If your house is immaculate, how do you do it? <wails> I want one!!!

(164 Posts)
sorky Sat 30-Apr-11 09:31:45

granted I have 4 kids, but still, I want a house that I can open the door to and say 'yeah, come on in' and be confident it's tidy enough for that.

I have been ill recently so there are cobwebs and a general scruffiness, but where to start? What level of cleanliness are we talking about?

I think I'm officially a slattern blush

sorky Sat 30-Apr-11 09:33:31

Open the door to people of course

suzikettles Sat 30-Apr-11 09:39:27

Speaking as a fellow slattern, my observations have led me to the conclusion that people with immaculate houses just do way more housework than me.

Sorry, but it's that simple sad

Of course, some of them contract some of it out, and some of them have tidier partners than I do, but generally I think if you put the hours in you get the tidy house.

Oh, and picking up after yourself as you go along (whole family). I fail at that as well.

NotaMopsa Sat 30-Apr-11 09:57:15

I AM constantly cleaning which is dull - don't do it!

sorky Sat 30-Apr-11 10:00:51

Is it really constant?

sorky Sat 30-Apr-11 10:02:45

But when do you do fun stuff?

Does cleaning become a form of fun/entertainment?!?

boosmummie Sat 30-Apr-11 10:03:08

I am slattern one month, domestic goddess the next grin. I am just coming out of my slattern phase and yesterday went through each room of the house tidying/fixing/throwing stuff etc. Very cathartic. Today I will be cleaning room by room and if I'm really good I'll do the windows too! Once it's done I am perfect housewife for about 4 weeks - tidying up as I go along, everything in correct home at the end of the day etc etc. The only rooms that are always clean and tidy are the bathrooms and kitchen.

Funnily enough, ten years ago, as a single parent with 3 primary age children and working full time, my house was show home like, but I think that was more a case of HAVING to be superbly organised in order for us to achieve/function. I now have just me and my 2 year old at home all the time and a somewhat laissez faire attitude (the older three are boarders) to everything. Come holidays/half terms and full house weekend,s military precision and order is reinstated.

I must say that the 3 older children have to sort their own shitpits out as I am frankly scared of what I may step in/catch on entering grin

Tortoise Sat 30-Apr-11 10:03:42

I wish I knew how. I have 4 dc too!

Collision Sat 30-Apr-11 10:05:27

I think tidying and sorting the junk is the key thing!

Once the room is tidy then a quick hoover and dust should sort it.

The kids can do that when they are of age. My 6y old loves hoovering.

Get a bin bag and start sorting stuff out.

We did the boys' room when they were out last week. 2 bin liners to the tip and they have not even noticed! grin

sorky Sat 30-Apr-11 11:36:04

I think my problem is the kids tbh.

It would be spotless if they would stop trashing the place!

No sooner have I cleaned the bathroom and someone comes in with filthy hands and the sink, tiles, soap, toilet seat & towels are covered in mud

Same with bedrooms....make the beds, return with clothes to find dens have been constructed with pillows and quilts

The fruit bowl looks like a good idea until you find half eaten remnants in unlikely places.

Maybe I need Nanny McPhee grin

I'm tackling the house today I am, I am, I am

Bonkerz Sat 30-Apr-11 12:10:47

I have recently found that good storage is key.
I spent £400 at IKEA and spent 3 weeks sorting all the rooms. We now have random drawer storage in each room which allows me to squirrel crap away and sort it easier one draw at a time! My house is not perfect! Right now it could do with a hoover and wiping of floor but everything looks tidy and its not dirty.

There are 5 of us in house, DH does his part and DCs (10,9,5) know if they cannot fit their toys in their toy boxes then they need to go in the bin! Harsh but effective! LOL

NotaMopsa Sat 30-Apr-11 20:38:03

You need to train the kids to be a bit cleaner and tidy up after themselves....mine make the dens etc but they tidy them up

One room at once for trashing - not allowed to move on without tidying

Bathroom - my teens have their own towels kept in their room

I do not enjoy the clening but enjoy it all being lovely and cannot chill if tis a dump

Maryz Sat 30-Apr-11 20:45:14

My house wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't for the washing. If I had a utility room, with a washing machine and enough space to dry fold and pile clothes my sitting room would be ok.

But all day every day there are piles of clothes (sorted for each child) on the dining room table, a dryer in the corner and an ironing board in another corner. Not to mention the piles of dirty clothes (usually about 3 baskets full, and a whole laundry basket in the bathroom) and the boxes of odd socks.

So I need a heated garden shed with running water, a washer and dryer and a tv to watch while I sort and iron.

Then I could see the rest of the dirt my house would be beautiful smile.

MrsOliverQueen Sun 01-May-11 11:31:10

Depends what age your DC's are I think. I have two under 4 atm and am pg (madness). Have been severely warned that keeping the house spotless will be bad for my health and am currently in ironing rehab.

Have come to the conclusion that spotless is the impossible dream, particularly after half term....thought I had the place in order then popped into the DC's room and the floor, yet again is covered in toys.

Most visitors don't expect spotless and I reckon as long as you can give them a cuppa in a clean cup with fresh milk they don't mind too much (same for the loo, it has to be clean with a fresh hand towel).

I have had about 1 week in this house when it was spotless (it was a dull week for me though).

desperatelyseekingsnoozes Sun 01-May-11 11:35:21

I have people to visit often - it ensures my house is always tidy. I will admit to a cleaner.

I have a utility room which can look like a tip, luckily that door closes.

BendyBob Sun 01-May-11 11:45:16

I can see what you're saying sorky. I feel equally blush sometimes and have 3 dc, but I do think the mess you see isn't probably what others see.

My neighbour commented that our house was lovely and tidy and calmshock. Lol It absolutely IS NOT I am 100% sure of itgrin. The washing alone makes me feel faint - but visitors see another perspective.

I grew up in an immaculate house. My mother is ridiculously houseproud and was also a huge martyr about it to boot. The arguments between my parents re cleaning, the endless bloody housework and the fact that it totally dominated my childhood makes me very sad. We didn't do much as a family in terms of going anywheresad. It was always housework first. I try to take a different (ok polar opposite) approach. It's hard becaue I'm torn having grown up in perfection, but I try to remember it came at a very high price.

desperatelyseekingsnoozes Sun 01-May-11 11:51:04

But having a clean and tidy home need not come at a high price, admittedly I now have a cleaner but before we could afford it we all just pitched in and had to be organised.

Tortington Sun 01-May-11 11:55:05

seriously - get a cleaner just once a week to allow you to catch your breath.

its the best tenner i spend in a week

desperatelyseekingsnoozes Sun 01-May-11 11:56:52

Having a cleaner means that we are tidier. We have someone wandering through our entire house twice a week, it evens makes teenage boys pick up their pants!

BendyBob Sun 01-May-11 12:31:51

Oh yes I'm all for a cleaner. I had one a few years ago. I don't now but I do have an ironing lady who helps me beat the pile into submission. I found it was the laundry rather than the housework I couldn't manage.

Get any help you can. Do not feel guilty! And decluttering radically helps too. I have been trying to do this and it seems to help.

BeehiveBaby Sun 01-May-11 19:15:32

My DD's childminder has 4 DCs and is a childminder and has a showhome, but freely admits to cleaning until eleven every night.

Had a tidy house once. Found that I could keep it up for a short while by using a "zero tolerance" policy. So, once tidy (eg for party or visiting inlaws) then do not let anything at all sit in the wrong place for any length of time. Once a couple of slips per room are tolerated, the whole thing goes to hell in a handcart. IME.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Sun 01-May-11 19:29:43

I have a cleaner, it is paid for with DS1's child benefit. I figure the child benefits from a hygenic environment. (I am grateful that I don't have to pay for food and clothing from this money before anyone mentions it!)

however, I don't worry about the duvets being straight or the kids havin toys out in their rooms, I don't like having a messy hallway. I love being able to open the front door to the post man withut having to kick a pile of shoes away first.

sorky Mon 02-May-11 13:54:11

I've been ruthless with the clutter and toys. Will have a major ebaying sesh I think. Kids are 9, 7, 4 & 2. The 9 & 4 yo are the worst culprits.

The cleaner is a tricky issue. I advertised for one last year & 3 never turned up!!

Dh is reluctant to have one (he doesn't even like the fact that the window cleaner visits fortnightly....thinks it's an invasion of privacy hmm)

'course he's not the one with all the bloody work!

If I threaten a cleaner he will help out and isn't completely useless, he's just a bloke & they never do housework properly ime

How often do you have a cleaner then? Actually, I think I'll start a new thread 'bout that.....

