember if your house was clean but they will remember if you spent time with them."



Hope this helps!

Amanda - posted on 02/11/2009

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Whenever I feel like I'm just sitting around and not doing anything, I have to snap out of it and I start doing something small, like a load of laundry or picking up toys. It is hard b/c I have a 2 year old son, but i start singing the clean up song and he helps. If your house is a mess, your kids will start cleaning... my son does. I have a really big problem with time management also, I am probably the most unorganized yet organized person there is... I guess you would say that I am an organized mess... if that makes any sense. But back to what you asked... I clean at night after dinner and my husband helps to when he can. I would rather spend my day with my son than all day cleaning a fussing over a mess. I like to clean at night and then get into a nice shower. In the morning when you wake up, everything is clean. Then again, that's just my opinion. I wish I was a women who kept an amazingly clean house... you are lucky you have a housekeeper, I don't.

Lisset - posted on 02/11/2009

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weekends, nap time and at night when my son is sleeping. Those are the best times. I am a ft day student as well, so I have to find time whenever I can.

Cheralee - posted on 02/11/2009

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I have only been a stay at home mom for a little less than a month and struggling with the same issue, especially since we still hadn't unpacked all the boxes from our move 1 1/2 years ago, have an 18 month old and newborn, and had acquired massive amounts of junk with no place to go with it. I discovered flylady.net last week and it is great! It is adaptable to your family, house, and schedule. With two little ones to look after, pumping/breastfeeding, and not sleeping through the night I was lucky to get a shower before my DH got home, but now I am making headway with about 30 min before bed, 30 min in the morning, and any 15 minutes or less that I can steal during the day. Most days I really only get 30 min-1 hour in addition to my morning and nightly routine, but our house has really been decluttered a lot and is starting to take shape. I really can't care for my family to the best of my ability with a chaotic house, so this is great! Chaos breads chaos, but organization allows you the time and freedom to be the best wife and mother you can be!

Amanda - posted on 02/11/2009

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Excuse This House



 



Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there;



Ours boasts of it quite openly, the signs are everywhere.



For smears are on the windows, little smudges on the doors.



I should apologize I guess, for toys strewn on the floor.



But I sat down with my children and we played and laughed and read.



And if the doorbell doesn't shine their eyes will shine instead.



For when at times I'm forced to choose the one joby or the other



I want to be a housewife but first I'll be a mother!!!

[deleted account]

i usually clean during naps and at night when the kiddos go to bed that is the only way to keep it clean for more than 15 minutes! lol

Amie - posted on 02/10/2009

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A dirty house is a sign of happy children! So, take pride in your mess! Do what you can, but don't make yourself crazy over it.

I clean one room per day (in addition to the kitchen which I do every day), and tidy up kids toys once per day (during nap time). I do at least one load of laundry, as well. But, you really can't tell I've done any of that by the end of the day! It won't be like this for long, though. Its hard for me, I tended to be a real neat-freak before kids. So, I just have to remind myself that there are more important things in life, and just do my best every day.

Marsha - posted on 02/10/2009

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I feel ur kids are little for such a short time. Do what u can but the time is more important. Get them to help. Like a game

Allie - posted on 02/10/2009

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there is more to life than a clean house, i do the laundry or we would run out of clothes and we use cloth nappies. but other than that if my baby needs me i am with her.

Tammy - posted on 02/10/2009

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I TOOK HIS HAND AND FOLLOWED



Mrs. Roy L. Peifer




My dishes went unwashed today,

I didn't make the bed,

I took his hand and followed

Where his eager footsteps led.



Oh yes, we went adventuring,

My little son and I...

Exploring all the great outdoors

Beneath the summer sky



We waded in a crystal stream,

We wandered through a wood...

My kitchen wasn't swept today

But life was gay and good.



We found a cool, sun-dappled glade

And now my small son knows

How Mother Bunny hides her nest,

Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.



We watched a robin feed her young,

We climbed a sunlit hill...

Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,

We plucked a daffodil.



That my house was neglected,

That I didn't brush the stairs,

In twenty years, no one on earth

Will know, or even care.



But that I've helped my little boy

To noble manhood grow,

In twenty years, the whole wide world

May look and see and know.

