Feeling overwhelmed by the season - how to fake your way to a clean house! | Organizing Made Fun: Feeling overwhelmed by the season - how to fake your way to a clean house!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Feeling overwhelmed by the season - how to fake your way to a clean house!

A few years ago I did a post that has gone VIRAL and has been pinned more than 800,000 times! Gasp! That tells me something...you all do NOT like to work hard at cleaning but like to have a house that looks immaculate. Am I right?

Last September I spoke to a group of Moms locally using this series as my talk and inspiration. So, I'd like to share that with you today and help motivate you for getting yourselves in shape for Christmas and New Year's - so you don't feel so overwhelmed.  My home is far from perfectly clean. My home is far from perfectly organized.  Not obsessing over it, but making sure it’s done – like she does in the passage. It’s calm. It’s a haven. It’s a place everyone wants to be.

Now -- I have a confession to make. I HATE cleaning. Yes, it’s true. It’s odd to so many people that I’m the type of person who loves to organize but at the same time I don’t like to clean.  As a young mom, this was a challenge for me. While my house was kept up and cleared from clutter, I just didn’t like the weekly drudgery of cleaning.

I want to teach you how you can have a home that can look clean, but one that doesn’t take you cleaning it for hours each day – you can fake it – which is what I do! It will only take you about 15-20 minutes a day of actual cleaning and some help from your family to help you maintain it.

When you break down your home into sections or zones, you can really get it clean in about 15-20 minutes each day. I learned this many, many years ago from reading an Emily Barnes’ book. Once I realized that this was a manageable way to keep up with little children and housework, my cleaning became less of a burden.

FIRST – 15 to 20 Minutes a Day of Cleaning

First: Fifteen minutes a day!

I am giving you all a sample of mine. You can change yours up or keep the same as mine. Go HERE for a FREE printable of this.

Keep in mind, this isn’t heavy cleaning. This is just keeping up week after week cleaning. You may change it up once you start and move days around – kids grow and change and so will your schedules! You are doing just enough to keep up with the weekly stuff – you perfectionists: your temptation is to get down on your hands and knees and scrub like mad every little nook and cranny, but that’s not what this is about!

SECOND – Finish what you start!

This is important but also difficult with little ones, I remember well and still have trouble keeping my focus all day. You need to finish whatever you start – even if you finish at the end of the day. If you start to make the bed, finish it. If you start to take out the trash, finish it. It’s the little things, ladies, that can help you keep up your home. It seems like a pretty simple concept but when you are so distracted by toddlers and babies, it’s easy to forget. Set a goal to make sure things are done before your hubby comes home from work, or before naptime, or the end of naptime, etc. Don’t procrastinate!

THIRD – Don’t walk away!

One of the things that I realized that I do in order to keep the house up is that I am constantly looking for something when I come and go. For instance, if I go downstairs into our basement to do anything, I'm always looking around for what else needs to go down there.  If I'm on my way up, I look for something that needs to go up.  If I go across the house, I look for something to take with me.  I don't really even think about it much anymore because it's become SO automatic for me.  I feel strange if I don't bring something from one place to another.  If I am in a room, I look around to check and see what needs to be put away or taken out, or straightened.  With all the visitors I have coming and going in this house, it's one of the ways that I can keep up with things. In the end it really saves me a lot of time.

FOURTH – Don’t do everything yourself

Do you sometimes feel like you are the ONLY person in the house who really cares if the house stays clean?  Does it seem like everyone, kids and hubby included, seem to sabotage your efforts at having the floors so spotless and clean that you can eat off of them - when five minutes after cleaning them, they spill milk, step in it and walk across the floor to get more? If this seems to be a problem for you, I have a solution!  No matter how little {well, maybe not an infant} your kids are, they can begin to help you clean up!  I have a rule in my house with the kids {now age 9 and 14}.  I do NOT clean up after them - at all. 

Here is a sample of a chore list for kids ages 1-4 years old.

And a list for ages 5 and up. 

FIFTH: Clean as you go

Yes, another obvious way to keep your house clean and organized is simply to clean as you go.  

When you pull out all your ingredients to cook, put them away once the casserole is in the oven.  Wash the dishes while you wait for it to finish.  

When you start a project, put away something once it's use.  Maybe you're in the middle of bathing a kid {or two} in the bath tub.  Take that time, while they are playing in the tub to wipe down things in the bathroom and organize little areas {5-10 max}.  

