This was a topic that came across our list this week – such a good question! When my big kids were little, I had three in a row… so when my oldest was 7, I also had a 5yo and a 3yo. Cleaning needed to happen but it couldn’t take all day. I thought I would share a bit on how I survived then with a clean house and what I do now that I have kids all over the place in ages.
So easy to say yet I know it isn’t always easy to do. When my oldest was 5, we moved from a 2000 SF house in Utah, to a 4000 SF house in Idaho. Space doesn’t help a ton, decluttering does. You still have to find a home for the stuff. Sure, that was a great house, I had a craft/sewing room, we had a guest room, a giant master… it didn’t last. It was too much for me to handle, I felt like I was living too spread out and I didn’t care to buy more furniture to fix it. So we then moved to a 1200 SF 1900′s house. I LOVED that house! That is the house that I remember doing the most cleaning – the most growing in. I spent some time in that house single after my divorce, before moving into a 600 SF apartment. So how do you do it? I
PLAN. I know that is my answer to everything. I do live in the moment. I do fly by the seat of my pants. But I also always have a good plan. I will admit to being a tad controlling on some issues… SOME issues, lol!
I used the FlyLady system until I made a Melisa system that worked better. Most families do laundry once or twice a week. I determined how many loads needed to be done and then worked it into my daily rhythm. Get up. Start wash. Fluff dryer if needed. Wake kids. Eat. Fold & reload. In those days I could get away with two loads a day, some days even one. These days, three loads a day have to be done or we are behind. When you have seven people and diapers, well you get my drift. The laundry was a family affair. The little ones helped. In those days, we had time to go slower, sing through the laundry, play kick ball while hanging it on the clothes line, they were little.
Dishes. Always done right after the meal. Two houses had no dishwasher so doing dishes after each meal could be a challenge, but it was a great builder of the will. I would fill up one bowl with sudsy water next to me and my youngest would pretend to wash – and sometimes wash the silverware, while the bigger boys would dry.
General clean up. This is a job that belongs to everyone. When they were young, we moved room to room working together to get the job done. We did it a few times a day and would generally time it around a snack or outing. So I might say… “the snack fairies are waiting! Let’s hurry and get this house tidy. Who’s room is first?” Then they would jump up and down begging me to clean their room first. We were often done in no time.
Sure, there were times when they didn’t want to play along, but for the most part when they were little, it wasn’t a big deal. As they began to grow and gave me dirty looks at the mention of the snack fairies, I would kindly remind them that they could clean alone
We could clean the bathroom just as quickly, each person takes a job.
As they grew up a bit and as we have the practice now, everyone has assigned chores. I have gone back and forth on paying allowance… right now I am not paying, they are each working for me in a different way. Ellie babysits for pay. Jacob helps pack and ship for pay. Harry helps with the yard for pay. All other chores are shared.
Right now, Super Sam is an apprentice! Some days he is a kitchen apprentice, somedays he is a laundry apprentice, last night he was putting his new kid sized broom to work being a floors apprentice. It is all good training for the time when he will have his own chore.
I hope this has been helpful!! Blessings.