Thanks for all the advice.

boosmummie Mon 02-May-11 14:39:54

Sorky well done!!! I think with the older three and to a smaller degree the 2 year old, you should have some kind of reward system. Be bitch mother from hell and stick to it and I think you may find an improvement!! If mine went into 'negative' points (and they did), I would remove a favourite item or toy. Oddly enough they only did this once each, the devastation of no DS/PS/iPod for a week was enough to make them see I meant business.

Not sure how it could work with your DH, but I'm sure you could think of something...... wink

Bonsoir Mon 02-May-11 14:45:01

I don't like having a regular cleaner because of the invasion of privacy thing. But I do get a cleaning service in for a spring clean from time to time: that requires me to have a massive tidy up first, so that the cleaners can dust/hoover/wash/scrub/polish everything. And I never clean windows, inside or out - always get a window cleaner to do it.

I also send my ironing out and get most of my shopping delivered. And I eat lots of meals out.

hillyhilly Mon 02-May-11 15:50:01

The biggest key to it all is clutter, if you rooms are clear, then it is easier to tidy at the end of the day as there will only be a few things and somewhere to put them, they will look cleaner even when they're not and they will be far easier and quicker to clean.
Once you have decluttered, you have to have zero tolerance otherwise it all creeps back!

sorky Mon 02-May-11 17:44:06

yes Hilly, I'm discovering that.
I have ruthlessly decluttered & scrubbed the kitchen, from the cob-webbed lights to the mucky baseboards and it looks fabulous grin

It is amazing how much crap you can accumulate without really realising it, isn't it?

I think I'm going to tackle a room at a time and have a huge clearing sesh in each.

I do, however, have a slight problem.......DH is a hoarder and is currently unhappy with the level of chucking out.

Do you all declutter secretly? How do you manage it with a hoarder?

Also, any tips for doing the toys when I hit the bedrooms? I have a feeling they're about to rediscover every single toy, grr!

MrsKwazii Mon 02-May-11 17:49:57

Just marking my place for any more pearls of wisdom. I really want a house that I can be proud to just let suprise visitors into - have a fit of the vapours at the moment whenever doorbell rings!

boosmummie Mon 02-May-11 18:20:10

Sorky if they have mountains of toys, let them choose their top whatever number you deem sensible and give the others to the local A&E Paeds/GP surgery etc. Involve them and explain why.

DH???? do the same with him grin

Deaddei Mon 02-May-11 18:27:34

Helps when dcs get older.
Everyone thinks my house is immaculate but it's not.
I just don't have clutter, which takes the eye away from the dustballs.
Always have clean bathrooms and kitchen...not too fussed about dcs bedrooms.

transferbalance Mon 02-May-11 18:40:42

I live with hoarders and I admit to secretly getting rid of stuff, then lying through my teeth whenever someone asks if I've seen a culled item

it's the only way

Bonsoir Mon 02-May-11 18:42:40

Hoarding is a crime in our household grin

sorky Mon 02-May-11 18:42:41

I have no problem with chucking and lying <mwah ha ha!>

Bonsoir Mon 02-May-11 18:43:27

... equated with poor personal hygiene and bad table manners...

sorky Tue 03-May-11 16:23:37

I have cleared their bedrooms and the shared toy cupboard shock

4 binbags of rubbish and 7 (yes 7) binbags of toys all ready to go to goodwill.

Everything is in boxes, on shelves.
They have been warned that toys left on the floor at bedtime will be binned <evil cackle>

Kitchen is still spotless!

They look a bit stunned, poor souls.....

FrancesAdam Wed 04-May-11 16:59:29

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Wed 04-May-11 17:21:14

sorky, just a response to your question about your DH.

Mine hates things going out of the house, he keeps everything, so we now have an agreement that I remove things from the house to the garage, and every now and then when he can't getinto the garage because of stuff, he realises he needs t let go and he does a tip/charityshop run depending on what is needed.
Thankfully our school does a "bags to school" clothing charity thing twice a year so that is a good reason to clear out the bags of clothes that don't fit the kids any more.

Maryz Wed 04-May-11 18:16:00

So you have done the kitchen and the children's rooms. What does your bedroom look like now grin.

Because whenever I declutter, I manage the living room, the kitchen, I blitz the kids rooms (they are secretely relieved when I sporadically do it, I think), I manage the bathroom.

But then I discover that everything that "should be kept in case, but I'm not sure where to put it, but I know that if I throw it out I will immediately need it/remember what it belongs to/discover it's worth a fortune" ends up on my bedroom floor. I put it there temporarily, until I have time to sort it, and a year later it's still there.

Along with the box of "bits" - you know, bits of jigsaw, odd screws, holiday mementoes, odd cards and bits of games, door handles, items for mending, etc., etc. And all the stuff dh has rescued shock. All in the corner of my fucking bedroom.

sorky Thu 05-May-11 08:05:58

grin Maryz you nailed it!

I think it's because I did the Hall yesterday. I sorted out winter coats etc, then debated which could be reused by smaller child.
I then remembered 3 bags of clothes in the attic I'd been saving and sorted those into keep, charity & eBay, so yes, my bedroom looks like the back of a Charity shop sorting room shock

There was a worrying moment when the 2 yo got stuck between piles and we could hear her ,but not see her hehehe. She was retrieving an old welly.

They have waived a right to moan by being involved in the 'great toy slinging'
The kids sorted the broken toys or ones with toys missing themselves. I was quite impressed.

I'm doing the bathroom today.

I think I might need to sit down at some point and think about a list of jobs that need to be done daily, weekly & monthly.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

BerryLellow Thu 05-May-11 08:18:00

I'm very impressed, and shamelessly lurking for tips. We're about to move into our first owned house and I'm already obsessing about having places for everything so that I can start as I mean to carry on. Of course this will probably only last for 1 week as I have two small tornadoes in the shape of my boys and a dp that thinks his stinky work socks walk to the washing machine from the bedroom floor all on their own. hmm

Mandy21 Thu 05-May-11 08:59:49

I am exactly the same - I have 3 DC and they can undo 2 hours of professional cleaning in seconds! Hence we stopped using the cleaner - it panicked me the night before she was due, when we spent the whole night cleaning for the cleaner, and then it upset me the night after she'd been thinking what a waste of money it had been when the whole place was trashed again!! Now it just doesn't get done at all!! Only joking (kind of!). I think storage is the answer, like everyone says, if a room is tidy with everything put away, at least you can get to the cleaning. I also try to keep one room (the lounge) tidy / toy free (although do fail some days) so that there is somewhere to welcome visitors / escape the turmoil.

I don't mind the cleaning, I really don't but its the fact that its like Groundhog Day every day. Breakfast - wash up, clear up, sweep floor, Lunch - wash up, clear up, sweep floor. Dinner - wash up, clear up, sweep floor. Mop floor. Get up the next day and repeat!! Arggh!

I have sorted my dd's room.
Next is my DS1's room.
Then the rest of the house.
I also would like a more organised home!
(getting off MN & getting on with the sorting/tidying would help)
I am astounded at the amount of crap we have.
It doesn't help that DH is a hoarder.

BoffinMum Thu 05-May-11 11:08:21

Try this off my blog.

Weekly cleaning schedule

There are a fair few cleaning posts up there now on related topics as well.

Charleymouse Thu 05-May-11 11:15:18

My name is Charleymouse and I am hoarder.
<hangs head in shame>

I am too sentimental about things that I should not be sentimental about.

I am trying so hard to get my house in order and have recently at threat of skip/divorce removed three huge Ikea bags of stuff. I just think it may come in handy or it is wasteful to get rid. It doesn't help that DH constantly buys new stuff for the DCs. I can't get rid of it and he buys more of it.

I even have a cleaner but am the same as Mandy21, panic the night before and despair the night after. I am reading the organise mum/house books at the moment and am really trying but have real difficulties with getting rid of stuff.

BadPoet Thu 05-May-11 11:26:08

My home is lived in - it's a cliche but I mean it genuinely. I work from home, I have a pre-schooler and a very messy school aged dd who can create chaos very quickly. When I am working the children are cared for my dh, so at home. 3 meals are eaten here every day. We tend to blitz at weekend and it's always like a show home when we have people over but descends into mess again.

A couple of months ago I attended a week long course and dh was working all week too, so the children weren't here and neither were we. The house stayed immaculate, which speaks volumes to me. I think to keep it tidy when people are there does take near constant work. For me especially at this time of year, because dh vanishes into the garden! (which is great because he does that but increases the work indoors).

We are on a constant declutter cycle, small house and no loft. But stuff is necessary sometimes, books, craft kits,seeds for planting, birthday presents, outgrown clothes, clothes to grow into.

howabout Thu 05-May-11 11:29:28

Mandy21 you completely explained why I don't have a cleaner. When I get an attack of the guilts about the state of the place DH explains that he didn't marry for my housework capabilities and he doesn't mind advertising that fact to the rest of the world. Still I do like to try to at least avoid living in a health hazard and after that there are just so many better ways to while away the day.

