Thursday, June 12, 2014

Baby Quint is Here!!

If you did not see it on our Facebook page, Miss Quint has arrived!!  She weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 21 inches long.  She also waited to arrive until I was 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, making her only the second of my babies to be full term.  

She had some meconium in her waters and developed pneumonia, but after an extra week stay in the hospital, we FINALLY made it home.  I will be getting the full birth story up in the next couple days.  

We have been so blessed by our fifth and final addition to our family!!  I am so thankful to finally have completed our crew and look forward to what life holds in this next phase of raising our (not so) little family.  

I hope you all have been having an enjoyable spring!!

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Dreaded Kitchen

Yep it's dreaded.  Sorry that I'm not very encouraging on that one ;).  I also realize, that, compared to other 'cleaning ideas' I was doing everything backwards.  But, if you were following the other posts, you know that my DH was helping on this room so I was taking advantage of that help to work on the other rooms :).

I was also having aversions to dish soap.  How convenient, eh? yeah I thought so, too.  Thankfully, with the help of a friend, I found out about a scent free dish soap that was sold at our local grocery store.  

But, I didn't buy it until I was really ready to start the kitchen.  I knew that as soon as I took the job back over that DH would declare me officially healed and no longer do the job.  I didn't blame him, I just wanted to be sure I was ready to take on the hardest room in the house.

Yes, once again sorry to unmotivate (apparently not a real word) in a motivational post, but the kitchen is (for me) THE hardest room in the house.  Mostly, because it is in CONSTANT use, and no sooner are you finished cleaning it that it becomes dirty again.  Plus, there's the gross bonus that if you DON'T clean it up, it will attract bugs and other annoyingly gross stuff (mold, etc).

I did FINALLY jump in and tackle it, though.

Oh! I should clarify that the VERY LAST THING I turned over was the dishes. 

Day one: I started at one side of the kitchen and cleaned off about 3 feet of counter space.  I cleared it off all the way down to the counter top and then scrubbed it really well.  Any dishes that I found were just shoved to the sink.

Day two:  I checked the area I cleaned on day one and cleared it off (takes just a few moments after the initial clean) and wiped it off with a regular wash cloth.  Then,  I went to the OTHER side of the kitchen and cleared off about 3 feet of counter space.  After it was cleared off, I scrubbed it down.  

Day three:   I revisited the first two spaces and then tackled the top of our dishwasher (it's portable so kind of an island).  It took more time then it should because it is a total clutter magnet.

Day four:  I washed off the top of the stove, burners and all *yucko*.

Day five:  (after revisiting all the previous day's places) I swept up the floor.

And Day SIX??? I-at last-took over the dishes.  

After I had finally recovered the kitchen, my daily routine (as long as I follow it) looks something like this:

Clear off counters on one side of room
Clear off counters on other side of room
Clear off dishwasher
Empty trash if needed
Get out a clean wash cloth (place dirty one in laundry)
Wipe off all surfaces 
I also take a swipe at the microwave each day-at first I did just the outside, then added one side of the inside, and added daily till it was cleaned out.
Sweep floor
Mop if needed
Have kids unload dishwasher (I don't let them unload it until the counters and floor are all cleaned up, because they have the tendency to drop things or set them on the counters-which is gross if they aren't cleaned first).
Load dishwasher 
Wash any large pots
Run dishwasher

Um, yeah, the fridge hasn't really made it into routine yet.  I tried to start one last week and only got a day's work done.  So, I'll be adding that in once I get it tackled ;).

And that was one complete pass through the house.  I will give more details on how it's going now in my next post :).

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Digging Out...The Kid's Rooms

Notice how I changed from cleaning, to recovering, to digging out?  Yeah, well, when it came to the kids' rooms that's exactly what it was-digging.

My kids' rooms are upstairs.  I actually don't go up there very often.  DH tucks them in at night and they all know how to put their clothes away (except for Explorer, but her room isn't up there).  Well, okay, sometimes 'putting away' is equated with 'shoved in general direction,' but they kinda get it.  But, the fact is that I don't have a need to go up there much.  The storeroom/school supply room is up there and that's pretty much the only reason I go up there.

As you can imagine, kids rooms left unchecked=mass chaos!

I started with Charger's room.  His room is the first room at the top of the stairs, it is the smallest, and he is MUCH better and getting rid of things then Mustang.  

