to ask those with nice, clean tidy home how you do it.

(159 Posts)
FortyDoorsToNowhere Thu 10-Oct-13 21:38:35

I have spent 11 hours already this week trying to sort this house out. I have got rid of a lot of junk, but still have my wardrobe to sort out ( another 2 hours) as it is full of junk, clean the cooker and also do my nets and windows.

How the fudge do people manage to keep a nice, clean and tidy home.

No doubt by next week my house will be back to square one.

BonaDrag Thu 10-Oct-13 21:41:21

Fly lady is good.

My home is reasonably clean and tidy. When I'm working I spend 15 mins tidying in the evening and then from Fri-Sun about four hours in total for cleaning and laundry.

I also tidy as I go, which I find helps a lot.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 10-Oct-13 21:41:27

Cleanliness: cleaner (and before than low standards smile )

Tidyness: I am naturally tidy and hate clutter and junk.

goodmum123 Thu 10-Oct-13 21:41:34

Same here, I'm in a right mess. Lets hope for some good advice.

CocacolaMum Thu 10-Oct-13 21:42:54

Loads of tips in the housekeeping forum

I think its all a shiny veneer.. I imagine that the people of these shiny houses either own absolutely nothing or are hiding the "stuff" in bulging cupboards and drawers

My sister keeps a lovely home but she has no emotional attachment to anything.. if my nephew draws her a picture it is put on the fridge for a week and then binned.

I must admit I have boxes of my dc's stuff they have made me over the years although recently I have started taking a photo of the picture to store on my laptop rather than adding to the piles of paper!!

TigerBabyyy Thu 10-Oct-13 21:45:32

Do it as you go along.

Every night before you go to bed make sure everything is in its place, kitchen spotless etc that way you will always come down to everything as it should be in the morning.

After every meal, put things in the dishwasher or wash them if you haven't got one, and wipe all surfaces in the kitchen. That way it never piles up and looks a big job.

Iron all clothes that have been washed before the next weeks worth of washing is done, that way ironing never piles up.

Spend 20 mins once a week cleaning the bathroom, this way it never gets too dirty and doesn't take any longer.

Do cleaning when the kids have gone to bed.

Things are a lot harder and more time consuming to do when they are left. Little and often, and they don't become big jobs.

If something hasn't been used in 6 months, bin it!

Rudejude7 Thu 10-Oct-13 21:46:21

I've invested in a cleaner for the sake of my sanity.

xuntitledx Thu 10-Oct-13 21:48:17

Lots of storage.

When DH and I bought our house, we were lucky that we were able to design the rooms and buy the furniture to suit so we've got loads of storage space and we're very particular about what we keep hold of instead of hoarding shit for all of eternity

We also clean little and often instead of storing it up - much easier to do 15-30 mins a night and it's easy to fit in around work aswell without feeling like too much of a chore.

Plus it's really nice to come home to a nice clean house instead of a pigsty, that is a motivator in itself!

bimbabirba Thu 10-Oct-13 21:48:39

My house is far from perfect but I find that if I do a bit everyday, and I force everyone to do a bit too, it's just about acceptable.

ThePearShapedToad Thu 10-Oct-13 21:49:22

Invite people round. It's amazing how quickly I can clean the house when I have people turning up in an hour wink

fluffandnonsense Thu 10-Oct-13 21:49:47

Tidiness - I have 2 kids so being organised is the way forward. I bought a label maker and have all their toys in labelled boxes, when they are finished they go back in the right box. I also hate clutter so don't really have lots of nik naks or ornaments. I tidy the house every night when kids are in bed, putting shoes back in cupboards, toys away etc. I do at least one load of washing a day. All dirty dishes go in the dishwasher which gets turned in every night before bed and then emptied as soon as we get up so the breakfast dishes can go back in. The kids also have to tidy their rooms before going to bed at night, which because I keep on top of it only takes a few minutes.

If I see something on the floor I pick it up. I don't have washing baskets in bedrooms so when anyone takes clothes off they go and put them straight in the laundry baskets in the utility (which are colour coded!)

Cleanliness - dishes are done and put away after using or put straight in the dishwasher. Every time I do something in the kitchen I wash the sides down afterwards. If I spill something (or the kids do) it gets get mopped up there and then. I Hoover, dust and wipe over the bathroom once a week. I also pay a cleaner to come in for 2 hours a week and do a thorough clean including all the floors mopped etc.

Basically if you keep on top of it, it's never too much to do in an hour or so.

Nusatenggara Thu 10-Oct-13 21:51:36

I agree with the theory of do it as you go along but what if you are just too busy or plain old tired?

I'm always sooo tired at night and just cannot be bothered to do much and then of course it does all pile up.

Mind you I appear to be able to type at all hours grin!

FortyDoorsToNowhere Thu 10-Oct-13 21:52:06

cant afford a cleaner, so got to do it myself.

moustachio Thu 10-Oct-13 21:53:48

thepearshapedtoad I 100% agree smile I work under pressure

SinisterSal Thu 10-Oct-13 21:59:37

It's clutter. Clutter is the nemesis
Kids toys
Crayons and art stuff
clothes. In case I get thin. In case I get fat. In case it comes back into fashion. If I throw away the stuff I was wearing as a young hip thing around town, that's the last link to the old me gone. DS always looked so cute in it. DH was wearing it when he proposed. It's environmentally unsound Argh!
DH's football boots and gear all over the house.
I may have sewing stuff on the odd surface
Kitchen crap

but i neeeeed all this stuff

I feel your pain OP

CoffeeTea103 Thu 10-Oct-13 22:13:43

Am also one of those whose home has to be neat and clean all the time.
Unload dishwasher at night so any dishes during day can go in
Have toy boxes for kids, teach them to put their toys in when done playing
Kitchen, bathroom, floor cleaning wipes are great in between the major cleaning days
Spend 15 mins before bed just tidying up
If you in the habit of tidying up immediately after you've done something it helps.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Thu 10-Oct-13 22:21:32

It just seems never ending.

I am still pottering around now as I am still washing DC school uniform ready for the morning.

I think I will just have to be more organised

AndHarry Thu 10-Oct-13 22:22:54

I was getting fed up of clutter so DH now takes the children out on Saturday mornings and I go through one room, sorting stuff into piles:

- bin
- recycling
- charity shop
- Gumtree/Facebook selling page/eBay
- put away somewhere else
- stays here

It's amazing how much stuff vanishes this way and I've made quite a lot of money selling bits, usually unnecessary furniture and baby stuff. It feels great every time I finish a room (I give it a good clean too) and our house is more manageable now.

CoteDAzur Thu 10-Oct-13 22:23:29

I have a cleaning lady who comes for 3 hours per week.

Lj8893 Thu 10-Oct-13 22:23:32

Move house lots, means you declutter each time grin really helpful

I tidy as I go along and then do a deep clean of one room a day/evening. Means that clean only takes about 15-30 minutes.

Its taken me a long time to get into this habit though!

Kiwiinkits Thu 10-Oct-13 22:30:50

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Often messy houses have bugger-all storage. Or storage solutions that are not practical.

whois Thu 10-Oct-13 22:30:56

1. Live with a neat freak who puts anything left lying around into your designated box.
2. Have a cleaner.
3. Minor clean/tidy as we go so wipe down surfaces after cooking, everything in the dishwasher after eating.
4. No children.
5. Out of the house all day and many evenings. That really helps keep the place tidy and clean if you're not using it.


Scarifying Thu 10-Oct-13 22:44:19

Get rid of anything you don't need and I mean EVERYTHING and stop buying new stuff unless its essential.

I love living in a clean and tidy but not show house house. It makes me calm and happy.

I have a cleaner 4 times a week so cleaning is contracted out but I do loads of gardening instead as I like a tidy garden too. Just call me Mrs Bucket grin

itsn0tmeitsyou Thu 10-Oct-13 22:46:41

I'm with you OP. I can't seem to achieve it. I have 3 children under 6 but not all the mess is theirs, frankly....

I am either too tired after I've put the kids to bed, and just want to flop, or I'm going out to the gym or somewhere, and generally I see the 2-3 hours in the evening as the only bit of me time I get in a day, and the last thing I want to do is spend a large chunk of it cleaning/ironing, etc.

THePEarShapedToad is totally right. Somehow it gets done when I know I've got someone coming round... But not the upstairs... grin

ToysRLuv Thu 10-Oct-13 22:57:46

We have lots of stuff from late MIL's house still to look through and decide whether to sell/keep/bin. I keep putting it off, as does DH (but he is also very busy with work). There is so much! I'm convinced it's not worth the effort or time to sort/sell, so I would just cart everything to the charity shop/bin, but DH thinks we could make some money (fair enough, as we're a bit skinned at the moment). I would love to have a clutter-free place, but our house is too small for all this stuff. I contain it mainly in the office, and bedrooms (boxes and bags on top of wardrobes), though, and the living room is completely box/clutter free.

Oh and there are all the books in boxes, as well. Don't know what to do with those. No room for book cases at the moment. confused

foreverchanging Thu 10-Oct-13 22:58:59

Storage and a place for everything.

