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Calling domestic godesses with immaculate homes - HELP!

(54 Posts)
jemart Sun 05-Jul-09 20:56:26

I am insanely jealous of people with beautiful stylish uncluttered homes and would love my house to be like that.

I have 3 DC's under 5, a flock of persian cats and an untidy clutter bug for a DH. Am I trying for the impossible in wanting my house to be spotless or can it be done? If so please share the secret, tell me how!

And I can't afford a cleaner so need to do it all myself.

gibbberish Sun 05-Jul-09 20:59:45

Spotless is aiming a tad too high, particularly as you have 3 dcs under 5!!!

But you can become more organised and certainly cut down on the clutter. Join us on the FLYing threads and all will be revealed...

ABetaDad Sun 05-Jul-09 21:17:48

The trick is to confine your DCs and their toys to one room, your DH and his stuff to another (or a shed) and your cats to a third room.

Throw away or store out of sight every single thing you don't not need to use immediatley. Then clean the rest.

Its what we do - although we don't have cats.

jemart Sun 05-Jul-09 21:52:47

Do I confine them permanently or just during cleaning?

ABetaDad Sun 05-Jul-09 22:04:41

DCs are allowed into the kitchen to eat and the rest of the time they have their own room. I have a closet where I keep my computer and a garage for my 'man stuff'. No shoes allowed at all anywhere in the house excpet utility room.

I do all the cleaning so I set the rules.

JennyPenny22 Sun 05-Jul-09 22:18:14

Am I getting this wrong? Your children are only allowed in their own rooms? So they don't get to use what would usually be shared parts of the house? Ie the living room etc??

ABetaDad Sun 05-Jul-09 22:28:19

They have their own room and are not alowed to lay upstairs. We have our own room. We go in their room and they can ask us to leave. They are age 7 and 9. They can come in our room to watch TV or play piano but never with toys or food.

ABetaDad Sun 05-Jul-09 22:29:23

EDIT: "They have their own room and are not allowed to play upstairs.

kylesmybaby Sun 05-Jul-09 22:50:27

wow... 'confine your DC's to one room' - would you really want to live like that OP?? i sure to hell wouldn't for the sake of a tidy house.

jemart Sun 05-Jul-09 23:15:55

It wouldn't be very workable in our house, we only have the one living/dining room and there is no way the kids are getting a tv upstairs.
I keep trying to make them keep their toys upstairs but they bring them down anyway.

AnotherFineMess Sun 05-Jul-09 23:26:35

Feck the immaculate home, that's what I say! Empty homes are well...just that, IMHO.

You can of course be clean and tidy (I will allow that wink) but I have never known an immaculate home with children where one, if not both, of the parents have not been totally strung out, unable to relax or sit still, and well, a bit sad really.

(That's not meant to be a jibe at anyone on this thread BTW, just a RL observation. maybe there are some people who can do it and still be normal!)

JennyPenny22 Sun 05-Jul-09 23:39:56

With 3 under 5 I would sod the immaculate home. As long as it is hygenically clean then that is what matters.

If you spend the day doing housework then it will soon become undone and you will have to start all over again but you will never get that time back with your children.

We have just got back from a week of camping and I was AMAZED at how much more quality time was spent with the DC when there was no house to worry about.

6inchnipples Sun 05-Jul-09 23:46:15

I'm new to where i live and over past year have made new set of friends. I have discovered that the people i am drawn to ar those with the most 'relaxed' lived in' homes. I have a few that have tidy 'contempory' houses but i feel less of a pull to them.

I have learned something about myself and from this i have learned to worry less what state my house is in. I want my kids to grow up in a happy house where they can play freely and run in and out with friends, paint stick glue, play tea parties, splash in the bath and so on, i don't want them to feel uptight and worry about mess. But at the same time they do help with any tidying we do, to teach them to be responsible for themselves.

I make sure i clean often, things like toilet, floors (baby crawling at the mo.) and always on top of laundry. But we have clutter and mess and toys everywhere and dens... they are a fav in our house!

Before you no it your kids will be out busy having their own lives and you'll have plenty time for tidying up!

