Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spring Cleaning?

One of my favorite school "toys" is our Geosafari machine. We don't use it much except for geography. I'm sure computers have some neat game to teach your countries, states, and capitals but this works, and it's a lot of fun. Priscilla's been using it to learn the Canadian provinces and their capitals.
On Saturday I told the girls we were going to start "spring cleaning". They sighed. They have commented in the past that not only do we do spring cleaning, but fall, winter, summer, birthday, Saturday, Valentine's, whatever the occasion is. Maybe so. Anyway, I always post a very detailed list of what I'd like to get done and here's our new list on the door jamb. Everything from washing walls to washing garbage cans. Then we slowly plug away and try to get those things done that don't always need it but occassionally do. Now I'm the last person to give cleaning tips but since I'm on the subject, here's my idea of how to clean the house.

#1 - Teach the children when their young how to clean! Assign each child an area of the house and have them do it over and over and over for many, many days till even the three year old knows how to clean the living room! Then when everyone has mastered their jobs, and can do them without you reminding them to look under the couches and behind the garbage cans, rotate jobs so they can learn each thing. We usually had the two or three year old clean the stairs. Things that go upstairs get put on steps and they put them in the right room and sweep the steps. And on up by age giving the older ones harder jobs. I know my house often got to be a disaster but it doesn't take too many years and the hard work pays off. Our goal was to have each child able to do each job well by the time they were about 10. Then even if it is a disaster at least once or twice a day it can be clean! Also, unless your children are really young, they should always clean their own rooms and make their own beds. Yes, they might need your help occassionally but the norm should be them doing it themselves. Thankfully, it gets easier as the children get older! And if you ever wonder why janitors are often men, it's because boys can often clean even better than girls!!

#2 - Try to do some deep cleaning everyday or at least every week. I'm talking a drawer, a closet, a shelf, top of the fridge, behind the washer and dryer, that kind of thing. It really does make it a lot easier in the long run. Better yet, in addition to everyday chores, assign each person in the house an extra job each week. If you're really faithful at this, you won't have to "spring" clean like we're doing!

#3 - Get rid of anything that doesn't serve a purpose! The less stuff the easier it is to clean! Each time we had a new baby we had to make room for them so it was a good time to evalute, do we need that chair? Game? Knick knack? Outfit? The less items in a room the easier it is to clean. I guess that's one reason people can relax in motels so nice. There's nothing but the bare essentials. This is one of those things that continually needs work. After all, we buy things, we get gifts, etc.

#4 - Find a place for everything. This sounds simple but every once in a while we have something that travels from room to room because no one knows what to do with it. Here's a few of the solutions we've found for those wonderful clear shoe pocket hang-up.

Organizing the girls hair stuff by colors.
Sorry - this ones upsidedown! Anyway, it holds our pencils, pens, stapler, tape, etc. When the kids were little and the bottom row would get yucky and torn, we'd just cut it off.

Arthur gives out lots of tracts. We've tried lots of methods over the years but this seems to work good. It's not really neat right now but at least we have a place to put them behind his office door.

#5 - And for a couple of final tips from the cleaning expert - Don Aslott. When very overwhelmed at cleaning - start with the front of your house where people enter. Most people just come to the door so at least have that area clean. Yes, I know when you have lots of shoes, and coats, hats, etc, it gets hard. When that's done, do the bathrooms.

Another thing he says that I think really works is when you make your daily list, make it long! Now, you won't get everything done, but this way if you have fifteen minutes, you have a few things you can do instead of only having a few big projects that you don't want to start with only a few minutes to work. Does that make sense? I hope it did. I guess that's more of time schedule tip but it works with housecleaning.

Again, I'm probably not the one to give cleaning tips. I remember when I had Priscilla and I ended up in Grand Forks the church ladies decided to come out and clean house for me. I was mortified when I found out! With six children nine and under I just know it was probably a mess. Plus she came two weeks earlier than I was expecting so I hadn't really worried about cleaning it yet like I always did before having a baby. There have been many times I have been really embarrassed at the state of my house when someone would drop in. But, if anyone gave us a warning, we did get it cleaned nice so at least I feel good about that!
Just for the record, I don't have anybody mind as I write this! I really hope I'm not offending anyone. This is one area I really struggle with and we've worked hard to learn what we have. I'm in a cleaning mode so I just felt I needed to put it on paper. Well, I gotta go, have a great day.


  1. Oh my.... And I thought MY mom's lists were terrifying!!!!!!

  2. Oh, we never ever finish the lists! Mom, I don't think I like this post...Naomi

  3. WHOA, after seeing the size of your list I can understand why your kids don't like spring cleaning!!!! YIKES!! :) Although I DO think Mom had a few lists that got close to that long...scary And HOW do you keep all those markers and things in there UPSIDE DOWN??? That takes talent. ;)

  4. I love your post! We are a generation that has not been "mothered" so ladies in my age category are trying to figure it out. Your ideas are great. So, is your list ordered by room or by person?

    One addition: My godly older woman friend adds homemade milkshakes for all when the work is through.

    Blessings and thanks for being a Titus II woman.


  5. Thanks for your encouragement! I too have really been feeling the need to do some deeper cleaning. Can you e-mail us your list? My children groaned when they saw the length of your list. They don't think I need any encouragement in this area:) but I really would love to have an organized list and not feel so overwelmed with "where do we begin?" Thanks a bunch! Jill

  6. Mom's list is organized by rooms - we apologize to all the "children" out there for whom we may have caused trauma!

  7. Naomi, it's our job as mothers to traumatize our children with such cruel ideas as, THE LIST! One lady we know is only now getting over the shock of discovering that Labor Day was not actually a day set aside to labor by housecleaning as her parents had taught her.

    Our children have been traumatized no doubt by never seeing television, eating their meals at the table with their family (how archaic), forbidding them from institutional schools (poor dears will never fit into age segregated peer groups), hard labor in their early years and now....dun dun dun dun..... THE KRAHNS LIST!!!!!


  8. I'm very glad my mom doesn't put lists like that together. =) Thanks for all the tips--they seem helpful and workable to me! =)

  9. I know, I know - in fact, I fully intend to make my children go through the same things:) My Dad thinks labor day is for extra-hard labor too!

  10. I LOVE your list! It got my mind twirling on starting my own...
    I'm sure I will hear PLENTY of groans, but I my first to-do list will be on the blackboard tomorrow!


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