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Keeping the House "Neat and Tidy"??

I feel that I would be embarrassed if someone just "stopped by" because my home is frequently messy. It seems that I can spend a couple hours picking up and cleaning but so quickly it is a mess again, like that day. It seems that my friends homes are "tidy" any time. Any hints on how to keep a house clean and tidy w/o spending all my time on it? And do I have a misconception about other Mom's houses?

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Thank you so much for the many responsed to this "hot" topic. I was helped by the suggestions of getting the kids involved and also picking up as I go. I am feeling better about it now and also realize that many people have messy homes and many have neat ones and there plenty in between! Thanks again!!!

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I love the fact that another mom thinks the same way I do. I'm a busy mom of 3 boys who works part time. My house is clean, but not tidy. When people come over they are usually stepping over toys, around laundry baskets of clothes (usually clean:)), tripping over the dog, etc. That's just the way it is. After being in lots of homes, there are those that are neat and tidy, but there are a lot just like mine. I've stopped worrying about it. This is just the way it is right now. I'd rather spend my time with my kids playing, than cleaning. One day, all too soon, the kids will be in school and I will have time to clean and keep it tidy. For now, I've accepted the fact that it's just "lived-in." My kids are happy and healthy. As long as we don't stick to the floor, I'm OK with it all.

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Dear P.

Good Morning! What I do I have the kids pick one of the
rooms that they would like to keep clean and thats their
responsablity to do that every day before bed.Example
one daughter choose the family room and the other daughter
choose the mud room to do one son choose the coputer room
and I do the frontroom and bathroom and we all pitch in with
the rest of the house also my kids do their oown laundry
because we need to train them this has come in so handy
because I was really sick last year and they were able
to keep things in order so they didn't pill up for me also
they are to keep there own bedroom clean.
I hope this helps B. K

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I love a clean home for so many reasons,my neighbor askes me what I do.My son is almost 5 and does well with picking up his toys by a certain time when asked my daughter loves to pull everything out.I have elimaneted some of my things from the home and put them away I don't like clutter and all the junk mail right into the garbage can right when I read it so no messy piles bills have a place and so does everything in my home.I'am constantly behind my kieds picking up what they missed to help them.I do have times where is gets get out sorts and leave it a mess for a few day's to remind why I work so hard to keep it neat and organized.For the kitchen I disinfect so many times a day,the bathroom well I have a son so I have to clean all the time in there and my husband is no help in that area.If I were you i'd shop at Hobby Lobby or some where else and get creative get containers that are cute and you have a place for them for example my sons shoes are by the door he isn't to leave them anywhere but there,reduces the need to hunt for the lost shoe,container for Barbies,cars etc.As thye pick up they will no where to put them.This has made my cleanup a lot easier.Good Luck!!!But it can be done,Kids are allowed to make messes but they also need to be taught to cleanup after themselves and respcet their home.Sahm of 2 and one on the way

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Been there...
This has worked for me. I do the basic daily list.
I will just go threw my every-day.
Make coffee
let the dogs out
feed the dogs
unload dishwasher
have coffee and read or watch TV
breakfast/pack lunch/prep for dinner
load dishes
clean of counter/ wipe down anything
sweep floor real quick
make bed
load of laundry
get ready for the day

M-W-F I home school 2 kids
T-Th I go into the office
Mon- Kitchen & Bathroom
Tues- Living Rm & Dinning Rm
Wed- Master bed Rm & Bath Rm
Thurs- Art Studio & Storage area
Fri- Class Rm & Office
Sat- Barn & grocery shop

run errands (maybe)
have fun with family
have kids do chores
fold, put away
pick up from the day
wash face
lay out clothes for the next day
kiss husband for a good 2 minutes.

Rule of thumb- Don't pass it up pick it up.
If it doesn't have a purpose, function or is a decoration it needs to be put away or thrown away.

Hope this helps P.. I am not the creator of this I just follow one. If you ever study the Bible He made two things a day and rested on the seventh. He could of done everything in a day. This has worked for me for years... find out what will work for you but, really keep it to 2 rooms a day and rest.


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I'm one of those tidy homes =) But I think I just have a knack for it.

Here's how I keep things under control. I do not keep clutter around or a bunch of knick knacks it's just too much to keep organized and cleaned. My son has 2 medium sized baskets of toys and that's it.

Tackle each room of your house and give it a deep cleaning and decluttering to start off with a fresh start. Incorporate the rule everything has a place, so when something gets used that person needs to put it back, your kids are old enough to do this.

For me each room in my house has a day that it gets a deep clean each week. This is dusting, wiping walls and baseboards down, vacuming/mopping. It takes about 30 minutes to do this. Then I spend the other 30 minutes straighting up in the other rooms. The kitchen floor and bathroom floor gets mopped everyday since I have a kid and 2 dogs. I have hardwood floors in the living room and I do them every other day.

After I get ready in the morning I use the Lysol wipes and wipe down everything in the bathroom.

So in all I spend about an hour a day keeping up on the house.

The garage and basement gets tackled once a month.

Laundry: I have a hamper in my room and my son's room. Once they are full the clothes get washed, folded and put way in the same day.

Get your whole family involved. Do races to see who can clean up the fastest. Turn the music on.

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I am reading your post with a huge grin! I too am in the "messy bunch" who is embarrassed if someone just pops by! When it comes down to it though, I'd rather have visitors to a messy house then live 1) spending all my time cleaning up just in case or 2) keeping people away due to my messy house.
I live with a messy kid, 2 messy dogs, and a messy husband, and I am not the tidiest person either! I cut a clear line between messy and dirty though, and will not tolerate things being "dirty". So my priorities are the "dirty" dishes, kitchen, bathrooms, etc. The messes are saved for "when I have a chance". I have recently tried to "tidy up our lives" now that I am at home full time (Ha ha...I thought I'd have all the time in the world to have a clean house! WRONG!)
I find that baskets in strategic places for the "things that need attention, but just not now", for things that need to go upstairs on the next trip up, for cell phones, keys, wallets, etc, have been VERY helpful to keep the "illusion" of organization! I also do "quick cleanups" of about 10-20 seconds before I leave a room...toys into the toychest, pillows on the sofa, etc. I also read something about keeping your sink clean at all times (which then helps you keep your counters clean) and that has been a huge help.
If I let just one thing go for a day, it's like a landslide and it all becomes too much! Then I have to take a day to "regroup" and start over. Know you are not alone in this one! I'm going to read this thread for all the other tips I hope to find! Thanks!