Sadly, I have none hmm

It's like pushing water up a hill, honestly.

ToysRLuv Thu 10-Oct-13 22:59:52

However, the place is clean and tidy, as I try to clear up as I go and do a weekly clean (vacuuming, mopping).

PaperSeagull Thu 10-Oct-13 22:59:52

I agree with little and often, clean as you go. I worked out a cleaning schedule that we strictly adhere to. Certain chores are always done on Saturdays, others are always done on Sundays. Each weekend we also do one extra thing (e.g., washing windows) on a rotating basis. DH and I both work full time, so we do the minimum of cleaning during the week. But we've found that doing that little bit each day really helps when it comes to tackling the weekend tasks.

I can't abide clutter, so I try to keep on top of it. Someone told me that when you're sorting things out, you should touch each item only once. For some reason, I found that simple piece of advice so useful. Previously, I had been sorting things into various piles, then re-sorting them, becoming overwhelmed in the process. But if you have a clear list of where to put things, it can be really helpful (e.g., these items go straight into this drawer, these go on that shelf, etc.).

Flyingbytheseatofmypullups Thu 10-Oct-13 23:00:58

Cleanliness - lucky to have a cleaner, but may be relevant to note that she does a four bedroom house in four hours once a week. I.e. a measure of time spent rather than who does it. We literally do no cleaning between her visits.

Tidiness - DH and I are both 'tidy as you go' people and don't hoard although we love recycling - and DD appears to be turning put the same.

Things I don't care/ worry about - ironing, cleaning windows,

Things I do care about - shoes off upstairs, shoes off on furniture, tidying things away, hanging coats etc up, putting shoes away, things having a 'place', keeping cat out of lounge when we're not in, weekly washing routine (clothes, bedding etc not people!), bagging unwanted/ no longer needed stuff for charity shop, family meal plan, shared calendars, admin/ post pile dealt with when it gets too big, teaching DD to do things for herself.

ToysRLuv Thu 10-Oct-13 23:04:13

Yes to not ironing. Windows get washed, at most, twice a year.

We take shoes off indoors, and I think that helps a lot with keeping the floors clean.

ToysRLuv Thu 10-Oct-13 23:05:45

Oh, and that after shower spray stuff works well, so you don't have to scrub the shower/bath more than every couple of weeks.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Thu 10-Oct-13 23:07:42

I can't even remember the last time I cleaned the windows.

The cooker now has to be cleaned though as I have bought those put in a bag cooker cleaner. It says 2 hours but going to leave it over night.

I just hope with these tips my house don't become one again lol

Goofymum Thu 10-Oct-13 23:07:56

It depends on your standards I suppose. I work full time and have 2 kids. During the week the house gets pretty messy but the kitchen is generally cleaned as we go along. At weekends I do about 1 hour blitz cleaning and can get a lot done in that time. DH does tidying and hoovering too. Just doing that little amount keeps the house ok by my standards. I think it is organisation too.

ToysRLuv Thu 10-Oct-13 23:11:15

Put a foil sheet on the bottom of the oven and you don't have to clean it ever again very often.

Sunnysummer Thu 10-Oct-13 23:12:28

The most important thing for me is to have tidy cupboards with a place for everything - this means that even when there is surface clutter it can quickly be put away.

Tidying the cupboards, of course, is the tricky bit! It sounds like you're already doing a great job - also, it helps to be really tough with yourself when going through things, as people have suggested above. When you get new things, try to get rid of something else either to the bin, donation or eBay (we have a one in one out policy with my shoes, DS's toys and my husband's sports and electronics stuff!). This also helps to stop just shoving a new thing into a cupboard and starting the slow slide back towards chaos. If you're really time poor, professional organisers can be AMAZING - we had one help when a relative passed away and then hired them for us when we moved house in my third trimester, as they can really help you speed up, set up good systems and be objective.

Also, loved the recent thread with tips for less than perfect homemakers smile

valiumredhead Thu 10-Oct-13 23:17:37

No junk or clutter is the answer. You need to chuck stuff out on a regular basis.

treaclesoda Thu 10-Oct-13 23:19:42

I agree with little and often. And there are certain things that if you always do them, it gives the impression of everything being very very tidy, such as making sure that there is absolutely nothing (except people) sitting on your chairs/sofas. Or that your kitchen worktops are always cleared and wiped down. These things only take seconds really, a few minutes at most, so if you're in the habit of doing them you just do them on automatic pilot.

Also, get rid of clutter. You can't tidy clutter, you can only move it around. So if something doesn't make you happy to look at it, or it doesn't serve a purpose and get used, then its a waste of time having it in your house at all.

LightSky Thu 10-Oct-13 23:26:30

I think its a gradual thing, a bit every day, plus blitzes. I've been doing it for about 2 years and am getting close! One day!

My latest thing is to commit to sort out ONE extra thing a day e.g. a cupboard, a box, etc.

Then I will go to bed for a week.

jendot Thu 10-Oct-13 23:30:56

I have a cleaner!
I also continually tidy up as I go. I detest clutter...everything gets binned of filed straight away.
No ironing (except linen and work shirts and even then I try to tumble the creases out of them).
The kids have to keep their rooms/ clothes etc up to an acceptable standard.

Bumblequeen Fri 11-Oct-13 00:02:04

I too agree that everything must have a place in the home. The less items on show the better. It does mean putting things back each time you use them.

I cannot stand clutter and mess.

I keep the dining table and kitchen surfaces clean and tidy.

The living room is always neat bar dd's toys being out. Dd packs these away before bed every evening.

Fly Lady! It's really american - but amazing!

BenNJerry Fri 11-Oct-13 11:11:15

DH and I hate mess. We split chores usually - he vacuums, dusts and cleans the bathroom. I do the kitchen, washing and ironing. Doing a little bit every day makes it a lot easier. DS's toys are usually on the floor though (he's still a baby, so has play mats and things all over the lounge.) grin

Jan49 Fri 11-Oct-13 11:34:29

Don't have lots of clutter or if you have, make sure it is hidden away in cupboards. Don't have lots of ornaments on surfaces - use a glass fronted cabinet instead so the stuff doesn't need dusting. Don't have lots more stuff than you need.

Tidy as you go or don't make the mess in the first place.

Clean the bathroom regularly.

Keep kitchen stuff in kitchen cupboards wherever possible, not on surfaces.

Have nice floorings in good condition - carpets or wood. My rented house has laminate/wood/lino in the places that get most messy and plain brown carpet everywhere else. The laminate floor in the hall is probably the only place where you can see when it needs hoovering. The rest looks the same all the time, clean.

Don't bother about cleaning windows. I can't see any difference in how my house looks when the windows are clean or not. I lived in my last house for over a decade and had a few inaccessible windows which I didn't clean on the outside. When a glass pane had to be replaced, you couldn't tell which was the brand new clean one and which was the one beside it that hadn't been cleaned outside for 10 years! Though as you say you have nets, they do tend to get grubby. Maybe pay a one off cleaner to do the windows and nets?

Sort post and junk quickly. Junk to go straight from doormat to recycling. Post dealt with asap so it doesn't pile up. Any newspapers get transferred to recycling every Saturday after I've bought the Sat Guardian.

StickyFloor Fri 11-Oct-13 11:40:15

1) DECLUTTER - if in doubt stick stuff in the loft or shed while you decide if you need it or not.
2) A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING - Once everything has a home it becomes natural to put things where they belong
3) Get kids in the habit of putting stuff away each evening before bed, without fail. At a push this means things go in their bedrooms so at least the rest of the house is tidy and toy free
4) Foil in the bottom of the cooker and grill pan to catch spills and avoid the need for a regular deep clean!
5) Establish a routine eg each morning after I get home from school run I clean the loos, wipe down kitchen surfaces, clean kitchen floor, load washing machine, empty dishwasher and then either Hoover upstairs / downstairs / dust upstairs / downstairs. This takes an hour or so and makes me feel like the house is basically clean.
6) Have rules that help minimise dirt and mess in the first place eg food in the kitchen only, no shoes indoors, clothes go immediately in linen basket when taken off
7) Only iron the essentials! Everything else gets a brisk shake then is dried on hangers ready to go into wardrobes immediately.

KittiesInsane Fri 11-Oct-13 11:44:27

Do Not:

Have teenage children.

Or random, unidentifiable, but essential bits of computer wiring, musical instruments, sim cards, backs off remote controls, spare bulbs, ink bottles, art projects, replacement panels from rabbit hutches, solitary wetshoes, clay models, airfix models, sacks of apples, or a sick cat and sadly that's just what i can see in the kitchen.

Or anything on paper.

Without those things to organise, my house would be immaculate. Oh yes.

KittiesInsane Fri 11-Oct-13 11:47:36

The no-clutter advice is great, but if the rest of your family are passionately attached to their clutter, 'just throw it away' is not quite enough advice.

quoteunquote Fri 11-Oct-13 12:12:44

Every single person who uses this space as a base, pulls their weight in the day to day running of house, outside space and animals needs.