I wanted to try and HELP the kids pick up.  And, by helping I meant that THEY would do it.  This is the true definition of helping when it comes to kids.  Why?  Well, because if I do it for them, they won't be able to do it on their own next time, and so I was no help at all.

We started at the door of the room.  The fact is, we couldn't easily get into the room.  So, clearing the area from the door to the bed was the first goal.  Because his room is very small, we were able to clear the entire center of the room.

On the following days, we started at the door and worked our way around the room.  We made sure that the area cleared on the previous days was still picked up before starting the next area.  

The ways that I helped him were to:

1.  Tell him where things went (sometimes he didn't know at all and sometimes he had the wrong place in mind).  
2.  Help him to create a place to put something if there really wasn't a place to put it.  
3.  Help keep him focused...he would have loved to play with every.single.toy. he found instead of putting it up.  
4.  I did the true cleaning when we were done-sweeping, vacuuming, etc.

We worked for 15 minutes.  I wanted to help him develop a habit of cleaning rather then just me cleaning it up in one big project and then letting it go back downhill for....well, a LONG time.  It took an entire week of doing a little each day before it was finally 'done.'

It has been 2 months since this happened.  I can honestly tell you that the corners of his room could use a repeat of the cleanup, but the main area of his room has stayed clean for all 2 months, and his bed has been made. I have been very pleased with him as he is just 6 years old.  

I did the same progression with Mustang and Mini Cooper.  Their room took about 2 weeks.  And, overall, it has stayed okay since then.  Some days are better then others ;).

The toy room was the hardest and easiest all at the same time.  The goal was to simply clear a play area in the center.  Each day, we worked for about 15 minutes as a group.  We started working on it the first day that we started working on Charger's room.  I have to say that it was BY FAR the worst room in the house.  So, we worked on it for about 2 solid weeks at 15 minutes a day-all of us (except DH).  By the end of the 2 weeks, it was light years better!!

The really great part about picking it up as a group was that we made bins for each toy.  I did that myself EVERY time I cleaned up the toy room (alone).  The problem?  No one else paid attention to which bin was which.  So, when I told them to pick up the toy one knew where anything went!

But, after we picked up everyday for 2 weeks, all of a sudden they KNEW where things went!!  He he!!!

So, while I won't say that the toy room has been stellar for all this time, I can tell you that when I told the kids to pick it up....low and behold they COULD!!!  It was really quite awesome I tell you!!

Now, I won't say that the kid spaces have remained perfect (or even close), BUT you can
walk through them without tripping, you can find most of the things you need to, and the kids can maintain this level on a regular basis. And while I wouldn't say they are company ready, I do think they are 'we live here' clean.  That was the goal.

Thanks for stopping by!!

God Bless,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Moving Upstairs...Recovering the Stairs and Hall

If you've been reading all the way through, you will notice that I went through the entire main floor and didn't talk about the kitchen.  I will get there at the end of my house recovery.  You see, my DH was awesome enough to take on dishes when I got sick.  He was still doing them as I was working on the rest of the house.  

I knew if I had taken over the kitchen, he would not have continued doing it, so I wanted to work on the rest of the house before I took that job back over.  IF you are doing this with me and do not have a DH doing the dishes, I would recommend using paper products and doing minimal kitchen work until you have recovered the rest of the house-but that's just me!

So, instead of tackling the scary kitchen, I set off for the scary kid places.  Not that one is easier then the other, and not that one is going to stay cleaner's just there's no way on earth that DH was going to help me with the kids' rooms (proof that I was actually choosing the harder of the two jobs!).

This area was broken into MANY pieces, and took about 2 weeks total to get to acceptable status.  

The first tackle were the stairs.  

I've never lived in a 2 story house before this one, so I have no idea if this is normal behavior, but my children put everything they want to take to their rooms and put them on the stairs.  Of course when they go to their rooms, they DO NOT take the item to their rooms.  Instead they trip over the stuff.  

Thankfully, we have since put a stop to this behavior (seeing as it's kinda dangerous), but when I first started my clean, there was just a TON of stuff there.  At least, I got a little help.  I made all the kids come and help me.  When I unearthed something that belonged to them, they took the item to their room and came back for more.  

I was in charge of trash-and filled a bag pretty full.  I also found a few things that I have no idea how they got there.  Oh, and LOTS of socks and a few random shoes.  It was kinda rewarding, actually, because as I *found* some long lost toy (that my children put there) I was deemed the best mom ever for finding said treasure.  

15 minutes later my fame ended-since the treasures were all found.  I finished up by sweeping the steps and calling it a day.