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P., when I was pregnant with my first I got some really great advice from one of the gray haired ladies in our church. She told me that she'd wished someone had told her this when she was pregnant or when her kids were young...she told me to not worry about what your house looks like, because spending time with your kids is more important than keeping your house clean. So what if someone comes over and sees a messy house, at least they know you are spending time with your kids and not spending all your time cleaning every day. She also said she wished that she had spent more time with her kids than cleaning all day every day. My house may not be the neatest one on the block, but I know who my kids are and they'll tell you that they spend time with me. Now they are at the age where we all clean the house at the same time together and it gets straight fast. We only super clean the house once or twice a month. That takes several hours, but it gets done as a family.
I don't know if any of this is helpful to you, but I wanted to share it with you. I've never regretted a moment when someone came over and my house wasn't perfect. I knew that I'd spent quality time with my kids and a little dirt doesn't hurt them either, in fact it helps their immune systems. Good luck and God Bless.

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You really want to hear the hard truth?

Most people I know with younger children (mine is grown and out of the house just this past spring) have waaaaaay to much stuff to ever look tidy.

Kids don't really need all that stuff. As a young single mother with a very active and smart child I got really stressed out after a long winter when my daughter had been sick with pnemonia on 3 seperate occassions. In a fit of rage, (or was it clarity?) I bagged up 1/2 of the junk in our house and made a hard/fast rule. No more cheap plastic crappe toys were to come into my house.

Gone was the old Nintendo that didn't really work well anyway, and it was never replaced. Gone was any thing that was broken or missing any pieces. Gone was the huge collection of stuffed animals, (they were making the asthma worse anyway) and gone was anything not played with in the previous 6 months. The only thing saved for "grandbabies someday" was books, dolls that didn't have ink marks on their little faces, and the sock monkeys I made for when my little one was sick in the hospital.

It was not pretty the first 3 days, lots of whailing and knashing of teeth, but on the 3rd day books were read and my house started to grow calmer without all the chaos of clutter.

My daughter starts Cornel in about ... 2 weeks. She will tell you that our "back to basics" lifestyle helped to focus her attention and exercise her creativity.

I do real estate appraisals now, and I am in and out of people's homes all the time. Trust me...most people have about twice the amount of stuff that will comfortably fit in their house. So do yourself a favor and get serious about decluttering.

Need some inspiration? Best book I've ever read..."Clear your clutter with Feng Shui" by Carol Kingston. Small book, you can read in an afternoon and it will change your life !

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Hi P.,
I have the same problem, my house is a complete disaster, no joke, I want it to be clean but I don't have the energy. I have one daughter who is 6 months younger than my friend's daughter, and she also has a son that is 2. My daughter will be 4 at the end of the month. My friend who's house is always clean, even though she watches 3 other kids during the school year, says that it is because her husband picks up after himself and when she is tired even though he has worked all day, he helps out around the house. She cooks, he does the dishes. She's been home with the kids all day so he gets them ready for bed. They split things down the middle the way it should be, they both have jobs hers just happens to be at home. My husband is a slob, and she pointed this out, she was his friend first. They also have their kids pick up after themselves and always have, I don't know why, but I never have really tried on a consistent basis to get my daughter to pick up after herself. This is another thing, they have always BOTH been very consistent with their children, they both discipline the the same way, and they have always been on a very set schedule. I have other friends and family whose houses are always clean and they all say the same thing, they couldn't do it if their husbands didn't help. I am pretty sure if I ever get a divorce that it will be over this issue. Good luck!
32 year old mom of a gorgeous almost 4 year old daughter, full-time college student, and happily married, most of the time, to a real great hard working guy who happens to be a slob!

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I love the fact that another mom thinks the same way I do. I'm a busy mom of 3 boys who works part time. My house is clean, but not tidy. When people come over they are usually stepping over toys, around laundry baskets of clothes (usually clean:)), tripping over the dog, etc. That's just the way it is. After being in lots of homes, there are those that are neat and tidy, but there are a lot just like mine. I've stopped worrying about it. This is just the way it is right now. I'd rather spend my time with my kids playing, than cleaning. One day, all too soon, the kids will be in school and I will have time to clean and keep it tidy. For now, I've accepted the fact that it's just "lived-in." My kids are happy and healthy. As long as we don't stick to the floor, I'm OK with it all.

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It's a learned behavior and comes from habit, you have to constantly clean. If you get something out, put it away when you are done. If your kids are playing with toys in the living room, then they take them back to their rooms when they are done. If you make dinner, immediately clean up after you are done. Our house is never messy. I've also grown up a tidy person. I've kept the house clean and organized since I was about 6 or 7 yrs. old. We have a daughter who is 6-1/2 yrs. old, I work part-time, go to school full-time, run a non-profit organization, do freelance graphic design and web design on the side, am the FRG leader of my husband's unit, run schedules for my whole family, cook, clean, etc., and my husband is a full-time soldier. It's a family effort too. You have to make sure that your husband and your kids pick up after themselves too. Also, you can't just clean a few hours here and there, it's an everyday, all day effort. If you want your house to look nice, you have to make sure it stays that way. You can't just clean for a few hours and then say, "Ok, I'm done!" I bet your friends with tidy houses will tell you the same thing. I don't have to ever do any major cleaning in my house because I'm constantly picking up after myself.

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Hi P.. I to have a house that is toy riden an d untidy. My response to unexpected guests is "Unexpected guests should expect the unexpected!" If they are your true friends they will not care that toys are everywhere. The dishes always get done right after a meal (dishwasher) and I do vacuum every to every other day. The toys that are all over the house get picked up before bedtime each night. I think a house that has toys out shows kids are playing and using their imaginations versus just sitting in front of a t.v. all day. One day when my kids grow up I will have a clean house--until then I will enjoy every minute of their childhood! God Bless Your Mess and Mine!


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I imagine you will get many responses proving you're not the only one. I, too, struggle daily with keeping a neat house. But, I was kindof a slob pre-kids, so I can't blame them. Or my husband (though by golly, I try!). I know most people I have spoken with say to get in the habit of everyone straightening up before they go to bed. Well, that's great if you're not tired at 8 pm and wanting to go to bed when the kids do! I have actually had a party (albeit, it was when we first moved into our house) that I called, "drinks, decluttering, and dinner" where my good "worker bee" friends came over and helped me unpack and put away. I can't tell you what a joy it was to wake up the next morning to a neat home. Many of my friends hate to clean/dust, etc., whereas I like that part. They actually like to straighten/organize. We both think the other one is nuts, but it works. We talk about switching homes for a few hours, once in awhile, and doing the tasks we each like...but on the others' home. I, too have a (almost) 9 yr. old boy and a 4 yr old girl. Trying to get them to pick up is horrible! Esp. the girl. But, it's my fault. If I don't pick up after myself, how can I expect the to learn to?
If you have good friends, I say recruit them to help you out. Make it fun. Have you ever gone to flylady.net? She calls C.H.A.O.S. "can't have anyone over syndrome" and I'm right there w/ ya sister! What I really try hard to do, is at least have the front rooms (we have a ranch) looking up to par, so at least I'm not embarrassed to open my front door.

