You know that little concept that your mother or father taught you whenever you would borrow something from a friend or neighbor? “Always return it in better condition than you received it in.”
This is a fantastic concept and one that we should all make sure to pass down to our own children. But what if we tweak it just a little to become a concept that helps us busy moms with tidying up?
What if we were to further tweak it to train it into our children as well.
This is a simple concept, that if formed into a habit and repeated throughout your day, will have a major impact on the tidiness of your home.
It’s really quite simple. Every single time you leave one room of your house, stop, look around and find two items (one for each hand) that do not belong in the current room.
Pick up those two out-of-place items, and take them with you as you leave the room, place them in their rightful place, and go on about your business.
Do this every single time you leave a room.
If you are in a huge hurry, find two out-of-place items that belong in the room you were heading to anyway.
I am tidying up like this all day long. If I’m leaving the living room to go into the kitchen, I will grab the empty baby bottle, and my empty coffee cup, and place both in the sink.
When I am leaving the kitchen to come back into the living room, there may be a few Duplos that I can grab to put back in the toy drawer or a board book that needs to go back onto the bookcase.
If I see a discarded sock in the hallway, I place it on the stairs, and when I go up those stairs to lay a baby down for a nap, I make sure to grab it on the way up and put it in the hamper.
***Just a little note*** You know how stairs have the tendency to get junked up with items that you intend to take upstairs and put away? Train yourself to grab whatever is on the stairs every single time you go up.
Don’t allow yourself to just walk right by it, just grab it and put it away, then you won’t have to actually stop what you are doing one day and make an extra trip upstairs.
This concept really is unbelievably simple, but powerful. Think of how many times you go into different rooms of your house throughout the day. If you apply this concept, your house will stay mostly picked up all day long!
Get Your Children Involved In Tidying Up!
You can’t really expect your young children to learn to do this on their own, at least not quickly. However, there is something that you can do a few times daily to amplify your own efforts.
A few times a day (usually around breakfast, lunch, and dinner), I will tell the children to stop what they are doing, look around and find three different things that are not put away. Then I instruct them to go put the items where they belong and report back to me when they are done.
After everyone has put their three items away I will look around. If it looks like we’ve still got a mess on our hands, then everyone repeats the exercise. I have nine children, so you can see that we usually only have to do this exercise once or twice for a huge impact.
If you have less children, you can just repeat the steps several times, just make sure to make it quick and fun. You could turn on some music, keep a smile on your face, and of course, work alongside your children.
This is just one more of my sneaky cleaning concepts that keep me from spending valuable leisure time on cleaning. If I am tidying up throughout the day, we never reach a cleaning crisis. If we never reach that cleaning crisis point, everyone is happier, and the house is more orderly and enjoyable.