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Topic: house cleaning and homeschooling

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Subject: house cleaning and homeschooling
Date Posted: 2/22/2008 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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I need your ideas on how to set up some kind of cleaning routine in a reasonable amount of time so we can have a clean house and still homeschool. Hubby thinks we have too much stuff and we should just stop buying I'm thinking it's an organization problem and have been buying all kinds of organizer boxes and cabinets but now i'm thinking all the boxes in the world won't help till we get some kind of regular time to clean. before the holidays I tried having the kids help out more with house hold chores but it seems they can use a whole day up on folding laundry and loading a dishwasher so they were doing no homeschool work. Now I'm just frustrated I know that families can homeschool in a regularly clean house why can't I??


Date Posted: 2/22/2008 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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Last Edited on: 12/10/08 1:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/22/2008 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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this sound so much like us really we only clean the living areas when someone threatens to come over. Hubby has said if we all got up earlier we could get more done but none of us are really early morning people so I'm not sure if getting us all up earlier is gonna start more fights or get more done??

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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K...I'll give you a few short answers:

Here is what we do:

Wake Up

Eat Breakfast

Housework (Kids do chores at this time)





More housework (Here is where I do the laundry and nighttime maintainance)

While my oldest is doing something by herself, I start a load of dishes, or sweep the floor, or clean one of the pet's enclosures, or brush the cat or dog, or run the vacuum...anything I can do in ten or fifteen minutes.


Also, and more importantly, you need to set your own standards. My house is never 100% clean. I try to keep the front room, the kitchen, and the bathrooms clean all the time. The bedrooms sometimes go by the wayside, because my children's education is more important than a spotless bedroom. On Saturday mornings (after yard sale time for me!!), we have a house cleaning party. It takes two hours and the whole house gets a spot-cleaning. *************

ONLY CLEAN IT IF IT'S DIRTY. Don't vacuum if the carpets don't need it. Don't wash the windows just because it's what you always do on Tuesdays. Wait till they need to be cleaned. (This flies in the face of many other cleaning plans but it is what works for *this* family)


Keep baskets (decorative ones make it prettier, but laundry baskets are more practical) in every room. Collect whatever doesn't belong, and have the whole family put the stuff away at the end of the day.


Give EVERYONE chores. Even the baby. Let baby play with the dust rag. Start habit training now so that chores are natural later. =)


Remember that there will be plenty of time for a spotless house once the kids are grown and gone, but you can never get back playtime and  bonding time. =)


Date Posted: 2/22/2008 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 5,499
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Let me tell you that if your house is like mine was, your hubby's right.  (I hate it when that happens!!! LOL!)  I finally broke down about bought the book It's all Too Much by Peter Walsh and it's made a HUGE difference in our house (pssst...one of the things he says to do is NOT to buy more organizational items!!).  It's clean, not (as) cluttered, I don't panic if someone comes to the house unexpectedly and we're all much happier.  I've made a bunch of $$ on Ebay getting rid of "stuff" and that's helped pay for my son's curriculum for next year.  Giddy-up!

I HIGHLY recommend the book.....I know the WL is super long, but it was worth every penny I paid for it. 

Good luck!

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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Angel, do you have a separate space for homeschooling? We don't and I found that to be a big problem. We live in a smallish apt and I used the dining room table and it was always a mess. We had to clean off the table before every meal and then it piled back up with homeschool projects in between.

So I invested in an adjustable fold-down utility table. We put it up every morning and take it down in the evening. That way I don't have to waste time cleaning off the table for lunch only to drag everything out again after lunch.

To combat the storage problem, I found an open shelf unit that fits under my breakfast bar to store all our homeschool supplies. Granted we can't eat at the bar but we never used it much anyway.

My girlfriend cleared out 2 shelves in her pantry and designated them to homeschool stuff. Another girlfriend used one side of her kid's closet. Maybe you could use and under-the-bed storage bin for HS supplies. I guess I'm saying to take advantage of whatever space you have.

Another thought, could you size down to what you are only using this semester and store the rest in the garage or something? (maybe you're already doing that though)

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2007
Posts: 59,977
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My house is usually a disaster. Oh, we clean but a few minutes later, it's a mess again! I think it may be more a matter of teaching everyone to clean up after themselves. I hope I can find a way to do that soon before I go crazy! lol My kids will walk over whatever they have just dropped in the floor. 

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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well we were using the family room as a library but the kids did most of their school work in the living room so we decided to give them the living room and attached dining room for homeschool we eat in the kitchen anyway and we bought new furniture for the family room so hubby and I could use it for our TV watching. so we moved the bookshelfs into every avaliable inch of the living room and 3 computers into the dining room plus all the furniture that was already present in these 2 rooms IT WAS A MESS !!!!! so after a few days of looking at that we made some adjustments and got rid of a few things. it didn't help much so we rearranged some more and some more and now we are just tired of rearranging and tired of it looking messy.