I can't say I do this, but I believe it is the trick: get your ids to pick up after themselves. Somehow, someway. And then let me know how and the hek you did it :) Good luck. Write back if you succeed!

p.s. I think the site that the gal mentions below is from flylady. She has a whole section for kids and how they can clean.

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Hi P.,

It sounds like you already have a lot of great thoughts/ideas/hints.
I guess I was in between neat/tidy and embarrassed. But my kids are much older so I had to remember what it was like when they were younger.
I laughed too at the posts about the husbands. My husband was such a slob but an amazing husband/father/human being. And we we first got together I was extremely anal about many things. Certain towels were for only for certain things, towels and clothes were folded a certain way, nothing red in tupperware, everything had a place and was in that place. But you know what, I love my husband and it was much easier to relax my standards than drive him nuts to bring him up to mine. And over the 20 years I think we've both compromised.

But back to your question. You have 2 blessings and you don't want to end up later in life regretting not spending quality time with them because you're always cleaning. I did find when they were little having a central toy area on the main floor. They had toys in their room on the second floor, but I wanted to watch them play. OK, I did have a toy box in the corner of the living room, but I had kids! Make a game out of picking up. Is Barney still big? Barney used to have a song about "Pick up, pick up. . ." Spend the time cleaning not worrying about the clutter.
I remember my aunt would NOT let my cousins get anything else out unless they put away toy #1. But there is so much a child can do and imagine with a variety of toys. I remember once a variety of ninja turtles, tonka trucks and barbies out all over the living room, (the ninja turtles were rescuing the Barbies) but both kids were playing together and getting along!

It does get better as the kids get older, and the husband is better trained! :) But for now, just try to enjoy them. They're only little for a short time.

Good Luck.

L. K

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I've struggled with this for years. I have 5 kids and a dog and I'm not a good housekeeper to begin with, so it's struggle all the time. I'm always embarrassed for people to come over because even when we've just cleaned, it still doesn't have that "neat and tidy" look like other people's houses. I think one should always strive to have some kind of order in the home, just for your own well-being. But with kids, you have to let them iive their lives and it's more important for them to be active and playing than it is to be so concerned that everything is perfectly in its place. To tell you the truth, when I go to someone's house, and they have kids, and the house is neat as a pin, and appears that it's always that way, you have to wonder if they are so concerned with having a perfect house that they must not be spending enough time with their kids. I have a relative who is a neat freak and nothing was ever out of place in her home. Her daughter, as a baby had to be perfectly dressed at all times. At family gatherings, her daughter wasn't allowed to play with her cousins outside because she may get her little outfit dirty. There is such a thing as being so consumed with appearances that you forget what's really important. Your kids are old enough to pick up and to have chores to help you out. But you may just have to accept that until the kids are grown and out of the house, it's not going to be perfect. A fine trade-off for having two little angels.

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Hello P.,
You got pretty good suggestions and ideas here! I can tell you about my experience and opinion.
I like my house neat and tidy, and I used to get very frustrated time ago when I did not get my goal to have the house the way I like it. My family is first, absolutely and I rather to spend time with my family over other things, but I like to have my house clean and uncluttered as well... that way all of us can enjoy the house itself because the house is our home sweet home! It is not easy, but doable. I have a 8 year old boy, and 2 years and half toddler. So, I have two little boys and a messy husband!
Cleaning the kitchen and bath does not take too much. I leave my kitchen cleaned and swiped or moped immediately after dinner. As I cook, I wash the pots or pans or plates I am using, or I put them in the dishwasher right away. I also use the disinfectant wipes to keep the bath clean every day, but I clean it every other day in a deeper way. I do the laundry 3 times a week, what it is washed, it is dried and put it away IMMEDIATELY, the very same day.
I think toys and sport stuff is the worst thing to deal with. Until I found a way to keep them organized, I was very frustrated, so what we did was to get 6 medium and small plastic boxes with lid and handle , and we (my kids helped me) put the small and little toys in there ( small action figures, animals, cars, small cubes, letters etc) then we put the boxes in their closets, and every time they play they must to put them away the way they were. It is easier for them to carry these boxes wherever they want to play, and then put the toys in there again. They have just ONE big box where we put those big toys or those they don't play too much with. Broken toys or definitively unused ones go to the trash can or Goodwill (if they are in good shape). We don't keep many toys at home because:
One, children do not play with all of them
Second, the more toys children see to put away, the more is the resistant to put them in place.
My husband has LOTS of sporting things, so I left a spot in the exclusively for him; I put a closet so he can put baseball bats, soccer balls, martial arts stuff, sport clothing and sport shoes in THAT closet.
I keep teaching my kids to pick up after themselves. My toddler picks up his toys every single night before go to bed and after his bath time. I taught him to do it by playing and singing every single day for several weeks, and now he knows what to do. My older child MUST to put aways his stuff before having dinner; he also helps to pick up the trash.
It is not easy at all, but you can do it; it is not necessary that you have a mirror as a house, but little things can help to make your house look like you have been cleaning the whole day. Little things like socks, marbles, a cloth, a shoe makes a difference if they are not in place. My house looks clean, but you will find some toys here and there during the day, but before bedtime everything should be in the boxes or where belong... Another thing, I keep in the kitchen a drawer with those little helpers like rubber bands, scissors, pens, notebook, etc, and one box in the kids' bedroom with the school supplies they need to do homework and a couple of trays to put "to do later" things and "school info" (all that stuff that school sends as soon it begins, I hate all those papers that accumulate, but I cannot throw them away until school is over.
I hope this helps a little bit. Start TODAY to organize yourself and you will see, that is a WONDERFUL sensation!. I feel your pain. Good Luck!

