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Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Clean House- me?

Elizabeth asked me to explain how I got my house looking so clean with 3 children. She is also trying to move to a 4 bedroom house because she too had her 3rd baby last year. Oh Elizabeth, did you hear me laughing all the way at your house? Thank you so much, no one has ever told me I had a clean house- well, Julia asked how I kept my kitchen so clean once and she didn't believe me when I told her we had crammed all the clutter in closets because we knew she was coming. Whenever I go visit friends' with houses where everything is in it's place, I start thinking about how I need to rush home and clean, clean, clean. My friend Mandy has helped me...whenever we get the rare opportunity to go to each other's house, we do NOT clean up for each other. We don't want to get that overwhelmed feeling of making the house look perfect before a guest arrives. We are close enough to know we do not judge each other's home, we are just happy to have the time to see each other, which requires travelling 3 hours. Also Elizabeth once said that she tells her guests something like, 'This is our house, excuse the mess but we LIVE here.' Hope I got that right. It's true though.

I would love to tell you that my house always looks the way it does in the post below but I would be striken down with lightning. Elizabeth, you saw my house when you dropped off the meal, right? Well, that's the way it normally looks. I long for the secret to a clean house. I have tried to take hints from my friend Mrs. Clean but up until last week, it was impossible. It seemed like I'd put one thing away only to turn around and find 3 more things had been left out of place- not just by my children, but also by my husband. For my new readers, I am a working mom. My husband stays home with the kids which is a total blessing but on top of the normal responsibilities of parenting, he has his own business so housework is not a priority to him. As a matter of fact, the only thing Stephen and I ever argue about is cleaning up the house, really!

So I have to give him the credit because he has worked so hard getting the house ready to put on the market. Here's how we did it:
We had a realtor come out in October to tell us how to "stage" the house. We had our own list of things to do but she added to the list. Boy did she add to the list. At the time, we wanted to list on November 1. What were we thinking? We knew the holidays were coming. So we did a few things in December. That was hard, Stephen had 8 or 9 shows in December, we had holiday chores to get done, and Abby was born. In January he started painting. He painted when the kids were asleep, often staying up until 3 on weekends. It seems like we didn't get much done until 2 weeks ago when it was crunch time. One thing that really helps is packing up almost all the kids' books and toys. You can keep the boxes of toys in the garage and rotate them out if you want to. We also packed all our pictures and most of our knick-knacks. We sold our outdated, over-sized entertainment center and spent $40 on a temporary one. That made the living room look huge! I try to pick things up when I go home for lunch. I made a plan for what has to be done if someone wants to come look at the house and we try to do that list every night at 8:00. The whole family stops what we are doing and 1) take all toys out of the living room and into the proper rooms; 2) get the toys out of our room and into the proper rooms; 3) check the bathrooms for things that were out of place; 4) each parent takes one child's room and picks up all the toys/books/clothes; 5) pick up things in our room and bathroom. I can send you the list if you'd like.

After a few nights, it got easier and less and less made it out to the living room. The kids know that shoes go in their closets and are pretty good about that. We have told Lauren the house has to look pretty so people will want to buy it. Sometimes I go in her room when it's messy and tell her that if people come they will ask why it is so messy. Once the kitchen was decluttered (and some things packed), it seems it is easier for Stephen to maintain. He comes in from work at 7 am and does what little dishes may be in the sink. I am just amazed at how it has stayed clean every night and I hope we can keep this routine up in the new house. I hope that helps!

3 comments:

Hyla said...

I have always said, "If you are coming to see MY HOUSE I will clean it. If you are coming to see ME, then what you see is what you get".

Stephanie said...

Amen to that!

SimmonsFamily said...

Stephanie,

Thanks for the run-down!! And yes, your quotes are very accurate. I have NEVER felt bad about my house not being clean. I make sure the toilets are clean, but that is all you get.

Josh and I had also discussed having a go-to list in case someone calls and says can I see the house in 30 minutes?

And the rotating toys idea is a great idea.

Hope you guys have good luck. We should be putting ours on the market in the next 2-4 weeks. Yikes.