After my ‘animal house‘ defining moment, I knew I had to make a few changes.
For 15 years, I always began these house-do-overs by organizing the living room followed by the kitchen. This time, I took a backwards approach. You see, cleaning the living room before cleaning the rest of the house only served to give the children a clean place to
trash play. What we really needed, was a place for the kids to play so I could move on to cleaning more public places. This time, I decided to start my home-takeover in the babies’ room. I know they aren’t really babies anymore, but they are the younger ones and less able to get it clean on their own.
It took me all day to get Bubbagirl and Lil Man’s room picked up. We purged three boxes of toys, and two bags of trash. I could still purge more, especially since they’ve both recently celebrated birthdays, but taking out too much in one swoop draws attention.
For one week, I focused on keeping that room tidy. We picked up toys before Daddy came home from work, and we tidied it again before bedtime.
A Few Unexpected Side Effects
- Bubbagirl and Lil Man started asking to sleep in their own bed instead of asking to sleep in ours.
- Toys they hadn’t played with in for.ev.er. were played with and enjoyed.
- Less toys were brought into the living room, and other rooms, making it easier to keep those rooms picked up.
- The bigger girls started wanting their rooms tidy.
- The “buzz” from having one room tidy felt good, and I was compelled to work on other spaces.
I wanted the changes to be more permanent, so I refrained from moving forward. I wanted to focus on that one space until it felt like a routine.
One room wasn’t overwhelming. One room wasn’t a set up for failure. The entire house would have been both.
I wish I could say that at this very moment that room is still tidy. It isn’t. There was tent building and castle storming and “war” hasn’t ended yet.
The clean up takes 1/10th the time it used to take, so I don’t feel anxious over the mess anymore.
My next baby steps was the big girls’ rooms. That was more of a challenge. I’ll tell you about them soon.
If you were to start baby stepping to a tidier home what room would YOU start with?