I have always considered incredibly rude if someone makes me address their behaviour, or effort.

My mother did not give birth to me for me to be someone else's skivey.

The rules in this house are if you see something in this space that needs doing, do it, selective vision is not an option.

When we come in everyone runs round for five minutes until all jobs are done, then we all relax.

It would take one person about four hours to clean and tidy this house, and five people about 20 minutes.

Because everyone is always involved, everyone does stuff as they move about the house and garden, so there is never really anything outstanding left to deal with.

everyone knows and is capable of doing every job, and knows it's their responsibility, and just gets on with it, who wants to chat about housework, it's hardly a stimulating conversation.

I would go batshit crazy if I ever had to ask anyone to clean or tidy, because it is so rude to make me into the person who would be conceived as a nag, no one would label themselves a nag happily, so for someone to put you in a position of being a person who has to hassle others is completely unfair, and so rude.

I never ask anyone to do anything, I just expect people to respect and take care of any space they are in and they all do.

livinginwonderland Fri 11-Oct-13 12:17:19

I do it little and often. I set aside maybe 30-40 minutes a day to do certain tasks and that way it doesn't get on top of me. Our flat is cluttered due to lack of storage but it's always clean and things are always organised.

For example, Saturday, DP and I did the bathroom and cleaned all the cat stuff properly. Monday I did laundry, we changed the bedsheets and did the dishes. Tuesday and Wednesday I took the rubbish out, vacuumed, cleaned away little bits and pieces. Yesterday I did the dishes again, cleaned the kitchen up and took more rubbish out. Today I just did laundry and put some stuff away.

Stop it building up and it won't get too off-putting smile

bishboschone Fri 11-Oct-13 12:22:37

Keep on top of it is the only way.. I go through the house once a week cleaning bathrooms and changing beds but clean the kitchen every day . It doesn't take much if you do it every day. Disclaimer I don't work but have a sn ds and dd at school.

Dahlen Fri 11-Oct-13 12:26:15

Ensure the rest of the household co-operates with operation clean and tidy on pain of death wink

My house is usually tidy. It's not as clean as it first appears because it is difficult to find time to polish/clean skirting, doors, windowframes, etc when you work full time and have a full, active life. However, because I don't let it get filthy and because it's tidy people don't notice.

Storage is the key. Baskets and cupboards are your friends.

As an aside, I think furniture makes a difference. If you have a knackered sofa covered by a throw, unless you've just straightened the throw it will always look a little untidy. If you have cushions that have plain backs rather than being double-sided, they will also look wrong unless you've just straightened them and turned them right way round. If your coffee table is losing its finish, it will never look just polished unless it has just been polished, whereas a newer one will, etc. I've found that as my income has gone up and I've replaced furniture with better-quality items, the place seems a lot easier to keep looking presentable.

I have the sort of house that always looks ok. Just don't open any cupboards. grin

springthorn Fri 11-Oct-13 12:39:36

My house is usually clean and tidy. I own loads of stuff, but everything has its place and I regularly have clear outs - if I don't have an emotional attachment to something and haven't used it in over 6 months, it either goes in the loft, the bin or on ebay.

GrendelsMum Fri 11-Oct-13 12:39:39

I think the answer is that to have to have a tidy home, you have to repeatedly put 5-15 mins in to tidying throughout the course of each day.

e.g. come home, put away all stuff that you brought in with you rather than leaving it on the side; make dinner, wash up and wipe down sides; before going to bed, tidy surfaces, put coffee cups in dishwasher and switch dishwasher on.

Actually, it means you're doing quite a lot each day, but in short bursts.

MinesAPintOfTea Fri 11-Oct-13 12:46:22

After dinner and a bit of playing time: DH takes DS up for a bath, I whizz around tidying every room so that everything DS has thrown on the floor, put books away, clean laundry (do a wash most days to keep on top of it) etc is put away. Then when I take over to give DS his milk and settle him in his cot, DH goes downstairs and does all the washing up.

I ebay occasionally, chuck things in the bin and grumble at DH to do the same. Oh and I keep the study door shut when we have guests grin

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Fri 11-Oct-13 13:08:21

My problem is time. I only have at the most 4 hours during the day and am away from the house every evening and all day Saturday and a lot of Sunday.
During the summer holidays Charity shop, recycling centre, Gumtree, Clothes for Cash and CEX have taken several car loads each.
My house looks worse now than it did before I just don't understand it.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Fri 11-Oct-13 13:13:52

I should say the 4 hours I do have are taken up with running a business, home edding my youngest as well as the cleaning, gardening, DIY, laundry and washing up. Sometimes I have to go out for the day so nothing gets done on those days.

cantthinkofagoodone Fri 11-Oct-13 13:20:07

Kitchen cleaned and tidied after every use. Only one glass or mug on the go at a time.
Never leave a room empty handed - wherever you're going take something to put in it's right place.
Daily - One load of washing every evening unless you have none.
All kids toys into toy box
Thursday - hoover
Friday - dust
Saturday - bathroom and mop bathroom and kitchen floor
I only iron the minimum on Sunday evening

I'm naturally a tidy person and the above keeps a general level of cleanliness. Big jobs such as windows and ovens only happen a few times a year. DH and DS are not tidy but I just leave DH's mess in a pile and he now knows to leave the lounge in order if he goes to bed after me.

Do a bit everyday. I don't work Fridays so spent 2 hours cleaning. Make the kids tidy their own rooms or no screen time!

PMS. I only clean when I'm premenstrual, so for about 5 days a month the house looks great. The rest of the month it's up to DH so it could go either way really.

My idea of non-premenstrual cleaning is to make sure there are no pj's on the sitting room floor.

I sweep downstairs every day though.

Summerworld Fri 11-Oct-13 16:12:10

people who say 15 minutes cleaning a day is enough to keep the house tidy must be joking! It is more like 2-3 hours solid housework at my place, every day. With 2 little children about, any kind of order gets undone within half an hour. It just makes you despair. It is allright when everybody is out the house every day, kids are at school, DH at work and you can actually catch up and have the house clean for a few hours. But in my case, I find myself constantly doing jobs which are created for me, like spilt drinks, sick on beds, upturned puzzles, ink on sofas. The washing up alone takes 30 mins with all the pots and pans and that is twice a day at least.

And do not start me on laundry. I have got 2 washing machines plumbed in, and i do not know how I would have coped with one. I got 2 loads on the go all of Saturday and Sunday and do some washing during the week. And that is a lot of washing to dry and put away. 15 mins a day for housework??? Yeah, right.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Oct-13 16:15:50

I honestly think if you are clear of clutter then it is a quick zoom round if it's longer then I think you need to start de cluttering.

What on earth are you washing to warrant 2 washing machines?shock

valiumredhead Fri 11-Oct-13 16:17:43

Wrt spilt drinks ink on sofa-I used to be really organised, pens etc were only used at the table then put away and the same with food and drink, any other way creates unnecessary mess ime.

TrueStory Fri 11-Oct-13 16:24:21

yes but quoteunquote how did you manage to create this understanding that people in the house just have to get on with it???

I agree in principle everyone should pitch in, but have to say I have become a bit of a nag re. housework/children - this is not my natural habitat and would like to change.


Summerworld Fri 11-Oct-13 16:30:04

lol I know I sound weird, but it has been a life saver. Well, kids are messy, so they mostly need new clothes every day, sometimes my youngest has 2-3 changes. Clothes for me and DH, bedding - changing 3 beds every week. Towels - I change them frequently as they get a lot of use.The little one is still in nappies, so washable nappies - 3 times a week. Plus things like nets, throws as they can get food/drink spilt. It adds up. Even without the nappies, I would have had lots to wash every week. I do not know how people with a family manage with just one washing machine.

And I do separate my washing according to fabrics and colours - things tend to last longer that way. But it also creates more loads.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Oct-13 16:30:47

I've just read quote's post-similar to our house, ds was putting his toys away as soon as he could walk practically! He has jobs he is responsible for and gets on with them, sometimes with gentle reminder. Dh does bins, garden and out outdoor jobs ,I cook, bathroom gets cleaned when someone uses it so that's every day-I give it going over every week.

I would find things hard without a tumble drier.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Oct-13 16:33:33

Summer- do your machines have long cycles. Mine has a 30 min wash,I also separate colors, is there any other way?wink I would find it hard with a machine that had wash cycles of over an hour.

hermioneweasley Fri 11-Oct-13 16:37:04

OP, what are your circumstances? Do you work? If so, it is every day/ what sort of hours?

Summerworld Fri 11-Oct-13 16:37:04

Valiumred, I agree with you re. using pens only at the table, same as food and drink. Unfortunately, it does not always work, especially when the kids are in DH's care! Then I do come to a mess.

And I have found that toys/pens need to be within DCs' reach and sight, otherwise DCs just don't think to use them. I would rather they draw when they feel like drawing. It is a good skill to have, especially for when they start school, pencil conrol etc.

Oh, I moan too much. I guess there are lots of people in the same boat.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Oct-13 16:38:55

I agree but I used to put the pens out and call them to the table.

