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To ask you to tell me how you keep on top of all the housework! Please help :(

(80 Posts)
AshamedAndNeedTips Sun 04-Nov-12 16:19:22

Have namechanged because I'm so embarrassed.

I have a 3 bedroom house, with 2 reception rooms and a large kitchen/diner. One bathroom upstairs. We have the children's toys in the main living room and have the dining table in there aswell, as the kitchen is really cold. I will be moving the table back into the kitchen this week to make more space.

I can't keep up with the housework. If I clean two rooms during the day, the others are left unclean. My children leave food and crumbs everywhere. I am constantly hoovering/cleaning/wiping after them. I can never do the WHOLE house in a day - my baby will cry or need feeding/nappy change. Then I'll get distracted and things get left.

Yesterday I bagged up one bin bag of clutter around 2 rooms. I have a pile of ironing in the spare room (about 5 loads of washing) that I don't get time to iron because I'm constantly cleaning the main living room and kitchen. Even then the kitchen is a mess ALL the time, because my Dad is living with me at the moment and he is constantly in there making food. He's ill and I can't expect him to do washing up aswell, and even when he does, he leaves food on all the plates, so I tell him to leave it. DH doesn't help. He works from 7am to 11pm 7 days a week (yes no lie).

I feel like I am constantly trying to clean but then get overwhelmed and I think I'm getting depressed, because I just slink into the bedroom when DS is asleep and stay on my phone trying to ignore the crap around me.

Before DS was born I gave the whole house a spring clean and tried to keep on top of the shit, but it's just got our of control again.

How do you keep on top of everything? How the hell do I keep everything clean when I have a crawling baby who is now crying for me every 2 mins.
DD goes back to school tomorrow. Please help me. I feel like I'm getting depressed in the mess.

AshamedAndNeedTips Sun 04-Nov-12 16:21:12

If someone could give me a plan or something, maybe I could stick to it and make a change. Really unhappy about my messy home.

gordyslovesheep Sun 04-Nov-12 16:25:02

STORAGE - it takes no time to throw toys in a box and shut the lid

Once a month or so I have a massive clear out of the boxes!

I have no toys in the living room - it is my space

I expect the kids to tidy as well

I spend 1 morning a week cleaning - dusting, hoovering, cleaning toilets etc

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 04-Nov-12 16:30:08

1) Stop ironing. Honestly. You'll be fine, if slightly crumpled.
2) If your Dad is making food, he can tidy up after himself. Don't tell him to "leave it".
3) Don't allow children to eat-and-wander. All food has to be eaten at the table, then the crumbs at least are only in one place. Put the table and baby highchair back in kitchen/diner, so no food is in living room.
4) Bag up loads of toys and put them away, so there are fewer toys "out" at a time. Swap bags in rotation, so there are different toys every week for example, but they're not all out in one go.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Sun 04-Nov-12 16:31:04

Do you really need to iron everything in that ironing pile? Not much gets ironed round here - only things that really need it like shirts and some skirts/dresses.

Dishwasher?

Can you cook for all of you together and/or give your dad specific times when he can use the kitchen (that sounds a bit mean but if the times are generous enough it might work).

Move the table into the kitchen - buy a heater or something if you have no other source of heat in there. That will limit the amount of crumbs and also of to-ing and fro-ing you do with food, plates etc.

Why is your dh working so much? Hours like that are not good for any of you.

