These days, homes mostly consist of two working adults (or a single working adult), and often several children. The family is rarely home, yet messes seem to find their way around nonetheless. After extracurricular functions, dinner, homework, and bath, there’s little time left for straightening up the living room. How can we manage to fit all these things into the few evening and weekend hours we have left after the work and school day? The task can seem insurmountable, but there are some ways to mind the clutter without driving yourself mad trying to keep up. Tackling the chores a little at a time is key. Here are some ways my kids and I have found helpful.
5 Minute Clean Up
One tactic we often use the the 5 Minute Clean Up rule. This is a good method for generally cleaning up the entire house. I set the timer, and we all work in one room for 5 minutes, picking up clutter and wiping up messes. When the timer goes off we move on to another room for another 5 minutes. Assuming there is time for all the rooms, we have a much cleaner house in just about half an hour, and the kids aren’t overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning the whole room.
This might include music if desired, but the idea here is that wherever you wind up, there you clean. We pick up one or two items from one room which belong in another room, take them there and put them away. From there we find items that likewise don’t belong in that room and take them to the appropriate room. This way we move from room to room, cleaning each as we go and not wasting any trips. Again, one thing at a time is less overwhelming than an entire messy floor.
One Room at a Time
On the weekends when I do the most cleaning, but still don’t have time for the whole house, I pick the one worst room and do that one right. Delegating clutter to the kids, I tackle the sweeping, mopping, disinfecting, and wiping down of surfaces. It goes faster, and even though the entire house may not be clean, the feeling of having that one room clean satisfies my need to feel like I’ve gotten something accomplished, and it makes the children want to spend the rest of the evening in that room. Of course, then I have to be careful that they don’t mess it up again!
Throw It in a Box
Yes, this tried and true method still holds true for quick clean up jobs. Company coming? Get everything that doesn’t belong out of the one room and into a box in a bedroom for later sorting and focus on dusting a bit and vacuuming. Just don’t skimp on the sorting job after company is gone. This one’s easiest for the kids to do, too.
Cheating? Maybe. But don’t kid yourself – you can’t always get it all done. But you can always get some of it done.