I think you need words with your Dh, if he's looking after then then surely it's his responsibility?

MrsPear Fri 11-Oct-13 16:40:07

Make myself get off my bum and tidy. Much easier to tidy if everything has a place. Get rid of the crap. I am one of those mums who bins after a week any craft stuff. I live with dh, dbil and 2 children in a 3 bed, 1 reception masionette flat so have to be ruthless. However I do not clear dh or dbil's drawers / cupboard. That is there look out.

Summerworld Fri 11-Oct-13 16:40:30

I am afraid even the long cycle does not always wash to perfection. So some garments I end up needing to soak in stain remover and re-wash. The soiling must be really light for the 30-min wash to cope well?

In practice, yes, I do end up using a hot wash and long cycles a lot of the time. That is why having two loads on the go has been so handy.

HardFacedCareeristBitchNigel Fri 11-Oct-13 17:21:53

I am still pottering around

There is your problem. Don't potter. It takes much longer to do things when you are just pottering about. Focus on the task in hand, organise your time and you will get much more done in much less time.

Turn off the TV/ipad/phone while you are doing this. It defocuses you.

I have ADHD but can achieve a lot in the house in quite a short period of time simply by forcing myself to focus on the task in hand rather than pottering about.

It's the way forward

VillandraMcTavish Fri 11-Oct-13 17:31:43

The only way to get a tidy home is:

-Thin out your stuff and ditch/sell much and get it out of the house not lying around 'meaning to be sent to the charity shop'

-replace furniture with things that double as storage if your house doesn't have a lot (most don't) and build storage in if at all possible e.g. storage for glassware on an unused wall, bookshelves up the staircase etc

- spend two or three days properly deep cleaning and tidying and use that as your baseline

- be disciplined after that, it is really only ten minutes to hoover one floor of the average house, or to wipe round the kitchen and clean the floor

- don't buy new products if you have old ones that work, just don't clutter your brain with having to think through cleaning equipment etc. Use what you know and use it quick but often.

VillandraMcTavish Fri 11-Oct-13 17:35:43

Can I just say about the storage, I pooh-pooed MIL for having a book about this: very poncy it was, and I kind of derided her for wasting her time on this sort of shit.

However she made it her retirement project to have a 'streamlined' home and she now has a place for everything. It's incredible. She has a specially built window seat that holds her suitcases. Where do you keep your suitcases? Mine are in some god-awful junk cupboard or on top of a wardrobe. She just lifts off the cushioned seat and there is is, not bothering anybody, nestling in its perfect home grin

That sort of thing makes it easy to be tidy, and thereafter it's easy to be clean.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Oct-13 18:02:15

Vill-my suitcases and bags are under the Ottoman storage bedwink

Summer -even Dh's bike racing gear gets waged on 30 min cycle and is fine. I put whites on an hour long wash but that's it.

VillandraMcTavish Fri 11-Oct-13 19:15:02

[approving nod] at valiumredhead smile

quoteunquote I heartily agree with your advice, and try try try to influence the other two members of my household. They DO NOT get it. It's brute refusal on their part, no handicap or processing difficulties. This periodically makes me very unhappy. It is getting better but most of the time I just think 'oh for FUCK'S SAKE I shouldn't have to say this at all, let alone repeat it'. So my advice on top of that is do not live with/marry/have children with an otherwise nice person who uses quiet refusal to ignore his share of the upkeep of HIS OWN HOME. too late for me now, I was blinkered when young

VillandraMcTavish Fri 11-Oct-13 19:16:16

Also I wanted to say to Summerworld that when ds was young we had a cleaner once a week. It's a different world, having a slightly clingy, high needs toddler. It's temporary insanity in a way.

everlong Fri 11-Oct-13 19:22:53

Never bloody stop tidying and cleaning.

Bores the pants off me but I can't stand muck or stuff.

And now I've just added a great big lump of slobbering dog to the mix just to add more work! ( he's so worth it though )

But seriously declutter ruthlessly. Clean little and very often. Once a week do big deep clean.

Nusatenggara Fri 11-Oct-13 19:30:23

grin everlong!

How long do you spend every day when you say little and often? Does that time include filling dishwasher, putting on washing, cooking etc?

I think 15 mins a day is a bit optimistic in my case blush

everlong Fri 11-Oct-13 19:58:05

Everyday I Hoover all downstairs and mop the hall, kitchen/dining room, utility. Do the dishwasher, two wash loads, clean 3 toilets and sinks, empty bins. Tidy up.

I can do it all in about an hour. I've 2 dogs and 1 cat, a DH, 7 and 14 year old at home so it gets messy quickly.

Once a week I do a proper job everywhere.

I have a touch of the Monica's so can't rest until it's done.

everlong Fri 11-Oct-13 20:02:47

Sorry should point out that I don't work so obviously it's easier for me to fit that in everyday.

Wouldn't be doing that if I worked.

Nusatenggara Fri 11-Oct-13 20:11:51

I clearly need to up my game grin! Don't you find it demotivating having to keep at it constantly? I find it so hard to find enthusiasm even though I love it looking clean and tidy.

It's like climbing the Matterhorn each day and finding yourself back at base camp every following morning confused

DustBunnyFarmer Fri 11-Oct-13 20:15:00

It would be helpful if people could provide context for their claims about how easy it is. DH and I both work full time, he leaves at 7.30am every day and I leave the house at 8am with our sons to walk them to the school breakfast club, then onto work. We pick up the kids at about 5.40pm from after school club and then I set to work cooking dinner while DH does packed lunches for all of us & PE kit for the next day in their bags. By the time the person doing bath/bedtime gets back down its usually 8.45pm. Often we have to bring work home or are scrabbling around before bedtime trying to magic into existence a World Book Day costume or batch of fairy cakes for a PTA bake sale the next day that the school only texted us about at 3pm. Weekends are about swimming lessons, errands, shopping, homework, kids parties and - if we are lucky - some family fun. There's really not much time left for me or DH to pursue our own interests and the housework/clutter builds up accordingly. If we have 15 min here and there to spare, we try to get stuff done but sometimes you just can't win. Something had to give and we chose to prioritise our sanity over housework. My username says it all.

Nusatenggara Fri 11-Oct-13 20:17:06

DustBunny, I take my hat off to you - god only knows how families cope with keeping a house looking vaguely ok when you both work full time.

Chandra Fri 11-Oct-13 20:17:14

Keep having people around, this forces you to tidy up. If there are people around often enough the house looks spotless most of the time.

Disclaimer: the above only works if you tend to be embarrased by the mess, otherwise enjoy the visits and forget about tidying up.

everlong Fri 11-Oct-13 20:23:04

It is groundhog day, yes.

I did line up a cleaning lady the other week. But I talked myself out of it. I think my cleaning regime helps my waning sanity.

And I couldn't get my head around another woman cleaning my house, while I sit there with a coffee. grin

ChateauCollapso Fri 11-Oct-13 20:31:01

Just try & keep on top of it & don't let it pile up. I had 2 kids 2 years apart & made myself have a routine. Clear up as you go, ironing when they had a lunchtime nap, ask them to help you tidy up toys before tea, while they're in the bath you can clean the bathroom & stuff like that. I was a SAHM but can appreciate how hard it would be if you're working. However, I started working P/T but every day when my youngest was 5. There wasn't the concept of 'me-time' as such, it was just a given that we didn't have time to ourselves. It sounds a bit Pythonesque 'we ad it tuff' but I didn't. I still saw mates, enjoyed being at home with my kids & the house looked reasonable. I can't relax if the house is a mess so maybe it's just me.

DustBunnyFarmer Fri 11-Oct-13 20:44:01

I did line up a cleaning lady the other week. But I talked myself out of it. I think my cleaning regime helps my waning sanity.

We got several cleaners to quote for doing our house but realised it wasn't a cleaner we needed, but a tidier/sorter. If the house was tidy, we could easily whip round with the hoover & cleaning stuff in an hour or two at the weekend. Sadly, tidiers are not advertised in the yellow pages.

ChateauCollapso Fri 11-Oct-13 20:45:05

everlong I feel the same. I would clean & tidy before a cleaning lady came which is why I wouldn't get one. I would also feel guilty laying about while someone else cleaned my home. My neighbour had a cleaner & she'd lay in the garden while the cleaner did her housework. I always thought ' you lazy t**t'. She didn't work so no need for someone else to do her housework.

dietcokeandwine Fri 11-Oct-13 20:47:38

I think it is relatively easy to achieve a clean/tidy home if

(a) you are instinctively a 'tidy' person and can't relax until the house is at what you perceive to be 'comfortable' levels of tidiness

(b) you have the 15-30 minutes daily to spare on 'fly lady' style cleaning/tidying

(c) you have storage systems in place for clutter and don't allow mess to accumulate.