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I feel your pain. We decided to create a chore chart in our house with everyones name, including mom and dad, on it. Now we all have one or two small chores everyday and it seems to keep the house a little tidier. My kids are 6 and 8 and they have chores like picking up all of the trash on the floors. I also have them wipe the bathroom sink once a day with a clorox wipe. We all clean our table space every time a meal is over so that we make sure the table is always clean. It has taken some practice and we have been using this for about a year now. We hung the chart in the back hall way where only we see it so it is not in the way. I just wrote the chore day and persons name on a index card. Everyone has there own color. The kids think it is great because they can do there chores as soon as they get there home work done and they feel responsible. We have decided to pay them for doing these chores as long as the get them done all week. The chart is great for me because my house stays fairly clean and I am not doing it all. On the weekends we crank up the radio and do a deep cleaning (moving furniture to vacuum, shampooing floors, ect.) The kids love to dance and sing and it only takes about 2 hours. During the week we only spend about 15 minutes per day. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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I have worked in child care for many years and we (myself and the kids) have to clean up the room several times each day after they have basically destroyed it. Her are some hints to make it easier:

First, get rid of any junky toys that your kids never play with. If it's not in the house to begin with, it can't contribute to the mess. Help your kids pick out the toys they want to keep and give the rest to a charity or something.

Next, it's really helpful to have separate bins for each type of toy or game. Make categories and store similar types of toys together. Ex, have a clear bin for all your daughter's cooking/kitchen food and toys, one for your son's cars, etc. Make a specific place to store all the bins so that everything has it's own place. Make sure each toy goes back to the same place each time so that they know exactly where to put them. LABEL each bin with clear words (a label maker is great for this, relatively cheap) and maybe even put a picture of the toys on the outside of the bin. Organizing them is a great way to keep them neat and tidy. It also teaches your children about sorting and organizational skills.

Also, create a rule for your children that they must put something away before they get something else out to play with. Even large groups of children at child care know this rule and it can work. This is easier said than done, but you can explain to them that it's not safe to have toys all over the floor because someone could trip over them, and that you do not enjoy picking up after them. They are old enough to understand this. They may need a little guidance and help at first, but be very consistent. Also model this yourself by putting your things away when you are finished with them and eliminating any of your own clutter.

It may take some time, but just stick with it. Also, I'm sure anyone walking into your house wouldn't really think anything negative, just that your kids must be having fun playing, but I do think you should get a handle on this for your own sanity if it's important to you.

Best wishes!

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I think if you were to poll other moms on the cleanliness of their homes, they'd all feel the same way that you do. We all think our homes could be cleaner and we struggle to try living up to whatever standard we've built up in our minds. A dear friend of mine recently said, "When I die, no one is going to comment at my funeral about how clean my house was. I'd hope they'll comment on what a great wife, mom and friend I was." What a great way of thinking!

Of course, our homes need to be clean, to a degree. Bathrooms and kitchens can harbor germs that could make our families sick. Therefore, I keep my kitchen and my 2 bathrooms pretty clean all the time. I don't stress about dusting or mopping floors and it shows and I don't care. If I know we're having guests, I'll clean my house thoroughly. If someone drops by unexpectedly, my house is probably not going to be in tip-top shape and that's ok too. I'm busy being a mom and a wife and teacher, I don't have time to be a cleaning lady as well! However, clutter drives me crazy, so I have lots of containers around the house to toss stray toys and mail into. That helps keep things picked up, the kids can usually find whatever they're missing and I'm not hollering for people to get their messes picked up.

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Keeping the house tidy is a "chore" for everyone. And although everyone has their daily chores, we have to constantly remind each other to pick up after themselves. I tell my children (16 and 13) to leave an area better than the way they found it. Sometimes it works, sometimes "they forget"...ha. The best advice I can offer is to keep your own space tidy and continue to reinforce decency and order. Some people say, "pick your fights, and let their space stay messy", I disagree.

Reinforce the standard. Some kids need checklists, like my son. It keeps him on track. Just continue to pick-up.And by the way, my house is tidy most times, many times it is a mess!

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Have you check out www.flylady.net ?

It's really good for getting lists/routines in place. You can adapt them for your own lifestyle. That should help a lot.

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Hi P.,
First this is the rule in my house and what we live by:
"Don't need it, Don't want it, Don't use it = trash it or give it away". So walk into a room and use this phrase. Once you get under control you rooms will be a little more tiddy.

Next thing for your 2 kids they are old enough to take responsibility for their rooms, putting laundry in the hamper, putting clean clothes away, bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room (or whatever). So if your kids our responsible for their rooms and you only have to moniter them then that is somewhat of a load off.

Next make a list of all rooms and what needs done on a quick basis, so like
Kitchen - clean the floors (most of the cleaning in the kitchen is done when you cook dinner, like counter tops and the stuff)
Bathroom - clean the floor, clean the tub and shower walls/doors, clean the sink/toilet
living room, dining room, family room - depending on what you have in these rooms(computer or whatever) depends on how much you would clean them.
But each night pick a room and do a quick run through of cleaning.
Also a good evening routine (keep in mind I provide childcare in my home): for me I start dinner at 5 have it on the table by 5:45 pm (while I am fixing dinner I wash what dishes I have in the sink), we eat(my oldest son starts clearing the table and I start the dishes, clean up the living room(my 2 younger kids start cleaning up the living room and when my older son is done helping me he helps them). Then go clean the chairs of the table and wipe the counters, stove and table off. If the kitchen floor needs clean I swiffer it real quick. I clean the glass door in the dining room, clean the front glass door in the living room and the TV. I then go to the living room straighten anything that my kids missed and I sweep the floors throughout the house(hardwood floor), I then give 3 kids a bath and get them in bed(baths are usually started at 8:30 and I have them in bed by 9:00 pm. Hope this gives you an idea, W. B.

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My house is never all picked up like that. It took me a few months after the second baby learned to walk to figure otu that my time was better spent cleaning bathrooms or some other actual cleaning task. Picking up was a waste of time unless I needed to vaccuum the carpet under those toys. That said, I also decided that what the kids drag out, they can help put away. My kids are 2 and 3 1/2 so they are not fantastic at picking up, but a song does the trick. Your kiddos are too old for that, maybe, but if they get it out they have to put it away. My kids have to put away what they are playing with before anything else can come out. That is my fantastic plan that works in theory and on days when I am very dilligent about watching them and hovering over them. Oh, and if my husband is out of town b/c he is just as messy as they are. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that you do the best you can, you prioritize and you start giving your kids chores so that they are not just making messes but also cleaning them up as well. Then, you won't be too upset by the mess. That's the best you can do. After that, ask yourself, "In 6 months or a year am I going to be upset that this house was messy today? Nope, then no use getting upset about it today either" :) Life is too short to spend it thinking about how others do it or what they are thinking.

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I, too, like my house tidy, otherwise things just feel "off" and eventually I feel overwhelmed. But we should ask ourselves, in the future which would we regret more - if we kept our houses clean and didn't spend as much time with our families or if we spent more time with our families yet our houses weren't so clean? I don't think anyone who spends time with their family would look back and wish they had kept their house cleaner.

