year of clean 2015

I have already seen many January challenges on blogs, YouTube and Instagram for a month of cleaning and de-cluttering.  If you’re like me, the thought of a daily deep clean in any area is daunting.  I decided to make my own challenge list.

I made myself a monthly, instead of daily, challenge.  Each month I want to focus on a section or topic of cleaning. Here’s my list.  I have also made an Instagram/Twitter handle for any of you who want some motivation and want a place to share your masterpieces.

Use #yearofclean2015 and join me for a peaceful organizational challenge.  I will post updates each month here, as well as videos on my YouTube channel.

Share this challenge with a friend.  Are you ready?

Yearof Clean schedule edit

chore/allowance system that will blow your mind!!!

I’ve done my share of printing and laminating chore charts.  Some have worked better and longer than others.  All have failed at some point or another.  Nick and I decided we wanted to work on cleaning as a family instead of having everyone assigned different areas/tasks.  We came up with something that blew our own minds.  I’m so excited to share this with you!

First, a word on our chore philosophy.  We don’t require much.  We want them to learn to be responsible and accountable, but we are not slave-drivers AT ALL.  Secondly, we have never had set allowances.  Occasionally, we’ve paid various willing children to help us with big tasks- all voluntary.  We expect everyone to do something to help around here.  They are part of a family.  Families work together.

About allowance.  I’ve never liked the idea of trying to come up with a payment plan.  Who gets what?  When? How often? Seems like just more info I’ll forget or flake out on.  It also made me nervous about strife, competition and fighting among the kids.

Here’s what we came up with.  I’m still wondering how this idea came to our heads!  Thank you Jesus!

Click here for our PDF.  family contributions chart PDF  Follow this video link for the “normal” household chart.

how small children do chores

IMG_1304 IMG_1307The blurriness of these pictures drives me crazy.  That said, it couldn’t be helped.  Josie would not, for any reason, sit still.

The point is, children doing chores is messier and takes longer than you doing the same thing.  It must be done though.  We want them to clean up after themselves when they grow up right?  The only way to learn is to make a mess first.  I guess.  I do wish it weren’t this way, but alas, it is.  

This is Josie putting her bedroom trash into a bag.  Yeah.  Someone didn’t put a bag in before they filled it with trash.  That someone will go unnamed.  

It wasn’t an adult.

Raising young ones is tough on this recovering OCD mom.  I’m self diagnosed by the way.  Wed MD has saved me many trips to the doctor.    

Let go mamas.  By mamas, I mean one mama.  Me.

After all, Isn’t parenting about teaching?  If I do it, she learns nothing.  

If she does it, she learns that making a mess is fun not fun.  She will learn to be a productive member of the family.  Helpful, responsible, orderly are words she will live by.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

What are you letting go of?  

31 days to clean

I recently ran across a blog that was participating in “31 Days to Clean”.  I read up on it at Joyful Mothering.  I just downloaded the book, but I am making up my own rules too.  I’m just committing to clean an area a day.  I figure I can get the house pretty and sparkling in a month.  Nick has been a huge help in this area.  We deep cleaned our room (which is a serious accomplishment), and did lots of yard work, Nick also cleaned up the living room.  Each room gets emptied of clutter and excess.  We will be having a yard sale at the end of this endeavor.

Part of my own rules is keeping the spic-n-span maintained.  It’s great to take back control.  It’s a concerted and deliberate approach to order.  There is a challenge everyday, so be sure to click the link in the side bar to catch up and join in.  If I can do it, you can to.  Let the Spring cleaning begin!

schooling the unschoolable

Learning this week has been slow-going.  Partly because of sickness (cranky kids), and partly due to the mess in the schoolroom (will it ever end?), and mostly because of me.  When mama feels discouraged it is hard it invoke excitement to the rest of the class.  I’m not feeling ill towards school, not in the least.  The problem lies within the rest of the house.

Have you ever seen the Hoarders show?  Yeah, I don’t want that happening here.  How do people live like that?  I’m really exaggerating here just so you know.  Anyways, I have been really trying to muster up the energy to get this house in order.  I have, in the past, tried to live up to that “cleanliness is close to Godliness” motto.  Because it became somewhat of an idol to me, I went the other direction.

I find myself currently behind in laundry, cleaning, and dishes…oh the dishes.  I realize that in a large family messes do happen.  Many of them, in fact.  Many, many, messes.  I feel it is far too much work for one person.  I have been struggling to do all these tasks, when in reality I am spinning my wheels.  Something has to change right?  I mean, I can’t even find the charger for my camera.  I can always find at least that.  Clutter is like being trapped.  No room to breath.  No room to live.

Today I’ve come to realize that God is trying to teach me something.  I clearly have not heeded to the lesson.  I cannot allow my house to become an idol, and certainly I’m not to become a A&E special.  Balance.  That is what I need.  Balance.  How do I find balance?  This seems to be such a huge topic for many other bloggers I have read.  What to do, what to do?

Making up a cleaning schedule has worked for me in the past; however, I feel defeated when it doesn’t all get done.  For some this may be a great option, it was for me until baby five came.  I’ve recently tried the wait for it to get bad and then do something about method.  I found that the entire house gets equally bad, and I haven’t the energy and time to do it all at once.

I write here today in absolute surrender.  I must humble myself to the will of God even in this.  Even if it means working more than I want.  Even if I have no energy, or motivation.  After all, if I view my job at home as a job, then I need to act as if it is a job.  In other words, I can’t call in sick everyday.  I can’t be unproductive.  When I’m “at work” I need to be moving.  Yes, I do get breaks, but they are just that.  I can no longer “listen to my body” and sit down whenever I feel the least bit tired.  I have learned that there is a fine line between a break and idleness.

I really have to watch myself…this I know.  I tend to view things in black and white only.  I can’t work so much and so hard that my children suffer.  I can’t become a “workaholic”, but I definitely need to work a bit more.  I can work graciously and make it fun for everyone.  Some of my favorite childhood memories involve cleaning the house.  I still know all the words to the Eagles, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Micheal Jackson, and Air Supply records (yes records) that used to play while we cleaned.

All I’m sayin’ is  I think I have given into the “you have five kids” and you need to have “you time” a little too much.  These things are true, yet they are not an excuse to clock out.

And so, I find myself at the end of this school week being the one who’s learning the most.  Learning to let go, learning to hold on and learning the balance of a comfortable home.  One in which learning, baking, laughing, and loving is upheld in a semi-organized fashion.

P.S.  Don’t be hatin’ on the music I mentioned.  I really love all of these records.  I hope I’ll be able to brainwash my kids into loving it as well.  More on this later.