The first thing is to get everything in to a clean and tidy state - that is a huge job so it might need DH to take the kids out one day at the weekend and you literally blitz it. Then I have the following routine (same size house, 3 kids, 2 are preschool age and go 2 mornings a week, one school age):

Monday:
Clean upstairs bathroom
Clean our bedroom
Clean DS room
Clean Girls’ room
Ironing
Hoover downstairs
Dinner Prep
Lunches & Snacks
Laundry

Tuesday:
Clean Kitchen
Clean Family Room
Clean Utility
Change children’s bedding
Dinner Prep
Lunches & Snacks
Laundry

Wednesday:
Clean highchairs
Clean downstairs bathroom
Clean lounge
Lunches & Snacks
Dinner Prep
Laundry

Thursday:
Menu and Tesco
Upstairs bins
Ironing
Change our bedding
Lunches & Snacks
Dinner Prep
Laundry

Friday:
Hoover
Dinner Preps
Laundry
Paperwork

I have that as a tick list which is on my fridge and changed weekly. I do the biggest jobs on Mon and Thurs as those are the days the little ones are at preschool. I accept that maybe 2-3 things a week will only get a cursory clean rather than a proper one but if the house is kept tidy and clean as you go along then that is ok.

gordyslovesheep Sun 04-Nov-12 16:32:49

I iron everything in the basket once a week - usually Sat afternoons in front of shite TV

DeckSwabber Sun 04-Nov-12 16:33:10

Don't feel ashamed. It's not easy and some people (like me) hate cleaning. If your husband is working that much it is understandable that you are feeling like it is all on top of you.

My top tip is to make sure you don't let the clean house be the priority - yes your house needs to be safe and you need to be able to find clean clothes, but finding time to enjoy and nurture your children will leave you rewarded with happy children and lovely memories. When my boys were little I didn't do ANY ironing.

My kids are now teenagers and my house is still messy - I just do what I have to and every now and again (usually if people are coming round) I make an effort to get properly on top of it.

pjmama Sun 04-Nov-12 16:34:13

Lower your standards or you'll drive yourself completely batty!

Iron stuff as you need them. I'm a great advocate of "the playroom" - just shove all the kids crap in there each night and shut the door and pretend it's gone. Big clearup when you can no longer see carpet. Honestly, no-one ever died from clutter or excessive crumb exposure. Just do what you can and don't beat yourself up about it.

And try FlyLady - there's a really good thread in Homes & Gardens/Good Housekeeping, v supportive.

loveroflife Sun 04-Nov-12 16:37:30

Don't iron. Ever.

Make a list of what rooms to do properly each week but for an hour each day put the kids (how old are they?) in playpen, in front of TV and literally just spend 10 minutes whizzing around each room.

Toys in boxes, newspapers in racks, shoes in cupboards - get everyone to take their coat/shoes off as soon as they get in and put away.

Eating only at the table so it's the table to clean not the whole living room.

Hoover once a week, each night when the kids are in the bath, wipe around sink and toilet with wipes and then as soon as kids are in bed straight back into the bathroom and wipe around bath. Honestly, it may sound excessive that I do this every night but it never gets that dirty then and I'm not having to clean a weeks worth of build up.

Do as much as you can at night - sweep floor before bed, mop if needed, have all clothes/lunches ready/living room tidy so when you come down in all the morning all the shit isn't stressing you out and it at least looks clean and tidy.

Get out of the house more and if you can't spend 30mins in the day whizzing around do it when the kids are in bed.

Could you afford a cleaner even once every two weeks?

pepperrabbit Sun 04-Nov-12 16:39:19

When i'm overwhelmed by the state of the house i do the 15 minute thing.
Set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and blitz one room - i usually start with the kitchen.
do as much as you can, when the timer goes, move to the bathroom, then the sitting room, really strict 15 minutes each. When you've done 3 rooms the next 15 minutes is a rest - cup of tea/ mn/ etc.
I'm amazed by how much I can achieve in these small chunks, it makes a real difference.
I iron nothing.

PuppyMonkey Sun 04-Nov-12 16:40:39

Your DH works 7am-11pm seven days a week?confused

Your house is he same size as mine, I Hoover before wrk and wash up as we go. Fling toys in the storage boxes, clean the bathroom when the kids are in be bath (so I'm in there already) mop every other day. Beds made etc every morning.

On and I never ever iron. Ever. I will reluctantly iron something if it really needs it.

It's just a case of picking up regularly.