The idea is that you don't waste time standing around waiting for something, but that you pick up as you go.  You pick up when you're done with something.  This is exactly what I told you in the last point.  Teach yourself and your children to clean up as you go - or put away something when you're done with it!

SIXTH: Let it go

How much is too much? It’s different for everyone – it has a lot to do with where you put it all. But, let’s be honest: we all have TOO MUCH stuff! My kids have a ritual that they go through their stuff and start giving away the toys and clothes that they don't use or no longer fit a little before Christmas and their birthday!  I tell them, if you don't have room for new toys, you can't have them...meaning, we need to clear out the clutter in their rooms.

It's really important that you have the mind set to let go and get rid of stuff often. I highly recommend that you have a group of friends you can email or join a freecycle group in your community or start one with your church, especially if you have a hard time getting rid of stuff because you think it's still useful. Also, find a charity that will come to your house and pick up your unneeded items. This makes it one less excuse and one thing easier - putting your donation on the front porch is easier than having to drive it all in your car around town. 

Hanging on to stuff, the clutter, is only going to make your house look messier.  Letting go of the unnecessary stuff and keeping only what is truly needed is a mindset that is foreign to Americans!  

Why are you hanging on to it?  Is it truly useful, get used on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis?  Do you have friends who could use it more than you?  Do your kids need 30 Barbies or 50 trains?  Teach them YOUNG to let stuff go....the trinkets alone that stream into this home is enough to drive this Momma crazy!  I set a limit - one in one out {sometimes 1 in and 3 out}.


I want to focus on "putting things back". First it's important that you actually know WHERE to put it.  So, if you find that you take something out to use and don't know where it goes back...that may mean you have something else to work on!

Here's another way to teach kids - do you sense my hints about teaching kids to do stuff {they are REALLY useful, too, once they get older}.  When you take something out, put it back.  But, don't wait to put it back a few days later.  Put it back, right away.  As soon as you're done with it!  Really?  Could it be that simple?  Umm, yep!

My kids know my constant mantra of saying "are you done playing with your Barbies/trains? Put them away when you're done."  My son know so well that he says "Mom, of course I put it away, I was done with it."  Makes my heart leap for joy!!  Set a good example, put it away when you're done with it.  Letting things lie around "un-put-away" {OK, that's a word I made up} is only going to make your house more cluttered and less put together. 

EIGHT: Schedule, Schedule, Routine, Routine

Now, I realize that scheduling every minute of your life seems daunting and unrealistic.  I'm talking about having a schedule each day of what you plan to do.  Having a weekly routine of what you will do.  Let me show you what I have learned to do.  I have set up a weekly routine for myself.

Here is what I do:
Mondays - Laundry/cleaning day
Tuesdays - Run errands, afterschool activities for A & R
Wednesdays - Bible Study AM, piano teaching PM
Thursdays - Piano Teaching AM & PM
Fridays - Project day (and maybe a load of laundry)
Weekends - whatever!

Yes, it's not a fancy routine, but it's routine.  I don't have to wonder "Hmmm, what should I do today?"  I already know that it's just the day to get stuff done.  Sometimes I move days around (except for days I teach piano lessons). 

Generally, I try to sit down each evening and sort of get a schedule of what my day will look like.  For instance, I use Cozi and I have automatically set up things like "school" and "Bible Study" times.  These are set times that I do each day.  But, I try to map out what exactly will get cleaned and how long I will attempt to clean (yes, I really DO hate cleaning).

If I have a day of running errands, I try and figure out all the places I need to go and then map out my route - trying not to go back and forth across the city but hitting each one after the next in order of where they are located.  But, keeping in mind that grocery shopping has to be last or with a stop back at home to put away groceries. Kids thrive with routine.  I have a child who is autistic, and this was always a very important aspect {and still is} in their life.  But, ALL kids need it, too!  And, even as adults, we need it!

LAST: Read my blog!

This blog is meant to be a HELP to you. To motivate you. To inspire you. To give you ideas. Use it. Tell your friends about it. Comment, share, and look at the tabs above. They are there to help you find what you are looking for. I love to inspire so let me help you! I have a GREAT series planned in the new year that will kick your tail and motivate you! Be ready for more inspiration and motivation! Are you ready?

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