IntergalacticHussy Thu 05-May-11 11:33:22

storage has to be the main factor. we never seem to have enough places for anything.

I've set myself up a rota - each day of the week has a different task. It hasn't got to the stage where i'd feel comfortable inviting absolutely anyone in, but it's definitely an improvement, in that the loos don't resemble the one from Trainspotting quite so much!

Our house is most definitely lived in, and I dont care about the cliche either. I have stopped worrying about what other people think. If its family - well, they know me better by now and only my housepround mother dares to make comments anymore. If its friends, well they have kids too so completely understand. Once you get out of the mindset of what other people think, its really liberating.

These are my philosophies -
Good storage, a home for everything. if it doesn't fit, it goes out of the door!
Dont iron anything. Ok a bit severe, iron the important stuff. School uniforms, towels, underwear, everyday clothes - I don't think so really! I famously get the iron out twice a year, and no-ones really noticed. Usually weddings, funerals and for ironing in those little name tags at the beginning of the school year. Frees up loads of time.
Keep on top of the dirt on the kitchen worktops, everything else either gets put in the dishwasher or it will have to wait.
The downstairs WC is kept as clean as possible, and the upstairs toilets are allowed to do their own thing until I get time to clean up.

DH is not a clutterer, which is good in some respect. However I have caught him during one of his relentless de-cluttering sessions trying to donate my hair straighteners on the basis that he hasn't ever used them and probably never will. He knows better now.

whoneedssleepanyway Thu 05-May-11 11:42:48

I cracked an got a cleaner 6 months ago as it was too much to keep on top of with the DCs and work too (and I only have a 2 up 2 down blush).

She has revolutionised my life, I love her, she has found places for things that just used to sit around and be cluttered and has even rearranged our furniture slightly in the living room and it looks so much better. Our house does look a lot tidier now and at the end of the day I do a quick whizz round and it is ok again.

I think it is impossible to keep it tidy all the time though when you have little ones. Yesterday I forbade the DDs from playing in the living room blush as it was so tidy after she had cleaned, so I shoved them out in the garden all day and it still looks pristine this morning!

I think the best place to start is finding a "home" for everything so there isn't too much clutter out even if it is a drawer for paperwork or a basket for odds and sods that can go on a shelf, everything looks tidier and is easier to keep clean if there isn't loads of junk on display.

Toffeefudgecake Thu 05-May-11 11:44:10

The Flylady thread on Mumsnet has really helped me - I recommend it. I don't feel so overwhelmed by everything anymore. The secret to a tidy house is definitely decluttering and sticking to a routine. After several months of following the Flylady routine, things are much better, but I still have a long way to go. I would love a cleaner though - and a tidier family (2 DC and a DH).

BadPoet Thu 05-May-11 12:22:16

I do follow the motivated moms cleaning schedule so at least my house is clean and hygienic. But I think it recommends a quick tidy up once a week, which doesn't really cut it!

Debs75 Thu 05-May-11 12:32:57

My problem is space, there are 6 of us and a cat and a dog.

Me and DP share with the 2 youngest, 2.7 and 9 months. DD1 and DS have their own rooms.

DD1's room is a tip, she never puts things away, I wonder where she gets that from?blush

DS has autism and he only has a bed and some toys in there, all his clothes are in our room.

In our room are 4 chest of drawers, 1 wardrobe, 1 single bed, 1 double bed, with 4 drawers and 1 cot. You can barely move.

The dining room is full of cupboards(full) 3 prams and the dog and cat. We can just about get the table up but we don't bother.

The kitchen is very badly designed with no real storage, we had to move 3 cupboards to fit the fridge and freezer in.

The living room is like a toy room with 3 kids toys in there.

So there are my excuses! I know I need to declutter, I have so much to sell on but what if after i de-clutter it is still a mess???

HamburgerHelper Thu 05-May-11 12:36:15

My advice is to have a place for everything and put things away when finished.

Get rid of enough stuff that cupboards and drawers aren't filled to capacity.

I spend a half an hour per day / 1x week in each section of the house. Hall and Stairs, Kitchen, Living Room, Bedrooms, Bath and Toilet. I listen to radio 4 and just get on with it. I also do one extra thing a day - like tidy a drawer or under the sink.

I also have a "rule of three" anytime I walk in a room, I must do three things: So I go into the bath and 1) straighten the towels, 2) put a toy away and 3) put hair brush away - they don't have to be big jobs, but I must do three. Then walk back to the living room and 1) put away newpapers, 2) fold blanket and 3) put the phone back in its holder. There are always things to do.

And I have a one thing in/one thing out rule. So if you get new pajamas, you have to get rid of an old pair. New toy - old one goes. The exception is books.

BranchingOut Thu 05-May-11 12:46:39

OK - inspired by this thread. Off to tackle 'the pile'!

Ba8y1 Thu 05-May-11 13:23:00

I second toffeefudgecake. The flylady way is fantastic and once you get used to a routine as she says 'the house seems to clean itself' - I have an 11 week old baby and can just about manage ~ 15-30mins a day tops and though the house is not spotless it is superficially presentable! Check out the flylady website: www.flylady.net or on second thoughts just read hamburgerhelpers post above - tis very similar!!

working9while5 Thu 05-May-11 13:27:49

whoneedssleepanyway, I also have a 2 up and 2 down..

I need to find homes for everything. It is only dh and I and the monkey (18 months) but since he started tearing around the place, I am finding that there is immense clutter.

What I really, really need help with is clearing out and sorting some cubby holes. We have a "pantry" that needs to be gutted and a little area over the bulkhead of the stairs that are just full, full, full of stuff. And 2-3 miscellaneous drawers of the same. I keep downstairs relatively tidy and wash the floors every day I'm home but there are little piles of "things to sort" everywhere.

And I need to get filing done.

None of these are really cleaner jobs though! I just never have the time/energy.

Insomnia11 Thu 05-May-11 13:45:49

There are things we can do to improve tidyness - for example pretty much everywhere in the house needs a clear out, which helps with putting things away, but these 'longer term' jobs get put off as there is so much else to do on Friday, Saturday and Sunday - like have fun together, as well as regular chores- and that's in spite of having a cleaner!

During the week I basically cook, eat, sleep, work, exercise and do child-related stuff and certainly don't feel like doing chores unless absolutely necessary.

Basically I decided it's nigh on impossible for us and therefore pointless even trying to have an immaculate house while the children are young and we both work- what we do have is a reasonably clean house thanks to the cleaner. Particularly as we didn't have an immaculate house before we had kids anyway!

ABouttoeatalltheeggsGIRL Thu 05-May-11 13:54:50

A few people have mentioned washing issues. I used to have these too. I now put on a load every evening so it's ready to hang out or tumble dry in the morning. I found if I put washing on in the morning it tended to linger in the washing machine all day and then need rinsing again before it was hung out the following morning. If I do a load every evening I definitely keep up with it.

I bring it in off the line straight after tea. Fold into the washing basket and then put away straight away. If anything does need ironing I do it on a Sunday evening but most of it's fine without ironing. DH does his own shirts.


SisterCarrie Thu 05-May-11 14:23:07

Organisation and habit are the keys to my house being tidy and clean. Admittedly we have a 3 bed semi which isn't massive and am on mat leave with DS 10mo.

We have 2 of the massive Ikea storage units/bookcases which have 10 baskets in the bottom row for DS's toys, the random wires, paperwork. I sort out the paperwork once a month in the evening if it's not urgent.

I clean the bathroom when DS is having his bath - just flick round with the wipes, do the loo. Not every day, maybe every 3rd day unless we're having visitors/it needs it. Spray the shower door every morning when it's wet. Don't tidy during the day as pointless with 10mo whose main source of fun is pulling books off shelves and toys out of boxes. Once he's in bed, I do it. Try to wipe kitchen surfaces when they need it and always put dishes in the dishwasher immediately.

Luckily DS adores riding the vacuum cleaner so I just get on with it if it needs a quick zoom downstairs. Floor washing happens when he's napping as our family room, kitchen, hall and dining room have wooden floors. Front room rarely gets used, so might vacuum carpet when doing rest, but not always.

Laundry - and if it's full, dishwasher - on most nights. Hang out/up clothes in the morning. Don't iron anything. Sometimes piles of clothes in spare room, but try to put them away the day they are dry, don't always succeed.

Vacuum, dust everywhere at the weekend. Big jobs get done once a month at the weekend.

