The truth is, the last time someone said this to me was the 10th of never, two thousand and don’t hold your breath.Five people and a dog live and eat at my house and truth be told, I get more cleaning done in the ten minutes before someone comes over unexpectedly than I do in an entire week.
Here’s how I [don’t manage to] do it.
Kids [don’t] help [much].
We paint, we build, we get make mud pies and magic potions and bespoke perfume out of dirt and the crushed up leaves of my fiddle leaf fig 😳😳😳. The house looks like I’m losing a game of Jumanji. I try to get the kids to clean up after themselves, obviously. The amount of times this actually happens effectively and to the standard that could constitute a “tidy house” I could count on one hand. I’m not saying we don’t try, but I mean, cleaning your house while you have kids is like trying to wipe your ass while you’re still shitting.
My kids cleaning up after themselves is 1% cleaning, 20% complaining and 79% playing with stuff they just found. A lot of the time, for me, being a parent is just basically walking around the house saying “clean up this mess!” until everyone is crying.
The kids do know how to put things in the bin. Get themselves dressed. How to put their clothes in the wash. Where their shoes and bags go. How to make their beds. They have responsibilities and for the most part they don’t enjoy them.
“I know this doesn’t belong here, but I’m going to leave it here anyway” – My kids, daily.
2. [Don’t] throw shit out
Throwing shit out I could get on board with. Why sing the clean up song when you can yell “I’m getting garbage bags and you better hope you can pick up your toys faster than I can!!”, right? That documentary War on Waste kind of ruined that for me though, I’m not gonna lie.
So. As it happens. I have more pots and pans than I need, the maximum amount of furniture I can squeeze into every room because when a Scandinavian minimalist replica coffee table costs $25 at Kmart then you can’t afford NOT to buy it.
We probably have blankets in the linen cupboard that don’t fit on any of the beds we even have, and we have tons of useless shit. No one needs six sheet sets, and you definitely don’t need them sitting in your boot so you can drive them around for a year meaning to take them to goodwill. And yet, here we are.
And it’s not my fault that every time a sock goes missing from the dryer it comes back as an extra Tupperware lid… that’s just how reincarnation works. Take it up with the Hindus. I don’t make the rules. And when I do, no one follows them.
Also, never underestimate how much better about your life you can feel after you watch an episode of Hoarders.
3. Stuff isn’t sorted. Never. Mostly never.
New stuff comes in and old stuff gets shoved further to the back of the drawer.
Things get unfolded by my three year old the minute I’ve folded them.
We try to keep it regularly sorted. We fail.
We have a storage box for everything. Most of those things end up on the floor at some point during the day.
Things that may not be used again go on our IKEA Expedit shelf.
Everything has a place… wherever one of my kids or I happen to have put it at any given moment. Mostly if we’re looking for something I had ten minutes ago, we can’t find it, and half the time I can’t remember what I was looking for in the first place once I walk into another room.
Most of our drawers are ‘full of crap drawers’ that got filled in the ten minutes I spent tidying after that person I mentioned above unexpectedly texted me saying they were dropping around.
Or in the laundry [which also moonlights as the naughty corner].
Or on the chairdrobe in the corner of the bedroom.
I like to think being organised is for people who are too lazy to search for their stuff. 😂
They do say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so I guess I actually should just stop cleaning the house altogether!
4. [Br]utilise your morning
More often than not I close the door for school run on a dirty house. Sometimes I’m yelling at someone on our way out the door. Most of the time the kids will have tidied their rooms [moved one mess around to a different place in the room whilst creating another mess] and made their beds
This is what a bed made by a 6 year old looks like
This is what a bed made by a 6 year old looks like
[we’re not animals], but the living room will probably look something like this.
My husband, who is a Fire Fighter, might have been on shift over night the previous evening, and if I’ve been awake half the night worrying about some kid that’s being a jerk to my kid at school then possibly I will just be dragging my ass out of bed by 7.20am after my three year old sat on my head at 6:07am and came in to ask me questions about the names and whereabouts of various Shopkins at 4 minute intervals in the following 77 minutes I was trying to get the best sleep of my entire night.
We’re never late though. My house is messy. We’re not on time because it’s messy, we’re on time because it’s not a huge deal to me if there are still unwashed cereal bowls on the bench top after one of my kids did this while they were getting their breakfast ready in the morning.
So actually, maybe we are on time because my house is messy. But I also don’t think my time is more important than anyone else’s so I’d prefer to get them to school on time and do the dishes when I get home.
And strangely, my kids have become exceptionally good at locating shoes even if one is behind the toy box in the living room and the other one is in one of their siblings school bags and has three beyblades and a pair of dirty socks stored inside it. #lifeskills
5. One deep clean day minute
One per week every week. Floors, bathrooms, toilets, sinks, bedding, wipe over of tables, TVs, fridges and microwaves. Done. Actually we do this more than once a week.
Then 25 seconds after the kids come home from school, and/or my three year old wakes up from her sleep this happens.
6. No need to vacuum
This is usually my rule about ironing. But sure, we can quit vacuuming too. I have a Dyson hand held named Donald that sits in the laundry with flat batteries waiting to be charged 85.4% of the time. He sucks.
Sometimes I’ll take a selfie of my outfit while our actual vacuum cleaner sits dormant on the floor behind me because both of us can’t look good at the same time, it’s me or the house.
7. Apple cores
The sweet scent of a lost discarded apple core is as inviting as the smell of your kids lunchbox at the end of a school day in summer. They make it smell like apples when it didn’t smell like apples. Fuck I hate apples.
And there you have it. We try to keep on top of things. Sometimes [if the internet is down for awhile during the day] the house is immaculate.
They say having kids is like continually having to clean up after a party you didn’t attend. Truth be told though, all the mess aside, for me having kids is like continually going to a sometimes tediously boring, sometimes completely awesome party that, yes I have to clean up after, but one I’m so fucking glad I got invited to in the first place.