The mess has to go... but where?

You're trying to get the house in the Valentine's Mood for your hubby... It's 8:30, kids are in bed and you take a look around and see this... common, we've all been there.
Truthfully, this is my reality (6 kids remember? No, this isn't my house.. poor soul on google image search just got popular)  As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not come a natural homemaker.  Growing up, when my room looked like this and my mom made me clean it, I TOOK HOURS to get it done... because I didn't even know where to begin.

Then I discovered chocolate!!!- the great motivator (oh, and MarieBelle's is THE BEST- if you have $2.50 per tiny tiny piece.-- Tell your hubby this would be great for V-Day! I recommend the chocolate with Chipotle chilies!) ooh... look I'm getting off topic again!
Well, the point is every mom gets overwhelmed with messes.  For those ladies like me who were born without the neat freak gene, rehabilitation for the disorderly is possible.  Here are my tricks... oh and if you're one of those ladies who looks at a room and immediately knows what to do... just keep reading and have sympathy for this homemaker who had to "find herself."

First, strap on anything with pockets.  Aprons are great but if you have cargo capri's hey, that'll work.  You just need a place to put the hair clips, rogue lego pieces, lid to the milk jug... etc.
The best investment I ever made in homemaking were strong (unnaturally strong) sturdy laundry baskets.  I love the square ones and I have oh... at least 6 or 7 of them BESIDES my regular hampers.  They save my day.  

To attack a room like above: Line up several laundry baskets and sort... boys room, girls room, laundry room, master bedroom... etc.  Just start at one side of the room and toss the mess into the appropriate basket.  The room is picked up in no time!

I deliver the basket to the room where it belongs and the KIDS put their items away.  If the kids are too young, you have a head start and at least have like things grouped together and in the right room!
This game of course is no fun unless you race yourself against the clock... and oh, a little reward of chocolate... or for you TV fanatics 24 (still haven't seen it).... see how long it takes you.  Really, you'd be surprised how much you can get done in 5 minutes when you're dedicated and working to beat a clock!
The laundry basket idea works in many situations:  Messy living rooms, Kids rooms- (have kids sort books, toys, dirty laundry and then have them work on putting away 1 basket at a time), Messy cars or the big clean up after a car trip, and even the laundry room itself!
When I take time to race the clock and divide the job into tasks I can tackle, I am surprised at how quickly and efficiently the job is completed.  Now, of course there are ladies (like my mother, the homemaking Duchess) who don't need this course... their brains are wired to work.  They thrive on sorting and really, their rooms never look messy because they can't pass something out of place without picking it up... what a gift... but alas, that gene was not for me.  For the rest of us people who are keeping it real and trying to keep our sanity, laundry baskets work fine!  If you want more ideas on being blissfully domestic check out this site.

With a little inspiration for zapping clutter, you're sure to have the house picked up in no time, just in time for Valentines!  Now light the candles, start the music and enjoy your evening!
What are your strategies for attacking the nuclear messes in your house?


happylittlehouse said...

I'm like you, not a born home maker, but I'm trying to acquire the skills now! That's got to count for something!

I like your laundry basket idea. I've been deep-down decluttering and using the 4 box method with a lot of success - keep, give away, sell, trash/recycle. Adding laundry baskets would help get the keep to the right place without touching it twice in the same room, so I'll have to keep that in mind.

Bona Fide Mama said...

While I don't struggle with organization and clutter YET, I'm about to have a third child and things will undoubtedly change. I need to do a better job of putting things in a basket and then delivering them all at once. I'm terrible about putting things away one at a time... it's great exercise though!

Ramona said...

Great ideas!! I too was born without that gene, I would love to have it. I can walk by something for a week and not bother to retrieve it but the instant someone comes I am **painfully** aware that it is sitting there.

Thanks for your ideas- I will be looking forward to reading this blog.

Astrid said...

