Is a clean house your priority?

Charity - posted on 02/27/2013 ( 16 moms have responded )

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I have 15 month old twins and a 4 year old and I struggle to keep my house in order. My 4 year old has chores and helps dust, cleans his room and so on. Some days I am exhausted and cleaning sounds miserable to me. Some days I want everything perfect and my house is ok. I usually wait till my babies are napping to clean because even trying to load the dishwasher with two climbing toddlers can be a challenge. I would rather do so many other things while they are awake like play with them. I truly have a hard time understanding moms who clean 4 hours a day. On a normal day I am lucky to get an hour in. I guess it is not always my top priority although keeping a safe environment for my kids is. How do you manage? Do you find it a struggle? Is it your top priority?

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A clean house is pretty high on my priority list--not right at the top, but it's up there. I have very severe ADD and I really cannot function if there is too much clutter or mess around me--I get overwhelmed and shut down.

Here are some tricks I use to keep my house in order.
First off, it's a very small house. I think it's about 1200sqft. Because it is small, I have to be very careful about what I bring into it--there has to be a space before I will buy anything new. If I don't know exactly where I'm going to put it when I get home, I don't buy it. If my closet is full, I don't even peruse the clearance racks until I've cleared some space.
Second, because it is small, I can deep clean the entire thing in less than 2 hours. I don't deep clean the whole thing every day though. I have 9 rooms: 3 beds (one is an office), 2 baths, kitchen, living, dining, and laundry rooms. I set a timer for 10 minutes and spend the entire time speed cleaning one room. If the room is really messy, I may only get it tidied up, but if it's not too bad that day, I have time to vacuum with the attachments and wash down the windows and baseboards. I clean the master bedroom and one bathroom everyday. I clean the kitchen when we use it--put dirty dishes directly in the dishwasher, wipe counters while I cook, etc.--then at night right before I get ready for bed, I spray the whole thing with cleaner (I use a homemade one that is safe for all the kitchen surfaces) and wipe it down. Takes about 5 minutes. I clean the office, living, dining, and laundry rooms as needed. Once a room is clean, I close the door and stay out of it. I can't do that with the living & dining rooms, but once I've cleaned them, i don't clean them again that day. If they get messed up, I clean them the next day. I do try to clean them in the middle to latish part of the day, that way they are clean for the evening, which is my busiest part of the day.
I have a drop station--small table, several hooks--in my dining room (it is just off the garage). That's where I sit my purse, sunglasses, keys, cell phone, etc when I walk in the door. There is also a place for J to hang his book bag & coat, and a basket where we kick off our shoes. This keeps all that "stuff" that we are constantly taking in and out of the house together, rather than tossed all over the house.
I have a large basket in the living room for toys. J doesn't like to play in his room, he prefers to be in the main area of the house where he can see dh & me, so he constantly pulls toys from his room and they end up all over the floor in the livingroom. For fast clean up, I just toss them into the basket (or have J toss them in). Once it is full, I have J take the basket back to his room and put the toys away.

My home is decorated--I like a designed, welcoming look--but my decor is "kid friendly". Decorative pieces on the low tables are very heavy--I have a petrified wood bowl full of rocks we've brought home from various places and our fish bowl on the coffee table. Those things are pretty, but they won't get knocked off or broken easily. I did have to teach J not to put his hands in the fish bowl, but I wanted the fish down there at a level where he could see it. I put more fragile items near the tops of book shelves (bolted to the wall, of course) or on the mantles.
I don't use small decorative pieces because they collect too much dust. Instead, I choose large pieces that make a statement on their own and can be easily picked up or moved for dusting. Small pieces, knick-nacks, are also more stressful on the eyes, and add visual clutter. It is more to look through when you are looking for something too.

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Alicia - posted on 04/02/2013

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oh man i have 3 small active girls and my house is not a disaster but it is far from perfect. i make sure that the parts of the house that the kids are in are safe. but my room is something else entirely. i gate the hall down to my room. i load the dishwasher after the kids are in bed and i ususally forget to run it over night. my older girls (4 &3) help pick up the livingroom the hall and their room cause it their toys all over. i make sure that i vacuum at least once a week so that there is no chokables on the floor so my 8 month is safe crawling on the floor. i sweep the kitchen once a week on the weekends and i wash the pots and pans while all the kids are eating breakfast or lunch. that way they are contained in chairs while i'm busy. you can try something like that if you think that it'll help. i did try flylady.net and i found that it wasnt for me i also tried making a daily chore list but again not for me so now i just look around and find out what needs to be done to keep the house safe and not looking like a pig sty. as for laundry its washed, dried, but usually not folded or put away until the weekend

Cyndi - posted on 04/01/2013

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Check.out flylady.net, i have 3 kids and they are very active! This site really helps me to stay on track and get a lot of cleaning donr in a little bit of.time.

