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Kids, organization

Keeping our home tidy with 4 kids

July 6, 2017

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that we had 4 kids in 5 years. To say that our home was hard to manage on 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep is an understatement. Then, add homeschooling on top of that and I have felt as though I am drowning in a sea of clutter, fingerprints, and STUFF EVERYWHERE!! This was made even more challenging as our home is around 1000 sq.ft.

When the kids were little I tried EVERYTHING, and with consistency (most of the time 🙂 ) We had little chore charts with pictures on them that they had to cross off, dresser drawers with pictures of clothes so they knew where everything went. Our house was still a mess – all of the time. ALL. OF. THE . TIME. I felt as though all of the training we were doing was for nothing. I feel as though we are beginning to see the fruit of those hard training times.

Fast forward to now – the kids are older (11, 10, 8, 6) we have cranked the responsibilities of each child up a notch.  Now, each child has an area of the house that they are totally responsible for every day for a week. Our home has been broken into 4 “Zones”.

  1. Kitchen – Wash dishes, clear off and wipe down all counter tops, wipe kitchen table and stove. Use a cloth to wipe fingerprints off of fridge.
  2. Bathroom – Clean toilet (Bottom, under, behind), wipe down/clear clutter off of countertop, clean mirror, wipe door handles. Then go and help someone else.
  3. Vacuuming/Other – Vacuum both sets of stairs and landing. Vacuum all main rooms. Sweep Kitchen floor, Straighten shoe rack.
  4. Basement – Pick up everything off of the floor, put all pillows back on the couch, pick up any trash, vacuum.

Our youngest, who is 6 is able to do every job except for the dishes. So, every week we rotate these jobs for the kids to do. The benefit of breaking the house up this way, for a week at a time, is that the kids have all realized how much work it takes to keep the house clean. They understand, now, how frustrating it is to spend time cleaning an area only to have people come through and leave something laying out. It has also freed my time to do other things in our home that I have been unable to get to over the years (baseboards, cleaning out closets, and attic storage spaces, writing this blog post, running my shop)

The benefits for our family have been great. The kids are learning to be hard working individuals, to care for the things that God has intrusted to us and to be active members in the caring of our home. I still have to go around the house and straighten things and make them “mom clean” but I am praying that these harder days of training will reap our kids the benefits of being reliable human being as adults! 🙂 *here’s hoping!

What do you all do in your homes? I’d love to learn from you and see if there are methods that you are implementing that I could add to our routine! What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you? Are you on the otherside of training and have seen the benefits of it all? Help us moms have strength to get through these years.


Less is More

May 28, 2017

We have so much stuff, don’t we?  We have closets filled with more clothes than we could ever wear, storage for decorations we only pull out once a year, multiples of things for “just in case” moments.

I am totally guilty of all of these things. Trying to fit a business/inventory/homeschooling and six bodies and their stuff in one little house is a REAL challenge – and most days I feel like I stink at it. Several times a year I get overwhelmed with all of the “Stuff” and want to light it all on fire! 🙂 (Can I get an Amen?) Here are some things that I am trying to do to cut down on clutter and “stuff” to make our home a less stressful place to be – all 1000 sq ft of it (true story!) so we can be free of things and free to live comfortably in our home.

5 ways to simplify your home:

1. One comes in, one goes out.

We’ve all been there. Wandering through the aisles of Target and we see all of the things that we NEEEEEED that we didn’t know that we NEEEEEEDED 20 minutes before.  You decide that you have to have that new shirt (see how self controlled I just made you?! 🙂 ). So, when you get home – find a shirt (or 2) to donate. If you do this, you will never find yourself, where I have been, wanting to light your closet on fire because you are overwhelmed by all of the things! You may have to begin this odyssey by actually purging a lot of shirts – but if you get your closet to a place of maintenance, this principle will be helpful.Swiss Army cross pillow

2.  Touch it once.

This is the most important, I find, in our small space.  – In order for things not to accumulate around the house – touch it once. For instance –  when I check the mail as I walk back to the house from the mailbox, I walk right by the trash can and immediately toss all of the junk mail  in the trash so that I have less to manage as I walk back into the house. Then I am not bringing in a bunch of papers to the kitchen counter to get shuffled from one spot to another as I move it to make room for dinner prep.  I am still constantly training my kids in the “TOUCH IT ONCE” rule. “Take off your shoes – put them right on the shoe rack.” “Read a book – put it right away.” “Make a sandwich, put everything away at once.” There are days we are terrible at this, but the days we do it are a lot more restful.

3.  It’s OK to say “no”.

We have been richly blessed over the years by generous friends who shared their clothing or other belongings with us. Having 4 kids in nearly 4 years was nuts (I saw you roll your eyes!) and their kind lending of clothes to us was so valuable. However, the older my kids have gotten, the more I have realized that they do NOT need a lot of clothing.  Even though I LOVE clothes it’s crazy hard for them to manage it, and their rooms are messy because of it. So, after 10 years of parenting I have learned that I don’t always have to say “yes” when someone asks if they can give me clothes. Now, I can kindly thank them and pass or if I do take it – I know to apply the principles I have leaned above (see #1).

4. Clear the clutter.

I wish I was an expert at this – but I can tell you that I feel such rest when my counter is completely clear, or when my dresser is clear (wait?! Did you just see a pig fly?) I mean, if you can keep your dresser cleared off, you are my hero. I have tried. Really. I have put pretty things on it in an effort to make it look like it shouldn’t have things dumped on it, and things just get put on top of it. I have tried clearing it off completely – but what’s that?! An empty dresser? Let’s pile a bunch of stuff on it! See what I mean? You’ve got to pick your battles in your home. So, my battle is every couple of months I clear off my dresser 🙂 My kitchen counter makes me happy to have clear and so I put my energy into trying to keep that clutter free as much as I can.

5. Throw it away or give it away.

If you haven’t touched it for months, weeks, YEARS!! – you won’t believe the freedom you will feel from taking a vehicle FULL of STUFF to your favorite charity and out of your life forever! Bless someone else with the things that you don’t need any longer. Do you have a hard time deciding what to keep/store/trash/sell/donate? It’s as easy as dividing up the area you are trying to organize into those categories. Get bins, laundry baskets or bags and just keep putting things into those categories until you are done. I just did this last weekend in a storage closet that runs the length of our house. It took me all day to do it, but it is nearly empty now with room to hold only the few things that we actually need. I was then able to share out of our excess with others and that feels WAY better than clutter!

I wish I could say that I am super organized and have it all together when it comes to managing all the things I need to, but I can tell you that I am right in the thick of it, just like you all, trying to do my best in my home.

Tell me – what are your favorite tips for staying organized? What do you do differently? Share it with me in the comments or share this with a fellow mom who could use the ideas.


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