The next area was the hallway.  It was tackled exactly the same way as the stairs, so I won't bore you with the repeats.  But, since it is a long hallway, it actually took two days.  I am quite embarrassed to say it took that long.  I couldn't believe how much was there!  

3 days later, you could walk all the way UP the stairs, all the way DOWN the hall....but entering the children's rooms was, ehem, at your own risk.  

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Recovering the Office Catch-all Room

I have a love hate relationship with my office catch-all room. 

I love it, because I spend a LOT of the day there, and I'm glad to have an area to put my desk, school shelves, etc.

I hate the room because it is out in the open and seems to be the room where things go that no one knows where else to put it!  It's *almost* worse then my store room since at least the stuff in the store room was taken there because I at least *thought* I wanted to keep it.

My desk is the proverbial dumping ground for all the stuff that the kids don't know where it goes, and I often find myself doing the same.  There's also just a TON of surfaces for things to get put on and then attract more clutter.  It is certainly our most cluttered room.

I have to be honest, that I'm going to explain what I did the first time around. I'm also going to be 100% honest and tell you that it doesn't look much better then it did after the first week.  Unlike some of the other rooms, I have not been diligent to maintain it and it has continued to re-collect clutter.

The biggest thing that I did was to start with our bookshelves.  I cleared off one shelf a day-completely.  I did go ahead and dust it, and then only replace it with the things that would go there.  If the bookshelf held books, I made sure there were only the correct amount of books on the shelf and not piled on top of the pile or sitting in front of the books (which was what was is still happening).  

I tried to remove everything that didn't belong on the shelves.  Some of it had another home.  Things that didn't have another home got put in a box in the store room.  I was not decluttering, so I didn't sort it, but the fact of the matter was that I simply COULD NOT just leave all the stuff that didn't fit on the shelves.  

My desk was the other goal.  I cleared off the entire desk.  I threw away a ton of stuff (where does it all come from?).  I then got a basket and put it on the side of my desk to hold the items I wanted to work on.  

I didn't go through the drawers.  I didn't pull out any furniture.  I didn't pull out the couch (mostly because it has a broken leg and I couldn't).  

Unlike the other rooms, I really didn't come up with a good daily plan.  I try to pick up the dishes (cups) off my desk daily, and I have been trying to keep things from pooling on the floor in front of my desk.  I also try to keep the floor picked up and the coffee table cleared off.  

As I look around the room, it is REALLY hard to type this.  I simply don't feel like I've conquered this room much at all.  So, I guess I am going to have to make a point to start over on this room.  Really, I have to.

I'm glad I am blogging about this.  My goals have been 1.  Clean up the room and 2.  Maintain a reasonably picked up status.  I DID complete number 1.  But, I've done such a bad job at 2, that I would not say I did 1.

Going forward, I will be adding a shelf a day to my to do list.  It may take awhile, but at least I will be able to see progress being made.  I hope!  And, YES, it needs to be decluttered, but that's the second level of cleaning for me.  I'm not there yet in this room.

I'll keep you updated!

God Bless,


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recovering the Mud Room

This was, by far, one of my most dreaded rooms.  Probably because it frustrates me and confuses me all in one.  It serves about 17 purposes and is quite small.  It is the laundry room, the place where we place trash that needs to be burned, and it is also both the back door AND the front door.  It needs a very MAJOR organization, and the thought of doing anything in there was stressing me out.

Thankfully, having tackled most of the rest of the ground floor, I had built up some confidence, motivation and momentum.  Otherwise, I don't know how I would have started.  

My cleaning process for the mud room was a bit different then how I tackled the rest of the house.  There were dirty clothes that needed to be sorted, clean clothes that needed to be folded, and a ton of stuff on the drier that didn't need to be there.

I decided to start with the clothes that needed to be folded.  Because, once they were folded, they could leave the room.  

I had made myself fold a load or so per day, but there had been clothes in there to fold before I had even started, and a few days they didn't get folded.  So, there was quite a bit of clothing to fold.  

I drug it all in to the living room and started folding.  I usually won't fold clothes in the living room for fear that it will never leave and it will just look terrible forever.  But, I was determined to make today different.  

After it was all folded, I had the kids take their clothes to their room and put the rest away myself.  It took about 30 minutes to get it all done.