If I'm honest, I have a clean/tidy home because all of the above apply. I have three young DC, and we live in a small terraced house, and it is generally kept in a clean tidy state and I don't find that particularly hard. I can't abide mess/clutter; I can't relax till I feel the house is tidy enough. I would rather tidy and clean up than sit and relax, simply because I can't sit and relax till everything is tidy and clean! And I have storage systems sorted, so clutter is easily enough sorted/chucked away/distributed to where it is supposed to 'live'. But - crucially - I also have the time to keep on top of it, because I'm a SAHM and can juggle my time accordingly. Far easier for me than for someone like Dustbunny, for example.

everlong Fri 11-Oct-13 20:51:13

Dusty I have quite a few friends with cleaners. They don't always clean. Some weeks the cleaner will do an hours worth of ironing and sort out the good cupboards, the next week she might do all the windows inside.

I think within reason you can ask them to help you wherever it's needed.

chateau that made me laugh! See I don't have a problem with non working women having a cleaner. I really don't. But I couldn't sit in the garden whilst she scoured my skid marks! grin

everlong Fri 11-Oct-13 20:52:10

Food cupboards not good cupboards!

ChateauCollapso Fri 11-Oct-13 20:53:16

I also had my beautiful Golden Retriever at the time so had to hoover the house at least once a day and also clear up the poops from the garden & fit in taking her out for walks. Looking back I don't know how I managed but now she's dead & my kids are grown up & have left home, I'd go back to those days in a second. Try & enjoy what you have as you'll never get this time back

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 11-Oct-13 20:58:30

'Don't put it down, put it away' and each time you leave a room, look for something that shouldn't be there and put it away.

Donkeyok Fri 11-Oct-13 21:12:57

Im with Pear I try to invite someone at least once a week or fortnightly as it will make me more embarrassed by my piles of shit motivated.

Fly lady is starting to work for me as I've been doing her routine for a few weeks and its showing now. She has a few everyday basics and a special job each day. I set the timer for 15 mins and work like crazy then stop. (She has more if you look into her yearly planner).
I downloaded her student journal for my dd 11 and she is starting to do her own jobs for 5 -10 mins each day aswell as daily dishwasher duties and 1 meal a week. I think delegating is the future for me as it will teach my dc good routines and no one will be complaining that my ds can iron a shirt.

lovesmellingthecoffee Fri 11-Oct-13 21:31:30

Get rid of clutter, old toys, broken things etc I read a feng shui book which advised to throw one item away every day for 30 days. I'm still doing it 15 years later.
The one which has really made my house tidy and cut the washing in half is my DD going to uni, and to be honest I'd rather have the messy clothes strewn round the house.

ThePearShapedToad Fri 11-Oct-13 21:31:58

Hahaha it's got the point now where when the house is in such a diabolical state after three days without visitors, I'll invite someone round for a cup of tea at 8.30pm just so I can clean it. And can do the whole thing in under an hour

Yet somehow if I just tell myself to clean for an hour without the threat of guests, I find reasons to sit down with a kitkat.... blush

Case in point. House was gleaming yesterday. Now kitchen is a state. Been staring at it for the last two hours. Friend coming round for a natter in 15 mins. Off the sofa I go....

Nusatenggara Fri 11-Oct-13 21:37:24

Chateau your post about your dog and children is so poignant, I feel quite teary reading it sad. Very very true, I often try and remind myself of this that I will miss the noise and busyness of everything when everyone has left to get on with their own lives.

unlucky83 Fri 11-Oct-13 21:57:02

Personally my house is chaos ...
I'm a bit of a hoarder and a obsessive recycler (ie got rid of 4 bags of clothes a week ago - was tripping over 2 of the bags in my office for 3 weeks waiting for the collection day - a company picks it up and it raises funds for a charity I'm involved with - but the company wouldn't take the duvet someone had handed one in - someone was going to throw in in a skip - but no I've brought it home to take to a recycling centre (they hand them out to the homeless )- or to freecycle for pets etc - unfortunately I haven't got round to doing either least it is one less bag than before...)
I hate the fly lady (thinks she lives on her own! -polish your sink!!!! grrr - I'd spend all day polishing mine!) -but there was another site recently mentioned on MN - Unfuck your habitat - the best message I got from that was if it takes 5mins or less just do it ...which was wonderful...except it is amazing how many things I do that take 5 mins ...and then when I'd done all those things - and then the things I never get round to - checked my oil & water & tyres on my car, checked my smoke alarms, watered my plants etc etc - all I had left were jobs that take hours - but I hadn't the energy left to get any done!!!
When I worked full time the house never got as untidy as it does now I'm a SAHM - even though my DCs are now at school it is amazing how much more mess they can make between 3.15pm and when we used to get back at 6.30 pm...I used to do a 3 hr clean of the whole house on a Sunday and that was it just seems to be constant...
Anyway I try (but am losing the will) to have a quick tidy up with DCs before bed - especially the kitchen...(but trying not to run dishwasher overnight - it is a fire hazard)
I do think storage and declutter is the best solution - Ikea is good for furniture etc...have a great coffee table has two wheeled storage cubes that fit underneath - this was great for baby toys and now has computer games etc in...
I would love a cleaner but I think it might be like when I lived in a flatshare - the cleaner refused to come anymore until the live in landlady got rid of some of her clutter...
I think everyone tidies up for a cleaner -but that is a good thing -it forces you to do it - and you get the pleasure of walking into a clean house -even if it only lasts for 10 mins...(in another house share we had one and it worked fantastically well)

Tigerbabyy has it right.

I do it as I go along and my house is clean and tidy all the time.

I put stuff in dishwasher then after breakfast things are in turn it on before work. Empty at night etc.

Wash on a Friday, iron on Sunday.

Dust, hoover every other day and bathroom wipe over daily.

I can't go to work unless beds are made but there's only me and DD wink

I'm a great believer in little and often too, but I can do this as I'm a SAHM.

MorrisZapp Sat 12-Oct-13 20:29:49

Yup, I tidy for the cleaner coming. Also make the toilet civilised. I hate having to do it but its great discipline, and worth it so much when you come home to a gleaming, bleach smelling house.

quoteunquote Sat 12-Oct-13 21:48:13

TrueStory sorry I didn't see your question.

The Amish think us (non amish) most cruel and unkind to our children because we wait on them hand and foot, then suddenly expect them to be able to cope with running all aspects of life,

An Amish toddler, is given the great privilege of the responsibility of keeping the kindling box full, if and only if they do that job justice, they might be allowed to stack the wood, or sweep the path,

You are only allowed responsibility for a task if you always carry it out perfectly, without input from others, that includes being reminded or supervised.

It is a massive honour to be trusted with an essential task, so as a child ages they want to be allowed to do the next job up, so as to be recognised as capable.

I was raised by Quaker feminists, we lived in remote parts of Asia (Hebrides,up mountains,amish communities,war zones) , where all children contribute from the moment they can walk,

my children have from the moment they could walk, wanted to be allowed to join in any group effort going,

I would never say to a toddler who has been scrubbing a cupboard front with some (ecover) soapy water, oh well done darling, if it wasn't perfect, I would ask if they could see any bits they had missed, and let them rectify it, that way they get genuine self satisfaction in their achievement, false praise is rude, demoralising and insulting, it tells the receiver you don't think they are capable of better, and they will never trust your judgement again.

watch one, do one, teach one is how you learn in this house,

People tend to only do special cooking (cakes) with their children, mine from the start are involved with every meal, to be allowed the massive privilege of the use of ingredients,it is an honour only bestowed on the highly accomplished, it's a huge responsibility, they have to convince us of their abilities, before they can have access to precious food.

They have all cooked solo from a young age, far surpassed my abilities quite sometime ago. It's considered the highest honour to feed the household.

All children can easily sort laundry, identify what fabric requires what care, untangling arms on shirts if they have the reasoning explained at the time of watch one, do one, teach one.

Always explain the reasoning behind any process, nothing should be a mystery.

Because they are always involved in all tasks, they like any adult just naturally do things as they go, from the little things like emptying their pockets, doing up zips, as they put items in the hamper, because they know it will make later actions easier.

We are a very active family, we would rather be out climbing, surfing, doing stuff, if everyone didn't muck in naturally, then the time and energy would not be available to do those interesting things, they choose to enable our time to be used for fun stuff.

I was brought up to think it was incredibly rude to put someone in the situation where they felt they needed to address your contribution, if someone put me a position where I had harangue them to do a task, I would resent been put in that position, I don't want that relationship with anyone, let alone someone I live with, I would never want to live that way,far too stressful, we have lots of additional children, and guests, because we have a culture of joint effort they all quite naturally join in.

I was on a thread where the OP was struggling with mornings, and looking for suggestions, I suggested her children when they got in from school, get their bags and clothes ready for the following day, she couldn't even consider the possibility of a nine year old and a five year old doing such a simple task. Once you own a skill it's never hard or a bind to do, you don't notice you are doing it.

I can't imagine spending my life doing everything for able bodied people, I wouldn't want to disadvantage them, I wouldn't want them to ever feel that simple things are beyond their capabilities.

watch one, do one, teach one.