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Hi P.!
You already have a ton of responses, so you may have gotten this suggestion already. You need to check out www.flylady.net. You will get an e-mail everyday coaching you with something to do. It's all about developing routines, and then you have one extra 15-minute job to do each day. Definitely at least look at it and see what it's about!

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Certainly you've never been to my house! Come over, you'll feel better. I am constantly trying to move stuff out (donations, craigslist, etc), because I have the feeling that if I had less stuff, it might be easier... But I'm the type of mom who says, "A cardboard rocketship would be fun to build, let's bring home those boxes," not thinking they will eat my living room. *laugh* At least he's having fun! But he's four, and finally at the age where he helps pick up. My mom used to say she had kids so she wouldn't have to do chores any more--I'm hoping he can do at least some soon!

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I find that when my house is messy as you have described, it's because I am not putting things away when I'm finished using them. I try to "complete" things. If your eating a sandwich, make sure you put everything way and wipe donw the counter when your finished. Just make sure you and the kids complete and put things away. It takes a while to train the kids, but it works.

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I worked at Merry Maids for a while and I can tell you that having a routine makes it so much easier...you can zip through rooms. Get clutter under control, clutter is the enemy LOL = ) I have totes for toys in my living room because I watch kids so toys are a part of life but not something I want to look at 24/7. I have a basket at the bottom of my stairs that I toss things in that need to go up, so I conserve the number of trips I make. Also I know it sounds silly but I found a Great motivational site called Flylady, I think its like Flylady.com, but she makes it fun and gives you inspiration! Also when I clean I put in upbeat music or sing silly songs with the kids. Its always easier to get things done if it seems more like fun than work...get the kids involved!
Good luck I am sure you will get tons of fabulous suggestions

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P. as an interior decorator I have been in homes that look like they belong in a magazine, I have also been in homes that you could barely walk through. Over time I developed my own philosophy about homes, tidiness, and families. Your home is where you live, the family is what you love. When kids are little, a tent city made of sheets or finger painting with pudding is more important than a white carpet. As they grow older, a place where they can bring friends and chill out while they munch down and watch TV, is more important than a room without clutter. I have had many clients wtih the same questions that you have, and over time I have helped them reduce clutter while realizing that some clutter offers a welcome atmosphere for kids to be creative and for families to relax and have fun! www.sg.vpweb.com

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Other people think that I keep my house clean and neat all the time, but they are being fooled by what they see and what they don't see. I am not a clean freak, but I keep just a few noticeable things cleaned up and my house then looks like I keep it clean all the time. For example, I have small baskets in both living rooms for toys, so if I know someone might be stopping by whatever toys are on the floor near that basket get thrown in and suddenly I don't have toy clutter. I also keep up with my mail and school paper clutter, by throwing away or putting away all the mail and school papers that come home everyday. You would be amazed just how much difference this makes, whether your countertops are mostly cleaned off or not. Other than that I keep bedroom doors closed so no one sees the disorder that may be found in there. And with just these few little steps, people think my house looks so nice and clean all the time, when actually it may have been three or more weeks since I have be able to get to the dusting or vacuuming. I have always found that people are more likely to notice clutter as opposed to a vacuumed carpet. Good luck!

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Dear P.

Good Morning! What I do I have the kids pick one of the
rooms that they would like to keep clean and thats their
responsablity to do that every day before bed.Example
one daughter choose the family room and the other daughter
choose the mud room to do one son choose the coputer room
and I do the frontroom and bathroom and we all pitch in with
the rest of the house also my kids do their oown laundry
because we need to train them this has come in so handy
because I was really sick last year and they were able
to keep things in order so they didn't pill up for me also
they are to keep there own bedroom clean.
I hope this helps B. K

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P., I used to get all out of shape about my house being in disarray. An elderly woman once told me, "you can have kids or a clean house", which means if you have kids your house is never tidy and if you don't have kids then your house is always tidy. So, since I chose to have kids, as long as my house is not filthy...I'm fine! And if someone stops by unannounced, if they have children and work...they understand, and if they don't have children...they still understand!

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I know with 2 kids and work full time, having a house neat and tidy all the time is nearly impossible. There is a couple of things I do that keep it somewhat tidy! I get the kids involved. I make sure they just don't leave stuff lying around - especially there toys (which use to be our main culprit). Also, I have "paper collectors" for stuff I can't get to right away. One by the front door for the mail, school papers, etc and one on our desk - then at the end of week (sometimes month) I go through and purge what I don't need. My advice: start with one room at a time - get the family involved - and keep things picked up as you go along!

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Life is too short and time goes by way to fast. When my kids are older I will be glad I spent my time enjoying them and not cleaning!

I try to stay ontop of the important things, like laundry(I am good at getting them washed, but very slow at putting them away, dishes, and the floors, and dusting. I try to make sure things are clean,but the house is not necessary tidy. The bathrooms and kitchen are always the first to get my attention. I wouldn't worry about what people think if they stop by, they are usually too busy visiting to notice the house or even care.

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you might be fooled by your friends' houses. i gave up on having a martha stewart house long ago. my goal now is to keep my house within an hour of presentable, then the pressure is off me to have the "perfect" house, but as long as people are nice enough not to drop by unannounced (never had that problem, so far!) i feel like i can make an okay presentation. but then again, i've never been a great housekeeper. i'm the one always jealous of other people's gorgeous houses! but honestly P., there's a difference between "cluttered and you came by unannounced so i couldn't tidy up" and "dirty". moms know. besides with your two little ones, no one expects (at least i wouldn't!) your house to be spotless. i would also say, without reading the other responses, that your kiddos are getting to an age where they could pick up after themselves, so make them do it. take some of that ever-present pressure off of you. it's their house too!

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I love a clean home for so many reasons,my neighbor askes me what I do.My son is almost 5 and does well with picking up his toys by a certain time when asked my daughter loves to pull everything out.I have elimaneted some of my things from the home and put them away I don't like clutter and all the junk mail right into the garbage can right when I read it so no messy piles bills have a place and so does everything in my home.I'am constantly behind my kieds picking up what they missed to help them.I do have times where is gets get out sorts and leave it a mess for a few day's to remind why I work so hard to keep it neat and organized.For the kitchen I disinfect so many times a day,the bathroom well I have a son so I have to clean all the time in there and my husband is no help in that area.If I were you i'd shop at Hobby Lobby or some where else and get creative get containers that are cute and you have a place for them for example my sons shoes are by the door he isn't to leave them anywhere but there,reduces the need to hunt for the lost shoe,container for Barbies,cars etc.As thye pick up they will no where to put them.This has made my cleanup a lot easier.Good Luck!!!But it can be done,Kids are allowed to make messes but they also need to be taught to cleanup after themselves and respcet their home.Sahm of 2 and one on the way

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P. I am a clean freak I clean my house everyother day wheather it needs it or not. My advice to you is don't worry about what you think your friends or others may think of your house.It is hard to keep a house super clean especially when you have little ones running around. Your friends will understand.

