A while back, I posted a desperate plea for housekeeping ideas and many of you came through! I did find it interesting, however, that the only people who posted tips were ones who have either zero children or one very small child. Why do you think that is? OH, of course, it's because no one with more than that actually has housekeeping down to a science, hahahaha! Good to know I'm not alone, I guess.
Well, I have made some progress, so I thought I'd share a little update.
One realization I came to its that its very easy to keep the accumulation of stuff from taking control in two places--my kitchen and my closet. This is because I don't have an abundance of space in those two areas. My kitchen is on the small side. It's sufficient space, but not huge, so it's easy for me to clean out when I can't close a drawer and it's easy to resist buying more kitchen gadgets that I know I don't have a spot for.
Likewise, I do not have a walk-in closet. Casey and I have two standard-sized closets in our room and we each have a dresser, so when I can't close drawers, or I run out of hangers, or things are falling onto the closet floor because it's over-stuffed, it's time to clean out and I do it pretty often.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the rest of our house has ample space for everything! It's not huge by 2011 standards, but it's on the big end of houses circa 1969 :) We have a basement, I have two linen closets, three bathrooms with storage space, a garage, a dining room and eat-in kitchen, a living room and a den. Because there truly is a place for everything, more and more things sneak into the house without much monitoring.
Don't get me wrong, we weed out pretty often and take a bunch of stuff to Savers at least once a month (it's how I get my 20% off coupons, ha!) Anyway, a few weeks ago, my mother-in-law was here and I started the oven on fire. So we cleaned it. Which led to her helping me clean out some kitchen drawers too. Which took me later that week to the pantry, the basement toy storage, the coat closet, the kids' rooms and my fabric stash. After that, Casey took a huge car-load to Savers to donate and boy, did it feel good!!!! I estimate that I got rid of at least a third of the kids' toys, stuffed animals and dress-up clothes. Then, they helped me organize the remaining toys into our clear plastic tubs in the basement.
The following week, I got sick. I had laryngitis and tried to simply keep on top of the basic mess. AND BOY, WAS I SURPRISED! At the end of the week, I realized how much easier staying on top of clutter had been because there was simply less stuff to deal with! As an added bonus, the kids can actually find their things and so they are actually playing with their things. It's nice. Ever since, I've been very careful in my shopping and Christmas planning, because I really don't want a huge amount of toys coming in over Christmas and our two winter birthdays.
So, as a homeschooling, stay-at-home family, we probably still have more "stuff" than the average family might (not to mention our hobbies!), but I think it's more under control now than it's been in awhile. I did come across this site, Organizing Made Fun, which is quite inspirational! I found her tips and photos and ideas pretty helpful through my clean-out process.
Now I feel that I need to work out a cleaning schedule for myself. You know, bathrooms, floors, etc... What does your schedule look like? If you don't have a cleaning schedule, do you do something else that works? How much time do you budget for cleaning each day? Right now, I kinda just look around, see what needs done and do it within a day or two. I'd love more ideas!