Madeyemoodysmum Sat 12-Oct-13 23:02:41

I have excellent storage
Twice a year I go through all the rooms, about the rate of one room a week and de clutter tidy cupboards etc.
I don't hoard
I Hoover downstairs every day with a cordless Hoover aeg, it's amazing and my best gadget ever!
I hoover once a week upstairs with same gadget
I dust upstairs one week and clean bathroom
I dust and mop downstairs the next week.
I clean loo with bleach as soon as I see it's a bit dirty, so 2/3 times a week

I hate laundry but general sort that while kids are in bath, I always put clothes away neatly and sort wardrobes out twice a year in my declutter sessions.

I have a small ironing basket so when that's full I know there's about a hours worth of iroing there so it never gets to overwhelming.

Kids are not allowed to leave rooms in a tip and have to tidy toys they are not playing with.

I detest changing sheets so that's the one thing I know I should do more often but don't.

Sounds lot but I work part time and have a good social life so all lot of this is just down to good planning and routine and good storage.

Madeyemoodysmum Sat 12-Oct-13 23:05:54

Loving QUOTES outlook, and may have to adopt some of that!

grovel Sat 12-Oct-13 23:07:15

quoteunquote, I'm so glad your upbringing didn't make you smug either.

itsn0tmeitsyou Sat 12-Oct-13 23:18:40


Loopylala7 Sat 12-Oct-13 23:20:12

So glad I'm not alone. Often wonder why I'm so messy and friends houses are tidy...

CrockedPot Sat 12-Oct-13 23:26:06

Never leave a room without picking something up to put in its place. And train everyone in the house to put shoes/coats/bags etc where they belong. My ds's make their beds every morning (aged 6 and 8, which I know will make some of you think I am a slave driver but honestly, it just involves straightening a pillow and a duvet, and having been brought up by a mother who did everything for my Db'sand expected me to do it for myself because I was a girl, I was determined not to raise my boys to think women are for waiting on them!

CrazyLottie Sat 12-Oct-13 23:35:00

My house is nice and clean when my family aren't in it! When they are, I encourage them to tidy up after themselves so it's "passable". Those mothers/fathers that have to/want to work have to accept their home is always going to be a bit of a sh&thole. Make your choice.

Donkeyok Sat 12-Oct-13 23:43:44

love quoteunquote smile
you could probably write a book
no fly lady just fly children sorting it out

Im going to try "I will give you the honour of washing these dishes"
to my dc tomorrow and see if they dare to threaten to turn me into
a nag

PaperSeagull Sat 12-Oct-13 23:50:35

Another thing I find really helpful is having good equipment (the best I can afford) for some of the drudge tasks. For instance, I used to hate scrubbing the kitchen floor the old-fashioned way. It took forever and it seemed to be a never-ending chore. So I invested in a steam mop. It's fast, easy, and the floor looks great.

Oh, God. Reading that back, I sound like a flipping infomercial. blush

CrazyLottie Sun 13-Oct-13 00:00:22

E-clothes are fab too. Keep one in each bathroom for a quick shine of the mirrors/taps etc.

quoteunquote Sun 13-Oct-13 00:09:11

sorry grovel,

just answering the question,I was asked,

It's just a recent western thing one person running around after all the family members, I wouldn't manage it,

where I grew up, parents tend to be in the paddy fields, so children did the other stuff like holding the babies, fetch the water, firewood, cooking it's just what you did,

they would probably consider the way tasks are allocated here smug and weird,

I've had cancer over the last few years, if it hadn't been the way we do things, we would of really struggled. As my husband had not only support me, but compensate for my absents at work, keep things going for the children, and look after his mother.

A vast amount of our western children find it really hard to cope when they leave home, because they are trying to do all the required tasks, and study, quite a few universities now require that students do live away from home and do a year in industry before they start their courses,

Edinburgh and Glasgow university, spent a couple of million commissioning a study into why they were losing students,(which was costing the uni a lot of money) in the first year, students that were incredibly bright, the elite of their generation, it turns out that in order to get the required grades they had had parents that helicopter them, when suddenly they weren't eating health meals three times a day, in dirty beds, clothes, not being reminded to wash, go to the doctors, go to sleep at a reasonable time, didn't know how to shop for food, they couldn't cope. adding the year away working in industry, cut nearly all drop out rates.

Everyone does things differently, my husband raised in this country, was a child carer to his bedridden single mother, he cooked, cleaned and ran a house from a ludicrously young age, with siblings and lodgers which he had to keep the place going for, he had to structure a budget and meal plan, we still have child carers in this country, who don't get any real support. He did it almost alone. (which is horrible unfair)

We just parent the way we were brought up, just less snakes and hardship(in his case).

When my son started university, he was in a shared house of twelve, he was the only one that could cook, work a washing machine, he had a great first year, as his housemates would buy ingredient for a meal for him to cook, he saved a fortune, one of his housemates parents, made a hundred mile round trip, to deliver homemade ready meals and clean clothes every week, he is at the other end of the country we couldn't do that even if we wanted to.

Each to their own, we like to surf and do other activities, I also work (self employed so many many hours), if I had to come in and run an entire house, we would never get to the beach. We chose team work.

Out of interest how do you do things?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Sun 13-Oct-13 00:39:08

Speed, vast quantities of.

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 00:47:46

quote I didn't think that was smug. Exciting to read, actually.

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 00:49:45

We also do the "little things fast" way. We have a chore chart (well Word doc actually) and mostly stick to it. DH spent a long time dusting and vacuuming the living room and vacuuming out the couch and so on today, and it sucked for him b/c he hadn't done it in ages. But normally it doesn't take him long b/c it hasn't been long since it was last done.

passedgo Sun 13-Oct-13 00:56:00

Quoteunquote the Amish way is very interesting.

I was brought up in a household where we just wanted to help. We knew when my parents were under pressure and just plain helped. Sometimes they asked, sometimes we just did it of our own accord. I have found it hard to pass that on to my children but I guess it comes from their father - who always had a mother doing everything for him when he was younger.

I do agree that false praise is not helpful, it builds up a false confidence. You see the difference when there is real pride and quite often it shows when children do something completely autonomously (or so they think). When they own the task they seem to get so much more from it.

In the meantime, perhaps we need some Amish parenting classes / childrens boot camps?

VillandraMcTavish Sun 13-Oct-13 08:34:20

Quote, your way is how I was brought up, only in a vastly different setting: it was thought a huge inconvenience and something of a shameful act to behave in such a way that people needed to compensate for your shortcomings. (Our family was lightly Presbyterian.)

You reminded me of it completely with the sentence about pulling out twisted arms before putting the washing on. When I started living with dh, I was astonished that he would not do this, and gave him a bit of a lecture! He in turn was astonished that anyone would care about that. So if I was doing the washing or hanging up, I just left the arms in and they got all damp and smelly (basement flat) which soon made him see... Unfortunately he has always had a lot of helicoptering from various sources so it isn't hard-wired in the way it is with me.

I'm inspired by your posts to try a LOT harder to ingrain some of this in ds. It really really matters to not let things slide and expect other people to pick up your lack of self-care.

ThePearShapedToad Sun 13-Oct-13 09:24:53

quote I didn't think your post sounded smug, it sounded like good old fashioned common sense and a healthy childhood

I think more people should instill parts of that attitude into their children

unlucky83 Sun 13-Oct-13 10:29:32

I was interested n the university thing quote...current disagreement with my DP about DD1 (12 - 2nd yr high school) -I'm trying to make her take more responsibility for herself - after talking with a mother of a child who went off to uni a year or so ago ...
DD1 is learning cooking at school - and I encourage her to cook dinner etc for everyone (things like chow mein, lentil soup etc)- if it isn't as good as it could be I (gently) tell her where she has gone she could improve it...I also am getting her to help me more ...(I remember cutting my finger (it got infected) on a tin at my grandmothers when I was 8-9 - it was a tin of peas (less freezers around then) I must have been helping/making a meal ... )
Dp thinks I'm being lazy 'expecting' her to cook ...
He also thinks I should 'make' her brush her teeth - I do remind her sometimes but I am not going to stand over her while she does ...
She doesn't do anything else around the house - I am trying to work on that...
But the big thing - and you didn't mention it - was I am not standing over her making her do school/home work ...I do gentle reminders and try to help her be organised etc - but I am not forcing her to study/checking she is doing all her homework/she has all her stuff ready for school...
She just got a report with 'unsatisfactory' for homework in 2 subjects- DP thinks we failed - I'm hoping I'm not making a mistake and she has learned something...
(As my friend said - you can't do the exams for them...)
I think that is another problem for Universities - children/young adults who can't take responsibility for their own learning/study...

IHaveA Sun 13-Oct-13 11:04:27

I think it is more to do with attitudes than actually teaching them to do things. We have always had cleaners and maids when we lived abroad so my children haven't spent hours helping around the house although they were always responsible for their own 'mess' and for helping out when needed.
My two eldest boys are at Uni and didn't find it hard to look after themselves because, well, it isn't exactly rocket science is it! Both have the cleanest rooms in their flats and both keep 'their' bits of the kitchen spotless. As for cooking, none of my kids are elaborate cooks but as long as you put a little effort in it is not exactly complicated to cook healthily.

quoteunquote Sun 13-Oct-13 11:10:06

thanks, I only realised quite late on (eldest is 22) that the way we do things is not the norm here, because both husband and I had done it that way as a children,

The Amish were always quite adamant, it was massively disadvantage children not to ease them into work, from the start, they thought you were ruining your child's life.

