(and since I've been going into early labor since 34 weeks)
my nesting instincts have been on hyper-drive.
Whether you're nesting or not, keeping the clutter in your house under control can be VERY CHALLENGING! Especially if you, like me, have a 3 year old, 18-month old, 100lb dog (and sometimes even a lovely husband…) running around making messes faster than you can clean them up!
First off, through trial and error I only pick up two times per day:
1) During nap time in the middle of the day, and
2) Right after the kids go to bed, before I relax for the night.
I learned the hard way that if I clean more than that, it's in vain because I turn around only to find more messes. It's all about efficiency, people!
After running around all morning getting myself and my kids ready, driving to preschool, gymnastics, playdates, lunch, errands or whatever else I have going on that day, I usually come home, put the kids down for naps, and come downstairs to this:
Clutter. Everywhere. (and today was a pretty mild clutter day, actually!)
Nap time is MY time to actually get things done (like writing this post right now) so it's sacred to me and I don't want to waste a single minute…
But I also don't want the messes to pile up all day.
I look at the clock, or set a physical timer on my oven for 5 or 10 minutes.
I take a simple box or laundry basket like this blue buddy here…
…make a quick sweep around the house, and toss in it anything that doesn't belong in that room. Usually the kitchen and living room are my biggest culprits.
This usually only takes a few minutes.
I spend the last part of my time walking around and putting everything away. I start in the play room (because, as you can tell, that's typically where the bulk of the random stuff belongs) and put everything away. I move on to the next room, put everything away. Then the next room.
By taking it one room at a time you're only making ONE trip, maximizing your time.
In 5-10 minutes you have swept through and tidied up your house, and now you can nap…er…I mean… get really productive things done in peace!
…until the kids wake up and make a complete mess of things again.
Kids don't nap?
Get them involved!
In the middle of the day set a “clean-up time” where you set your timer and you do a “blitz clean” as we call it. Give everyone their own basket or have them share (good luck with that one…) and make a game out of it. Whoever fills their basket the fullest and empties it the fastest, wins.
Give them a treat or prize, and it will make everyone happy.