Taking a Filthy House in Hand

The last two months have been packed with three different batches of visitors, totalling seven adults and two kids. It’s been a lot of fun, but my desire to get on top of the house really fell away from me, round about visitor #1. Although everyone was very helpful and the basics of clean up were maintained just fine, the behinds and underneaths have really suffered.

oh look, kids! a buried treasure! lucky me!

These next few weeks I really need to take the house in hand. I need to be on top of my game, because My Man has finals starting at the end of the month and next month will be a manic wave of packing and moving, we leave here May 18th! A mere 42 days away!!! Holy fuckorama!

Several people have said that if we’re leaving so soon, why bother cleaning now? But when you have two little kids and a man finishing up his law degree, you simply cannot wait till the last week to start the massive cleaning and packing project that is a family move.

Tackling a really filthy house can be daunting, especially at first. Especially with two littles underfoot.

I take it one room at a time, making a first pass over the house where I do a basic picking up of everything, including all corners and underneaths, clearing of stacks on shelves and tables, and a good thorough sweep. This takes at least a week at the pace I can uphold with kids. When I finish that I make another pass (of course having to pick up a week’s worth of detritus first) giving everything a good thorough wiping/moping/scrubbing/dusting– the sort of stuff I usually almost never get to.

This week I have started the ball rolling with a first pass. I have five rooms done, hallelujah! Here’s my tactic for picking up a ridiculously messy room: I put several boxes or baskets in the middle of the room– one for dirty laundry, one for stuff that needs to be put away in other rooms (if your room is really truly ridiculous you might want a basket for each destination, ie: bedroom, kids room, kitchen, etc), one for give away, and a trash can. Then I make my way around the perimeter, on my hands and knees, methodically chucking shit into the respective boxes. I find this much easier than picking things up one at a time and dealing with them, and the chucking is quite satisfying.

caution: this is a frustrating job to do while the kids are in the room, they will pilfer your carefully organized boxes. but, what else are you gonna do? use your precious kid-free time to clean the house?

When I get done picking every single thing up, I take the baskets and put stuff away, then come back for what is usually some epic sweeping.

Ahhh, now doesn’t that look good? It makes me feel literally lighter. Whenever I clean my house like this, I enjoy it so much it makes me wonder why I don’t keep it like this all the time.

Oh, right. Now I remember. Because this serenity lasted all of three hours, and that only because I took the kids out for a walk. By the next day, you couldn’t tell I’d done a damn thing.

8 thoughts on “Taking a Filthy House in Hand

  1. indeed. we’re implementing a “pick up before you do ANYTHING ELSE” vibe in our house…the 4yo is into it *only* if we make it a race. it’s helped, but the house is STILL pepetually trashed…i like the separate bin idea, though – chucking *is* so satisfying. 42 days! good luck!

  2. I want that tiger stuffed animal! Congrats on your upcoming move, you must be beyond excited to return to AK…

  3. Try having four. I’m like a dog chasing my own tail trying to keep up. They have turned mess-making into an art-form, their life’s work! They’re pretty devoted to it. Apple cores, sweetie papers, bits of lego, stray socks/shoes/pants/ – it’s like living with Thing One, Thing Two, Thing Three and Thing Four. Except there’s no fucking Cat-in-the-hat to put the house back together again and the DIRT machine was a filthy lie!!!! Damn you Dr. Seuss!!!

  4. Yep, yep, yep. It’s soooo true about standing back, and going ‘holyfuckwillyalookatthat?!” before the kid-storm starts again. I’ve nearly purged the kids toys completely from the main living areas, except for one area where they draw and play with the dolls house, and STILL shit accumulates every where but their room. Certain toys ‘want’ to watch tv, they ‘need’ to build a cubby…you know the drill!
    But they’re only so little for so long, so fuck it. I’ll keep doing the chuck in the box til their toys get so dull and boring that they can’t be put on the floor at all!
    Thanks CJ, and hope the countdown is as exciting as the outcome!

  5. Haha, yes, I had the kids clean the living room yesterday (with a little help and a *lot* of ecouragement) and by bedtime you could hardly tell they’d done it. Although, the under the couch type spaces were still clean, whereas at the beginning of the day….

    We are starting a similar challenge, only because the house has barely been really tidy since baby number 3 came along (and she turned 2 a month a go!) ad school holidays are coming up in a week. The biggest challenge is the big kids’ bedroom…

    42 days! Holy F, you must be excited!

  6. It sounds a bit like the way I tackle a room. I like the chucking things into a basket. If the kids are with me in the room they want a conversation about every little thing they pick up. If they are not in the room they wander the house trashing all the other rooms. I get one sorted to find the rest of the house has been hit by a bomb.

  7. Ha! Your hidden treasure is even better than mine!

    I’ve done just fine ignoring my behinds-and-unders but my mother-in-law is visiting this week and seems determined to flush them out despite the fact I couldn’t give a rats ass and have bigger fish to fry . . . Next thing I know me, her and the baby are all ass-up with a broom stick trying to separate the lost bottles and balls from the dust bunnies. The baby thought it was hilarious – I was too busy biting my tongue to laugh.

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