I used to have a very demanding job in professional services marketing that required me to be super organised as I was working on up to 20 projects at once, so I think I've shifted that mentality onto this new 'job' of looking after DS and the house & garden. Sometimes if we're out a lot or I'm feeling lazy, I don't do much and the floor, bathroom and kitchen look grotty/there's dust everywhere, but the very least I will do is stay on top of the laundry and tidy up every night.

BranchingOut Thu 05-May-11 14:39:21

Yay, I did it! pile of paperwork is no more! smile

SofaQueen Thu 05-May-11 14:47:59

1. Storage
2. Routinely and viciously cull to prevent clutter (toys/paper/clothes)
3. Have specified areas where children are free to play, and others where they are banished from
5. try and have as many clean surfaces as possible
6. Avoid knick-knaky decorations
7. Hire a cleaner

Linchan Thu 05-May-11 14:55:11

Glad, of course, that i am not alone here then! I think my house just has too much stuff in it! Storage is essential but until someone other than just me puts anything away, it's a bit pointless! I got a cleaner and it really helps and to be fair my 3 and 4 year old both like joining in chores. I am also a slummy mummy though - not for me cleaning until 11pm!

LeQueen Thu 05-May-11 14:58:57

Agree with sofaqueen

Lots of storage.
Once a week go through house with plastic bag...any miscellaneous bits of tat and paperwork go in bag, then binned.
Lever arch files for domestic paperwork.
Don't have lots of clutter/nik-naks
Have SPECIFIC areas for things i.e.
have huge notice board in DC's playroom/bedroom - all their artwork, certificates, stuff gets pinned to that. And only that.

BoffinMum Thu 05-May-11 15:05:28

Debs, just take it one step at a time and make it lifestyle orientated. For example, you mention the table, so how about thinking through family mealtimes? Say to yourself you are going to get the kitchen sorted so cooking becomes easier, and then you are going to get a dining area organised so you can really enjoy a family meal together every single day. Then the next week, keep that sorted while creating a really relaxing living room space where you don't have to move things to sit down and so on, where there is space to have a coffee and a chat and not just slump in front of the TV, that kind of thing. Then the next week make up your mind to tackle the hall, so your mornings are easier. I know I am pushing my blog a lot today but you may find these posts helpful.

Hallway therapy

Living rooms

Reboot your kitchen


And finally there has to be one on storage

FIFIBEBE Thu 05-May-11 16:30:28

I aim to fill all my 7 recycling containers each week. That's a lot of paper to cull from the house. Hate the idea of my lovely cleaner having to tidy our mess, so spend half a day before she comes doing that so she can clean. Only 3 of us in house but all really untidy.

FellatioNelson Thu 05-May-11 16:35:13

My house has just gone on the market and I've got the first viewer tomorrow. I am really really really NOT looking forward to the torture of the next few weeks (hopeful) or months (pessimist) of having to keep my family's atrocious slovenliness under control. I feel stressed to the rafters already and no-one's even been yet!

emmanumber3 Thu 05-May-11 16:39:41

Debs75 I know what you mean - we are also pitifully short on space sad. I know I'm a slattern but even when I do go into "supermum" mode there's nowhere to put everything anyway! And it isn't all clutter - just some of it blush.

FellatioNelson Thu 05-May-11 16:47:04

I don't know how big a house you need to hide all clutter though. My house is huge and I still can't find anywhere to secrete the overflowing ironing baskets. My guest room always looks like Widow Twanky's laundry.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 05-May-11 16:48:44

My grandmother said that an excessively clean and tidy house was a sign of an empty mind.
Mine is tidy - in that the cupboard doors close and the surfaces and floors are clear
but dusting is for wimps
I had a cleaner but she freaked that all my radios were tuned to Radio 4.
I blitz a room a week and keep the rest comfortable. It works for me.

Asinine Thu 05-May-11 17:14:26

Flylady says

'You can't organise clutter' you have to get rid of it

More storage can lead to more clutter, it depends whether the stuff you are storing really matters to you. Imagine you had a flood or fire and which things would you think 'oh well, I never really liked/used that' and which things you'd be properly upset about.

Once decluttered the housework is much easier. Really recommend flylady, she used to live in a cluttered messy house and had been made to clean as punishment as a child, so she really understands people who are not 'born organised'

Asinine Thu 05-May-11 17:16:05

Oh and get the dcs to tidy the floors on the days you're hoovering, it makes it so much quicker if you don't keep having to pick things up

I think people notice clutter and see it as dirt more than anything - make sure you have a quick run round in the morning and before bed and move things into the rooms thay are meant to go in and then when you are in those rooms put thigs away just as you are going about your day.

My XMIL said I had an empty mind because I am so tidy - she was a dirty slattern though!

CardyMow Thu 05-May-11 17:28:18

Am I beyond help? Am in a house that is ridiculously too small (can't afford to rent anywhere bigger, am in a 2.5 bed house with 2 adukts and 4 dc), Can't afford any new storage. DD is 13yo, and in the 'half' bedroom (classed as a study/nursery bedroom!), she has a bed in there. Her clothes are hung on a curtain rail attached to the wall (no floor space). I have clutter EVERYWHERE. I do (grudgingly) admit to being a hoarder, I make sure I de-clutter most cupboards at least every 3 months, but will NOT throw away things that I can 'find someone who can make use of them' blush. I can hang onto things for 3-4 years before finding someone to give them to.

STUFF is everywhere. We are drowning in STUFF. DC won't throw away anything that's not broken either. <<Raising next generation of hoarders emoticon>>.


Asinine Thu 05-May-11 17:38:57

Loudlass can't you convince yourself to give it to charity? Then it will 'find' the right person who needs it, and the money can go towards mosquito nets or emergency food. When I give a bag of stuff away I try and calculate roughly how much it will raise, and it helps me to let go of it.

I visited an elderly neighbour today who was drowning in clutter. Health wise she will not live very long and I was thinking of her relatives trying to sort it all out when she's gone. I came home and took two bags of books to charity.

Elena67 Thu 05-May-11 17:56:58

following Asinine's post... if you give to Oxfam and fill in one of their forms and stick a sticker on the donated thing, you get a statement once a year which tells you how much your stuff raised which makes you feel SO virtuous and lovely! I am the world's worst hoarder, I think and even I manage to give somethings away...

CardyMow Thu 05-May-11 18:02:52

my main problem is GETTING the stuff to charity shops - they won't pick up unless it's furniture, and I can't push a pram AND carry stuff like books on the bus.

Debs75 Thu 05-May-11 18:03:42

So are our untidy houses just down to clutter and storage problems?

DP collects things and our 1 good store cupboard(4 foot square) is full of his comic collections. His worse habit is he likes to see clear floor so will put rubbish in drawers? He also puts dirty clothes onto piles of clean washing, I know if I had put the clean piles away then he wopuldn't be able to do that.

I think I need to organise myself better and to do things asap.
Washing needs to be put away as soon as it is dry, sometimes it hangs around for a few days.
Washing up done after meals so I don't have to do a full bowl just to have breakfast.
Have somewhere specific to put important mail, not several places.
Ebay the huge stash of outgrown baby clothes and nappies.
I think the one in one out rule would be great for us, DP is always bringing home extra things for the kids.

Boffinmum thanks for those links

sorky Thu 05-May-11 18:08:13

I didn't do the bathroom <hangs head in shame>

I did MY BEDROOM!!!!!

I was really honest & talked to my eldest 3 about how children from domestic abuse families would flee the home to a safehouse and they weren't able to take any toys with them.
We talked about how sad they would be if there was nothing to play with and lo and behold they decided which ones might suit different ages of children............granted the Futility room is now uber-futile 'cos you can't get through the bloody door BUT there is method to the madness.......that room has the only downstairs loo, so the stuff will be shot of by Saturday grin

I'm toying with getting a cleaner, but I have 3 let me down in the past an DH has a huge 'privacy invasion' thing going on, so it might take some time to reconvince/reorganise.

The Playroom was tackled today, that's where most of the toys and storage is.
It's occurred to me (epiphany moment) that if the storage is overflowing then.......wait for it..........we have too much stuff!!!!

I know that probably seems like a really stupid thing to say, but I just had that lightbulb moment today and I felt like a genius grin

PercyPigPie Thu 05-May-11 18:37:55

Our house is reasonably clean/tidy most of the time and we have three children ... but, it takes HOURS and I really wouldn't recommend it. I need a fair level of organisation to just function and haven't gone back to work yet (children all at school now) so I don 't feel I have a good excuse not to make it clean and tidy. Cleaning is boring, demoralising and I don't think anyone notices but me.

