Here's what she did:
- Fluffed and rearranged pillows on couch
- Stacked magazines into a neat pile
- Removed items that didn't belong in the room and put them away
- Shook rugs
- Swept the floor
- Lightly dusted
- Made sure the bathroom was presentable
In just a few minutes, the house was presentable for company. It was only after these things were done that she would dig in and begin other projects or deeper cleaning.
There were a couple of things that made her clean up easier than what I face: (1) she had only 2 kids, not 6, (2) we lived in town so she didn't have the "organic matter" getting tracked in like I do from the farm, (3) the roads were paved and produced less road dust than the gavel roads I live on, and the biggie (4) we were only allowed to eat at the kitchen table. Somehow, we got into the habit of eating in front of the TV, etc., so dishes and spills from eating became a big issue in our home.
But even with these differences, I was still able to use her system to create order out of the chaos of having a large, messy family. For us, it worked best to do these activities in the evening. Each person had an empty basket. One person was assigned to pick up clothes (mostly socks), one person was assigned dishes, another person assigned toys, etc. The person assigned to the specific task would go to the main living areas, pick up and put away their respective items. One would be responsible for light dusting; another to sweep the kitchen floor. We took turns with the music.
Think about your home - is my mom's "lick and a promise" something you could implement either early in the morning before heading off to work OR (my favorite) at night before retiring?
Taking just 15 minutes to maintain a neat home will create harmony and peace. Make it a family activity and let your family help. Turn on some fun, fast-paced music. Dance around as you do these tasks. Your home will be cleaner, you'll be teaching life-skills to your kids, and you'll be building some fun memories at the same time.
What's your favorite way to get your kids involved in home keeping?