Does your family prefer planned cleaning day or surprise blitz?

When I was a kid, every Saturday morning meant cleaning. My mom woke us up early, fed us pancakes and then told us to clean. (She doesn’t remember it this way.) I dreaded Saturday morning and have always hated cleaning.

I used to rebel against cleaning but after having kids my tolerance for a messy/dirty house has definitely dropped.

We try to pick up the downstairs every day but you still need to do your deep cleaning. Instead of having a set day for cleaning I usually do better with a surprise blitz.  It’s not necessarily every week, it’s just when the house needs it.

For example two Sundays ago the house needed it badly. (This last Sunday it wasn’t so bad.) The kids went out to swim with Michael and I started picking up. When they came back in and got changed, I started giving them assignments. They picked up their rooms and the playrooms. Michael vacuumed the downstairs hard woods and stone while I cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen. Then Michael went up to supervise and inspect (That playroom was a mess!) while I mopped the downstairs. All told I probably worked about three hours (they worked about hour and a half to two hours) but the whole house was clean.  It was done and over and they didn’t dread it coming.  (Sometimes they do bathrooms, windows, mirrors or bathrooms. It just depends.) (Every night they help unload and load the dishwasher and take out garbage.)

Do you have a set cleaning day? Or do you just do it as your house needs it? Do you surprise them with it or warn them it’s coming? Do you give out assignments that change or do your kids know what they are supposed to do each time?

Check back around noon for some super cute chore charts that I found online. Lots of good ideas to steal!

27 comments Add your comment

catlady

September 19th, 2012
6:50 am

As a full time working mother, single, with three kids, it was catch as catch can. EVERYONE was a part of it–even the toddler.

catlady

September 19th, 2012
6:51 am

They say if you go around constantly picking up after your kids, you are trying to erase their presence. I sure never did get around to that!

Mayhem

September 19th, 2012
7:51 am

We do a little every night. The floors get scrubbed (no carpets) once a week, usually Saturday, before everyone gets up. I’m an early riser so I can get it done before anyone gets up.

PS

September 19th, 2012
8:12 am

We do a little pick up every night to keep the house uncluttered. But, here is where I admit that six months ago I waved the white flag and hired a cleaning service to come in once every other week for the deep clean (floors, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.).

Voice of Reason

September 19th, 2012
8:19 am

We pay a very nice lady to come by twice a month to clean our house.

I would get rid of the Internet before I dropped the cleaning lady.

The kids know that if they make a mess, they have to clean it up.

RJ

September 19th, 2012
8:22 am

My family prefers neither! Who wants to clean. Saturday mornings are usually booked with sports activities. So, I require them to clean before they hang out with friends after the game.

Mayhem

September 19th, 2012
8:53 am

I’m a minimalist, in that I don’t have a lot of stuff around the house. I used to have tons of “dirt magnets” that required dusting, etc. But once we painted the living/dining room & kitchen, and took everything off the walls and off the bookcases, I realized I liked it with less. I have a few beautiful pieces of art work on the walls, but most of my nick nacks are packed in boxes in the basement.

I’m busy enough with the kids, a full time job, hubby, and 4 animals. I don’t need to be bothered with dusting every little trinket…..

Sluggo

September 19th, 2012
8:54 am

I am an early riser and a creature of habit.Each week, I reserve a couple of hours on weekend morning around 5-6 AM and go thru the entire house. It’s done and the house looks and smells wonderful.It makes a brunch or long movie afterward much more enjoyable.I’ve had outside help before but they usually start out well and then over time fall off in work quality. So, I clean it myself.

FCM

September 19th, 2012
9:14 am

A bit of all the above….We have some tidying everynight….but some thngs like the fridge.bathrooms are done weekly…Bathrooms may also be done more than once a week if needed. Some rooms are hey surprise blitz (like hello the livingroom needs attention!!!). I think u just do what works for you.

FCM

September 19th, 2012
9:15 am

I will say that if you are a stay at home mom I would think your house would be cleaner than say a working single mom.

xxx

September 19th, 2012
9:32 am

Everyday is cleaning day for the maid.

The Dixie Diarist

September 19th, 2012
9:59 am

Lordy, clean as you go … or don’t makes messes to begin with. Protect your time in life as if it were money … as if you dropped all your money, in cash, on the sidewalk outside of Turner Field on game day.

http://www.adixiediary.com

Techomom

September 19th, 2012
10:14 am

Sluggo – we’ve had that happen twice. Not sure why they slack off but it annoys me to have to go behind someone and inspect their job. After our last cleaning lady got sick and had to quit, I haven’t found anyone else.

We normally clean as we go but it is nice to have it all done at once. That’s why I kind of like having people over- it forces us to clean everything! We’ve been so busy the past few weeks though, the house really needed some attention. We spent 3 hours this past Sunday morning cleaning everything but it’s certainly not a scheduled thing. Dishes, laundry, sweeping the floors and general pickup usually happen daily though as I can’t stand a dirty, messy house.

Sarah

September 19th, 2012
10:46 am

@FCM – you would think that wouldn’t you…but it is not the case. lol. When you are a stay at home mom with young kids/toddlers, you are HOME most of the day making constant messes. Toys, puzzles, legos, 10-thousand babies and accessories, make shift forts tied to the kitchen chairs, playdough, spills, crumbs etc etc etc. We don’t just sit in a corner and not touch anything all day. Sure, you clean up a bit along the way, but still I have found that it is SO MUCH easier to maintain a clean house when we are not in it. I usually clean up clutter at night. I love the days when we have somewhere to go (playdate, park, or aquarium etc) and the feeling of coming home to an neat and uncluttered house… because no one has been home all day!!