To be trusted to chop and stack wood was a huge honour, one of my friends was so desperate to be allowed she would get really cross with me for sitting on the wood pile, in case we were spotted, and it thought disrespectful to her siblings work.

I think children like to feel in control of their surroundings, there shouldn't be any mysteries,

children do get a sense of pride when they can tackle a job unaided,

There isn't really a job around the home that a child can't do, once they know the thinking behind the task, they want to own it. They get quite insulted if you interfere, as any adult would, if you took over a task they were doing.

It's interesting the Presbyterian way is similar, my strict scottish baptist friends, when I was growing up, had similar, except the roles were gender divided (that fascinated me, I couldn't get my head around it), the buddhist just get on with it, my friends only ever got in trouble, if an adult had to prompted them into doing a task, so we always would race through the chores, and drag babies with us while we played, children also took care of the elderly, while parents were working. the elderly would be the ones to comment on quality control of work.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 13-Oct-13 11:16:24

I work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7-3. Monday I do a course on Austrian to help with my ASD child.

My house was Elle Deco beautiful when a) I had a grown up DS rather than twin toddlers b) it was big enough for everything to have a place, and for everything to be in its place c) all of us were out during the day at work/school d) I paid someone else to do it.

Now, not so much...used to bother me. But it's hygienic, and safe, and I just have to live with it. It's not going to be lovely again for years.

ShabbyButNotChic Sun 13-Oct-13 11:25:19

I found that once the house looks nice, i want to keep it that way, so i started off with a full on clear out and clean. Took me about 2weeks but i did have a load of shit once it was sorted, we bought extra storage so everything had a place. Eg in the box room shit room we bought some shelving units and storage boxes.

Day to day we just keep on top of things, so the washing up is done straight away, things are put away once used, we have a whizz round for 5mins before bed. Then on a sunday morning we do bigger jobs.
This morning i have changed the bed, polished upstairs, cleaned the bathroom, changed towels, and will vac upstairs next. Dp has cleaned the kitchen, emptied all the bins and run the vac round downstairs. Takes about an hour. Then we forget about it til next sunday.

For me the key is routine, and having a place for things.

oliveoctagon Sun 13-Oct-13 11:25:56

Hardly own anything

VillandraMcTavish Sun 13-Oct-13 11:31:04

IHaveA I am going to gently disagree, based on my experience of DH. Always had a cleaner at home, mother thinks that bothering about domestic stuff is for 'boring people' (her words) rather than capable, self-reliant, strong people (my words, that conversation went well grin ), he went to boarding school where Oooh they had to present their clothes to the laundry Big get the picture.

He genuinely did not have a clue how to do certain tasks. So he can notionally hoover a room, because as you say it isn't rocket science. But he can't tell how often it's worth doing it, he can't do it thoroughly, he can't think his way through a series of domestic tasks and just f***ing do them. Keeping a house clean is easy but it's a palaver if you have to think your way through each task and what to use where and when.

What I'm saying is that it doesn't take an awful lot for a person to genuinely not be able to do it very well, therefore they think it's 'for people who care about that sort of thing because it's quite hard'. It isn't a given that they will choose to think about it as a series of small problems that you learn to solve and then get down to a few minutes each.

VillandraMcTavish Sun 13-Oct-13 11:33:39

The lightly Presbyterian side of me just feels it's inherently wrong to ignore work, that you take a pride in your possessions and surroundings, and that you don't bother people with your problems. I'm only culturally Presbyterian via my parents, I'm not religious. Strict Presbyterians I feel would not allow the possessions and pride is a sin so....not sure how that squares with keeping things nice!

ihearsounds Sun 13-Oct-13 11:52:34

I don't have loads of clutter around. I don't have ornaments and knicknacks, none of that twig and pebble shite, none of the artificial flowers. If it hasn't got a practical use, then it isn't in my house gathering dust and needing a clean. I don't have things simply because it looks nice.

We tidy as we go. When cooking, used things are stacked in the dishwasher, rubbish binned, and sides wiped. After meals, plates etc in the dishwasher. It's also quicker to hoover, than sweep.

Bathroom, bath gets rinsed after each person has used it. Makes the weekly clean a lot easier, which I do after a shower. Toilet, I squirt something down it before I go to bed, I'm the first one up usually so give it a wipe. But generally, if you make a mess, you clean it, don't leave it for others.

No clothes left on the floor, when taken off straight into wash basket. Do a load a day so not left with mountains to wash, and when dried folded, sorted into piles and easier to put away a little than loads.

Nightly floors are hoovered and mopped, skirting gets done at the same time. Dust a couple of times a week.

Takes at the most 30 minutes a night.

Windows cleaned when needed on a saturday morning, same with other big jobs.

ALso find with the oven easier to clean when it's cooled down, but still warm. Do that one weekly and the racks get chucked in the dish washer.

Kids don't leave their stuff hanging around. They finish with something, they put it away. They got into the habit when they became mobile.

stubbornstains Sun 13-Oct-13 12:00:51

We just parent the way we were brought up, just less snakes

Quote of the week from quote grin

And a refreshing viewpoint, too.

BlogOnTheTyne Sun 13-Oct-13 12:08:25

Quoteunquote, I am v interested in your way of life, which is SO different to mine. I can't see how it works though with current nuclear or single-parent familes, where all adults are working. I only do the very basic tasks daily - like clear enough of the kitchen to make another meal and 2 lots of laundry once a week and bathrooms once every few days at most - and often less - rarely vacuum or dust at all - just got no time.

Do you think that it's possible to change the perception of young children if they've always been waited on and done nothing for themselves?

I am a single mum working f/t, including most evenings and Saturdays. I have 12 yr old DTs (boys) who have such a busy week at school and loads of homework, that if and when they get any time off at all to relax, I feel that it's unfair to get them to help with housework etc. But as a consequence, they expect me to do literally everything, including even getting them a drink, finding clean socks, running a bath etc.

If and when I tell them to do something or to help, the resultant row is just not worth it for me. Even when I've been very sick, I've dragged myself out of bed to make their meals etc. If I weren't here, they literally woulnd't have a clue about how to cope.

When they've been away on school trips, one of them won't/can't even look after his most basic needs as I'm not there reminding him - to wash, eat, drink, go to the loo etc and so returns in a state of disarray to say the least.

If you have so little time to do any housework yourself, how do you also then find time to get the DCs to help you too, especially if they also have little time away from their 'work' ie school and homework for school?

My DCs were away for the first time in 2 years for two nights and I used that time to deep clean and tidy - but only managed this for 2 rooms. Within a week, those rooms are already acculuating 'stuff' that there isn't time to sort and dirt obviously too. We've not got a cleaner as it became too stressful to find time to tidy up enough for a cleaner to work compared with just letting it all go and doing it myself occasionally - but of course it rarely gets done.

The only way I could do more housework would be to sleep less than the 6 hrs I get per night. For those of you who do 30 mins a night, how do you do it if that means losing rare and valuable sleep? I finish work shortly before I got to bed/sleep and am up and literally running to get the DCs out to school and drop them off at 7.30am after which I start work. I don't have an evening per se ever and never watch TV and the only reason I'm typing this now is that I'm waiting for the laundry to finish so I can put it in the dryer.

So I guess I'm still stuck on - if you have no time, no paid help, no help from the DCs and no partner - how do you find a way of keeping things tidier and cleaner and how do you force the DCs to help if that would mean a massive row that would easily take longer than any task itself?

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 13-Oct-13 12:15:00

I am now down to my last thing to declutter.

Spent a lot of time yesterday sorting and storage. It's taken me 5 evenings.

Feeling rather proud of myself ATM.

quoteunquote Sun 13-Oct-13 13:47:20

I defiantly think it possible to change the way that children approach their impute, we have children who come to stay, who want to be include the process, they love being in control, it give a sense of security knowing how to do things.

I started out as a single mother, so I do know how it feels to have to be the one making sure it all runs smoothly,

as we come through the door each time, "It's who is doing what?' this needs to be done, mine just go whirl wind, no one goes off for screen therapy until it's all completed, when it is no one has to be reminded what is needed, so it far more relaxing,

mine come and tell me when they have their personal stuff sorted for the next day, kits, clothes, books, and ask if they can take a computer, they wouldn't ask if the aware there were things left to be done,

Have calm chat ask if they like you having to be on their case all the time, ask how that could be solved, (there is only one acceptable solution, let them generate it)

baths in this house are something we do for each other, it a sort of family thing, I have always had a safety issue worry, so there has always been a strict rule that you run the cold water first, (so no one can ever get burnt and there is no steaming up), If someone coming back from an activity, someone will go and prepare a bath, run the water, put out towels, shampoo, make it nice, when you get out of it, you rinse it, spray with the ecover washing up liquid diluted with water(we use an old ecover bathroom spray cleaner bottle, so child friendly) scrub, nice for the next person,

get your children to run you a bath. Explain how you like it.

