I’m always surprised at how often this subject comes up.
You’d think that as an older (*Ahem….Did I just say that?) and experienced mom that I’d be asked deeper questions. Things like, “How do you reach your children’s hearts?” or “What is the most important lesson you’ve passed on to your kids?” That kind of thing.
But no. It’s “How in the world you do manage to keep your house clean with all those kids?”
Who would have guessed that “a clean house” would be such a basic and monumental challenge for mothers everywhere?
So because we’re friends, I’m going to give you the inside scoop of my little tricks and tips of keeping a tidy home. Here goes . . . .
The Inside Scoop
Our kids don’t have toys.
Yeah, I’m totally serious. Other than the few exceptions of Legos and Playmobile and a favorite dolly or two, our children don’t really own many toys. And please don’t think they’re deprived because if you ever met them? That’s one of the last words you’d use to describe them. Instead, our kids play with blankets, rolls of Duct tape, cardboard, ropes, and bandannas. They build forts and jump on the trampoline. They’re responsible for making their own fun and I’m always amazed at what they come up with!
Stay on top of the kitchen.
Be ruthless. Clean up after every meal as if your life depended on it. Never go to bed with dishes undone, if you can help it.
Pick one main living area that is a Stuff-Free Zone.
I LOVE this one! I do not try to keep my entire home clean. Repeat: I do NOT try to keep my entire home clean, but I love having an area that no one – no one! – is allowed to dump their junk, school papers, etc. or they will pay dearly (I’m not as mean as I sound, but you get the idea).
There are many benefits to this approach, but one is that I can go to this room when I’m overwhelmed with the state of the rest of the house and recover my peace. Another important benefit is if people drop by unexpectedly (which happens surprisingly often!), I can at least – somewhat confidently – invite them to this room.
Our kids help out.
A lot. Our children have regular responsibilities around the house, plus I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for extra hands when they’re needed.
Taking the time to put together a basic cleaning schedule – what gets done and when (and in our house, by whom) – goes a long way in keeping the sanity. Just to give you an example: in our house the boys clean up the breakfast dishes, I vacuum every morning after school (we homeschool), and Wednesdays and Saturdays are our big all-house “cleaning days”. Stuff like that.
Turn up the music.
If you walk by our house and can hear the music clear from the road? Then we’re probably either having a party . . . or, more likely, cleaning the house. We can get so much more done with a fast beat and a song in our heart! So crank it up.
Let some things go.
This one is going to pain some of my neat-freak friends. But I can’t keep everything clean. There, I said it! A long time ago, I realized that if I was going to be a relaxed, fun mom that I just couldn’t keep it all together. Or at least all at the same time.
So if you ever come visit me and sneak past my Stuff-Free Living Room, and venture upstairs to the Movie Room/Recreational Room? You’ll find junk. Maybe even last night’s popcorn bowls left out on the floor. Sigh. I’ll work on that area some day . . . maybe when the kids are gone.
And there you have it! A tour of my house and a little peak into my closets.
Ugh, speaking of closets . . . I need to clean those out!
Happy Spring-Cleaning my friends!
*Okay, I went first. What about you? What are some of your best tips and tricks? I’m always looking for new ideas!
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Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.