1. Make Your Bed Each Morning! - I know this sounds silly because no one is actually going to see your bed, but trust me, it sets the tone for the rest of your day. Having your bed made instantly makes your bedroom look cleaner and it gives you a place to put a laundry basket of clothes that may need to be folded. This is the first thing I do every single morning and it's so nice to know that one room in the house is good to go for the day!
2. Take Advantage of Those 2-3 Minute Breaks. - Unload the dishwasher while your coffee is brewing. Put in a load of laundry while waiting for your breakfast to cook (just be quick, I can't tell you how many times I've burnt pancakes with this one!!). Sweep the floors right after lunch while the baby plays in his high chair with a toy. You'd be surprised how much you can get done in those wasted minutes each day that can sometimes be eaten up by less productive pursuits (ahem, Facebook!).
3. Make Bath Time Cleaning Time. - After I bath the babies, I usually take the opportunity to scrub down the sinks and the toilets. Granted, this only works if your kids are big enough to sit well unsupported. Even still, I find I'm always within arms reach while scrubbing around the bottom of the toilets. As an added bonus, the water the kids splash out makes it easier to scrub the floors!
4. Always Leave a Room Cleaner Than When You Entered. - I think I learned this one growing up, but I always look for 5 THINGS I can pick up, put away, or throw away before I leave a room. In the kids' rooms, this usually means putting away books or toys that the daycare kids have left. It could also mean throwing away receipts or trash that my wonderful husband leaves around or finding new homes for the various treasures that my children bring home. You would think that my house would be spotless with this routine, but you have to keep in mind that for every 5 things I pick up, there are about 20 that my darling children are taking out!
5. Don't Be Afraid to Throw Away (or Give Away or even Sell Away). - The older I get, the more I realize that I don't want, need, or even like a lot of stuff! In fact, just today I gave away a box of kitchen stuff, a box of craft materials, and a box of clothes. I don't keep all of my children's artwork and I am not afraid to throw away broken toys or any plastic "thing" that appears from a Kid's Meal or a Birthday Party. Each item that I can remove from our house is one less thing that I need to spend time picking up, cleaning, and taking care of. I'm sure that Dave Ramsey would recommend that we have a yard sale, but I have to admit that I much prefer donating stuff to people that can use it. We have been blessed with so much and had so many people give us clothes and things for the boys that I like to "pass it on" whenever I can.
What about you? How do you keep your house picked up with small children?
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