Jessica - posted on 03/31/2013

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I had the same problem for a while. But I feel the same way. I make sure laundry is done, the kitchen is clean and my 4 year old's room is at least safe...Unless it's a hazard I don't worry too much about it. I'd rather spend time with my kids while I have them young and they want to be with me. I too feel that's more important

Bri Lee - posted on 03/25/2013

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@charity and @stacy thanks ladies for your nice words! Believe me, I do have my "mom moment" with my husband when he says something about the house an it's not an everyday complaint. But ya'll know that no man could handle the house the way us women can! Lol! ;)

Charity - posted on 03/25/2013

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@Bri you have your plate full! I think husbands can forget that being a mom is hard work. Being a SAHM is not a vacation. When my twins were little newborns I breastfed them so honestly my day was filled with sitting and nursing babies. I remember my hubby telling me I had to clean up the place and I remember my sleep deprived, overwhelmed mom brain flipping out,LOL. I still feel as if I am figuring it all out being a mom to 3 kids and maybe I am finally figuring out how to have a clean house too but it's not an easy task. Messes will be made and will be cleaned up but my kids won't stop growing so I try to enjoy them as much as I can.

Stacy - posted on 03/25/2013

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You said it bri, kids are not going to be happy playin around whent ey have to pick up every 5 minutes, its just not enjoyable. And your hubby should show a little mor egratitude for you. You have your hands very full, its a fulltime job to kee up, maybe he should hold the reigns for a day and see how it is, I bet alot of husbands would be much more appreciative of the little things their women do for the family

Bri Lee - posted on 03/24/2013

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I'm glad I'm not the only mom that feels this way! My husband likes to get on me for not keeping the house up to par, but everyone else--friends and my family feel I do a more then adequate job at running my house. I have a 7, 6, 2, kids (2 girls and a boy) and just had a surprise early baby girl who is in the NICU that's 40mins from home. It's rough, and exhausting, plus I'm pumping every 2-3 hours for my baby girl. I keep my kitchen and dining room pretty clean, my living room where kids like to hang out is picked up, but not OCD clean. I'm ok with that because I'd rather watch my kids play and laugh then me telling them to pick up toys all the time. For the most part it's all about balance, doing little deep cleaning is better then never getting something done! Being a stay at home mom is a big job! But at least we are our own boss!:)

Stacy - posted on 03/24/2013

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I love that Ruth Baugh, a cleanhouse is to live, not to show, it is soo true! If people would stop caring about that a little less they would probably have a better time with guests and in general. I def. clean to keep it safe, Ive also got allergies so I cant let it go, but safety and health are my priority when cleaning.

Ruth - posted on 03/20/2013

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A clean house is not a priority for me. I keep it clean enough that it doesn't bother, which usually means picking up the kitchen/dining area after meals, and sweeping/vacuuming once or twice a week. Mopping and bathroom cleaning happen as needed.

One thing to keep in mind is that your house is a place to live, not a place to show.

Kassandra Mary - posted on 03/20/2013

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hi ladies. i have a 22 month old daughter and was retrenched from work when i was one month preg. iv been at home ever since and dont want to leave my baby in care of others. yes housework takes up lots of my time! im up at 5am,and seems the cleaning never ends!!! i feel i am a little obsessed with keeping a neat home but i cant break away from cleaning up. my toddler messes here and there and i find myself cleaning it up asap. i continue my vitamins but feel extremely exhausted every day, i still breastfeed as well. its hard not to clean and keep a clean home...im just not sure when il be able to break free from obsessing over the issue tho...