On the second day, I FINALLY sorted all the clothes again.  I set out the baskets and put them on the shelves where they went.  It took about 10 minutes, and I could see the floor of the laundry area.  *Happy Dance*

On the third day I just straightened the boots and shoes and swept the floor.  Oh, and I took ALL the random stuff that had been hanging on the clothes rack and put them away.  It is so useful, but SUCH a clutter collector!!

You may notice that I didn't clear off the drier.  There was quite a bit of stuff there, and some of it really didn't have a home.  Prior to the laundry room, I hadn't been clearing off things that didn't have another home, but I decided to start in the laundry room.  

Each day, I would take a handful of things off the drier and either put them away or MAKE them a home.  It took me about 2 weeks to fully clear it off, and am happy to say that it has created a new habit and it has STAYED that way!

The daily checklist items I added once the laundry room was done were:

1.  Fold clothes (this was already on the list)
2.  Sort all clothes to be washed
3.  Straighten boots and sweep floor
4.  Take anything off the drier
5.  Wipe off washer and drier
6.  Put away any hanging clothes
7.  Have kids put away any shoes that don't belong on the back porch

As with the other rooms, it still had a long way to go, but if someone came by unexpectedly I wouldn't pass out cold.

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The *Other* Bathroom

We have two bathrooms.  It is a huge blessing because one of them is my bathroom (and the husband's) and the other is the KIDs' bathroom.  He he.  This means I don't have to deal with little kid pee smell every time I use it.  I also don't have to look at globs of toothpaste in the sink when I brush my teeth.  I can, pretty much, completely avoid it unless I have to deal with it.

Before you get too worried, I do go in there from time to time to keep it from getting disgusting, but daily?  No way.  No how.  Until now.

You see, company uses that bathroom.  Which means that when it's time to have someone over I have to do a major overhaul.  I am trying to get to the point where my entire house is in acceptable condition at most times of the day (or at least once a day).  Or at least the public areas (yes, I just continuously scaled back until I hit the realistic limit).  That would include the other bathroom!

And, while I would have loved to push it to the back of the list of rooms to tackle, my choices now included the bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry room, or the office/school/catch all area.  The bathroom was the smallest.  It was also the easiest!

Before I started in the bathroom each day, I made sure to do my previous day's work first.  

1.  Start first load of laundry
2.  Make bed.
3.  Get dressed (shoes)
4.  Starting at bedside table and going around the room I picked up clothes, clutter, trash, and things that didn't belong in the room (taken to the rooms where they did).
5.  I picked up the master bathroom floor and counters.
6.  Changed the roll of toilet paper.
7.  Did one weekly task in the bathroom.
8.  Started a load of laundry (came back to put in drier/hang to dry and to fold one load).
9.  Wiped down table and benches.
10.  Swept the dining area floor.
11.  Emptied the trash.
12.  Switched over laundry, hung up wet clothes, folded prior day's load.  Put load away.
Next on the list would have been to pick up the living room, but I delegated ;).  That became one of the jobs for the kids.

The first day of the bathroom, I just picked it up.  Mostly it was just dirty clothes that my children had left behind, and trash that was in the random direction of the trash can.  My kids think that is good enough.  Sigh.  Oh, and I put the toilet paper on the roll  and threw away the 4 or 5 empty rolls that were next to it.  I think it was the first time the roll had been on the dispenser in quite awhile.

The rest of the recovery went WAAAAYYY better then I could of thought.  You see, I was already cleaning up one bathroom and doing one weekly chore per day.  So, as soon as I finished one sink, I just walked over to the other bathroom.  When I cleaned one toilet I just went and cleaned the other toilet.  

No need to get out extra cleaning supplies, they were already out.  No need to think about what I should be doing, I was already doing it.  Man that was easy.  Why didn't I think of that before?  Duh moment.

I realize that if the bathroom was on another floor of the house it would have been a little harder, but not much.  And, it was a mute point because they are RIGHT next to each other.  One is just IN my bedroom and the other right OUTSIDE my bedroom (old house, all water must run to the same place).

Of course, this being the first time I had worked on cleaning the 2nd bath in awhile, it took a little longer then the master, but not long.  10 minutes tops on any given task and I was done with both bathrooms.  

It's THIS kind of thinking that has derailed my cleaning in the past.  Somehow, I think things will take FOREVER, when they will only take a few minutes.  The best part, is that now my children are seeing what a maintained bathroom should look like, so sooner then later I can pass the job off to them ;).

5 weeks, 5 rooms and I can certainly tell you that the house was looking up!!

Thanks for stopping by!

God Bless,