3ofeach Thu 05-May-11 18:41:55

I agree with the previous posters. I am a single mum to 6 children, ranging from 2 to 24. I was thaught by my Gran ' a place for eberything and eberything in its place' which i follow. I have a ' one in one out' policy on toys and don't have many ornaments. I keep on top of the cleaning/tidying. I think that cos we live in a 3 bed semi we have to keep clutter to a minimum cos of space issues. I am sure if we had a bigger house we would just accumulate more ' stuff'. It is easier at the moment as I am a SAHM / carer for my son with special needs, but even when I was working my house was tidy. The only thing that i find hard work is the washing as i do at least 3 or 4 loads every day. Like some one else said I do it in the evening and on the line or in the dryer the next morning

Asinine Thu 05-May-11 19:02:17

Loudlass I would definitely help a friend who couldn't get stuff to a charity shop, I'm sure loads of others would, too. Ask around, there must be someone who'd give you a hand.

Horopu Thu 05-May-11 19:24:32

Loudlass could you try to freecycle so whoever wanted it could collect it themselves?

didldidi Thu 05-May-11 19:35:05

but surely the washing gets creased sitting in the washing machine over night?

CalamityKate Thu 05-May-11 19:53:29

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Never leave a room without a quick scan to see if there's anything you need to take with you (this is my personal fave and it's amazing what a difference it makes).

Train the children to clear and tidy one game/activity away before they start another. If they've been playing in their rooms and then want to go out, they tidy the room before they go.

Multi-task - if you're on the phone, wander about with a duster while you're chatting. If it's got speakerphone, so much the better.

MonkeyChicken Thu 05-May-11 20:18:19

I'm CRAP at tidying and my house is an awful mess the whole time. Yes it's too small for us but the biggest issue is I just don't have a tidying gene. Stresses me out massively. We now need to get the house on the market and you'd think that would be a big enough incentive to have a clear out but no... best get off MN and go and find the floor!

Asinine Thu 05-May-11 20:21:45

I listen to podcasts and radio whilst doing housework, it kids what's left of my brain into thinking I'm doing something else

MonkeyandParrot Thu 05-May-11 20:28:56

I have friends who assume that i've had a bad week with the little ones and clean for me :-) I do the same for them to be fair but they are all a lot tidyer than me.

I dump the kids on grandpa once a month and clean everything really well - it gets messy quickly but at least i know it is clean under the mess

feralgirl Thu 05-May-11 20:57:49

My house is clean and tidy for about two hours every week on a Friday afternoon when the cleaner has left. Then DS (2.5) and I get home and the place is a bomb site within 20 mins.

It gets dealt with regularly enough to not become a Kim and Aggie issue and there is a basic level of hygiene (we wash up and do laundry every day) but I work my fucking arse off in my job 60 hours a week and DH is a lazy bastard so it is the way it is.

We decided to get a cleaner because it was either that or a divorce. DH works PT but is shite at housework and it just never got done. We can't really afford the cleaner but I would rather go without food than give her up!

suebfg Thu 05-May-11 21:01:46

My view is that life's too short for having an immaculate house - unless you can afford a housekeeper. Even a cleaner once a week won't keep your house immaculate. One of my friends has an immaculate house but they never do anything as a family. We on the other hand are out nearly every weekend and so something has to give.

nancy75 Thu 05-May-11 21:06:04

my house is tidy but i only have 1 child.
my tips are -
-before you go upstairs check to see if anything needs taking up.
-don't think i'll do that/wash up/pick that up later do it now it only takes a minute
- do a load of washing everyday
- wash up straight after meals.
- My dp works most nights so i tend to have half an hour tidying straight after i put dd to bed, i don't let myself put the tv or computer on until it is done.

MistyB Thu 05-May-11 21:15:39

I have loved reading this thread as I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't live in a Homes and Gardens Photo Shoot house.

That said, today, for one day only I have an immaculate house!!! (We are moving and the estate agents came round to take photos, all three children were out of the house for the day and I have been decluttering for weeks!!)

I am not looking forward to trying to keep it in this state for viewings and I did have to resort to sweeping stuff into baskets to be sorted later in DD's room. I do plan to allow DC's to watch TV / play on DS more and go out for tea in the evenings to minimise impact on immaculate house!!

candleshoe Thu 05-May-11 21:34:15

I gave up smoking three years ago and I now put the money I would've spent towards a cleaner 3 hours a week! My house is totally spotless on Thursday afternoons now! hmm

Well - until the children get home from school! grin

Broadwalkempire Thu 05-May-11 21:43:19

IKEA grin

startail Thu 05-May-11 22:02:13

Pigs might fly, it was passably tidy at the weekend because we had visitors, It's a tip again. Why because I'm mucking about on here instead of filling the dish washer. Have put away mounds of Laundry smile.

We just have too much stuff, clothes, books, craft materials, computer equipment and general electrical junk, as well as toys. Also no utility room so I also have washing all over the dinnig room as well as all the craft bits.

But the main problem is neither DH me or DD1 can be bothered to get stressed by mess. DD2 can get bees in her bonnet about her own room, but they don't spread to clearing toys, dishes and rubbish from anywhere else sad

specialmagiclady Thu 05-May-11 22:23:53

I am lucky enough to have a playroom, the kids play in there and are responsible for tidying it at the end of the day - I give them a set window to do it in and at the end of that time I get the hoover out and the bin and just start hoovering up toys and chucking them in the bin.

I've probably only hoovered up 15 pieces of lego but it's enough..... <evil laugh>

fidelma Thu 05-May-11 22:31:07

I hate clean and sorting as does dh however we both love a clean,organised house(which you need to have with 4 dc !)

So we spend a large amount of money on a housekeeper/cleaner.We forgo expensive holidays and put the money on our everyday lives,which suits us.

The privacy thing takes getting used to but for us the benefits are great.

She comes 9 -3 pm 5 days a week.I still need to work hard on top of that and our house isn't imaculate it is a family home.

Cleaning,washing and cooking = full time job.(never mind the dc !!!)

specialmagiclady Thu 05-May-11 22:34:55

PS Answer to original question, IME people with immaculate houses NEVER SIT DOWN. Ever.

dolceebanana Thu 05-May-11 22:35:30

I have to have a tidy house as it frazzles me otherwise. Have 3 under 5 and keep on top of things daily, so house always tidy, and clean. Lots of storage helps (huge baskets for toys etc), and the rule that you use only beautiful, functional things does too. I am a firm believer that you don't have lots of sets of things (unecessary clutter IMHO) other than bedlinen (3 sets per bed) and towels (loads), but buy the best you can and use it all daily.

nancy75 Thu 05-May-11 22:35:44

i'm sitting down right now!

dolceebanana Thu 05-May-11 22:36:34

I hide my ironing in a large armoire by the way until it is reeeeeeally necessary blush Well, somethings got to give

Adversecamber Thu 05-May-11 22:41:32

I have a bit of a rule about going up and down stairs. I try to take things up and down each time I go.

Dh seems to think that things do not need to be put away as it is a "waste of time as they just need to come back out". This is our bone of contention. I agree with everyone about clutter. My Mil keeps almost everything, years of newspapers, video and cassette tapes, she constantly tapes programmes off of radio 4 and hoards them. Her house is really full to bursting.

I really try and get rid of stuff and think our house on a relative scale to my friends is slightly above average. I do have three friends that live in immaculate houses, one has 2 Dc and works full time, her DH is totally on board.

I have a cleaner now so find the tidying up easier as I would never expect her to tidy up.

specialmagiclady Thu 05-May-11 22:56:22

Yes, nancy, you are. But it's 22.35 when you posted that! Go to bed...

nancy75 Thu 05-May-11 22:57:43

I wasn't doing housework, i was watching eastenders!

ReginaPhilangee Thu 05-May-11 22:57:56

Anyone have any tips on getting rid of paper? I am a hoarder, what rules can I make to get rid of:

Magazines both very old and recent. I make sure I throw out old sky mag but otherwise tend to hold on to other mags and pile neatly in date order then only look at them once or twice a year... I also have old "collectable" ones like The Face and Colours

Cards - do you keep cards from people? we have a lot of them, I feel sad about throwing them out if people have written a nice msg, sent a letter of support etc. Also invitations. Cards with pics of babies and family?

Bills - never know how long to keep them so have many files full

Receipts. I try to keep receipts for expensive things in case they break etc. have a big box full. Do organised people throw all receipts away immediately?