I like the laundry basket clean up method...that's a great idea. I know a friend does something similar. She gives out points to her kids once they've put away the stuff in their basket. Those points can then be redeemed for things (like time with Mom or small gift...etc...she's got 5 kids). I still haven't come up with a great method for cleaning up so I'm on the look out for great ideas!

Jennifer said...

I'm like you-don't have an organizing or the natural homemaking gene. I don't have that many kids to keep up with. I guess the Lord knew I'd go crazy w/that many to run after! lol

I need to get more laundry baskets! Thanks for the tips!

The Mother said...

You mean you can find your laundry baskets?

Untypically Jia said...

I agree about the baskets. I have tons of them just because they are needed. And not just for laundry. Anytime I need to carry anything that my hands would need two trips to carry, I bring in the laundry basket!

Carla said...

I do it either of 2 ways depending on the amount of mess.
I set the times for 15 minutes. I work on one room for that 15 minutes I do not leave that room for that time. I have a big trash bag, a laundry basket to throw everything that does not belong in that room into, my cleaning supplies and vacuum or broom. When the timer goes off I empty basket takes about 5 minutes and I go to next room.
If I don't have a big overhaul mess I spend about 5 minutes in each room and throw what doesn't belong in the room into the basket, and when I go to the next room anything in the basket that goes in that room I am now in gets put away. It works out real well for evening pick up.
But some days each room fills up the basket of stuff that doesn't go in there, so I have to empty between rooms. ( I also have 6 kids)
the Timer is a big help and not allowing my self to leave the room is great so I don't get side tracked ( which I do allot around here)

Lorrie said...

I was NOT a born organizer. Because I have kids with special needs and we had a life coach come in for my (then 4 year old)...I took notes about things having a place and making list. I use the system they gave my 4 year old and it works on big kids as well. Also I try to think like my OCD child and finish a project once it's started.

Lorrie said...

Also...it helps when your sick to have things in place. I've been very sick and my sister has come to help out. She says I get more organized with the more kids I have...I think this is true as well.

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

I love your images! And I love the laundry basket idea...Thanks for sharing it!

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

We use the basket idea and call them "stash baskets." It also helps when someone cleans the room and they say "it's not my stuff." We love them

Nicol said...

Good tips! For me, I have to stay on top of it to begin with and second make sure things are picked up before going to bed. That way, there are no messes at breakfast.

SoBella Creations said...

I use a basket also. I bring the basket to my room collect all the items that don't belong in that room. Then distribute the items to where they belong. Then move on to another room.

Debbie @ Cheaper by the Bakers Dozen said...

Your pictures make me drool! (not a pretty sight...) I want that apron....Oh, and the white couch with those amazing pillows! (but with 7 boys, I don't think it'd work.)

I agree with your commenter that said the more kids you have the more organized you get. It's pure survival. I'm just a more joyful mother when things don't get too far out of hand. So, I clean as I go.

With my boys (and the girls), I have found that Less is More. Half full drawers, closets, baskets, etc are much easier to keep organized.

tomorrow on my blog I'm posting my laundry strategy...That was the hardest thing for me to stay on track of. But no more!

thanks for your practical posts. I love coming here :)

Lauren said...

I need to get more baskets!
But I try to focus on tackling one room at a time and to stay on task and prioritize them. So I get the bedrooms done first then to livingroom, bathroom then kitchen. Its working well so far (about 2 months).

Karen said...

I use the basket method, and I also have one for the car. Library books, store returns (I put the receipt in the bag with the item, so I don't have to dig for it), stuff to take to the church, Good Will items -- all this stuff goes in a basket that's kept in the back of my car. It keeps it out of the house and once it's in the car, I'm half way there to getting it taken care of.

Meredith said...

I acutally keep 1 basket for my two big girls - then I deliver it to their room. At least, it is a new system we are trying out. it is hard to tell if a barbie our fit is #1's or #2's so it goes in one basket.

Darla~SassyHomemaker said...

I love my apron with pockets. :)

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