I’m sure you have read those blog posts like I have on all the ways to keep your house company ready and thought to yourself “this is not realistic.” Well if you have, then you are in the right place sister.
This blog post is all about keeping your house company ready the EASY way. Real Tips from REAL moms.
It’s the holidays and this is the time of year company just pops in.
While the pressure of having a clean house might be just a bit intense and make you miserable, before you drown your sorrow in a mug of spiced cider, there are a few things you can do to make it easier.
Tip 1 for keeping your home company ready
Just give up!…. Ok no, just kidding! This will be easy I promise. Read on brave mom.
1. Everything Has a Home – Make Use of Baskets, Bins and Drawers
My parents taught me this rule and it still holds true today even though I tend to not follow it from time to time.
The idea is that every single thing in your house has a place. It has a “home.” If you have items that don’t have a home you may want to consider creating a home for them or just getting rid of those items altogether (we will cover that in more detail in Step 3). You can make great use of baskets, bins and other organization items. Let me give you some examples.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had recently was with my kids after school – especially now that it is winter. They’d come home, unpack their bags and there would be shoes, coats, papers everywhere! Like a freakin tornado. So I grabbed a couple of wooden office trays and each of them now have a tray to put their papers in until I can get to them. I put some hooks on the wall at their height where they can put their coats. And I bought bins with drawers for shoes, hats and gloves to go in the closet. Now each of those items has a place. There is a “home “for everything in our house.
So how do you get the other members of your house to actually help? Read on! I’ll cover that in the next tip…
2. How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up
You can’t do it all on your own!! I mean,.. Ok YES you CAN technically do it all on your own but it is exhausting! I am speaking from experience.
I am a recovering do-it-all mom. In my head I thought that doing it all myself was just easier and saving me time. BUT the reality of it is that I was exhausted and I wasn’t doing my kids any favors. By cleaning everything up myself I wasn’t teaching my kids how to clean up after themselves, respect themselves, respect our home and respect me.
Even at a young age every child can help – they just need the right motivation… or bribes… or threats… whatever works.
Seriously though, show your kids that good behavior can be rewarding – literally. Something that seems to work really well with our kids is the pom-pom system. The idea of the pom-pom system is that for every good deed or something on their chore list that they accomplish, they get a white pom-pom. Conversely for everything they don’t complete by the end of the day they get a red pom-pom.
Here’s what the pom-pom system looks like in action. It’s terrific for elementary aged kids. It’s really so easy. You have the chores listed on the chore sheet (again click the button above to get the free Momalot chore sheet). Get some clear Ball Jars or other jars and buy some pom-poms. We use red and white pom-poms due to the high contrast but you can use any colors you want. Then set a monetary value for each pom-pom such as 10-cents or a quarter. Our kids love to compete with each other to see who can get more pom-poms.
Another idea is to use the chore sheet to build up to a vacation. The more “good days” your kids have the sooner they can earn a trip. Again the idea is to do something where they can visually see their progress and get excited.
The key with any reward strategy is to be consistent!! It’s HARD in the beginning but it gets easier.
3. What can you live without?
Remember in the first step I talked about getting rid of anything that doesn’t have a “home” right? Well here is the other part to that step – and that is to throw away, sell, give away anything you can live without.
I went through our kids’ playroom, our game cabinet, my office and our closets — I got rid of all kinds of stuff that no one was using. I sold most of it on Facebook Marketplace and what I didn’t sell (or couldn’t sell) I gave away to local charities.
Not sure what to get rid of or throw away? Let’s talk about How to Decide What to Throw Out.
– What have you not used in several months?
– Go through your closet – clothes are a big one! Start your year with your clothing hangers facing backwards. By the end of the year any of the hangers still backwards means you haven’t worn those clothes ALL YEAR – get rid of them!
– Go through drawers and other places you don’t access very often. Put a small bright label on everything (PS the kids love to help with this because you are using “stickers”). As you use each item, take the label off of that item. Set a reminder in your phone to check these places in a year or six months and get rid of anything that still has a label on it (bonus, the items will already have labels on them so you can easily start a garage sale!)
For more ideas on keeping tidy the easy way check out the book “the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
4. Give yourself a break.
No one is perfect.
Absolutely no one. Not even Wonder Woman — it’s all smoke and mirrors – literally.
I remember I would visit the homes of some other moms and I would feel a little bit like a loser. Their homes were immaculate. They didn’t look like anyone lived there, yet alone children.
But here’s the deal,… as my 6-year-old says “everyone is different.” Some people are naturally organized and tidy. I have one friend that it is literally what she loves to do – she loves to clean. Her house is always clean – always – because cleaning is her hobby and her joy. When she has free time, she cleans.
PLUS you can’t compare any part of your story to any part of someone else’s story. In other words, they may have more experience in keeping a tidy home. One friend of mine grew up as the oldest of six kids. She was constantly helping with the younger siblings and keeping the home tidy. For her it’s ingrained.
If you’re not like either of these women, that is ok because you don’t have to be. At the end of the day you only have to please God and yourself. The rest you can just let go – including the mess.
Read more about how I let go of the mess in my blog post Bless this Mess – Learning the Hard Way to Love My Kids’ Messes.
5. Give Your Family a Break
My family and I make the main level of our home the top priority. That means our upstairs and basement may not be 100% clean and tidy. Each day the main level gets a clean sweep – stuff picked up and put in their home, counters cleaned and so on. The upstairs we do once each week and the basement once each month.
Let your family know where they are expected to pick up without fail, and where they can let some things slide a little bit. Give them a space to be untidy and let them know where to focus their energy.