Oct 23, 2010

the mess

On Thursday night, some friends stopped by "unexpectedly" (my hubby knew they were coming, but I didn't). Not only was I in my pajamas, but the house smelled like curry, (which is not exactly a bad smell if you know what it is. If you don't know that the smell is curry, perhaps it smells a little like garbage...) and Cara's toys, a few weeks worth of mail, and all manner of crap were strewn around the living room.

I freely admit that I am not a meticulous housekeeper. In fact, I outsource/delegate/hire someone else to do the down-and-dirty stuff. A little background on this: PJ was laid off a few months before Cara was born. It actually worked out okay for us because he stayed home with Cara for four months and then returned to the workforce. For about a month, I was the working parent, and I was very stressed. The condition of the house only added to my stress, so I begged for housecleaners when PJ got a job,(if everything was this messy with only one working parent, how much worse would it be with two??) and he agreed. I guess he realized that I really was about to lose my mind. We love the housecleaners. They are wonderful.

But, when the friends left, I decided that the mess had reached a dangerous level and something had to be done. Fortunately, I was furloughed on Friday, so I devoted a few hours to picking up the crap. When I do this, I am always amazed at just HOW MUCH CRAP we have, and it's not all Cara's. We are terrible about recycling the junk mail, putting away laundry and clean dishes, keeping shoes in closets, picking up toddler toys, etc. Somehow, I managed to get every room in the house picked up. I know that doesn't sound very impressive, but it gave me such a feeling of calm that I asked PJ to take pictures each room to document the occaision.

He didn't, but I really wish he had because now the house is wrecked again, and it's only SATURDAY! So, here's my problem: I need some kind of system for keeping the house picked up (notice I didn't say "clean;" I'm really talking about the accumulation of junk that builds up on EVERY SURFACE IN EVERY ROOM!). Suggestions? How do other parents manage to have a house that looks acceptable? What class did I miss in mommy school?


  1. We don't have toddler toys, but we do have shoes, dog toys, and entirely too much mail. Two things that have saved my sanity are two delightful baskets- one outside the living room for ALL the shoes that we wear at least once per week- tennis shoes for working out, michael's work shoes, flip-flops, my "yard" shoes, etc; and another basket in the living room for dog toys. The shoe basket keeps them reasonably tidy, in one place so we don't have to hunt them down, and also keeps them out of the pups mouths, which is occasionally an issue. The dog toy basket is a godsend- they all know where the toys are, so they go pull out the one they want, and when the basket is empty I just walk around the house with it and toss everything back in. I just wish I could teach them to put their toys away themselves. One other thing we have done is switch to two large trashcans for our recycling. We have enough room in our laundry room for these (which is just off the kitchen), and it makes it easier to get everything into the recycling bins than having that awful blue thing inside the house. I don't know about you, but ours was getting kinda dirty and gross and I wanted it outside, but once it was outside we hated putting things in it. Best thing, these solutions are super cheap- the baskets were 1/2 off at michael's during one of their sales (which happen every couple of weeks or so) and the trashcans were around $8 each at lowes, just plain plastic trash bins- ours are black and don't even have lids.

    Good luck!

  2. I love that you offered some actual solutions! THANK YOU! :-) Your shoe basket sounds like a great idea. I have had terrible allergies this year, and I just read something about how tracking in mold spores on your shoes can trigger allergic reactions, so a shoe basket might help me out in more ways than one.

  3. Here are som of my helpful hints ... except they are only helpful when i use them. When making dinner, have the dishwasher empty, so you can just send the dirty dishes straight in. And a trash can beside you to keep you from having to walk back and forth numerous times or a pile a mess on the counter.
    At night, after the little one goes to bed, take 15 minutes (just 15) and pick up toys, clothes, or in my case, wash bottles. It's amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes. This is usually when my husband is taking a shower and then we both sit down to watch a show or chat about the day, kid-free.
    Hope those help!


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