Please note that I didn't title this How we keep our house spotless. We have seven people living in our house nearly 24 hours a day. My husband works from home and we homeschool our children. We eat three meals a day at home and do PE in the backyard and all the art projects at the dining room table. Life creates a mess.
But there are times when we just need some order. After a lot of trial and error, our family has learned that if we can just put things back in order two or three times a day, it keeps chaos at bay.
What does that look like in our family? We have two different ways of doing it, depending on how severe the mess is.
EVERYONE PICK UP 27 THINGS!
Any children that can count, or pretend to count, and follow instructions will start to pick up 27 things each in whatever room I select. 3 big kids, 27 things each, makes a huge difference. By the way, Lego never counts. 27 Lego pieces is nothin'.
If the place is really a mess, I will say 59 things or sometimes even 124. The idea is that we all work together and they realize that it really doesn't take long to pick up our mess. When we do it frequently it makes for a tidy house and a clear head for me. The number is irrelevant and totally random, normally determined by how much of a mess I see. And we can count it as math practice since they are counting!
3 MINUTE ROOM CLEAN UP!
Sometimes, after a few days out of the house and busy nights, the state of the house has deteriorated. Bedrooms cluttered, stuff in the hallway, laundry room overflowing, kitchen counters a mess. On days like that, we put on our Cleaning Playlist and get to work! Each song, approximately 3-4 minutes each, one for each room of the house. We all work in that room for only the length of one song. Five or six people, working for 3 minutes, can restore order to a room in a relatively painless way.
Now, don't think that this is a foolproof method of keeping your house tidy. We still have complaining and attitudes frequently. We might have one child being a particular slowpoke that day and we deal with those attitudes as they arise (how would you like to pick up 247 things by yourself? No? Then adjust your attitude!). But we've been doing this for probably close to two years now and it's become so common that the children don't really fuss anymore. And the younger ones have watched it happen their entire lives and know it's just what our family does.
How does your family combat the mess? Share it with us here in the comments. It's always great to hear how another family manages their home.