Eron - posted on 02/10/2009

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I try to keep up with what i can in the day and encourage the kids to join in, i also give them simple tasks that help keep things generally tidy, but i tend to do most of my cleaning at night when they are all in bed, but when i start falling behind i tell myself and anyone that visits......



A TIDY HOUSE IS A SIGN OF A WASTED LIFE



just wish i believed it - would save alot of work lol x

Crystal - posted on 02/10/2009

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I put the dishes in the dish washer and wash them every night, I try to get one full load of laundry done a day (wash, dry, fold and put away). I vacuum on the weekends, and deep clean the bathroom and kitchen also on the weekends when my husband will help me clean. My husband and I are responsible for our room and the kids are responsible for theirs.

Dawn - posted on 02/10/2009

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Weekend and nap time for me. It seems like that's the only time I can get anything done.

Dawn - posted on 02/10/2009

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Weekend and nap time for me. It seems like that's the only time I can get anything done.

Kelli - posted on 02/10/2009

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I do a little bit everday. I'll spot clean the floors (what feels like every hour) and do a weekly vacuum/mop, the kitchen, bathroom and rooms and spread it out. I have a roster with what day I do what, eg. monday I clean the bathroom, wed I dust/vacuum&mop and fri I clean the kitchen top to bottom. I do a quick tidy everyday and it doesn't take long. Once your in a routine with it, it takes 5 minutes to do each thing. If I go 1 day without doing a little something, it's ruined. I used to think my mum was a clean freak cause she did some cleaning everyday, but it just meant that she didn't have to spend hours out of a day doing it. It all makes sense to me now lol.

Maria - posted on 02/10/2009

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I haven't been cleaning too much, since I had my daughter 22 months ago.  Making sure my kid gets the attention she needs is a lot more important than having a clean house.  So it only gets a good cleaning if we're having company. 



 



That said...  Lately, I've let her climb on the stool and "help" me with dishes, so while she slows me down a little, we are both doing a necessary daily chore,  and she's learning an activity and interacting with me at the same time.  She also "helps" me with laundry by sorting out her papa's, mine, and her clothes in different piles (and then I fold).



 



I also have directed her to begin cleaning up her own messes.  If she spills food on the floor, I give her tools to pick it up.  If she spills milk or what-not, I'll give her a paper towel or kitchen towel, and she cleans it up pretty well.



 



Otherwise, I fit some cleaning activities in throughout the day, five or ten minutes here or there, between times she needs attention.



 



But really, I don't think you're going to get the time to keep your house as clean as it was before you had kids, and have any time to unwind, unless you hire a housekeeper.

Sarah - posted on 02/10/2009

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What is a clean house? I try to keep it clean, but sometimes it's hard. I vacuum everyday. And on the days my husband works late I'm able to deep clean the kitchen. But pretty much keep it tidy. It was easier to clean when my girls took naps...

Ashley - posted on 02/10/2009

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weekend and nap time. I like to use my DH as a distraction and then I do the things I need to really work on. Bathroom, washing floors ect when my DH is home. nap time is sweeping, dusting, and general tidying.

Tina - posted on 02/10/2009

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house? clean?? yeah, right! well, I've heard a lot of good suggestions. my girlfriend chooses to only do laundry on the weekends, so that frees up time during the week. There's always the "Brie Hodge" approach(Desperate Housewives): do select chores on select days, such as: Wednesdays I will clean the bathrooms. Another girlfriend of mine has a No Personal Property in Public Places rule. At the end of every day, everyone is to remove all of their personal stuff and put it away. If it's not put away, it goes into the basket in the garage. I think this makes all the peeps in the household responsible for their own stuff and relieves you of some work.

My husband and I just implemented the "one room at a time" cleaning list. His idea. He actually googled "how to clean house" on the net! Once you've cleaned and organized all the rooms, maintainance comes easier. Gal- keeping a house clean is a continuous battle. Figure what works for you and stick with it. Do what you can and forget about the rest. Your kids won't mind and they'll be happy you chose to do that puzzle with them rather than complete that umpteenth load of laundry! Good luck.

Britney - posted on 02/10/2009

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Girl my house has to be clean lol, but the only time I get to clean is when my little man sleeps...

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