I like the idea about storing some stuff cause hubby deffinately thinks we can live without some books and supplies. I will mention the book about having too much and he can pick it up and read it and incorporate it if he wants ( if he goes through all that he deserves a cleaner house). I just love having all the neat things for homeschool.

i want to teach the kids about being neat but despite all the labled shelves everything winds up on the floor then under the bed. I think if they had a daily routine it wouldn't get so bad it took me 2 days to get it back in order.

thanks for everything so far


Date Posted: 2/22/2008 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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We are big believers in the timer method.  We learn for so long and then set the timer and all work at breakneack speed to beat the timer.  It is amazing what we can do in 15 minutes.  Plus the children aren't overwhelmed.  When the timer goes off, we are back to learning.  Doing this two or three times a day has made a real difference for us. 

I also know that we have too much learning stuff. I am always thinking of the possibilites, not always the reality of the amount of time and energy that we have available.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 2/23/2008 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2005
Posts: 20
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How clean your house will be is going to depend on how many children you have and how old they are. Obviously, if you have a baby, two toddlers, and a preschooler then your house isn't going to be as clean as someone with older children. That's the theory anyway.

As my children get older, they are responsible for making their beds in the morning, keeping their rooms tidy, and doing some daily chore, like dishes or sweeping. That way nobody is doing everything, including me. Everyone at some point has to pick up after the baby because she throws everything on the floor.

Everybody also has a few weekly and twice weekly chores, like dusting or taking the garbage cans to the curb on garbage day. Sometimes the twice weekly chores only get done once a week, but I can live with that. Nothing takes a tremendous amount of time unless there are a lot of dishes to do (no dishwasher except us!) but when everybody pitches in it goes faster.

That being said, it's much easier to clean if there isn't a lot of clutter around. Even organizing bins can get in the way. If you have clutter, assess what is most important for you that needs to be out and then throw away, give away, or sell the rest. Some stuff goes in storage, of course, like Christmas ornaments and next year's clothes for everyone, but only if you have room for it. A few years ago, I moved from a house with a built-in library to a house with no storage for my books. I had over 250 boxes of books (over 10,000 books!) taking up the entire garage and part of the basement and family room. I should have decluttered before I moved and didn't. I wish I had. I'm down to about 50 boxes of books left to deal with and it feels wonderful to have the spaces back again, but there are still books in piles here and there, and it's very difficult to clean.

If you're overwhelmed by clutter, you might want to check out flylady.com. You get e-mails everyday that help you keep your house clean and de-clutter. It's very motivating for some people.


Date Posted: 2/23/2008 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 120
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I don't have great insight but we implemented a small change to our routine a few months ago and it made a HUGE difference in our day.  i used to be so frustrated trying to school in a messy house and it just distracted me all day... so someone suggested this...

After breakfast the kids get dressed (actually DD 14 usually stays in her PJ bottoms because she's more comfortable - anyway), brush teeth and hair, then it's CHORE time.  At first I thought doing this now would push our day so far back we'd never catch up but actually it only takes us about 15 mins.

I give both kids a couple of chores to do according to their ability.  I give them things that will make a difference to us - in other words things that will give us all a better outlook ... straighten up the living room, wipe down the sinks in the bathroom, empty dishwasher (so I can fill it!), dust, swifer the floor, make beds.  It's pretty surfacy stuff but it makes us all feel better because the place looks better.  I always do chores alongside them so they know it's not just me trying to be mean.  i think I'm gg to start doing the same thing after lunch because you know it's messy again by then.  Any 'real' cleaning usually gets done (by me) after school or on the weekend.

Like i said - it was a really small change but really helped our day.

Date Posted: 2/23/2008 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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I know what you mean about it's hard to be in a great homeschool mood when the house is a wreck and we all know it's got to get cleaned up. We may try the clean in the morning idea next week and see how it goes, and the 15 min cleaning after lunch. I tried the flylady last year and I really liked it but no one else could manage to understand it so I felt a little discouraged. Hubby got the idea we should decluter the whole house at once and that makes a huge mess with a ton of stuff needing to be stored or thrown away and we had no garbage service at the time. I have been going through our bookshelves and have decided to get rid of a few that I know have been sitting here for 2 years with no use. I also have uncovered my cleaning and organizing books so i'm going to review the pages I bookmarked and see what I can do with those ideas.

thanks for the ideas and support


Date Posted: 2/23/2008 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 1,620
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We just put our house on the market and had to do some serious decluttering and we got rid of tons and tons of things that we really weren't using.  I cannot believe how much easier it is to keep the house clean now.  The kids are really doing quite well about keeping the house neat and it hasn't been overwhelming like it was before.  We made a huge mess in the process, but getting rid of all that stuff we didn't use has really helped!

