There are toys everywhere. Your laundry basket is piling up. Your toilet has pee stains; your bathroom sink is caked in crusty toothpaste.
The inside cracks of your sofa are stuffed with Cheerios and Goldfish crackers.
There may be tiny handprints on your windows and mirrors and maybe, just maybe, there is a brown spot on your living floor you are desperately hoping is smudged chocolate.
You’ll try to keep it clean. You’ll Swiffer, you’ll scrub, and you’ll hide things in an already overcrowded drawer or closet before company shows up. Then, just when you think it’s all picked up, you will turn around to find another sticky spot or darn Pokémon card on the ground.
You’ll be fooled to think that doing 4 loads of laundry a day means you’re ahead of the game … But you are not ahead of the game. You never are.
My messy house is my albatross. It suffocates me. Maybe I’m a little too Type A or maybe I need a Xanax, but there must be must be a solution to this insanity.
And so I’ve come up with a few coping mechanisms that may help you keep sane, balanced, and guilt-free (without the Xanax):
- You are not alone – The reality is that most family homes do have unmade beds and living rooms drowning in toys. There is a community of messy houses out there and accepting that your house is one of them is the first step in the right direction.
- People don’t see what you see – See those dirty baseboards in your dining room? Chances are your guests don’t. We tend to clean with microscopic eyes, noting every last spec of dirt or grime that the average visitor doesn’t even notice. Clean with that in mind and you may find yourself a little more relaxed when company arrives.
- Create order to your disorder – Organize your chaos. Buy some bins and labels and have a permanent spot for everything: toys, games, crayons, etc. If your children aren’t of age to read, label your bins with pictures and show them where things go. You will see. They too will be satisfied in being able to find their toys quicker.
- Be Patient and Encourage – Once your children are old enough to pick up their toys, encourage them to help with clean up time. It seems logical, right? I can’t tell you how many times I have, and still do, pick up for my monkeys. Repetition can be exhausting and my desire for quick results often overpowers my patience. Try to be patient. If the kids need lots of encouragement, consider creating a rewards system: a sticker on the fridge for every day they pick up their toys.
Bottom line: Pick up what you can, clean within in reason, make your home safe and within federal health guidelines and you should be good. And, although this is the church preaching to the choir, try not to be so darn hard on yourself.
“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” Phyllis Diller