AND i live in a tiny 2 bed cottage with 3 kids under 5, my dp is 6 ft 8 and we have 2 dogs one of which is a great dane. When i feel the mess getting to me, we head out for a walk with the dogs to have a run around in the fresh air, does everyone the world of good.

Just relax about the house, its your home not a show home.

6inchnipples Sun 05-Jul-09 23:49:41

Oops that would be know it , i new that really wink

JennyPenny22 Mon 06-Jul-09 00:07:39

I know somebody with a 2 year old in an immaculate house. The 2 year old is already a worrier when it comes to dirt/mess and I can see where he gets it. 2 year old boys should be out getting messy not worried about dirt. Makes me very sad really.

6inchnipples Mon 06-Jul-09 00:09:54

Unfortunately there are lots of people who desire the 'show home' look and seem to spend more time on the house than the kids. sad but true

jemart Mon 06-Jul-09 00:40:59

Okay so I am probably not going to achieve show home perfection but has anyone got some more tips for making it better? The mess is driving me crazy!

elderflowercordial Mon 06-Jul-09 01:06:38

There really is a middle path to all this you know.

Many people don't like a truly messy home because they don't know where anything is and that fact plus it may be unaesthetic can lead to high stress.

So you need a balance. I have a designated arts n crafts place where the dc can paint, draw, play with clay whatever. But there is still order, lids on pens after, brushes cleaned after etc so that dc get to appreciate play comes with a bit of a tidy up session after.

Likewise, they all have little jobs before and after meals, setting table, wiping down counters, dustpan and brush etc, stacking/emptying dishwasher. This is because team effort is the only way to go and as long as you don't expect them to do it as well as you could (esp very young ones), they soon get into a routine. It should be reinforced by a reward system!

Little things like dc putting dirty laundry in basket, hanging wet towels up etc all helps and asking dc to find homes for their things means some sort of order can be established. The important thing is to keep a sense of humour and perspective, keep it regular and don't have too high expectations.

There are no rooms barred to my dc and they are all good at helping keep our place tidy. It's not a show home and I wouldn't want it to be. 20 mins on Sunday mornings is tidy and vacuum own bedrooms day and then we go out or do something fun for the rest of the day as a reward.

DC are 3-12 and 3 yo loves to help bless him!

kitkatqueen Mon 06-Jul-09 01:30:21

Hiya, I agree with those who are saying "forget showhome" however about 6 mnths ago the level of toy clutter in m house became unbearable! It was mainly kids toys and when I actually stopped to look at what I was putting away every day it seemed to be the stuff that was in the way of the stuff they wanted to play with iykwim? So. I had a long chat with the dc's and we went through their toys winnowing out all the stuf they agreed was too babyish or whatever. We then sold the lot on ebay and at the carboot and the kids made £125.00 from selling it. The kids bought a trampoline for the garden and I have a house with a clutter level I can cope with. At the same time they now have the idea that they can save up for stuff they want and have started to realise the value of the stuff they already have.

Having mentioned this to another mum recently I was amazed at her reply - they did the same thing and funded a family holiday to disney with the proceeds shock

Good luck. Flylady can help tho

LucyMinter Mon 06-Jul-09 06:27:41

Well I don't have an immaculate home, by any stretch of the imagination - but I have got it roughly at a level that looks good, and is also comfy and friendly. (imo!)

What you need is ease of use...I mean your house has to be easy to keep nice. For me, after years of battling and failing and then trying things over and over again - that means several rules.

1. Floors that are cleanable. ie floorboards, carpets that don't show every mark (patterned ones are good ie persian rugs) and will clean if you need to; vinyl or tiles/slate in other rooms.

2. Keeping floors clear-ish - so nothing is kept on the floor. Sounds obvious but if you have a cupboard for everything and know where everything goes, you can put things away without having to find a new place every time! So,

3. A place to keep everything. And a place to put the heap of stuff you can't decide about at the moment...then have a clearout once your brain can make the decisions. The mental bit of decluttering is the hardest part, as things get attached to emotions etc.

4. Surfaces you can clean - a table and worktops that are clear and clean mean you are ready to use them whenever you want to. I am still working on this!!