Also I put a wash on every morning and put it out in be evening.

One rule in my house, no food except at the tabe

MsVestibule Sun 04-Nov-12 16:44:29

You sound as though you have fairly high standards, well, compared to me.
- Regarding crumbs - if this bothers you, only let them eat at the table, even if it's just a biscuit.
- I know you have a crawling baby, but as long as everybody takes their shoes off at the door, I don't think you need to vacuum every day - I honestly think that unless you have pets, once a week is plenty, sorry if that outrages some of you 'clean' types wink.
- yy to storage - have a box in each room where you can chuck stuff in. It can be sorted out later.
- Instead of thinking 'sod this, nothing I do will have any effect', think 'right, baba asleep for half an hour, what can I do that will make a difference?'

Good luck, but please, please try not to let this get you down. Can your Dad do more than cook? Surely he can vacuum/dust?

SrirachaGhoul Sun 04-Nov-12 16:45:54

I try to aim for one "main" chore each day and then a little bit of hoovering and decluttering the main living areas every day. So:

Monday: Laundry ( I always have mini-loads going, as needed but do the bulk on Monday which includes folding AND putting away...I never iron).

Tuesday: Groceries/Other shopping or errands.

Wednesday: Wash Floors/Clean Kitchen.

Thursday: Bathrooms.

Friday: Dust and vacuum upstairs.

Yy to lots of big containers to throw toys into (instant de-stress) and keepin snacks in the kitchen.

My kids are school-aged now so it's easier to get things done but even when they were tiny I tried to declutter a little at the end of every day. Instant pick-me-up. Hang in there...it gets easier smile.

AitchDee Sun 04-Nov-12 16:48:27

My house is always tidy. Not immaculate, but clean and presentable enough that should anyone ever pop in unannounced (they never do!) that I wouldn't be embarrassed.

I have a five bed house, two bathrooms/three toilets, and five children including two year old twins...plus a hairy dog.

Here is what I do:

Beds made and bedrooms tidied before going downstairs. Everyone dressed and washed before going down. All laundry/rubbish/plates/cups etc taken down first thing.

I use bathroom wipes for around toilet and the bathroom floor, and a squirt of bleach daily.

I keep a small roll of plastic bags in a drawer upstairs to gather empty bottles/sweet wrappers/pieces of paper etc that magically appear overnight.

Takes 10 minutes.

Dishwasher loaded after every meal and turned on. Emptied while preparing next meal.

Kitchen surfaces and table cleaned with kitchen wipes after every meal. Takes two minutes.

Laundry put on first thing in the morning and last thing at night, plus any extra loads that appear during the day. I dont sort it, everything goes it together at 40 degrees. It's all put straight into the tumble drier, and I fold immediately and put away once a day. Total time less than 20 minutes spread through the day.

I Hoover the whole of downstairs 2-3 times a day, as like you, my twins wander with food and drop crumbs. Takes less than five minutes each time.

We have over-the-door hooks on a lot of the doors for bags and coats, and two big wrattan boxes - one for shoes, one for toys. Easy to gather up and dump in out of sight.

I think little and often is the key.

MrsMelons Sun 04-Nov-12 16:49:54

If your children are leaving crumbs /food everywhere then make them eat in the kitchen/diner. My DCs are not allowed to eat anywhere else for that very reason.

Like some others have mentioned try and make sure the kids put their toys away (maybe buy a few more storage boxes so everything fits into something). Store toys in one room only or in DCs rooms. I usually tidy up properly as soon as DCs are in bed or if DH is bathing them and putting them to bed.

As long as the bathroom/kitchen are hygenic then putting the hoover round when it looks like it needs it is fine, it will be less often without food/crumbs. I think you are being quite hard on yourself as sometimes it is just getting into a routine and you will feel better.

If your dad is able to make his food then he should be able to clear it up TBH.

If you have the money - get a cleaner once a week/fortnight and a dishwasher.

