As a mother of four little ones, ranging from two to nine, I can tell you one thing, having an organized home with children underfoot is now easy feat. I once heard a very apropos saying “cleaning the house while kids are growing is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.” I sometimes feel as though cleaning and organizing with my two year old at my side is just taking two steps backwards. As I attempt to clean up one mess, he’s dumping the remaining chocolate chips on the kitchen floor or better yet, turning over my garbage can and eating its contents. Yet, I keep trying to have that immaculate house, a house where you can lick the floors.
However, I have come to the realization that there is a time and place for everything. My house is sparkling clean from the hours of 11:00 pm until 7:00 am (or 6:00 am) the next morning. Running after my kids with the Windex and paper towel in hand is only going to stress me out further. And, toys on the floor is not a mess, it’s just a sign of healthy children. Keeping these things in mind allow me to focus on what really matters, which is being the best Mom I can be.
As far as the cleaning is concerned, over the years, I have come up with a couple of ways to keep my home a little more organized so that the mess doesn’t spiral out of control. One thing I have resorted to, that has really helped me in keeping a little bit more organized is labeling everything. I ordered iron- on name labels, customized permanent stickers, personalized bag tags and more, all in an effort to keep things labeled properly. When items are clearly labeled, knowing where they belong is so much easier. My children have come to either read these labels or just recognize them by sight and know where items should be placed. I label my children’s gloves and coats so that they know which is theirs automatically and place a sticker above their hook in the closet so they know exactly where to hang their coat. Toy containers get labels so cleaning up the playroom is easy. Getting them to clean the playroom…now that’s another story!
Another thing that has helped me out as well is childproof locks. I have come to place locks on cabinets and drawers that I don’t want the little one to get their hands on. Some cabinets, like where I keep my cleansers, I have placed locks for safety reasons. Other cabinets, such as where I keep my spices I have placed safety locks as well. This keeps curious hands from trying out all the different spices. It’s great to be curios and allow for hands on activities, but having garlic powder all over the floor is not my definition of hands-on learning. I also added a lock to my refrigerator so that drinks can’t just be taken by themselves. It’s either that or finding orange juice all over the counters. Locking the bathroom child proof handle was a smart move. My two year old has not mastered opening it yet, but it’s still easy enough to open for my 4, 6 and 9 year olds. It has happened one too many times that the plumber had to be called down only to remove a plastic cup or a peach etc. from the toilet.
You will find that there are quite a few small steps you can take to keep your home a little bit more organized, leaving the end of the day cleanup a little but more controllable. Taking care of all your children’s needs and cleaning up after them is quite tiresome, it’s really a full time job, yet there is nothing in the world that is more rewarding than your own children. With everything you do in life the more effort you put into it, the more rewarding the results are.
About the author: Fay Bernstein is mother of four and in addition works as a consultant for label-land.com.