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 2:19 AM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2007
Posts: 191
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Just reading all of your post and we all seem to be overwhelmed at least some of the time.  The point about the age of children and how many is an important thing to remember.  We have one older child and twins.  Once I knew I was having twins I knew the Lord really wanted me to learn something about patients and giving over the control of my life to Him!  At the time the twins were born we lived in a 800sqft. home.  I only did the things I could each day (ie:dinner, dishes, laundry), trying not to worry about the rest.  There was very  little space for anything.  I started homeschooling my daughter after kindergarden when the twins were 2 years.  When the twins were seven we finally moved to a bigger home. Yet somedays the dinning room table will still be covered with books and papers.  For right now I try to keep only the things I need upstairs with the rest stored on shelves downstairs.  (Did I mention I'm a book-aholic, this is the last place I should be.)   

Well, I have tried time and time again to try to put my life in order, making a little headway but falling back some too.  I have come a short distance on my own, but never far enough for what I think I should be doing.  The other day I some how landed on this site called "A Clean Heart" started by a homeschooling mom with a few young children and a house full of responsiblities not getting done.  She has started a program for moms like us to help us find our way through all of the desperation and dispear we feel.  As usually I am afraid to try again, yet I know I want out of my dismay over what I think is a job I will never be able to accomplish on my own!!   Her focus is to first start by working on having a clean heart.  Is there anyone who would like to join me in this challange? 


Here are some websites if you want to learn more. 




God Bless Our Homes!

Last Edited on: 2/24/08 2:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/24/2008 4:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
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Thanks for posting about this! It looks great!

I have a daughter getting married in about 7 weeks and we are expecting out of state guests that will want to see our house. Right now I have so much "stuff", mostly books, that we can't keep up with it. There are boxes of books in the living room, and both kids rooms (not to mention floor to ceiling bookcases in all those rooms!).

I'd love to join in this clutter cleanup challenge with other moms here!! How about it ladies??

 Book Talk border=

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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When do we start ?

thanks for posting the info


Date Posted: 2/24/2008 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2007
Posts: 191
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Thanks chanda,  We have a big orange tom cat at home he looks just like your picture. His name is Oliver.  Melita

Dawn H. (DABACF) - ,
Date Posted: 2/25/2008 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2005
Posts: 348
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"I also know that we have too much learning stuff. I am always thinking of the possibilites, not always the reality of the amount of time and energy that we have available."

Do you live at my house?! I have been sorting and have gotten rid of a few things, but I really do need to get so much more cleaned out! But, I always go back to "it was so much fun when I did this with the olders, I will want it for with the youngers" or "this looks so fun and I really want to try it" and on and on...yes, I think we could probably school year round for centuries to thoroughly learn what is in the house. Back to cleaning out some more. :(

Subject: I need HELP!
Date Posted: 2/25/2008 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2008
Posts: 4
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I love this thread, so this will be my first post!  I am overwhelmed and have a long-term goal to declutter.  My husband would be happy if we had a really motivated/inspired home burglary...  lol  ...To get the process jump started.  It's a shame that all our "valuables" are mostly valuable to the younger crowd, and not so attractive to the "life of crime" crowd.

I have trouble keeping the house clean like everyone else, but also have a two year-old that trashes the place in order to get attention.  My older son is SSSSOOOO easily distracted that I need to stick to him like glue to keep lessons flowing.  When he's in the zone it's a thing of beauty, but mostly we have a really difficult time.  Therefore, when we're trying to find the "sweet spot" where ds gets sucked into his subjects, younger brother is creating chaos.  If I tend to that, older ds completely derails.  It takes upwards of an hour to get back on track, and much less time to deal with the mess later.  I know I need to address the behavior, which I've been TRYING!!!, but nothing works. 

My version of clean-up:  Sometimes I throw everything in a bin and it becomes a sorting activity at a later date.  Instead of playing the puzzles and games, we sort everything back to their proper places...  Not as much fun as, say, playing Blokus, Sorry!, or Peruvian Liar's Dice...  But sorting things back to their boxes becomes our family game night.