Have you ever heard of the FlyLady? Try her, her service is free and has helped our family a lot: www.flylady.net. There is hope. However, I do believe as long as you have kids and their "stuff" it's impossible to have everything in its place all the time, not until they go to bed anyway. My house always looks nice and picked up once they're in bed. I just accept their toy messes and remind myself, that someday, I will miss seeing their trains and cars, etc. all over the place.

Good Morning P., You have children and most of the time your house is going to be cluttered. AS is Mine almost constantly. I even made my sewing room into a play room for the Gr kids, You would think that would help. NOT!! It is still littered with toys daily. I turned 57 today and I would if my home will ever be tidy all the time.....lol

I have figured out alot of mom's keep one or two room picked up for drop in company. I can't seem even to make that work. So Hon you are not alone by any means.
K. Nana of 5

Hi P.,

I let my 3 yo daughter make a mess of her playroom which is in a corner of our living room throughout the day. Half an hour each day before bedtime, we put on fun music and sing and dance while I help her put up her toys. She loves it! Go figure.

As for cleaning, we sort of have a clean-as-you-go approach. For example, instead of allowing the bathroom floor become a mess, I just sweep it daily after I blow dry my hair so that there's not hair all over the floor. It literally takes me only 30 seconds. And my husband cleans the sink after he shaves everyday. And everyone (even my daughter) takes the dishes to the kitchen and helps load the dishwasher after dinner every night. This keeps our kitchen sink clutter-free. As for laundry, I bought two $1 color-coded laundry baskets at Walgreen's for my daughter's clothes. One is white. The other is red. She knows how to put her white clothes in the white basket and the colored clothes in the other basket. Cuts down on sorting time for me.

I think the key is having everyone help out to make cleaning easier and keeping the house tidy. If everyone just cleans up after they make a mess, it probably won't seem so overwhelming rather than trying to do it all at once. Also, I wouldn't recommend yelling or punishing your child for accidents. I've seen some Moms really scream at their kid in the grocery store over an accident. It breaks my heart to see the look on the child's face. I don't yell or punish my daughter when she spills something. Accidents happen. She's only 3 yo. And even I STILL spill milk. So I don't see the point of punishing for accidents. I just ask her to help me clean it up.

And even if you don't have time to clean every once in a while and your house becomes a mess, don't feel guilty. Just know that you're doing your best and there are times your kids require more attention and you're doing the right thing by being a good Mom instead of worrying about cleaning.

Gurl, puh-leeeze!

Some people are neat freaks, some are total slobs, and the rest of us (and YOU!) fall someplace in the middle.

I'm an HGTV and Clean House (the tv show) fanatic, and the ideas I like the best, which I use, are about having functional, hidden storage space: a storage window seat or ottoman, baskets in shelves and under end tables.

I also do clean-up "races" with my little ones [8 and 2], where we see who can clean up toys and clutter the fastest. We use a timer and there are rewards at the end (freezer pops for everyone.) It sounds corny, but it WORKS! Everyone gets into it because it's fun, and it's great practice for when people just drop in, or give you that five minute warning call!

Good luck.

I had an in home daycare that was in our front room and kitchen. We had a rule about only having one thing per child out at a time. If we got to messy we would have a 5 or 10 minute clean up depending on how messy. Each child would choose one thing to pick up- books, cars, legos etc... If they finished before the timer went off they would help someone else with their chosen item. The only rule was that everyone picks up the entire time until the timer goes off. We would also try to beat the timer. After my daycare days we kept baskets and containers to keep things in. We tried to follow the same guidelines. My husbands parents had a rule that the only thing you could do in the living room,dining room or kitchen was watch TV or eat. Everything else was done in the bedroom, basement or outside.

DITTO! I am a SAHM and I think I'll get the house work done at naptime but I am soo exhausted by then I just what to take that time to relax.And like you I feel like it's pointless because they just come right back around behind me.Anyway one thing that has helped is giving the kids daily chores.It helps you out and makes them feel important by giving them a responsibility.And you can even offer a small allowance.

ME TOO!!!!
I have four children and it seems I am the only one who picks up. I am over whelmed.

Flylady.net and also from there find the housefairy for your kids to use.

You have children, you should expect to see items on floor and tables. Just think what some people would think if you did NOT have stuff looking a bit messy. TO me it would mean you do not let your children be children.
EXPECT it to be a bit messy. DIRTY is another thing. 2 different words. Messy, means kids having fun. Dirty, meaning you do not CLEAN. toys can be picked up at last minute.
Let your kids be kids or you will miss so much.
The children are old enough to pick up their things. have them keep the biggest mess in their rooms.
ENJOY them, and do not worry about what others think. If they don't like the looks of your house, then they are not friends. They can stay away.
If they are your friends, they cam to see you.

I didn't read through all of the other responses, but in my opinion your kids are WAY old enough to be taking some responsibility around the house for keeping it tidy! They should both be expected to put their own things away and you might even consider giving them other chores around the house that have nothing to with "their" stuff, but everything to do with being part of the family. My son is 12 now and is really easy to get to do things around the house b/c it's always been expected of him (and I don't pay him either! He does it b/c he's part of the family.). Good luck!

I do not have a clean house what so ever. I try to clean the toilet and sink in the bathroom that the baby sitter will be using each week before she gets to my house and have a spot for her purse on the kitchen island so my 21 month old son will stay out of it. My husband has just as much clutter as me because he just puts everything on the island. I keep my bedroom door closed when I have guests over and if anyone would drop by right now I would wish I was dead because I have not had the time with getting my daughter ready for kindergarten open house and other school events to even unload my dishwasher and reload it. My husband is one who works hard at work and expects me to take care of the inside of the house and he takes care of the outside. I have never mowed a lawn or even ran any type of lawn mower because when I was growing up my mom and I lived in an appartment so there was no need to learn. I am wishing that I could find someone who would come in and teach me how to de clutter my home. I have a large box in my living room for my son's toys and my daughter keeps her toys in her room so that her brother can not break them. My living room is the cleanest room in the house and it is still cluttered on top of my computer and entertainment center just because I have to have a place to put items that I do not want my son playing with.
So no you are not alone. I have a friend's house that every room even the kids rooms are clean. She just makes them clean everything up when they are done playing as well as they are only allowed to bring one toy out into the living room and when they are done playing with that toy they have to put it away before they can bring another one out.
I have a 21 month old son and a 5 year old daughter. I just hope that once my daughter is in school I can start keeping a better house because I will not have to constantly be breaking up the fights and telling her to be quiet at nap time so that my son will sleep. I hope that I can start cleaning during nap time like I did when she was little.