These are the things I struggle with so I have paper everywhere.

nomorefrizz Thu 05-May-11 22:58:44

Like many others it seems I can find an awful lot of distractions from house work -like now!
I am also an all or nothing person but have some standards like unstained cups and clean toilets. I was also brought up by very house proud parents (although it was mostly my Mum who did all the house work despite having a full time job)Yes I love a clean house but I always remember feeling slightly on edge in my parents house-we weren't allowed to make any mess at all and my Mum would iron all evening after a full days work(no thanks) to" keep on top of it" oh how I wish I had a little of that self control/martyrdom about me.
I still , despite my slatternlyness , carry a huge amount of guilt when things aren't up to scratch (most days) which is obviously from my mother.
The only time I really bust a gut is when my parents particularly or anyone else is about to visit when I become motivated --fuelled by anxiety and guilt--my house is transformed from its usual tip to somewhere I'd actually like to live. I so wish I had this drive on a "normal" day but sadly not.

SoloIsApparentlyACougar Thu 05-May-11 23:11:18

I'm home grin

BoffinMum Thu 05-May-11 23:14:22


Magazines - by all means keep them if they matter to you but file them in magazine files on a shelf. Or just clip the bits you like and stick those sections in a file on their own, throwing the rest away.

Cards - Buy display files and keep them in there so you can look at them and enjoy them.

Bills - up to 7 years for Inland Revenue purposes. Keep all things for each tax year in one great envelope and put it in a box with the envelopes from previous years in the loft. Chuck out any older than 7 years.

Receipts - Keep them in enveloped labelled month by month, for up to 2 years or the length of the guarantee, whichever is the later.

BoffinMum Thu 05-May-11 23:15:31

The last 20% og housework standards takes 80% of the time, so this is where to economise if you are feeling pinched.

Starbear Thu 05-May-11 23:28:36

My house is tip at the mo as I've been at work this week and in the last three weeks my Ds and Dh have been on and off on hols (bank hols and school hols) during the holidays. We have been in and out having fun in that time. We have just cleaned to be hygenic but the stuff mountain has built up around me to the point I have lost my diary some where in this house. I'm working this Sunday which means I'll have 3 days to whip this house back into order before and keep it like that until half-term. My problems are the following
1. I am lazy
2. I love a cuppa in bed with a magazine on a day off until 8am blush
3. I will spend time on Mumsnet instead of getting my life in order
4. I will read magazines and stuff instead of housework
5. I cook and eat too much
6. I should get up earlier on a working day and get some little chores done so I can go to the gym on my days off
7. I don't have any hobbies or a life other than magazines as I feel to guilt to do them because my house isn't in order. HELP!

P.S I had given up Mumsnet for 3 months and it has helped (until tonight blush

Kiwiinkits Fri 06-May-11 01:17:21

Regina my tip for paperwork is to have ONE A4 concertina file (no more) for receipts and bills etc that you absolutely have to keep. You'll find that really deep down you don't need more than that. Also, you can buy a scanner and scan receipts, papers etc and keep them electronically.

And for cards etc have ONE box (say 50cm x 50cm x 50cm) as your 'memory box' for keeping memories. Once it's full, it's full. If you want to add another memory, you have to find one less important to chuck out.

Magazines. How often do you go back and read them? Never? Thought so. Chuck them out, it will liberate you.

DoubleDegreeStudent Fri 06-May-11 06:21:40

When my sister and I were little my parents had a "secret cupboard" where presents were (allegedly) kept. We were not allowed to open it (not sure how this was enforced - we didn't though). I only found out when I was 20 that it was actually a cupboard of no return. Periodically they would just take toys that weren't being played with and put them in the cupboard. If we didn't ask for them in the next six months they went to charity and were never mentioned again.

Genuinely had no idea this went on, and it doesn't seem to have done me any harm!

I also find that telling people I have a tidy house helps. If you go around saying "oh sorry, you can come back but it'll be a total mess" then there's no pressure. Saying "come on back, I've done a whip round but it's a bit cluttered, sorry" brings with it a sense of expectation. Tell yourself each day that you will bump into a not-very-good-friend in the supermarket and will have them back for coffee. What are you most bothered about in your house? Start there.

CheerfulYank Fri 06-May-11 07:07:44

I would also love to be able to fling the door open for a visitor any old time. sad I'm quite social really, and honestly my house is holding me back.

I've started Flylady and LOVE it. I've got a ways to go but it's really helping.

I bought my DS a toy storage thing (there's a pic of it on my profile, I love it so!) and that has been great. Before he just had a few big bins for toys and he would dump them out all over the place; now he can see what he's got.

I can't wait until I have a house that is reasonably tidy most of the time...how fabulous! smile

Boffin will definitely be reading your blog!

Maryz Fri 06-May-11 08:36:29

Well I'm heading into ds's room this morning. I have three washing baskets and a roll of black plastic bags.

If I don't reappear by Sunday, would you please send the search and rescue team in for me grin.

mummybookworm Fri 06-May-11 09:05:12

I could have written many of these posts on here. I am going to give the "doing something every day" a whirl, as opposed to one mad clean on a Friday morning (ie today) and then the house returning to its usual tip by Friday evening. I am sure someone, somewhere has the secret to a permanently clean and tidy house. Dobby does exist somewhere, I am sure of it! trots off to clean bathroom and polish bedroom

swanriver Fri 06-May-11 09:48:54

Starbear we miss you, please come back to Flylady!

Matekiddleton Fri 06-May-11 10:13:35

Love the blog, boffin.

I pretend that I am Felatio Nelson's cleaning lady. Three hours a week on a Friday of the stuff that I don't want to do.

BoffinMum Fri 06-May-11 10:15:00

Maryz, PMSL grin

I think it's unrealistic and unnecessary to live in show home form unless you are actually selling the thing. Think through your motives instead. If you want to be able to fling the door open to visitors, then create a tidy hall and living room and downstairs loo, make sure you have decent coffee and biscuits stashed away and some milk in, then start inviting people around! Forget the rest. If you'd simply like to be able to find things, then imagine you were a space consultant and think through what systems you could use to simplify your life. If you want to have a more relaxed life, then organise things that impact on your morning and evening routines and spend time create a pampering bedroom space instead. If you pick the areas of concern and spend your time on those, and finish off any little DIY jobs at the same time, then I guarantee you will have maximised outcome whilst minimising effort.

FWIW my own garage is an unfinished project, I dislike my sofas intensely and I am forever having to nag DS1 to clear his homework things away out of the dining room. However this is OK and normal, even for doyennes of historic housekeeping practices. wink

MrsSchue Fri 06-May-11 10:59:29

I am trying to be more organised about doing a basic whip round every morning. I find that getting dressed straight away helps me to get started, so I put on 'scummy' clothes when I get up, walk the dogs in those and come back and do the cleaning , then get in the shower and put on 'proper' clothes.

The only thing that cripples me is the Internet. If I make the mistake of sitting down at the computer 'just for two seconds' I can lose hours. For example this morning I had to top-up DD's school lunch card online. It HAD to be done immediately as it can take a couple hours to update, but once I sat down at the PC I was here for an hour!!
I am in the habit of leaving the PC on all night, I think it might help if I start shutting it down at night and tell myself I absolutely can't fire it up until the housework is done...

instantfamily Fri 06-May-11 11:01:27

Boffin, how do you manage to think about this with a job, kids, etc. I find it too depressing to have to come up with a strategy of how I can keep my house tidy. And that is probably why it looks like it does despite a cleaner who comes in twice a week...

Starbear Fri 06-May-11 11:03:43

Hi swanriver I might in a little while but I did get a little obsessive with the housework. The very big time waster was posting my list on line. It always took me 20mins every 45 mins, even more if there was no one around as I would go on other threads while waiting for you to post as well. I know very bizarre, I think it was becoming an addiction. How are you? I will post on your flylady thread just as a catch-up but I must must get back to the grindstone smile xxx

Colourworld Fri 06-May-11 11:24:56

I wonder whether you get reminded about some "mess" by your partner. I try to keep the house tidy but if I do it constantly then I do not have time for myself. Also it is impossible to have the house as clean as a mirror throughout the day as the kids play, eat. There is not really much space to have a table in the dining room so we often get bread crumbs in the leaving room. I am sweeping throughout the day. Sometimes the kids make a messy table like yesterday with papers, pencils and then my DH would say that the table is so messy (even though it was not), kind of blaming me for that. Why do DHs expect the house shine all the time is it just mine?

Starbear Fri 06-May-11 11:40:13

Colourworld The advantage of being a part-time working Mum on shift sometimes is my DH has days of looking after Ds. He knows how messy having a child can be so if its DS's stuff Dad gets him to clear it up not me

Colourworld Fri 06-May-11 11:44:42

Starbear, well mine is working and I am working at home with kids plus other things at home. I guess mine is one of those DHs who think if they earn money then the wife has to do everything at home even at weekends I do not have weekends. He said kind of joking it was my job cos he earns money. That made me feel sick.

BoffinMum Fri 06-May-11 12:56:32

TBH any comments from my DH along those lines about the table being a mess, and he would be handed a duster and told to get on with it.

