Routine Clean-up Tricks That Even Work In Chaos | Giftie Etcetera: Routine Clean-up Tricks That Even Work In Chaos

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Routine Clean-up Tricks That Even Work In Chaos

Last night, we had seven kids over for a slumber party. This morning, parents are starting to do pickup and gather up the kiddos, and I am trying to function, pre-coffee and on barely any sleep.

But the house looks okay.

*Clean before each transition.

Sure, the kids took out toys. But we warned them, in advance, that they would have to clean up before taking more out. Then, at each transition (before cake, before movie, etc.) we made sure they cleaned up. My kids will have some little things to straighten up later, but it's not bad.

*Train others to clean up.

My boys were able to guide the other kids in the clean-up - "no, light sabers go there" - because they helped us assign homes for all the toys in advance and are expected, with our guidance, to clean up regularly. Sure, it means that not everything is in it's perfect spot. But I don't have to do it and the kids now have organizational skills that they will take with them as adults.

It's possible that your spouse's claim that he/she doesn't know WHAT to do is true. It's okay to kindly explain what works and work together to find systems that help both of you live in a peaceful, organized environment. But, just as with kids, nobody can expect perfection or force everyone to live by one person's rule.

Note that my kids helped us find homes for their things. They made the decisions, not me. I don't always like their decisions, but by empowering them to make the decisions, I get them on board with cleaning.

*Provide incentives.

My kids know they cannot play with the new birthday gifts until they clean up.

*Always carry something from room to room.

As I walk from room to room, helping kids with hairbrushes or breakfast, I carry stuff that is out of place (like empty cups) to the next room. It doesn't really take any extra effort, since I was walking there anyway.

*Clean as you go.

I spend a few minutes cleaning before my own transitions. Maybe I gather all the empty paper plates for the trash can or put away the sundae toppings before making breakfast or after blogging.

*Clean high impact areas first.

This trick is perhaps the least well know, but it really does help. I clean areas that are most easily seen, most used, and most bothersome first.

For example, I always clean the island in the kitchen (which I use for guests to sit at, for cooking, for putting out bowls of food at parties, for folding laundry, and for many other on-going activities) first. An empty island gives me a place to sort out-of-place items to go to their homes, set up breakfast plates for seven slumber party kids with donuts and milk, and place all sleeping bags and pillows for parent pick-up.

I hope at least one of these rules helps you keep your home livable. To discuss planners, organizing, and finding order in your life, join our conversation on Facebook.


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