I think as a single parent, you can't possible do it all yourself and have energy left to do interesting things,

I always when doing something, like laundry, cooking, ask a visiting child if they know how to do the task, if they say yes, I get them to join me, and give tips on technic, then ask if they mind if I carry on with something else so we can all go and do something fun quicker, if they say no, I say here let me show you, so you know. it always slightly more effort than doing it yourself to start with, but children are really fast learners, so nail the task really quickly.

I always tell children one of the ways to tell if someone is grown up, is if they never have to be reminded to wash and brush teeth each day, and when they can judge that it time to get some sleep, eventually visiting children they start to announce they are off to bed, and you compliment them on their judgement call.

valiumredhead Sun 13-Oct-13 14:26:00

Wrt cleaning ovens special oven doors-soak a dishwasher tablet in boiling water for a few seconds then use it as an eraser to rub away the burnt on brown grease. It's like magic.

hermioneweasley Sun 13-Oct-13 14:41:43

Ooo, I like that oven door/ dishwasher tablet tip. I'll be trying that.

valiumredhead Sun 13-Oct-13 14:47:40

It's amazing!

Mojavewonderer Sun 13-Oct-13 16:50:51

I clean and tidy my house all day. It's never ending but I am very lucky in that I don't work and my children while are messy keep it to their rooms smile can't stand having a untidy and/or dirty house.
My husband loves how tidy I am because his ex was so disgusting she used to hide dirty nappies behind the sofa because she was too lazy to pop them in the bin! I think the final straw was when he found a dead rat among them.

valiumredhead Sun 13-Oct-13 17:15:44

All day?shock

LaQueenForADay Sun 13-Oct-13 17:25:49

Basically, I don't allow much in the way of clutter to accumulate in our house. I'm really quite ruthless - I keep a couple of pretty boxes for keepsakes...the DDs keep scrapbooks for their keepsakes (Paperchase do lovely ones)...but pretty much all else gets thrown away, quite quickly.

Remember, if everything has sentimental value, then nothing actually does wink

From being toddlers I have trained the DDs to hang their coats up, put their shoes/book bags away, fold their clothes over their bedroom chairs, put dirty clothes in washing basket.

Essentially, I maintain a very low level, constant state of tidying - so that untidiness never gets chance to build up, and to make a room look tidy takes just moments (rather than an hour).

At bedtime the DDs always spend just 10 mins straightening their playroom/bedrooms (if done every day, it only takes 10 mins). Then as they're showering I turn down their beds, check which uniform can be re-used, close curtains, turn lamps on...basically make their bedrooms cosy, ready for sleeping.

I use disposable loo wipes, whch I use all the time so our toilets are always clean to use.

I use our tumble dryer loads and time it effectively so that I can take clothes out still warm, shake and smooth them, hang 'em up...very rarely iron anything other than DH's shirts.

valiumredhead Sun 13-Oct-13 17:27:52

Yep, I'm nodding in agreement la queen.

ZingDollyChops Sun 13-Oct-13 17:33:38

<opens notebook>

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 19:08:41

I was raised Presbyterian (grandparents were missionaries) and re: the Presbyterian work ethic, YES. TOTALLY. So the things we had to do, we had to do well. But I don't think we were expected to do nearly enough. My DM did way too much housework and cooking on her own.

I realized recently I hate making beds b/c my DM always did it. I don't mind doing dishes b/c it was my job growing up. My DM and I talked on the phone about this and it all lined up -- almost everything I had to do as a child, I don't mind doing. Anything that was not my job, I am more irritated by it. So I think it really matters what DCs actively do, not just see you doing!

Retroformica Sun 13-Oct-13 19:41:53

Chuck out as much as you can. Less crap = less mess

encyclogirl Mon 14-Oct-13 14:14:53

Storage is the key for us. A place for everything means surfaces are always clear and easier to see and therefore clean.

Dh tends to be a bit of a 'percher' though. Leaves things perched in unusual places then goes blind to the fact they are there. He ruins my artfully arranged bookcases and mantles with his endless perching of crap.

Of course when I move them to where they are supposed to be he can't find them hmm

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 14-Oct-13 17:23:51

Update, now the house is sorted and everything has a place and got storage it's now complete for the first time in 4 years my house is spotless.

Got a new routine and going to do 1 extra thing a day. Like today as it is not a working day I have cleaned the cooker ( thanks for the dishwasher tablet tip)

DontMentionThePrunes Mon 14-Oct-13 17:30:03

'Percher' is a perfect word grin

We are all perchers in my house, sadly.

FortyDoors I am envious. Enjoy it!

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 14-Oct-13 17:32:01

Totally knackered now, sheer determination has made me do it.

It helps that both DC are in school so have Monday afternoons and Fridays to keep on top of it now it's sorted.

LimitedEditionLady Mon 14-Oct-13 18:52:38

I agree with if you dont use it get rid of it.I focus on one room every couple of months to make space,i donate stuff to charity,give clothes to family and bin other stuff.You need to find a place for everyrhing to go,you cant tidy if theres no where to tidy it to.youll just be moving it from room to room forever.i wash up through the day,wipe stuff down,change the beds and do the rest in the evening when ds is in bed.I also iron a whole wash load as soon as its dry,no hanging about in baskets and put it away staraight away properly.its not always easy but if you just get the get up and go itll be fine

CuriosityCola Mon 14-Oct-13 19:00:52

Another one who lives by flylady. I like the fact that my house is always visitor ready now. I used to have to run around pushing things in cupboards and cleaning like a possessed woman. smilegrin

Dh and I often split the tasks. So if it's 15 mins tidying your wardrobe. We will do our own for 15 mins. Or will both just do 7 mins. Twice the amount done in the same time or the 7 min option if we are too busy. Always set your timer!

I had a cleaner, but it wasn't tackling the under lying problem that all the cupboards and drawers were a mess. Flylady works on rotation so a one hour quick clean once a week and a 15 min daily task. That can be just pulling out your sofas and hoovering underneath. Much easier than doing everything at once, but you end up with a house far cleaner than someone doing 3 hours every couple of weeks.

CuriosityCola Mon 14-Oct-13 19:02:39

Glad you are feeling on top of it all forty.

KittiesInsane Tue 15-Oct-13 11:45:40

'if you don't use it get rid of it'

But very little of it is mine! God knows what they all use it for, or even what half of it is, but someone else needs to identify it all.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 15-Oct-13 12:35:37

Kitties i put all this stuff in a box and say "look thtough that,do you want this?'and if alll else fails make a cupboard for their crap...

KittiesInsane Tue 15-Oct-13 12:38:31

Good plan. I'll locate and hide my own stuff, then suggest DH makes a nice large box for everything else.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 15-Oct-13 12:47:13

Haha is this a room sized box?heehee i like to sometimes bin random crap of others because i know they dont remember even having it!

CoTananat Tue 15-Oct-13 14:36:05

I agree with you wholeheartedly quoteunquote. We always had things to do in the house as children. At 12 I was cooking the main meal one night a week, for sure.

Some friends of my parents were very shocked once on holiday to find their kids doing the washing up and sweeping the floor before going out to play. They were initially quite angry but came round, as my parents tell it, by their youngest weeping and begging to be allowed to do her bit like all the others.

I have never enjoyed housework, but I've alway felt competent and capable around it. And I would not like to be the sort of person who did not do their bit. Urgh. On reflection, as I've unconsciously said this twice, this must have been how it was sold to me: doing my bit, contributing, being part of a team. It's good to have team mates; it feels good, like you've got power beyond yourself.

My mum was a v good teacher (one of those superteachers who was parachuted into places) who worked with kids with profound behavioural problems though, so she was basically a child wizard who could not be beaten. V frustrating as a natural brat rebel, I can tell you.

valiumredhead Tue 15-Oct-13 14:40:09

Dh is a natural hoarder and I gather his stuff together and say 'keep or bin?' Anything that gets kept has to go away properly either in his garage or wardrobe it risk being binnedgrin

valiumredhead Tue 15-Oct-13 14:40:47

Or risk it being binned

UserError Tue 15-Oct-13 16:30:44

We're very slowly getting there. The Unfuck My Habitat app is much better than the Tumblr and it has quite literally saved my sanity. The trick is not to rely so much on the random challenges, but set your own to-do list instead.

I give my toddler jobs. He has ASD but is perfectly capable of helping and actually being useful. His current job is putting the recycling into the box outside, once I've sorted and washed it and made sure there are no sharp bits. He also likes helping to rip up cardboard boxes.

UserError Tue 15-Oct-13 16:33:03

By 'actually being useful' I mean I don't give him little jobs to keep busy, where it doesn't matter if they're done properly or not. I started doing that and then thought 'Why?'. So I came up with jobs he can do that actually make a difference to the household. He dusts the TV/TiVo box/PS3 too, with a mini duster.

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