A close friend of mine is a working mom, and we carpool each other’s kids to various activities. Whenever I pick her kids up at her house, even though she just walked in the door for work, her house is always spotless. Everything is neatly put away. Counters and floors are crumb free. Even the throw pillows on her couch are in place. My house on the other hand, is a disaster area by 4pm…. because I am home all day with the kids.

Mayhem

September 19th, 2012
10:48 am

@FCM – I’ve seen numerous SAHM’s houses, and they are NOT clean at all. One of my neighbors, her house is so messy it’s disgusting. She has ONE kid. In middle school. Her house is so gross, we won’t go over there. I won’t let my kids go over there, its so bad.

Techomom

September 19th, 2012
11:01 am

@TWG – my post got eaten and not sure why.

@Sarah – I agree, the more you’re home, the more it looks like it! It was much easier to keep our house clean when my husband and I both worked outside of it and we would drop our son off at school, pick him up from after-care and go straight to ball practice. Half the time we didn’t have time to eat at home so nothing was ever messy. I will take having to clean any day over commuting and never being home!

JOD

September 19th, 2012
11:09 am

Thankfully, we have a lady clean once a month and maintain in between. DD picks up each day, although if we have activities or are running late, I’ll let it go a day as long as the mess is confined to the playroom. I will probably just assign her chores as she gets older, and we’ll keep the daily pick up/weekly maintenance.

I don’t see any reason to make Saturday morning a clean up time for kids – I would have hated that, and would hate to enforce it in my house. We keep Saturday mornings low key and relaxed. Every other morning we have to be somewhere, so I like having a morning to have nowhere to be/nothing to do.

Kat

September 19th, 2012
12:24 pm

Sounds like an army command – blitz the place with a surprise or a carefully planned strategic move? Any toys not picked up (after reminding them more than once) go to the overnight “toy jail.” They get them back after school the next day; longer prison term if the item has been out for too long.

Kat

September 19th, 2012
12:27 pm

Here’s a topic I’d like to see addressed – when/how do you get rid of your kids’ toys? I went to summer camp one year, came back, and it was like my room had been stripped of my childhood – and I was like 10! I don’t think the surprise expulsion of toys works well; makes the kids distrustful of their parents, I think.

If our kid wants a new toy, he’d better darn well get rid of 20 things that he no longer wants. Gosh knows, the Salvation Army will take stuff that he’s grown tired of.

Kat

September 19th, 2012
12:27 pm

The other kid will gladly pile up old stuff to get something new.

Techomom

September 19th, 2012
12:50 pm

@Kat – maybe do an annual clean-up day and donate the items to someone doing a yard sale for a fundraiser? Personally I hate doing yard sales but our church’s Children’s Ministry does one annually to pay for supplies as does my son’s Scout Troop so it’s a good excuse to clean things up without feeling guilty over throwing perfectly good stuff away. Not that the Salvation Army/Goodwill aren’t good organizations but I like benefiting a group of kids I personally know (makes it easier for me to get rid of stuff).

FCM

September 19th, 2012
1:59 pm

For purging toys out of the playroom (we are down to a few choice 18″ dolls, some stuff animals, and barbies) I was real clear with them. If it is broken I toss it. If the dog ate it, I toss it. That is if it is left out where I have to clean it up. If it really matters to YOU it will be put up. I can honestly say they only one time asked about something that had been sent to Godwill. It took them 3 weeks to ask though.

I was a SAHM for a short time with toddlers. My house was MUCH cleaner then (and we did legos, arts & crafts, built forts etc) than it is now. Now I have a middle schooler who drops and plops. I find food bags in couch cushions (from eating snacks and then not wanting to go the garbage or chase the dog).

I honestly do not know if SAHM have cleaner houses or not. I was only saying I would think so. I know on my WFH day I do manage to get the laundry run and dried, dinner in the oven before 5. Sometimes even manage to make a bake good. I do that while still doing my office work. Still, if I win lotto a cleaning lady will be hired.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

September 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

I thought cleaning the house was one of those things SAHM’s cut in the deal to SAH. if you’re outsourcing it to your kids and husband, what do you have left to complain about?

Mayhem

September 19th, 2012
3:03 pm

@Kat – every year before christmas, my kids have to give stuff away, to accommodate room for the new stuff.

So, usually around Thanksgiving, we sort through their stuff and they have a hand in helping to decide if it is worth keeping, or giving away, or throwing away.

K's Mom

September 19th, 2012
4:00 pm

@Kat, I saw something where when kids get older but still believe in Santa, they have to pick 5 or 6 old toys to put in Santa’s take away bag. Then you put the toys with the milk and cookies for Santa and he takes them and fixes them for kids whose moms and dads cannot afford new toys. I thought this was a great idea. I will just have to remember to get the toys to goodwill before K & L find them in the trunk of my car.

Me

September 20th, 2012
9:58 am

We pick up after ourselves; load the diswasher; do laundry, etc. but we have a cleaning service that comes by twice weekly so this is when the carpets, hardwoods, and tile gets done along with all the bathrooms, etc. Happy to be able to have this luxury as I absolutely hate cleaning.

Kat

September 21st, 2012
9:54 am

Excellent ideas, everyone. Thanks!