Unless the child is very young I would keep the toys either in a toy room or their bedroom.
When they bring a bbok or toy out to play hold them responsible to put it back where it goes. Once you get organized clean up is quick.
One thing i did was take a laundry basket or a sturdy storage basket and put toys in it for the wee ones. Up to two. After that they are safe to play in their room or if beyond that keep the basket idea. When they are done all goes in and carried into a closet or their room. Clutter can be gone when you really take a scope to your home. when something comes out immediatly put it back.

First of all if you are sharing the house with 3 other people it is not totally your responsibility to pick up other people's "Mess". That included your husband, who is an adult! Second, unless you trained them from toddler stage, your two children are probably leaving a trail of "Mess" behind them. Don't let them get away with it. If they play with something, when they are through, put it away. For example: If my son or husband drink out of a glass or leave a plate somewhere other then the trash can or kitchen sink, I make they come and take care of it. After enough times telling them the learning process kicks in and they will do it automatically. I tell them I am not the paid maid or housekeeper!

You should come see my house - it always looks like a tornado went through it. Don't worry about it, spend a little time picking us and let it go. When people come over they can tell the difference between "dirty" and just cluttered from having 2 kids and living. Everyday we do all the dishes and wipe off all counters, including the bathroom. But there are toys laying around and books and shoes and the dog toys. That stuff can be picked up in minutes and I don't worry about it. I do try to get the kids and me to spend a few minutes a day picking up the toys and stuff so that it's not to bad, but there is always something laying in the floor or mail on the counter. You are LIVING in your home, enjoy your time with your kids and hubby and don't worry about a couple of dust bunnies or the kids toys. Good Luck!!

First of all, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Don't compare yourself to others. But, if it really bothers you, your children are old enough to give chores and help around the house. My children are all older now. I think my one regret is that I didn't make them do more around the house. They don't just automatically pitch in and help when they're older!

I know how you feel! I am constantly picking up. It is getting better. My son is 3 1/2 now and helps me put toys away. I usually just start at one corner of a room and work my way around (a little at a time, so it isn't overwelming). I suggest getting the kids to help out more (especially since they are usually the culprits of the mess). Right now, I am constantly reminding my big kid (husband)that I need more help around the house. Good Luck and don't let it stress you out - remember to stop and take some time for yourself.

I admit that I try too hard to keep our house neat and tidy. But I remember reading a few years ago if you walk into a house with kids that is neatly kept, that means there's a room somewhere that no one sees that holds all of the stuff. LOL. I think most people understand if they walk in a house that is messy that there are kids there. It's going to get messy!


I found many websites that helped me stay tidy and organize but it also has to do with your personality I think and also that of your parents-how they took care of their house.

First off, I don't have it at the top of my head but there is a website that offers a list of things kids can do as chores and that is one major thing to stay tidy: the whole family has pitch in. The children and your husband must work with you as a team to clean.

Second, spend 15 min.or less in each room daily. It will help if you have "daily" chores, "weekly" chores, etc. A website that I found that was a good source was about.com and this is the name of the article: "How To Clean Up Living Areas In 15 Minutes" By Sarah Aguirre, About.com. If you just research on daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal chores and then modify to fit your lifestyle it should help.

Good luck!

Try www.flylady.com it helped me quite aq lot.

Now - I'm not the world's tidiest person, and with a six-month-old, it's been even worse. However, one thing I came up with to at least TRY to stay on top of things is to assign one chore to each day. (i.e. wash colors on Monday, clean the kitchen floor on Tuesday, bathroom Wednesday, etc.) It takes a lot of stress out of having to do everything on one day - Saturday - and it's a small enough time commitment that I can usually get it done during one of my son's naps. I still need to do some things every day - dishes, making the bed, etc - but I really like the system. I also spaced things out to give myself one day off for grocery shopping or catch-up. Also, some of those things that don't need to be done very often - clean the stove, for example, I only do every other week. I've made up a simple calendar and posted it on my fridge where it can remind me what's on the list for that day. Anyway, I hope that helps, and good luck! (Also, if he's up for it, see if your husband is willing to take on one responsibility a week. Mine does, and it's helped him appreciate what I do more, as well as make him be more aware of the messes he makes because he is now the one cleaning some of them up...)

I always feel like my house is a mess...and then my mom or sister will stop by and say things like "your house is so clean all the time" bla bla bla....do you just FEEL like its a mess? I mean you do have a 4 year old as well..so I'd think if anyone just dropped by they would understand.

However, I LOVE baskets...Target has some really cute decorative ones...maybe you should get some baskets to just lay around the living room or any room for that matter...maybe some different sizes of the same one to add character and then just throw all loose items in them. ie. blankets, toys, remotes, shoes, etc.


I know exactly what you mean, and I have decided that it's OK to be a bit "relaxed" about tidiness otherwise I get too stressed. If other people need to be more tidy than me, then that's OK too....hope this helps!

Try flylady.net. truly amazing!!! and for helping get the kids involved in the care of your home, The Housefairy also can be found at flylady. I'm still a bit frazzled due to new full time job & 5 kids in 5 schools. Anyway it is all manageable and will get tidy in a month or so. Baby steps will move our home back to happiness. It does take time, be patient work toward progress, not perfection!! good luck, R.

Hi P.. I used to be a neat freak and spent all my time cleaning. As my daughter has gotten older (8) we are never home. We are always running to classes the gym all kinds of activities (I would have used a comma but my comma is stuck! lol). It is very hard to keep up when you're never there. So I cut myself some slack and don't let it get gross of course. Bathrooms and the kitchen are a must of course. But the laundry and the ironing and the floors...well they kind of go by the way side. My husband is a gem...he's in the car business and the hours are LONG! He says it's messy b/c we live here!

So...don't be too hard on yourself. Just keep up with the bathroom and the kitchen and occasionally sweep a floor. :)

I could deal with my house being less than perfect, like many of you I have a messy hubby, three kids and a full time job. what I cant deal with is when my husband somehow explains how its all my fault. He just claimed it was my fault the family room is messy because I took the trash bag out and threw it away and didn't replace it. That's not My trash laying around in there, those aren't MY dirty dishes in there! I could shoot him right now.

