Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5-Minute Cleanup

We live in a Pit of Despair.


I thought about taking some pictures, but I'm too embarrassed. It's so hard to keep up with five children and the messes they make! (not to mention their scattered-brained mother who sometimes has fits of craftiness late at night) 

I can't keep this place clean! Not if I want to actually play with my kids, work on my novel and, you know, do other important things like eating or sleeping or putting clothes on (you've got to admit. That's pretty important). 

In the past I've tried to clean one room in a day. Ugh. It's so dissatisfying. I get one room clean, but the rest of the house is still a pig sty.  

So, last week I thought I'd try something new.  I grabbed a timer and with my little 4 yo, Zoe and the baby monkey, Molly we cleaned each room in the house for 5 minutes (okay. Molly didn't actually clean. She mostly created messes for us to work on). Sometimes we went a bit longer if we had a pile of stuff to put away. Oh, and I didn't touch my oldest boys' room or bathroom. Nope. Those are their hovels to clean. 

But it worked really well! I got a lot of clutter put away throughout the whole house. Sure the house wasn't completely clean, but I felt alright about it. Because I made some improvements.

I'm not one who likes to spend my time cleaning (it ranks right up there with plucking my eyebrows and scrubbing the muffin pans clean. Ack! We are a technologically advanced civilization! There has got to be a better solution for dirty muffin pans!!). There are so many other things to do with my days! And at the end of my life I'm not going to look back and think, "Wow. I'm so glad I kept my house spotless." Who cares? I want to be able to look back and feel all cozy warm from the memories I made with my fun and crazy kids and handsome cowboy. 

But that being said....I also don't want my kids to be embarrassed to bring friends over because they're worried their friend might go missing in the Pit of Despair. That's no way to end a friendship. So, I guess I have to do some cleaning. 

I've done two more 5-minute cleaning sessions since that first one. And I think if I can continue this a few times a week, I will eventually manage to claw myself out of this hovel.

Wait.  I think I have another solution to the Dirty House Dilemma.

I just googled Messy House pictures.   When you get all bogged down in your own Pit of Despair, just look at pictures like these....

Then feel better because your house isn't THAT bad. And if it is...um....well, you might want to do something about that.  In fact, you might want to set your timer for, say, 60 minutes?


  1. I really like that idea! I have found that when I want all my kids to clean I set a number for them like "everyone pick up 35 things". It works really well....better than anything else I've tried because otherwise there are always those who are just a little better and faster at cleaning and it's those same somebody's that get bitter and angry in the end when they realize they've done it all ;)

  2. That's what we've resorted to--both your timer suggestion and Sundi's number suggestion. And job charts for morning, and . . . okay. I'm a mom like you and have tried everything you have. It also helps to make a list of what you want accomplished, then have the kids pick one or two jobs from the list. They have to finish their first choice before they can make their second choice, making it a good idea to get the first choice job done pronto.

  3. What was that quote stuck on someone's frig? "Why don't they make a kitchen that flushes?"

  4. I'll have to try the timer thing. I was going to try the one room a day but like you, I still feel like the rest of the house is a mess. And I always clean my kitchen counter off first and then it's cluttered again by that night and I feel like I have to have that one clean all the time. So it's the only thing that gets cleaned.