Elfrieda - posted on 03/19/2013

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I have a routine that helps me keep the house "good enough" which is not nearly as clean as I used to keep it before kids (and I was never a clean freak before) but it's good enough, as I say. That's already a challenge to keep on top of. There are dust bunnies and so on because I only sweep and vacuum once a week, but if I try to go above and beyond the "good enough" routine I get too tired, I ignore my kids, or I get depressed because every time I had alone time all I did was clean. (I hate cleaning, it is not relaxing, stimulating, or anything like that for me)

So yes, I find it a struggle, and no, it's not my top priority. It's like a middle or low priority. Some people find that their quality of life is lower in a messy house, and I feel that way too when it gets very bad, but a little bit of chaos is okay with me if it means I get to be creative or play with my toddler and baby or go out to see friends. For my sister-in-law, a mess bothers her so much that she would rather wash the dishes than shove them over to the side and chat more. For me, the mess doesn't even register until everyone has gone home.

Stacy - posted on 03/19/2013

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I have a friend that does such a good job and I just can not understand how she keeps it soo clean. She has one 3 almost 4 yr old son and eveyrtime I go to her house it is spotless! I bring my son over there and by the hr or 2 we stay toys are thrown everywhere lol But she has things like pictures candles other decoration just out and about and she has never changed it even when he was born.
I guess the only reason she can keep so clean because her son didnt explore like normal, hes normal lol he just is developing a little slower than he should

For me, it is complete opposite, I am in the process of teaching him how to pick up his messes and he does maybe 1/4 of the time, but hes improving. We had to remove alot of decoration because we was saying no no no all day long and it was making us all miserable. I like the thought of keeping everything the same and them learning to deal with it, but with my wildly active son I just couldnt do it. I am just slowly adding things back in so we are not all overwhelmed

My friend makes it seem so easy, but it really is part of your childs activity level that helps determine how the house looks through the day. When my son plays through the day I let him have what ever he wants out, when it does get too crowded I will pick up and get him to help me with the ones he isnt playing with anymore. I dont see any harm with letting hrs go by without picking up, hes got to enjoy some free time, just as long as we pick up at some point I a fine with it.

Tracy - posted on 03/19/2013

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i find it so difficult to put my house in order with my only 2 years son. he is Gosh! don't even know the word to use. ha! too much! he just spoil my iPhone 4s (64gb)
my son is too much, just too much!
after i have put my room in order, he will also destroy it all.
am always tired.

Jennifer - posted on 02/27/2013

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I used to try to keep my house spotless. I ended up getting so frustrated, because I would clean and clean and clean and not get anywhere. I have 4 kids, and a husband who could care less on what the house looked like (to an extent anyway. I'm sure if it started looking like a hoarders house he would say something. lol) With 6 of us in the house, I have to do laundry at least 2x a week, and both times are all day events. I tried at one time to just do a couple loads every day, but absolutely hated that. Dishes of course have to be done multiple times a day for obvious reasons, but other than that, I don't stress about anything. I take one day out of the week and scrub everything down, and dust. Then I just kind of turn a blind eye the rest of the week. Don't get me wrong, if a kid spills milk on the floor or something, it gets cleaned up, but I don't stress over the little things, or things out of place. The rest of my time is spent with the kids. After all, that is the reason I'm home to start with, not to clean, but to take care of the kids.

Stacy - posted on 02/27/2013

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yea for me I do like the clean most of the time, but alot of the time its a hassle trying to find time. I have a 2yr old and anyone with a toddlers its hard to keep everything spotless and in order. Ive just set a routine I do daily laundry dishes in the morning. and other cleaning jobs I need done I do as I see necessary, I tried setting a day to do them all at once, but its just not something I can do. I got stressed trying to keep my plans and I gave up. Like mopping I think I do it like 2 times a week, from spills and what not you never know when they will happen. Gosh and sweeping I have to do it everyday, I get so tired of it, its like where is it really coming from? I felt like when I tried for just one day to clean I didnt want to take an extended time with no attention on him, because after a while he will start fussing (when he doesnt want to help anymore) and just where he makes messes and spills drinks crumbs I just immediatly pick up and clean the area when it happens, so when I have to fully clean something its alot easier on myself. Usually if I really need something done and it is in need of a cleaning solutions that are strong I wait until he is napping to do it.
I dont think it is sensable to even try having a spotless house thats perfect when having a toddler. Its too much stress and as long as the place is presentable and safe for them to roll around on the floor that is good enough.

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