Life with three little kids is messy. If you showed up at my home on any given day I'd probably spend the first 10 minutes apologizing for the mess.
I've kind of come to accept it. One of the blessing of the little years is that my kids are little. They love running and playing and making messes.
But just recently I was talking to some ladies with young children, and the question came up, "How do you keep your house clean?"
We talked about chore charts, daily routines, cleaning schedules and in the end, this is the answer I came too.
I don't keep my house clean. We live here, and as long as I'm blessed to stay home with my kids, we're going to constantly be making a mess! But there are things we can do to keep thing under control.
1. I have one BIG cleaning day a week, usually Monday because I have a few hours at home without the kids. Otherwise, I just clean as I have opportunity. I clean the bathroom anytime the kids take a bath because I'm just sitting there supervising anyway. I wash dishes during snack time and fold clothes during movie time because again, I can supervise while being productive.
2. I turned vacuuming into a game instead of a chore. In fact, some days my kids come to ME asking if we can vacuum. I have them help me clear the floor, plug in the vacuum, and push the button. Then I chase them around the room while cleaning the floors. They all love it, running, jumping, hiding, and trying to sneak around so the vacuum doesn't get them. I probably vacuum three or four times a week easily. I don't mind the toys all over the floor when I know the floor itself is clean.
3. I make picking up toys second nature. When I'm sitting on the floor playing with the kids, I straighten books on the shelves and find missing puzzle pieces. There are always more toys around than we need, so I take those few minutes in between sips of pretend tea to pick up a bit. I'll admit my biggest challenge these days is Little Bears love of scattering things.
4. I keep our stuff to a minimum. I LOVE throwing things away and getting rid of stuff, so if there is an area of my house that is getting too messy too quickly I will gladly take an hour and sort through the stuff, reorganizing and getting rid of things. Less stuff means less picking up and more time to play!
So with that said, here is my house EXACTLY as it looked at 4 pm yesterday.
This is my living room: couches, piano, and lots of toys. We chose to have no shelves or storage in this room because I like it to be clean and simple. When the toys are put away (which would take a whole two minutes), my living room is perfectly empty and it's wonderful!
This is the big kids' room. Their beds are behind the camera. As you can see, most of the mess is puzzle pieces and stuffed animals. The game of the morning involved rolling around in the big green bin and chasing each other around with stuff animals.
This is Little Bear's room. Most days this is the cleanest room in my house. Usually when the kids play in here they are more interested in the three bean bags in the corner than the toys in the box. We have the crib pulled out from the wall just far enough that they can run behind it and hide in the corner. You wouldn't believe how fun it is to hide under a pile of bean bags!
And this is the master bedroom. I was in the middle of cleaning this room when I got the grand idea to take pictures of our mess. Sorry you missed the shot of all my clothes on the floor. I can't blame that on the kids. It's all me.
This is the kids' bathroom. Notice the pull-up someone took off and just left on the floor. I don't know who that belongs too, but it's probably one of the bare bottomed kids that are always running around my house. Why is it so hard for them to keep their clothes on?!?!
If you step out of our bathroom, you'll find this lovely view of our hallway. Notice the suitcases sitting in the corner. They've been there for over a week now. I hate putting away little kids clothes. They are just so small, and there are so many!!!
And finally, I bring you my dining room and kitchen. These rooms tend to be the hardest to keep clean. It wouldn't be so bad if my kids didn't insist on eating every three hours and throwing their food on the floor and then not cleaning up after themselves. My only saving grace here is that banana smeared all over the floor doesn't really show up well in pictures.
And since I'm being completely honest, I'll show you a picture of my kitchen. This mess has nothing to do with my kids. They aren't the ones who constantly leave cabinet doors open and forget to put the top back on the olive oil bottle. They also aren't the ones that insist on getting a new cup out of the cabinet every time they want a drink of water. That's all me. This is my mess, which is why I will be the one to clean it up. Eventually.
So there you have it. This is my real house, with our real mess. This is what life with little kids looks like. At least this is what MY life with little kids looks like.
I kind of like it.