5. Sofas that either don't show the muck or are easy to wipe, like leather. That's quite important especially with children and pets. I went through a lot of second hand sofas before finding some that don't need plumping every time someone sits on them, or get stained at the drop of a hat. One of mine still has a blanket covering it because of this! But if your sofas are neat and the floor is clean, it means you can invite people in and they'll be happy to sit down!

I'm still learning but very much want to have a house I'm not ashamed of, in that I want to be able to open the door to anyone and say 'Oh hello, come in!' rather than 'er it's a bit of a state, sorry'. That's my goal in life smile

BonsoirAnna Mon 06-Jul-09 06:52:23

Lots of good tips on here.

My top tip is to declutter very regularly and to make sure that you have the right furniture and storage for all your possessions. Ikea is a very good place to start.

You can also try getting on top of your house room by room.

littleboyblue Mon 06-Jul-09 07:16:52

Like gibberish said, the FLY thread is great. I joined a little while ago, and my home has never looked so clean and organised. I have 2 under 2's. They can play where ever they want to, but I am teaching ds1 (23 months) to do a little tidy away befor bedtime.
The FLY way has taught me how to declutter my home and how to only keep the things in my home that I truely love and bring me joy and not to hold onto things just because they have always been there.
It has helped me build workable and achievable goals for each day. I'd say I spend half an hour first thing while ds's have tv time, then half an hour after they've gone to bed, maybe 2 15min sessions through the day while they nap or play on their own and 5/2 mins here and there where I can.
My home doesn't look like a show home, but it looks like I have pride in it.

I think the key is not too have loads of stuff you don't need or don't use. I'm a dreadful hoarder but am trying to get better and have a box in our spare room full of stuff that I will one day either ebay or carboot. When I am in a strong mood I add things to the box and the rule is I'm not allowed to take it out again. We have an 11month old but have a box that all his toys go into at the end of the day and we make sure he doesn't have that many toys on the go at once.

To be fair to betadad if we had spare rooms we would have a kids room downstairs as well and keep them and the mess in there!

LovingTheRain Mon 06-Jul-09 07:38:04

jemart, although my DCs are all between 5 and 10 now, not so many years ago i had lots of under 5s too and i know what a nightmare it can be to keep the house looking presentable. I spent most of my time apologising to people about the awful mess my house was in blush.
Even more embarassingly, my best friend used to feel sorry for me and try and tidy up when she came over and once offered to help get the DCs ready for bed but couldn't bath them as we didn't have any clean towels
<< Cringe, cringe>>. But i realised that i needed to get organised and have never looked back.

Here's a few tips i found really helped me to get organised

If you have things all over the floor as i did may have done blush, put ALL of it onto the table and sofas. Make the floor clear first of all. Once everything is off the floor on the table, it will be of a much more reachable height to sort out.
Throw away anything you don't want.

Baskets are good too. Lay out some baskets and designate one to each child, one to paper work, one for upstairs and one for rooms downstairs etc. Anything you find that you want to keep, put into each of the baskets and then you can carry it to where it needs to be at a later date.

With DCS rooms, make sure there is enough storage so that nothing needs to be on the floor and also in my case shoved under the beds!

Teach DCS to tidy away their toys each evening (when old enough). Make sure all their clothes drawers are organised etc so you know where to put things away when they're clean etc.

Start with one room at a time. Get some bin bags go through each cupboard etc at a time.

With regards to the washing, keep on top of it. As soon as it is out of the machine, hang up to dry so you can get another load in. (I find even now my machine is on all the time!) When dry, put away so it's not lying around.

Sorry to ramble on, i have more tips but thought i should stop for now incase it was an overload grin

ABetaDad Mon 06-Jul-09 08:47:12

LovingtheRain - good stuff. Particularly agree with getting everyting off the floor and making sure that everything is tidy before DCS/we go to bed. Even if the floor needs a vacuum at least if it is tidy when I walk down stairs it seems less of a mountain to climb.

Stripping beds immediatley when I get up and before I even come downstairs makes me feel I have got a good start. DW puts the wahser on first thing while I make a coffee and then straight out into the dryer and another load on before lunch keeps us on top of washing with little effort.

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