Cleaning stresses me out. Not the kind of stress that comes from the chance that I may have someone drop by at any moment. It’s the actual process of cleaning. I have friends and family that get done cleaning a room look back, feel their stresses slip away and are able to bask in the great accomplishment before them. I step back and think about how much time it took to finish the task and how quickly it will take for my children to destroy it. (I’m pretty sure that they have land speed records for it.)
A couple of years ago though, I decided it was time to leave the land of messes and apathy towards cleaning and very cautiously enter the cleaner side of life. I will admit to being very hesitant about this transition. Would I lose my care-free attitude to the mess and destruction my children caused? Would I trade in my willingness to play for a broom and mop? Could I even find the energy to get on my hands and knees and work out that stubborn whatever that has been ground into the floor? I was very nervous.
A few things pushed me into this unchartered (for me) realm. First of all, we have 3 kids in a rather small house. Secondly I REALLY need to use our lack of space much more efficiently. Thirdly, it was time to grow up... just a little.
I’ll admit that I took a couple of months to “ponder” what I should do. I then decided that I should start breaking down some of things I learned from these various people who could clean and organize. First off, it’s okay that I’m not like them. I don’t have to have every inch of the house spotless. We have a “lived” in feeling to the house and I’m happy to have that. I’d like a place that my children will always be happy to drag their friends to and yes, you can sit on that couch, just don’t jump on it. Second, their advice is helpful. I don’t think they are trying to say that they wouldn’t house wild animals in my house, just that I could try out the cleaner side of things. Third, sometimes they are right and I don’t have to be ashamed to admit that.
So, new resolve and a happier outlook took over. I figured out how we best store and clean. We are a happy "bin" family. This means if it’s easily thrown into, we love it. Bins without lids are the best. If the bin does have a lid, it must be secured on one side and easy to open. Loose lids get lost in our house. They become shields, sleds, or whatever my kids can come up with that’s fun.
Next, I picked the easiest place to clean. I then gathered a good collection of music. I also realized that kids are a nice source of labour. Not only are you making life for them a little better when they move out of the house, but it helps you out as well. It’s that sort of “Teaching Responsibility that Benefits Me Too” moments.
I learned what sort of cleaning supplies are out there. Is there ANYTHING that can make your life easier? Here’s a couple of things I love:
· The Bleach Wipes: Any brand, I go by smell. But the nice thing is if you have a child that is old enough to help, even if they do a bad job cleaning, you can have the comfort to know at least what they touched with the wipe is clean.
· Wet Mop: The kind with the disposable cleaning clothes. Good for those last-minutes swipes of your floor, just to make it look like you’ve worked hard.
· Hand-Held Dusters: Also with removable dusting clothes. Again good for kids, one less thing to clean.
· Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Solution: The scrubbers are nice for a quick clean and the cleaning solution to help freshen things up. Plus, I make sure to get a nice colored one and have my kids clean up the “color.”
· Cordless Mini Vacuum: Good for the left-overs from sweeping, having your kids clean the crumbs off of whatever they put them, and weird places that you don’t want to drag the broom or big vacuum.
Lastly have clean friends and family. I guess little to no pride works as well. I have people over regardless of the condition of my house. Eventually these friends and family very "graciously" start to help me out around the house. I try really hard to let them just go for it, but I do try to have some sort of reward around. We all like to be acknowledged in a good deed and something tangible is also helpful. (Cookies, pizza, Playstation time, Money, etc.)
So there you have it, a small look into the chaos that is our life.