After spending over an hour putting my house back in to order one night, I collapsed into bed exhausted. There has to be a better way.
This is how I stumbled on my best homemaking tip with kids.
I had tried going behind my kids and picking up as the day went on.
This made me exhausted, cranky, and not the mommy I want my children to remember.
So then I tried picking up once the kids were in bed. But this just angered me. I mean seriously. Trash, toys, food. You get the picture.
There had to be a better way.
I decided to put my kids to work. Because I need help. Before I explain this, I still have my children clean up their toys after they play with them. However, with 7 people and two crazy cats, there are messes EVERYWHERE. No matter how much I remind my children to pick up this or that. There are still messes.
And I do not want to be a nagging mommy so these zones truly help.
Enter the “zones.” The concept of the “zones” is my best homemaking tip with kids.
I divided our home into 3 zones because right now only three of my children are really capable of doing this efficiently. The two little ones follow us around and help as they can. So our three zones are basement, main living space, and playroom.
Each child has a zone each night.
After we have done our family activity and it is time for the 5 and 3 year old to go to bed, we first straighten our zone. This is separate from our chores.
This is just putting things back the way they should be.
I normally start on the main level, while the other two children begin in their zones. I give out instruction and help the child who has the main level first. I then move down to the basement to help and supervise the straightening. Finally, I check on the progress of the playroom clean up.
During each zone, we pick up whatever is on the floor, throw away any trash (for some reason the people living in my household forget where the trash cans are???) and put away anything that does not belong in that space.
This only takes about 15 minutes and makes me so much less stressed.
I can get through my day knowing that there will be a time at the end of the day to get this house whipped back into shape. It is in our daily routine, and it is done daily. I can spend my precious time getting more things done, reading to my kids, and just playing.
Less time working, more time playing. The zones work!
Two quick points: I make the kids pick up their rooms before going to bed. I just like to start the day fresh. Also, this probably works best if the room that is part of the zone has some sort of an organizational system already in place. For example, bins to put the toys in, shelves for the books, etc. This helps the kids know where to put everything back.
AND probably most importantly, do not be afraid to get rid of the clutter. I always have a Goodwill bag, a TotSpot bag to sell, and I put things that are of no use in the trash. If I find that if something is not being used or just constantly ending up on the floor, then it is time to sell, donate, or get rid of. If you need help staying on top of the clutter, join my 2016 Organization Challenge.
If this is helpful to you, you might enjoy my post on our daily routine, laundry, dishes, and chores. Managing our homes makes for a happy home and a happy mommy. If you need help on incorporating these zones, I would love to help you out.