I had to chuckle at all the recommendations for Flylady. I think it's wonderful that so many women find her helpful, but her system just didn't work for me. I already did some of the things she suggests, and we don't have a lot of extra "stuff." I also only check e-mail once a day, so all I really ended up with was an inbox full of way too many reminders!

I do agree with several others, though. You probably aren't as critical of your friends' homes as you are of your own--and vice versa. I remember what my mother-in-law told me once when she came to visit, and I apologized for the messy house. She said, "Don't worry about it; I came to see you and the kids, not the house." (I ADORE her for that!) If your guests can find a place to sit comfortably and chat, you're probably doing just fine.

I try to prioritize, and get the "important" stuff done, but some days, I just have to ask for more help from my family, or maybe hire a "mother's helper" once in a blue moon. My kids do regular chores, but they are pretty good about lending a hand for extra chores now and then, also, because they know it means I can let them do fun, messy things, too. "Amanda" wrote about bringing home boxes for the kids to play with--I know exactly what she means! I love craft projects, so that does add to the clean-up, but we're not about to give up the FUN!

I do have a relative who liked to criticize my lack of housekeeping skills--and he almost NEVER calls before "dropping by." I just ignored the comments, even though sometimes I wanted to say, "if it really bothers you that much, you're welcome to leave." ;-) It really irritated me for a while, but I finally realized that my kids are happy, healthy, and safe, and that's what is really important to my husband and me.

I also know that if this relative were raising my kids, it would be a completely different story! ;-)

HTH! Best of luck!

Do the best you can and just leave the rest. My house was a true disaster when my kids were younger. I would much rather have been doing things with them then cleaning house. They are 17 and 21 now and I still feel the same. I work full time and hate spending my off time cleaning. I wish I could afford housekeeping service.

At one point, I had my husband take the kids to the park, hiking, lunch,etc on Sundays for at least 4 hours. I cleaned what I could clean in that amount of time and the rest of the weeks was doing whatever I could.

I had friends ask if my family felt guilty about being thrown out of the house every Sunday. The answer was a big no, the kids still remember those Sundays and special time with dad who was gone most of the week.

You can only do what you can do, what your friends do should not be a measuring stick for you. ENJOY your family, those kids will be gone before you know it!

Since your asking this question you obviously want your house to be cleaner. AND YET, you don't want it to take over your life. So you'll have to do some soul searching. What matters to you the most? It sounds to me, from what you have said, you'd be happier if you could do the surface picking up a little better. So I think you should start there. Make yourself get up a half hour earlier each day and start right in on the picking up. When you do this every single morning you'll start to make a mental list of who's leaving the most stuff out. Then, if they are old enough you can start with them.

Here's a hint about kids. NEVER, EVER, Not EVEN ONCE, feed them until they pick up their toys. By 18 months all my daycare kids know how to pick up toys and we no longer have any fights or struggles with this. The only time we struggle with anyone is when they first start with us if they happen to be older. I'm really shocked how many moms fail to teach their kids in this area. But within the week at my house it's never an issue again. Sadly, many of the mothers ask me over and over how I get them to do that.... I tell them again and again. CLEAN then EAT. It's pretty simple.

From there, you can just re-evaluate each week and decide if something else is falling by the wayside. I can't stand clutter. I pick up and put things away all day and I'm very VERBAL about it. I made it clear to my family that I don't appreciate being made to feel like a maid to them all. If I see them make a peanut butter sandwich I demand they put the stuff away and wipe the crumbs off the counter. If I have to do it they WILL hear about it.

First off let me tell you that because of my severe allergies I have had to be super clean since I was 9 or so. Do you have a misconception about other houses? Probably. A lot of my friends tell me all the time that they would rather babysit here than at their houses because 'their houses aren't clean enough for me.' Now granted, I do keep my house really clean! But I spend a lot of my time cleaning.
My question for you is... do you think your house is dirty? Or gross? That's what I tell my friends. And the standard I hold for my own house is not what I have for my friends' houses.
Don't be so hard on yourself. I like my house neat and tidy, but every couple of months I take a week off. The only 'cleaning' I do is to scoop the cat poop, dishes, laundry, small essentials.... I don't vaccuum or dust or mop.
I am certain that while you may think your house is messy, others may not. Uh, you have 2 kids and work part time. i'm sure people understand that.
One final thought.... I know a girl who has 2 kids and is a stay at home mom. Her house is absolutely filthy! I will not take my son there because it's so gross. I don't even want to go there. So, you work and have 2 kids but you're upset because your house isn't tidy?? It does sound like something I would be upset about. But then again, you have to consider everything... 2 kids and a part time job? At least you would have an excuse to have your house a little dirty.
Good luck! And don't be so hard on yourself. I'm sure what you deem messy isn't what anyone else thinks. And if they do.... so what? LOL!

I agree with the prior posts. 1.) Your kids are old enough to pick up after themselves. 2.) Give yourself a chore or two a day. i.e., I pulled weeds & swept out the garage this morning. Dishes, laundry & made beds are everyday. 3.) Flylady.net is an awesome site. I found that if you do a couple things a day, by the time you get to them the following week it's just up-keep and not a lot of work.

One thing I firmly believe is that if a house is "perfect" it's not lived in. Let your kids be kids, but let them know they also have responsibilities. Trust me, other mom's houses are far from perfect. We all have kids!!!

My children are 13 & 8 & the house is worse now than when they were littler. I work a full time job and a part time job. My boyfriend of 11 years lives with me, but isn't help. I hate the fact that even though I work two jobs & run the kids to their sports (they are only allowed to do 1 sport at a time), people still look at me as the messy housekeeper, since I'm the mom! I have a friend who is single & has no children & I know she doesn't come over because my house isn't to her expectations (even at its cleanest/tidiest) but OH WELL! Good luck & do what you can as the kids are only little once, but house work will be there FOREVER!

Hi P.,
I keep a clean & tidy house and I can honestly tell you that I never bat an eye at my friends who have homes that are a little more "lived-in". I know that I am more anal and also have the luxury of working from home - so this enables me to schedule days and times to do my chores. I grew up in a home that was super cluttered and messy and I think this is why I am so concerned with everything being in its designated place. My 21 month old son is already great at picking things up and helping Mommy put them away. If you teach your children to help and make it clear to your husband that every mess he makes, he is responsible for, it will be much easier on you. The key for you at this point is to devote a weekend and deep clean. That means donate, organize, and get things in order. After that things will be easier. One thing though - don't take it personal when your husband (or children) don't fall right into line. It will take time for picking up after ones self to become routine. But in the meantime, you are a fantasitc mom for letting your family enjoy being at home! Good luck.

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