It is certainly not easy keeping a house clean with kids. There have been days when I would just get up and look around and feel totally overwhelmed. Dishes from the night before, toys left out, laundry that had to go through the wash cycle again. I know I'm not alone.
I have tried to get the baseboards dusted, toys organized, and dinner on the table at the same time night after night and ended up feeling totally drained. I understand we can not get everything done all the time, it's just too much. It's ok to let the house go a bit if there are sick kids or mom has a headache. It's ok to let the house go to hang out with the baby a little longer and enjoy an extra few minutes at the park. It's ok to give into the "mess will always be there" mentality. That is totally normal. I went through a phase where I lived by those words. I had tried to keep up with everything all the time and it just became too much to deal with so I just said forget it, I'll wait till they are in school, or I'll wait till they are sleeping, etc. I was always looking for a time to get caught up but would get busy with other stuff and it just got worse. It was a horrible cycle and I personally know moms that have gone, and are going, through the same thing.
So after many (many many) trial and errors I have finally figured out the basic rules of keeping your house under control. *I think*
- Laundry. This is by far my worst enemy. We are a household of 7, with friends and family constantly coming and going so there is always laundry that can be done. It took me a while to figure out what works for me and my household. I had friends that did a load a day. Great! Until I got tired of doing that every day. Then I tried every couple weeks, I would do a ton of laundry. I quickly got tired of that! I tried doing each person on a different day. That took up too much space. It probably would have worked alot better if I had the space to have 7 plus different laundry baskets. So finally I have my laundry day set to Wednesdays. I do a weeks worth of laundry every Wednesday. When the kids get home they have their own piles of clothes to put away before bed that night and I put the rest away. Simple and easy!
- Pick up after yourself. This includes any meals during the day, taking a book out to read, doing something crafty, or just the kids playing (which usually means everything comes out of bins and organizers). If you pick it up after you are done with it there will be less clutter to deal with later. This is a basic lesson most people I know grew up with. It is also something that can sometimes be easier said than done, especially if you have a newborn at home or have a larger family.
- Floors. Every night I vacuum. I grew up being told that it was bad luck to sweep after dark so I don't. I don't need to take any chances of luck! I also sweep every morning. Before everyone is awake I take about 15 minutes to sweep up all the dust and hair the pets have left behind.
- Beds. In the mornings I have the kids make their beds. Even the younger ones can do this and it may not be the way the older ones do or I do but they can straighten out their sheets, blankets, and put pillows and stuffed dolls/animals where they need to be. I have family that are very strict about beds so a way to make it a little easier is by using bedding that zips.
- Dishes. I hate waking up to dishes. I have had my fair share of nights where I was just too tired and let it go but then I wake up and there they are. So sometimes it is better to just do it and get it over with. It helps to start the day feeling like you are ahead of everything and not waking up behind.