10/11/13

10 Ways to Keep the Mess to a Dull Roar

One of my "back-to-school" goals was to get back into the habit of picking up and keeping things in relative order so I don't lose my mind and go on a screaming/cleaning/tantrum rampage.  I won't say that my house is perfect by any means, but in the past few weeks, I've noticed a few key habits that I try to practice most every day to help keep things relatively contained.

That being said, I want you to set some realistic expectations.
I have a five-year old and a two-year old.  It seems when ever I pick up or organize their toys, they are then drawn to the neatness and immediately rip it apart and carry things back to their original WRONG spot on the floor/in the hallway/bathroom floor/stairs/you get the idea.
Toys are a key concern, but they are also TOYS and meant to be played with.  I try to keep toys in the toy room, or where ever they belong.
But keeping the toy room impeccable is just moving deck chairs on the Titanic.  Sounds like it would make sense, but it's a sinking ship, so don't waste your time.

{one}
Make beds.  Start the day on the right foot.  Encourage/teach the kiddos to do the same.  At least pull the comforter back so there's not a huge pile of blankets and stuffed animals staring you in the face all day.

{two}
Limit yourself to one load of laundry a day.  You may need to adjust this based on sports and number of family members, but I find that one load, washed, folded and put away and much easier to tackle than doing seven loads on the weekend.

{three}
Motivate yourself for a 10-minute de-clutter run and leave it alone.  If you limit yourself, you'll prioritize better and not get bogged down with a marathon of things to do.  Remember those toys that are still being played with?  Avoid that area.  Sort mail, toss old magazines, dust shelves and TVs.  Small, achievable goals will make you feel much better than failing at giant ones.

{four}
When you do feel a marathon clean coming on, limit yourself to one area so you can stay focus and complete the task of organizing, sorting and tossing things.  Often, I'd stop mid way to put away things that had a real home elsewhere and then got distracted by cleaning that area.  Now I had two half-finished projects and an overwhelming sense that I was opening Pandora's Dirty, Dluttered Box.  Remember that small goal thing I just mentioned.  Stick to that mantra.

{five}
Don't be afraid to donate or even throw away old items.  No sense hanging on to things that you have high hopes for, when realistically you know you're never going to do anything with.  Let someone else make it their new treasure at the Goodwill.  And there's no shame in pitching things too.  Sometimes you need to just purge and be done with it.  Oh, and do this frequently.  Spring cleaning isn't nearly often enough.  Find a schedule that makes sense for you - I try to do major donating when I change over from summer/winter clothes and when the kids need to trade up for bigger sizes in clothes.

{six}
Be proud to use convince cleaning products.  I'm talking about the Clorox wipes and flushable bathroom cleaners on the shelves.  A quick swipe and your cleaning is done.  They make life simple, sparkling and lemony-fresh.

{seven}
End your day on the right foot too.  The next three tips are end of day routines that I've been using to fairly consistent success.  The first is to wipe clear and wipe down counters.  After dinner, bedtime snack, teeth brushing and anything else is finished in the kitchen and bathrooms, wipe down the sinks.  In the kitchen, I opt for the Clorox wipes that are sitting on my neat little pedestal next to the sink.  The bathroom usually gets nearby face cloth damped after Nate and I have brushed our teeth to give it the once over.  Saves from the stress of waking up to yesterday's mess.

{eight}
Clear counters.  Same logic as the sink activity, but really this is ideally a two-second process because of your awesome 10-minute de-clutter earlier in the day!

{nine}
Load and run dishwasher.  I hate waking up to a sink of dishes.  It's so depressing.  Another reminder of what you didn't get to yesterday and already adding to list of things to do today.  Clean sink.  Clean dishes to start the day.  These are all good things.

{ten}
This is the most important things you can do.  It circles all the way back to setting realistic expectations.  Allow for some mess to occur and don't get too bent out of shape about it.  Sure, we all want the clean, gleaming floors of those sought after pins.  Gorgeous natural light, perfectly fluffed pillows.  This is a STAGE.  It's not real.  Same goes for the food photos and the rest of it.  People spend a lot of time with tweezers and q-tips to get things to look perfect for those shots.  It's a great goal.  But it's not something to agonize over.

Take little bites.  There's no shame in not eating the whole pie in one night.  In fact, is recommended and applauded to take your time!

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