Our table is a mess, kitchen is buried in piles of books, workbooks, library books, papers, unshredded junk mail, etc.  When someone comes to visit I hide clutter in kichen cabinets and the laundry room, which then I never take care of...  My mom came to help when my husband had to travel to Asia.  She loves to cook, but said she needed to re-organize everything.  She threw out food that expired in 1997!  Cleaned out the cabinets of "company's coming" clutter, and streamlined the set-up.  Turns out our pantry only had one shelf of food!  The others were toys to go to Goodwill, HS materials to sell online, old mail, papers, books, etc.  I still have a huge cabinet by the dishwasher FULL of magazines and catalogs.  I have no idea why!  To cut up?  Everytime I start the decluttering, I get distracted by the kids and don't finish.  In our last move I unpacked a box of RECYCLING! <sigh> 

How do I do the most important cleaning--the massive simplification effort--in order that I can even handle the day-to-day?  I'd love to set the timer and try to beat the clock--my boys would eat that up with a spoon!  But their poor heads would explode if I set the timer and then they had a tsunami of unfinished projects to tidy.




Date Posted: 2/25/2008 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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well if nothing else i feel like i'm in good company. We all seem to be going through the same problem how to get it all done and where to start. a friend of mine suggested that a plan a day for hubby and kids to be out and start on the declutter that way I have no distractions because in this house the kids are not the only ones getting off track. I really like the fly lady 15 min and 3 box method if i could just make it a habit. I also like her idea about the kitchen sink although for me if I have a clean bedroom to wake up in and a clean bathroom to start my day in i seem to have more hope for the rest of the house and today that is where i started. I hope this will put me in a better mood to work on the rest of the house. All projects have been suspended till further notice and the kids are working on the computers it has been working today.

Melita is there a date you were thinking of getting started on the clean heart project? and which program were you thinking of doing first? she has the declutter  or the clean heart clean home challange.


Date Posted: 2/25/2008 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 6,974
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I just found this thread...for some reason I missed it on Friday!  I have to constantly remind myself about something my sister told me:  This house is constantly being LIVED IN and so it will not always be clean!  It's one thing for people who work with the kids in school all day.  They get to clean up in the evenings and do a couple things in the mornings...and then there isn't anyone there during the day to mess it all up again.  They don't have someone coming behind their every move un-cleaning what you just cleaned.  And if you have a home business (like my sister's hubby) then it's twice as bad!  :)

My DH kept apologizing to our company when they would come over and sometimes it was after I had cleaned ALL day (and did NO school)...and I got so mad at him!  I finally told him to quit apologizing to people for the fact that we actually LIVE and LEARN in our house!

Now that all being said, there is no reason for it to be a complete mess all the time either and I recognize that fact.  We have started doing clean-up time in the late afternoons.  It is really important to DH to have a clean living room/kitchen/hallway when he comes home, so we will mad-dash through the house about 4 PM.  (Now, we get lucky if he actually gets to come home at 5..the house is still clean at that point.  But if he doesnt come home till 7 or later, well, all bets are off at that point! LOL)

I'm not the worlds best housecleaner.  I'm getting the hang of it.  I think part of my problem is that my mom made us clean so much as kids that when I got married, I sort of rebelled and didn't want to do it anymore.  I only did it as a kid cuz I had to.  And I don't wany my kids to be that way.  I want them to clean cuz it needs to be done and they WANT to havea clean house. 

We also look at keeping things clean as part of their home-education.  It's all great and fine to teach book-smarts. But if we fail them at teaching them life-smarts, we're really failing our children.  (And since I have boys, I think I would be failing their future wives too.)   But it's so hard at this age to get them to understand the why's of picking up and decluttering.  They are getting better, but there is still work to be done.

Okay, so now that I've just rambled and not made much sense, I'll be quiet!  LOL

Date Posted: 3/3/2008 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2007
Posts: 191
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Just to let you all know, I'm trying this new devotional "A Clean Heart" this week.  If anyone would like to join me please do.  Melita

Here is the link:  www.homeschoolblogger.com/acleanheart

Last Edited on: 3/3/08 3:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/3/2008 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 6,974
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Has anyone ever heard of SHE?  (Sidetracked Home Executives)  I used it a couple of summers ago and still have the stuff I created for it.  I really liked it and am thinking about doing it again....anyone else done it before?

Date Posted: 3/3/2008 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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A friend of mine used the sidetracked home executives she recomended it to me after she heard about my clutter and cleaning troubles she said it really worked for her. I did manage to declutter my house last week. I have a very important birthday project going on for my daughter this week so I will spot clean when i get time and maybe next week I will be able to work on a real cleaning routine. Really the declutter has helped me feel better about my house.  we moved some things around so they could be used more like my kids board game collection and they have actually been using the games again now that they are not hidden away on a shelf in the back corner of the house. I took all the collections of things that always need dusting and put them away I took down a few shelves so we wouldn't be tempted to fill them up with clutter. I got out my family pictures I have ment to display for a long time and bought the frames to put them up now I feel good about the shelves they aren't cluttered they look nice and neat.

I really would like to start on a program like the Clean heart to develope good house cleaning habits. I really believe it needs to be a program my family can be involved in since we all need to change our habits to keep the house looking its best.