Monday, June 28, 2010

Ways to help your kids keep their bedrooms clean

1. Garbage bag method: Go through their room and toss everything into big, black garbage bags. That way they won't see things peeking through the white bag and beg for this or that broken, junky toy that has been hidden under the bed for eons but suddenly they can't live without.

2. Donation method: Same as above, except as you go you sort between things that need to go in the trash because they are unusable, and things that can be given away. Hide donation bags in the trunk to prevent the kids from going through them treasure hunting.

3. Bonfire method: Round up all the toys and junk and make a nice bonfire. Don't roast marshmallows over it because the fumes from all the cheap plastic is probably highly carcinogenic.

All methods work equally well. Your goal is to leave the kids with nothing but a bed, blanket and pillow when you are done, plus two changes of clothes (one to wear, one to launder). I call this the "jail cell method", and it does wonders to help prevent cluttered, messy rooms.

Am I serious? Well, I wish I were. I finally dragged myself to go through John and Isaac's room this afternoon, which I had not done since getting pregnant. Now that the morning sickness is gone, there are just so many chores to get caught up with, it can be overwhelming. I literally pulled out at least 3 loads of clothes from under their bunk bed, and most of it had never even been worn but was now covered in thick dust. (For those of you who don't know, we have TERRIBLE dust in Arizona, because it never rains. I think it last rained in March.) Every toy box, shelf, and drawer was a total disaster. Three hours of work later, I was only done with half the room. Employing either of the above methods was very tempting, and would certainly have saved me a lot of time and trouble.

It was 7 pm before I started fixing dinner, and 9 before I finally had them all in bed. Only to discover that the two girls had completely taken my bedroom apart while I was busy cleaning the other room with all the boys. Now I still need to do dishes, clean the kitchen, get started on the huge mound of dirty laundry, mop half the house, clean bathrooms, and sometime tonight get some sleep. And to think that they will only turn it into a dirty pigsty again within a short amount of time!!!! In fact, they'll probably do so tomorrow while I clean my own bedroom up again! I feel like a hamster in a wheel sometimes. AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

Did I mention I am super tired and have a splitting headache?


  1. oh dear can I ever relate!! Like totally:):) Just put the food away and go to bed. In the morning let them watch some cartoons and clean up in peace.

  2. I hear you. While you're cleaning up one mess, they are creating 3 more messes : )

    The only solution I've found is to get the kids to do more and more and more. It actually takes more time (sometimes slow and agonizing) to train them how to do each job but pays off in the end.

    I could not run this household while pregnant without their help. It would be chaos. My husband is so busy working (2 jobs + school) he doesn't have the time to help besides bringing home the groceries on his way home. This is also true during the newborn stage, when I need lots and lots of rest in order to breast feed.

    They can't do everything, of course. But every little job they can do (clean the toilet, wipe down the counter, mop the floor) frees me up to do the more complicated jobs (dinner, organize a closet, etc).

  3. You know, I've read your blog for a while. We don't agree on many things, but I still read and see what you have to say. That said, I loved this blog post. It truly shows that you are a real person. Not a droid and not somone who wants to cover your faults. It is refreshing to see something like this on a blog. Thank you for being, if nothing else, real.

  4. I happened across your blog by accident--you know, web surfing and all. The descriptions of your days and life are entertaining, and very well-written. I can literally feel what you're saying!!

    I know nothing about you and your husband, other than what you write, but I'm curious--it seems as if you work so hard and have so very much to do, does your husband pitch in at all? I'm sure, being a pastor with another job keeps him busy, but surely no busier than you!!??

  5. Any mother can understand this post. Don't clean any more, get some sleep!

  6. Would you please comment on the following post? I am a non-Christian (but not hostile to religion, by any means, just agnostic).

    I am very curious about how you feel about this post, given your previous statements about feminism.

    Thank you!

  7. Well, I certainly am a real person, and no droid. This blog doesn't mention much of the less positive sides of parenting and our personal life in general simply because we get so many hateful and personally insulting comments as it is, I don't want to provide more fuel for these people's fire.

    Also, I think all moms and parents struggle with the same issues, and who wants to sit down after a long hard day with kids to read some other mom whine about all the things they just experienced themselves that day and would probably rather forget about?

    Last but not least, my kids like to read my blog. I wouldn't want them venting about me to their friends and relaying all my many faults, so I don't want to set a poor example.

    But true, we all do like to see that others are human and struggle with the same things we struggle with. I can't stand reading blogs where every background in every photo is always perfectly tidy, the kids are always groomed to a T, and they only ever go on about how wonderful their life is. Gag me with a spoon!

    For every good day I have where everything goes smoothly with no disasters (like a baby smearing a dirty diaper on my freshly laundered and changed bedsheets, or worse, walls and floor), there is one equally disastrous day, and about 10 everyday normal exhausting days. I am never not happy when the kids finally go to bed for the night, no matter how much I love them.

    Bless their little hearts, I'm glad they are having a carefree childhood. Soon enough they will be in our shoes and dealing with all the things they made us live with!

    Carrie and Holly, I will answer your questions in a Q&A I am currently working on.

  8. We are on vacation and I am dreading going home to their messy bedrooms. I LOVE your methods. Must put them to use at once! :)


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