Our kitchen table is the place where mess happens and that gets cleaned up at the end of the day by the adult in charge. We probably use our dining room for its proper purpose more than other people, incidentally. I always think it's such a waste when people use them as a dumping ground - either turn it into a proper storage room or playroom and eat properly in the kitchen, or turn it back into a dining room and start entertaining and being more formal.

BoffinMum Fri 06-May-11 12:58:59

WRT having the energy to think about the state of the house, I have a reasonably high powered job, so simply wouldn't be able to function at that level if I was wondering if we had milk in the house or clean pants in the drawer or whatever. It helps that part of my day job is developing, implementing and sustaining systems, so I just apply those skills to the household situation. And because my mother and grandmother thought like this as well, it's pretty second nature to me now.

BranchingOut Fri 06-May-11 13:13:08

I will come out now as someone who used to have serious hoarding issues - but no more!

I used to have literally boxes and boxes of childhood memorabilia and sentimental items that followed me from university halls of residence (at one point I kept boxes in a big pile in my room!), to my first flat, my second flat...The boxes were like a millstone round my neck, often causing me storage worries and relationship issues and the longer i left them the worse it got. Part of the problem was that my parents had downsized and asked me to move most of my childhood stuff out - so I couldn't leave it all 'at home' as so many of my contemporaries could - then deaths in the family meant that I was scared to open the boxes for emotional reasons, as I didn't want to look at things that would remind me of my childhood.

Eventually, just before my wedding, I cracked and got in a 'decluttering consultant' to help me sort a good proportion of it out. People thought I was bonkers to pay someone £250 to help me sort through some boxes but I needed the help and she did get me to do it. There were still boxes up in the loft in my first married home and still a few at my parents' house, but I then had the will to gradually tackle the problem, a box at a time.

I am now fairly sure that there is very little left in the loft and now have just a couple of attractive IKEA storage boxes full of said childhood and personal memorabilia, sitting quietly on the shelf. I am also tackling my filing and paperwork (looked up one day to realise that much of it related to things I was doing five years ago, while my present work was in a pile with nowhere to go!), clearing out my wardrobe, underwear, you name it....

What has helped me?

1) The tale of a friend who had to go all the way back to Australia and spend a solid week tackling her clutter, as her mum was selling their house. She really regretted not tackling it years before and we all have to face the fact that it has to be done one day, one way or another.

2) "If in doubt, chuck it out!" - if you are not sure that you want a particular item in your life, then get rid of it. You are in control.

3) Not buying or getting clutter. I don't buy knick knacks, souvenirs, avoid picking up brochures etc. I also avoid becoming the custodian for other people's clutter - if my husband wants to hang onto something then he has to keep it.

4) Trying to buy more of what I do use and get rid of what I don't use.

5) Ebay - the great thing about ebay is that you can, with a bit of patience, get rid of those things that you don't want to think of being thrown away but want to give to the right person. I had a collection of 'collectable' china animals (from childhood!) and they were snapped up on ebay by people who like that kind of thing...

6) Everything being online these days eg. most magazine articles are online - why keep the original paper copy?

7) Enjoying the feeling of 'lightness' that you can get once you live with less stuff.

LillianGish Fri 06-May-11 13:31:57

If you are thinking tidy in terms of inviting people in then focus on the rooms that people see. Tidy hall - don't let it become a dumping ground - because that is the first thing anyone sees, even those who don't make it over the threshold. Living room/kitchen - whichever room you show your guests into and loo (in case they need to pay a visit!). Everything else is irrelevant unless you plan on taking your visitors on a tour! I second all those posters who stress the importance of good storage - have a place for everything and when you run out of places it's time to start throwing things out.

Starbear Fri 06-May-11 14:10:22

Colourworld This week I have envied Working at Home Mums get the kids to do HW and bits after school, having a cleaner house (in my imagination) Having more time to go to the gym but your comments has reminded me how luck I am with my DH who I am sure would have been like your if he did not have a baptism of fire when I was working shifts when DS was little. The other day I need to pop out to see a neighbour after work and on the return walk listed the things I had to do before I could sit down. When I got back the D/W was empty and wash in the machine and a couple of other things.
I am going to train my DS to be the same, he'll have a happy partnership if he follows his Dad, of course only if she/he meets my approval first grin I'll be the MiL from hell otherwise hmm

Debs75 Mon 09-May-11 16:01:36

Our big de-clutter has started.
DP did half the cupboards in the play/dining room and I have done our wardrobe and drawers. Next are the piles of boxes in our room, the drawers under the bed and the other half of the play room. After that DP will have to tackle the shed and do a tip run.
We will escape the nightmare of too much stuff and too little space

emmanumber3 Mon 09-May-11 18:01:21

Some of you are making me feel terribly inadequate/slovernly/lazy blush!

And BoffinMum - I don't even know what "implementing and sustaining systems" means! blush Literally.

I know I have pregnancy mush-brain but even so confused.

titferbrains Mon 09-May-11 20:01:18

good to read yr post branchingout as I was feeling too bashful to reveal on here that I might be getting a declutter service in. I have done really well so far this year, I try to have a charity shop bag on the go all the time and I don't look in the bags once they are full, have done about a bag a week since the beginning of the year so quite proud. HOWEVER, our cupboards are all full and I am finding it too overwhelming/tiring to empty them and find out what's in the back of them... and to work out a system for what should go where....

There are also a lot of items I am holding onto for sentimental reasons and I really need someone to hold my hand while I get rid of them. Ridiculous but it is totally true, I can't do it on my own. Will re-read yr post and have another go at tackling problem areas this week!

titferbrains Mon 09-May-11 20:03:51

What sort of cupboard/table do organised homeowners have in their hallway? I am scared to have anything with drawers or even a cupboard because things would get lobbed in there never to come out again. Or wd only get sorted every few months. I bought a rather pathetic letter holder to get post out of the way but it hasn't worked and the beautiful dish that should only hold keys always has other random crap in it or is obscured by more post.

Maryz Mon 09-May-11 20:09:49

I opened my bathroom cupboard today and looked inside it properly (we have a huge built in one, which houses toiletries, loo paper, cleaning stuff, swimming stuff, spare bulbs and batteries and random crap).

I looked at it all for about 5 minutes. I even took a random box off the top shelf and looked in it (mostly out of date sun cream, I think), and then put it back.

I then shut the door firmly.

I suspect I have found my job for tomorrow grin.

Pennybubbly Tue 10-May-11 03:19:59

I think space is key in this issue too.

I live in central Tokyo where apartments are miniscule and storage space is like gold-dust. DH, DD(6), DS(3) and myself live in a small (think tiny, then halve, then halve again and you'll about have it) 2-bed apartment.

I have no choice but to be ruthless with what we buy/own/keep.
That said, I don't find it at all boring/dull/unhealthy/abnormal/any other derogatory word for clean and tidy that people may mention to have a spotless house apartment.

In fact, I quite enjoy that liberating feeling that someone else wrote about that comes from knowing that I use and need everything I own (pushes firmly out of mind the enormous suitcase of baby clothes that are just too damn cute to throw/donate/sell), well, almost everything.

I work full-time and get naff all very little help from DH when it comes to housework. What works for me is daily routine: So:
After work, pick up DC from nursery/after-school club, dinner goes on,
laundry in washing machine,
school bags unpacked and packed for next day,
Make sure DD is settled with homework, DS with entertainment of some sort
Finish making dinner (bulk cook at weekend and freeze)/ eat / wash & dry dishes and make sure all kitchen surfaces are clean, all food put away, floor has no food stains etc
Bathe DC
Washing finished by this point, so hang out and/or dryer on
1 hour with kids (play, chat, story, bed)
Ironing previous day's laundry, folded & put away
TV time, evening tipple, make sure cushions plumped and room looks nice and bed

Bath cleaned daily when I am in shower in the morning (Japan, so wet-room style bathroom).
Toilet room is cleaned with disposable toilet wipes (cheap as chips here, assuming you can get them in UK?) every 2 days.
Beds made every morning, clothes hung up after they're taken off (DC trained, DH luckily naturally tidy-ish).
Hoover every few days (apartment so small takes 5/10 minutes to do entire place).

Big cupboard blitz during holidays.
Sorted. hth. Someone. smile

Pennybubbly Tue 10-May-11 03:21:22

blush at length of epistle lecture post

BranchingOut Tue 10-May-11 11:26:33

Thanks titfer - glad someone found my 'coming out' useful!

The most important thing in de-cluttering is your mindset - once you have changed your mindset to acknowledge that you don't need all this stuff and begun the process then it will slowly, gradually improve.

