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How do you keep your house tidy so it does not overwhelm you?

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With 3 little kids and a hubby that works all the time, I do everything around here and it feels overwhelming sometimes...if I even take a little time off the constant routine of laundry, dishes, tidying up, dusting, vacuuming, to do something with the kids, I feel you ladies have any tricks to help you get it all done??  All that plus we get an amazing amount of papers into this house-newpapers, notices from my kids' schools and homework type stuff,'s crazy.  I try to sort it, file it and recycle it as fast as I can but it always seems to build up so quickly.

Can't really ask my hubby for more help...he works night shift every day of the week and sleeps most of the day and I guess I feel it's not fair to say, "...hey you have to help me clean rather than spend time with the kids."  I just would like to more organized & not break out into a sweat when someone comes to our! :) 

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 10:15 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM


by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM

All I can say, is I understand!! <3

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Garage sale... the less stuff u have, the less stuff to clean. I also buy a lot of multi purpose cleaning products to reduce the clutter under sinks. And, teach your children how to pick up after themselves. My son was taught to put his toys away at 2... now at 6 he is almost making his bed appropriately. And he has moderate autism... so I believe it can be done for any child at some level unless they are physically unable to.

I do laundry one load at a time... fold and put away. I also have larger baskets in the laundry room so it won't seem so terrible if they pile up. I use the dishwasher right away. Unload put away and put dirty dishes in the dishwasher vs leaving them in the sink. My son also likes to vacuum and it's good therapy work for him (his therapist recommended it for muscle building and coordination) so perhaps your little ones can do that for fun to music... just some ideas. Good luck

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM
3 moms liked this

I tried Flylady, and it worked for a while for me. Then it didn't work anymore. I started doing my own thing, and shared it with other people. I've gotten great feedback.

I called it The Crazy Mom's Cleaning Schedule. Still use it to this day.

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM
1 mom liked this

Well something that helps me is to make a small list of about ten things to do. Cross off each thing as I get them done throughout the day. It really helps me to see accomplishment. Then with the papers I have small square baskets that I pile the stuff in one with important papers one with not so important then at the end of the week have my husband file them away. Then on the weekends that my son stays with grandma I deep clean. I too get overwhelmed because I will clean the house and hubby comes home and doesn't pick up after himself my son spreads his toys all over the living room. So to keep that down I have a small bin of toys we go in his room and pick out his toys for the day. Then a couple times a day I pile the toys in his bin. He will get them out but it keeps it clean. I got the little square bins at ikea. They fold flat. They really aren't big at all.

by Bronze Member on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I'm in the same position as you and haven't found anything that helps.