AitchDee Sun 04-Nov-12 16:50:11

Msvestibule, I seriously cannot imagine what my floors would look like if I only hoovered once a week. Already today I have hoovered twice, and it will need doing at least once more once the children are in bed.

MichaelaS Sun 04-Nov-12 16:51:22

So let me get this right... You have 3 kids, a workaholic DH and a DF who you look after too? No wonder you are at the end of your tether! I am struggling and I have a great but workaholic DH and 2 kids. And low standards. Tips...

1) low standards. Eating a bit of dirt is good for them, if your feet don't stick to the floor it is clean enough (maybe not for a small baby but for the big ones at least).
2) get help. Talk to DH about how many hours a week you do. He may not realise. Can he cut back even a bit? To take the kids or to do some housework? Even 3 hours a week might help. Or hire a cleaner, or even find a friend who can babysit whilst you clean and you can return the favour?
3) never buy anything that needs ironing. No iron shirts, no iron trousers, no iron anything. Waste of life.
4) I always feel better if clutter is hidden even if things are not actually tidy or clean. Shove things in a plastic box, another room, anywhere.
5) getting a bit more sleep makes you more able to cope and less worried about it all. Is this just tiredness really? Probably not 100% but might be a contributing factor.
6) can your DF do anything? If he's not well perhaps he could do seated tasks or even watch kids in front of tv whilst you get on with other things?
7) don't get drawn in to watching tv or mumsneting until you decide that it is leisure time. You can easily waste hours in front of the tv when you meant to sit down for 30 mins.

Good luck though, sounds like a hard job. The kids will grow up and leave someday, and it will get easier again. Try to enjoy the little phase whilst they are little, even if no one has clean clothes or faces. :-)

MrsMelons Sun 04-Nov-12 16:51:22

Iron watching TV in the evenings and definitely take shoes off at the door like someone else mentioned.

EternalHope Sun 04-Nov-12 16:57:29

With DH out of the picture, you are a single mother with an elderly relative and dc to look after and presumably someone coming home at 11pm expecting a meal on the table. Of course you can't cope! If your DH is working 105 hours a week (15 hours a day for 7 days a week) then presumably he is getting a reasonable wage and you should be able to afford a cleaner or ironing lady now and again. If DH is not bringing home reasonable money with all those hours then you have to wonder whether he is being effective (??or even legal if he is an employee, and if he is self employed, he maybe needs to take on an employee of his own).

Meantime you have some good advice above - def ditch the ironing (only buy non iron clothes), confine eating to the kitchen (get a small portable heater for meal times) and enlist your father's help- even if he is ill perhaps he can keep an eye on the DC watching TV for an hour or so whilst you clean upstairs.

Finally, why is DS crying for you all the time? Have you had his health checked? Can your DD not play with him sometimes? Or your father?

It will get better!!

lucyellenmum Sun 04-Nov-12 16:57:51

What does yoru DH do, are that amount of hours legal?

poshfrock Sun 04-Nov-12 16:58:21

Yes to all the above but if you feel you must iron then set up your ironing board in the spare room and iron in 15 minute bursts. You will be amazed at what you can get done in 15 mins and it will also make you ruthless as to what actually needs it. When my kids were little I didn't iron baby clothes, play clothes or bedding. Leave the ironing board up so you can pop in as and when you have the inclination.
Why is your Dad making food for himself? Does he not eat with the rest of you? If he's well enough to cook then he could be making lunches for you and the kids and dinner once or twice a week. And he should certainly be clearing up his own mess. Try saying " Dad, I'm just going to clean x,y,z would you give me a hand by washing the pots and then we can both have a cup of tea. Thanks."

MsVestibule Sun 04-Nov-12 16:59:31

Aitchdee to be fair, I did add the caveat "unless you have pets"! Also, my DCs aren't allowed to walk around eating, so without crumbs, dog hair and general dirt walked in from outside, there's not really much else to get it dirty.

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