Tuesday, February 7, 2012

on clean homes

Living room tonight.
 I have been asked about how I go about keeping my house clean with three kids underfoot. The basic answer is that I do not sweat it. And I have someone coming to clean the house once a week, something that developed in the past couple months. But I do have a few general principles that I try to stick to:
  • It's either my standards or my sanity. I choose my sanity.
  • Others will clean up. It will not be done to my specifications, but I can either try to do it all and grumble about it, or let them pitch in and thank them for the results.
  • A few books or toys on the floor never killed anyone. In fact, it encourages someone to read or to play. My kids are very good at entertaining themselves. They are so good at it, that I feel like I am interrupting to do schoolwork. I believe that has to do with having lots of materials accessible. 
  • Everything does get put away for Shabbos. Not after every playtime. Not at the end of the day. At the end of the week. And then we get special Shabbos mess.
  • I like to rotate toys. I also lock up legos and K'NEX if they are not cleaned up. Having those underfoot ( in the basement) is often a direct assault on my sanity.
  • I do not believe in buying every single new toy/game/craze that is out there. This encourages kids to find new uses for old toys (and cuts on clutter). My boys wanted marble run. They used train tracks, balls from magnetic rods and large wooden boards to make their own. 
Other view of the living room. We have a problem: whenever we go to the library, the books do not fit on the bookshelf any more.
Kitchen. Boys unloaded dishes and left them on the counter since the cabinets are too high ( for now). 

Sunroom/computer room. We use easel for Parsha and as a blackboard. 

Sunroom. The bouncy ball and the rocker are for my 5 yo to get wiggles out. He can bounce/rock and read at the same time. He also listens better that way. Both are allowed all over upstairs except for the kitchen.
Also, I am alone most of the day (and night) as my husband is often on call. I have to prioritize, and having a showroom-worthy house is just not on the list. The kids are fed, the conversations are mostly pleasant, the books are read. The floors can get picked up some other time.

Look at your house. Are you the master of your home or the slave of someone else's expectations?

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