BoffinMum Tue 10-May-11 11:37:18

I meant thinking about how I live and making hosuehold arrangements that truly reflect what I want, then keeping up with them. wink

I know there was too much management speak there. grin

titferbrains Tue 10-May-11 19:53:26

branchingout have booked declutter people! Figured I'd better put my money where my mouth is grin

Looking forward to knowing what's actually in my cupboards.

sorky Wed 11-May-11 13:23:11

My tip run & charity shop run is complete grin

I'm really proud of my efforts!

Last week, friends came round and my house was 'visitor ready' with very little effort.
One friend came in and the first thing she said was "blimey, it's spotless, how did you manage that?! There's no clutter, all your benches are clear!"

She meant it admiringly as her house is the same as mine was grin

Is it sad that I felt 10 feet tall? blush

I'm on top of the washing & I'm tackling the ironing piles today.

Well done on the decluttering service. Sounds like a big step taken.

BoffinMum Wed 11-May-11 14:26:40

Sorky, you have inspired me to go and do the ironing! grin

titferbrains Wed 11-May-11 18:48:48

sorky it's a big step for me as I hold on to paper - my house generally looks fine but I am always battling with paper, no matter how much I throw out it multiply and I hate getting rid of things I have collected, hence the piles of magazines, the random collections of stationery, books I will never read again, smart paper bags saved just in case etc etc.

Really pleased I've done it even if it is an expensive way to get rid of things!

BranchingOut Wed 11-May-11 23:13:26

Well done titfer - please report back and let us know how it goes.

Sorky - you seem to have acheived miracles yourself!

Debs75 Thu 12-May-11 08:50:41

DP who collects and hoards is seemingly ruthless with other peoples stuff.
Yesterday he tackled DD1's bedroom and cleared away a whole wheelie bin worth of rubbishshock Amongst it was outgrown clothes, scraps of paper, broken things and a huge box full of goodie wrappers.
DD1 is now not allowed to eat up there but she has the most lovely tidy room ever in her life!
Now for the rest of the house

sorky Thu 12-May-11 11:00:06

Snap Debs, having sorted all the toys. I have just gone through 4 wardrobes and sorted the kids clothes. Everything now fits the right person.

It's been annoying me that sometimes they will get dressed in stuff that blatantly doesn't fit them anymore (obv they don't realise, but it bugs me)

There's a bag for Oxfam, a bag for the attic (hand downs) and a bag to sell.

I'm doing the bathroom today, have a binbag ready to throw out 5 year old perfume bottles blush

I'm dreading the living room because it looks almost exactly like a tippy version of this

How do you tackle this many shelves and books?

BoffinMum Thu 12-May-11 14:21:09

Anybody want 6 Nokia phone chargers, as that's exactly what we now have lying around here since the Big Drawer Sort Out, plus some old handsfree sets, plus cables, plus <whispers> a USB vibrating device free for postage. wink wink

BoffinMum Thu 12-May-11 14:26:28

Put radio on and make tea. Start with one shelf unit, remove books and pile on floor neatly, dust books and shelf, then start putting books into sections based on topic of book (reference, fiction, humour, etc). Move onto next shelf unit, picking out books to fill the sections you have planned. Start further sections on second shelf unit. Ditch anything you won't read again or don't like. Continue to last shelf unit. Bring books towards the front of the shelves and line up nicely in rough size order with an eye for colour as well. Put shit looking books in a row behind them. Leave space for a few ornaments, incoming new books, and/or magazines or journals or some hardbacks lying on their sides to act as bookends. Step back and decide whether 'reading' the shelves gives an insight into your stylish and intelligent nature. If so, relax. If not, give up. Drink more tea. grin

moondog Thu 12-May-11 14:36:19

I love these threads.My mission is to make peopel understand that housework is not dull.What's dull about having a nice clean home? What IS dull is having no system so you waste loads of percious time rushing about and stressing about where things are.

I'm big into systems management. I recommend this book very highly to anyone who needs to get MORE ORGANISED.

I've always worked f/t, studied, done other stuff, and have managed fine with no cleaner even thoguh I have 2 kids and my dh has worked abroad for very long stretches for year.

This is what works for me:

No shoes in the house
Eat only at the table. Nowhere else.
House tidy, beds made, dishes done before you go to work.
Evetything tidy and clean before you go to bed at night.
Train your kids to put stuff away and/or get things done. eg No tv unless homework done or beds made/teeth cleaned.

Everey 6 weeks i spend a whole day cleaning from top to bottom and a big part of that is getting rid of naytihng old/out dated/broken/too small.

House is pretty empty-very few hideous knickknacks and whathaveyou.

Never piles of paperwork. All dealt with straightaway.

BoffinMum Thu 12-May-11 14:37:25

Listen to da Moondog.

This is also the Boff approach. And also nobody over 8 is allowed to get away without doing their own housework.

moondog Thu 12-May-11 14:39:30

And then you will have the time to relax because you have A SYSTEM!!!

sorky Thu 12-May-11 16:11:27

Don't be foisting your crap on to us Boffinmum!!

We're all drowning in unwanted shite already wink

<gapes in awe at BM & Moondog>

BoffinMum Thu 12-May-11 16:16:44

Go on, you know you want them ... wink

Asinine Thu 12-May-11 16:36:22

Moondog is your real name marla aka flylady? grin

I agree with Moondog.

The biggest thing that you can do is get good storage and clear away the clutter.

You absolutely must make sure that before you go to bed at night, and before you leave the house in the day, that the house is tidy. Do the washing up, put clothes away, fluff sofa cushions, vacuum. It is nicer to come back/get up to a clean house and makes you start the day more motivated to keep it clean.

The only thing that I do allow in my house that Moondog mentioned is snacking in the sitting room but tbh I wish that I didn't as I end up having to clean the sofas more than I would like.

While H is putting the children to bed in the evening, I run a vacuum round, tidy up, get things ready for the morning so I have a clean house to relax in for the evening.

In the mornings we get up at 6 and before taking H to work and going to school I will do the washing up, get a load of washing on, mop the kitchen floor, straighten the house, make beds etc. Don't sit there thinking "my house is a mess"....just get up and do it.

The only way to do it is to keep on top of it and do it a little at a time.

Every three or four months I go through all of the children's toys and clothes and get rid of anything old/damaged/unwanted and pass it on, or get rid of it.

Asinine Thu 12-May-11 16:55:47

I have a morning and evening routine like flylady. If anyone's not tried it yet, it really works if you stick with it.

BoffinMum Thu 12-May-11 19:48:38
AngelDog Thu 12-May-11 20:07:20

I agree with moondog too. My house is generally a tip, but when I do make the effort to keep things tidy, I have more energy and things stay tidy.

oooh Boffin, that's pretty similar to how I run my mornings.

It sounds silly, but it's just much easier to keep a tidy house tidy. When the house starts to get messy I can feel the slump setting in.

jellyvodkas Thu 12-May-11 20:17:53

My answer is : Have no one in it.
Its the only way !!! smile grin wink

moondog Thu 12-May-11 20:32:39

Yes, I liek that post Boffin.
That is exactly what I do, bar the tray. but I think I shall buy one now.
I like that idea.
My dh is abroad and has a housekeeper (I know, lucky swine. When I go and see him I feel like I have died and gone to heaven. He even brings me a cup of tea after I leave the table and collapse on the sofa. It's bloody fantastic.)

Anyway, I digress. Said housekeeper always uses a tray.
So obvious. Why did I not think of it before?

BoffinMum Thu 12-May-11 21:33:56

grin Glad you like it.

lovetoclean Mon 16-Apr-12 17:25:16

I totally agree with Pennybubbly we love to keep our house also clean, immaculate, spotless and super organized. We have a huge 6 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms and 2 living rooms and that includes, dusting, sweeping, moping and organizing and it takes the both of us no more than 45 minutes to do it every day and we have a 24 year old disabled son that lives with us due to his disability and his room has to remain clean, immaculate, spotless and organized and if it ain't he will let my husband or myself know and we have to keep it clean for him. No it is not boring or dull to keep your house or apartment clean, spotless and immaculate and organized whether you have kids or not. Our home should be the reflection of us.

bossboggle Wed 18-Apr-12 16:15:22

With small children you have no chance!! Enjoy them and teach them slowly how to tidy and things will fall into place. 5 of us in our house and three dogs! I'm lucky - a stay at home mum but very very busy!! Mine all older now but one of the things I DEMAND is laundry is sorted no exceptions!! I have four (rectangular) shaped laundry baskets, one for dirty towels,another for whites, coloreds and darks. There is NO exception to this rule, it took me a while to 'train' my lot but it works and it saves you loads of time because you can just pick out a load and put it straight into the machine, not too much time spent sorting laundry. And yes you can teach little ones put pictures above the baskets and make a game out of it - they soon catch on!! smile

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