Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How to stay sane and organized with 3 little ones and company?

It seems like there is a growing question and frustration out there for moms with young children on how to keep one's house kept up and things together for the occasional "pop in" visitor. Or to just feel like your house is not falling apart when running a bazillion different directions in day would be a really nice feeling!

I have no where arrived in any way, shape, or form, but I love to organize, clean, have 3 little ones, and have a CRAZY busy life. On top of that, I have a growing number of visitors scheduled at least 3 times a week! May I remind you that "My way" will not be "YOUR way." It is not the "best way," but the best way for me, and it has truly worked! But, I hope that you may glean a bit from it and then develop YOUR OWN way to stay sane and have a relaxing and fun home to welcome you, your family, and guests in any second of the day! So, this is how I do it!

Cleaning: I surface clean my home every morning! This usually takes me about 15-30 minutes. Each room gets vacuumed or swept, toilets and sinks get wiped down and I check the showers and tubs to make sure there are no wandering hairs (I hate hair). I make sure the trash cans are emptied and quickly tidy up whatever may be out of place. If you do this every day, the big cleans really don't take long at all.

Declutter: I love having things organized and having a place for everything. This alone eliminates tons of mess, because when you have nowhere to put something it clutters a counter, a drawer, or wherever you can throw it to "hide" it from sight. Yes, I have a junk drawer, but I try hard to keep it somewhat "cleaned" out.

Laundry:  I have been doing a load of laundry a day which is miraculous and takes but a few minutes. I have a hamper in my girls room and then for our room. I'll do a load of kids stuff and then ours. This makes folding and putting away much easier too. I fold and the kids put all their clothes away, except the hang-up stuff. Yup, Madelynn ( my 18-month old) does her own too, I lift her up and point to where they go, but she loves it!

Scouring: I thoroughly scrub the bathrooms, move furniture, windows etc.
Clean out refrigerator and freezer
Make sure there is cookie dough made or cookies ready to pull out for visitors


Get rid of stuff: Don't let clutter control you! I HATE just keeping things if I never use them or they are just taking up space. So, my solution: Once a month I go through each room and get rid of anything I never use or don't like anymore. Honestly, it takes but a few minutes now because I haven't let stuff accumulate for months on end. I rummage through all drawers and closets/cupboards and weed out what I don't want or what is too small or worn out.

Children's Chores:

Toys: I am so thankful for my momma's training in this and many other areas. I was taught from as soon as I was able to throw a toy down and pick a different one up to put the other toy away. Obviously with some help, of course, but Brian and I have taught our little ones to do just the same.
Organize: I believe some parents could help themselves by getting certain bins and helping their little ones organize their toys. We  have helped our children  find a place for every toy and they know exactly where to put it when they are through with it.As an example, my girls have a tub for kitchen stuff, princess dressup, barbies, polly pocket, horses, and two shelves for all their doll house stuff.

Purge: It helps too to weed through the toys often. We have always had the rule that if they get a new toy they give one to some who needs toys or to Goodwill. This has eliminated having too much to keep in order.

Rules: We have a rule that the kids can only play with one toy set at a time. Meaning: they cannot play with the barbies, polly-pockets, and cars all at the same time. I firmly believe this instills in them a better imagination because they have to work at enjoying and playing with that particular set without tripping on and getting frustrated at a bazillion other toys scattered around.
Again, this may not work for you, but it does for us, and it is a huge relief to know that I don't have to worry about cleaning up their rooms, because they are usually ery clean. Starting young is the key, and I give kuddos to my momma for reminding me of that even when Andrew was 8 monthes old!

Our kids make their beds (Madelynn too, and has since she was about one) You may say, "Slave driver!" Nope, I don't believe so. Since they were little they had to straighten their pillows and blankets. It is a great time to teach them responsibility. Andrew (6) and Chloe (3) currently make their beds better than I would have at times! There are mornings they ask mommy to help them and it is fun to do it with them.

Each of the kids have morning or daily "chores" Some they do include: empty the dishwasher, empty dryer, put dirty clothes in washer, sweep, vacuum, dust, wash floors, take out trash, get mail, and the list can go on. They do a great job and they love doing it. I know, for now I am lucky, because maybe that will change when they are older, but I am praying that if mommy makes work fun, that fun while working will NEVER change!

We host a young couples dinner after every Sunday night along with a luncheon with about 8 college students every Sunday afternoon. I typically have 1 unannounced visitor a week and often have others pop in or ask to stop over! I love it, and I know that it is only the Lord that allows me to have these opportunities. But, when I keep up throughout the week, I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off on Saturday. Typically, Saturday consists of a family day and a quick meal preparation for Sunday along with my weekly cleaning job out of the home.

So, I know everyone's lives are crazy, and I am not currently home-schooling. but, I do drive my little man to school and have to pick him up at noon. I still go grocery shopping, errands, doctor's appointments, cleaning jobs in Charlotte, and you know the rest. I do not say that to brag or say I am super woman, because I am not! But, I say that to encourage you that your home is your Ministry! I cannot take credit for my home or how it looks, but I can give credit to the Lord for giving me a godly momma who taught me the importance to manage my home in such a way that I can someday be a blessing to a weary soul or bring glory to the Lord by being hospitable!

It may seem like a crazy schedule, but I don't have a schedule. I just clean the quick things up now by habit, and I don't feel like it is a chore. Enjoy your home this week, and I hope you may find a few helpful tips in here to get your home in order for a "pop-in" visitor or maybe your weary, hardworking- husband!

P.S. My home is not ship-shape 24/7 just fyi! I have tough days too!