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I know what your feeling but I think I have the hang of it all now. Its only been 15 years that I've been a housewife,lol. The only thing I have a hard time getting over now is when burn out strikes. I have a 15 year old, a 7 year old and I'm pregnant again so I still have a little ways to go before the kids get grown but it is a non stop job. I allow myself some time off when I get burn out and just try not to be to hard on myself about the mess.I don't take too long off though. I don't want a bigger mess to clean back up than I can handle. I do the basics everyday and keep a to do list of the big things.Some weeks I clean  2 hours every day for basic stuff and do one hour of wha the "bigger jobs" like mopping, cleaning closets or tackling that huge pile of clothes that need folding and at other times when I'm less motivated I work for an hour, do something I want for an hour. I plan everything... or as much as is possible to plan. There are those unexpected things that come up but it still helps when I plan my days. I find its much easier to think about what needs to be done for the day while I'm sipping my morning coffee. I keep a to do list so that as the day goes along and things come up needing to be done I can write it down. I get it off my mind and onto paper. For me this keeps me from feeling too overwelmed. I use these list while I'm planning in the morning. I have seperate lists.One for errands or things that require leaving the house, including things to do with the kids. One for things I want to get done around the house that are not the basic everyday things, a list for groceries (I used to always forget something I needed and end up going back out to the store again. Now I just write it down as soon as I realize something in the house is running low. If i'm sitting down relaxing I don't jump up to write something on the list, I just write it down when I happen to be up and moving around. No need to try for perfection or you'll get sick of it.) I also have a regular shopping list. Perfection isn't the aim.I want to be little miss perfect,lol. It does drive me to keep going but doing this will burn you out so I remind myself is ok if somethings have to wait untill later.Just prioritize. Sometimes doing a little goes a long way. I find that if I start out only planning to tackle a small portion of something (which is better than nothing) then it motivates me to do more to want to get it finished and either I'll keep going or I will try harder to squeeze in the time to finish it later. Getting started for me is the hardest part. I love the feeling that comes from completing something. I try to remind myself how good it feels to get it done rather than look at it as a mountain of work that needs to be done. I also make sure I don't over do it to. Try to work in some me time, otherwise you'll get into a slump. Its hard to balance things as a mother but rather than dread it and feel like I really hate juggling all this (like I used to) I started thinking of it as wow, I'm proud of myself that I am doing all this. That I am striving for balance and my family is benefiting from it.I go in and out of a good housewife mood and the bad ones but I just do what I can to feel better (like staying up a little late to read an interesting book I've been dying to read and alternating doing housework with doing something I enjoy) When my house does start to get a little more out of hand due to me taking some time off that in itself motivates me to get back to it.I know that I will have the reward of a clean home, less stress and maybe even a little time to do what I want. Sometimes we need dh to help with the kids even if its just once a week so you can have this time. My husband used to work nights and I know how hard that is. Does he work weekends? I used to leave the kids with him at night on the weekends (since he was on a night time schedule this was easier for him and the kids were in bed so he really didn't have to do that much) I would actually go to books a million at night( they stay open untill 10 or  11 here) and just browse the hobby shelves. Or I would work on my hobbies at night on the weekends while the kids were in bed. Doing this gave me something to immerse myself in and change up my routines. I usually went back to my housework feeling refreshed after I did this. Hanging out with a good friend does this too. I make plans of how I'm going to get it all done ahead of time all the time. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being a bit OCD about it but it seems to help. It helps me know where to start, when are the best times to work on things and so on. I keep in mind to be flexible. Things just come up, especially with kids, but thats ok. At least you have a plan so once the interruption is taken care of you easily know where to start again.

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

I get up in the morning, get dressed  and I go straight into clean mode. I get ds his breakfast and I straighten up. I don't sit or eat until I have things where it needs to be. I dress ds then I do laundry or whatever needs to be done. This morning I go dressed made beds straighteed the play room and shampooed my living room carpet. I have laundry going now.

I found the best thing is to stay on top of it and don't let it get behind. I do things when Ds is asleep. And I clean the kitchen after meals, and bathrooms after bath time. We have a 2700 sq ft house so it's challenging but it can be done. Sometimes when i do let it fall behind it get mad at myself bc i have to clean for a solid day to get it back. Other thing is de clutter. 

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm pretty OCD about keeping the house clean. I don't let anything get out of control. Every day I clean up, I don't wait to have a "cleaning day" during the week. I think it also helps that I don't have storage in my apartment, so I don't have any junk, I throw everything that I don't need out, I hate clutter. 

by on Jun. 16, 2012 at 1:19 PM

My paper issues were a major problem too. When I  check the mail I stand over my trash can as soon as I come in and immediately throw any junk mail in the trash. I don't even let it hit my countertops (most of the time :), sometimes I'm a slacker) I seperate the bills from the pile and have a napkin holder that I put all the bills in so they will always be in one place. Then I have a basket for important papers that need something done with them and if something in the mail needs to be done or taken care of I write it on my calender on the fridge. I also have a basket(that is hidden under the cabinet) for all the other mail and school papers that don't require me to do something but I'm not sure I want to throw out. When the basket gets close to being full I put it on my to do lists so I can work it in whenever its the best time to clean the basket out.  When the kids were in school I did have papers they needed to have done or I needed to sign laying out on our bar area so I could see it. I didn't always like having it laying out but 2 or 3 school papers sure was a lot better than all the papers in our house being out. When company came over I could just take those few papers and place them in a neat little stack by my fridge. I could still see them but it didn't look like I had papers everywhere. I'm the type that has to see it to remember it. I have read a few good books on managing my house. One is called "The house that cleans itself" and there is another one about organizing that helped me get a filing system for storing all our important papers like birth certificates, mortgage papers and so on. This filing system has been a godsend. Now when my dh needs some type of paper work or I do, I know exactly where it is and for these types of papers the only maintenance is that you put it back immediately after your done with it. I have to look for that book, though. I can't remember the title but if I can find it, I'll message you. Hope this helps. I know my responses are long, sorry. I just have a million ideas on this subject. :)

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