Apr 272010

This is how I describe my method of straightening up the house. Whenever I’m leaving a room to go into another one, I first look around to see if there’s anything laying around that belongs at my destination. Even if I pick up and put away just one small item at a time, if I do this over and over as I move throughout the house, it’s remarkable how good it looks at the end of the day.

When the house is really messy, I do this on a larger scale, using a laundry basket. As I’m cleaning a room, I put anything that doesn’t belong there into the basket, so I can put everything away all at once. This is a very efficient method of cleaning because it saves time and energy – both of which I’m lacking nowadays.

Organizing experts say that you can avoid major clean-ups simply by having a place for everything, and putting things away as soon as you’re finished with them.

Right. And these “experts” clearly do not have small children, or they would know that the majority of the stuff I pick up each day does not belong to me, nor am I responsible for it being out. Also, some of it doesn’t have a “place” in the house, because it doesn’t belong in the house to begin with. For example, the giant bouquet of sad, wilted dandelions left on the kitchen table by Cakes. Or the small pile of gravel (???) inexplicably resting on the hall table.

I’m positive that these underpants sitting next to the computer do not belong to me.

Last I checked, Wal-Mart didn’t carry Dora panties for 36-year-old women, and my butt hasn’t been that small since I was three (maybe two).

And this crap on the coffee table? Not mine either.

I recently mastered the art of drinking from a regular cup, so I don’t need to leave milk sitting around in a sippee cup for a week, until it’s sour and revolting and slides out of the cup in a solid chunk when my poor mother tries to load the dishwasher.

Oh, and I understand that people do not have arms coming out of their heads, or freakishly long fingers that look like tentacles, so I’m fairly certain that those drawings weren’t done by me either.

And the rock? Oh right, I must have forgotten to put that away in my neatly labeled “Miscellaneous Bits that I Found on the Driveway and Thought I Couldn’t Live Without” bin, along with a shard of broken glass, a dirty old toothpick, a dead beetle, an interesting-looking forked stick, and a Jello pudding box that fell out of the recycling barrel (seriously, these are the types of things my children unearth from who-knows-where and bring into the house).

Silly me. If only I had put that rock away when I was done with it, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.


  3 Responses to “The "What Can I Take with Me" Cleaning Method”

  1. Oh, you so GET my life! And every mom’s for that matter. This post made me laugh and feel more normal. Thanks.

  2. I have just read several of your postings. You sound a lot like me. Majority of these things I already do in my own home. My question is how do you really teach them to pull their weight with the chores? When my daughter was one and a half I stared teaching her to clean. Up until age eight she did really well. Then came puberty and hormones. Now (11yo) she thinks she’s a royal heir who should never be asked to lift a finger. It is a daily battle and there is no mesure of disapline I have not tried. Like wise her brother (6) did very well until this last year when started homeschooling them both. Now he is starting to act like his sister and being very argumentative about cleaning. I know this isn’t really a cleaning question but, I thought you might have insight of some kind for me. Thanks!

    • I wish I did, but I’m going through this same thing with my middle-schooler right now! It’s not that she thinks she shouldn’t have to help with anything, but she is lazy and has no self-motivation. In school, yes, but at home….no. I get very tired of harping at her about the same things, over and over again.

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