Thursday, February 15, 2007

good, clean fun.

I love organization and cleanliness. I don't particularly love the cleaning part (I think that would make me extra odd) but the end result is thrilling. Have you found that being a "clean" person attracts a lot of criticism? I have had several experiences in the last couple of years that have completely thrown me for a loop. For example, a co-worker when I was an assistant manager at a live-in treatment center several years ago initiated a conversation with me about...when I become a mother (she was a mother of 2), I'll learn that it's impossible to keep a clean home. I told her that it wouldn't be impossible for me because it's important to me. "You just wait," was her response. She continued to press the issue on me. Where was this coming from? She didn't even know me. I had another balmy remark last summer from someone who was supposed to be my friend/support: "I thought you were never going to have kids because cleanliness is SO important to you." Ouch. Yes, it's important to me. But it doesn't control me, and it certainly doesn't override a life that I've always wanted: to be a mother.

What I've learned from these experiences that leave me feeling so small is.. that order in my home helps me be a better person and mother and wife. I cannot operate in a messy home; it's stressful. I love the peaceful and smooth life that my commitment to--cleaning well once a week, washing sheets once a week, vacuuming a couple of times a week, and putting things in their proper place in the home--allows. It's easy. Considerably easier than not doing these and consequently having to fix a big mess every so often. I also love the peace of mind I get from knowing that Cole is crawling in and licking and touching a reasonably clean environment.

So, I get excited about things that help me be even better in this arena in my life: small things like Real Simple magazine, or Method cleaning products or Paper Source filing folders and holder. I have these

and I love walking into the room we use as the office, and being able to go straight to a "receipts that need to be entered (into Quicken)" file or a "to be filed" file or a "to do" file or a "church" file.

Do you have any "organization" (or "cleaning") favorites?


  1. A few things:
    1) I can't believe people would say those things to you, although my mother-in-law told me one similar. "Once you have kids, your house will not be as clean as it is now..." I smiled, but I try hard to keep it that way. I like a clean home. Both my husband and I are pretty minimalist and things have their place kind of people. I don't see why children have to change that. You can teach your children to be clean just as well. In fact, I think that is a highly respectable trait to have and feel that you've taught your children. Because I know I had my share of roommates in college that were anything BUT.

    2)Sometimes I feel bad when I clean (is it just that guilt comes along with motherhood?) because I feel like I should be playing with Avery (ie: if we're having a nap strike that day like this morning) Do you ever feel that?

    3)Good cleaning supplies make it a whole lot more fun to get down and dirty. That's one of the reasons I love Method products. Those file folders are so great! I want to get some for my now-on-wheels filing cabinet. Thanks for the tip.

  2. I forgot to answer your question.

    The Method Bath and Tile Eucalyptus is SO good. It makes me feel like taking a bath is ok b/c I'm not getting into something that was just scrubbed with clorox (gross), but yet it is still remarkably clean and no soap scum

    The Yin/Yang After-Shower Spray is fabulous too. And the kitchen wipes are great for wiping up residue off the high chair.

  3. You are right, Kelli. Keeping things neat and orderly ALLOWS us to do other things that are more fun, more rewarding. I don't feel feel like I spend a tremendous amount of time cleaning- it's just a consistent, daily activity that in the end, probably doesn't take up all that much time. Mike and I had a bit of a hard time adjusting, as we were both at opposite ends of the cleanliness spectrum. He has changed though- whenever we go back to his parents house in CT he is always cleaning up messes all over the house. :)

    Our apartment is especially small, so it is even more important to be neat and organized. I rely on The Container Store for tools to keep me organized. We have all sorts of closet and under-the-bed organizers to keep things in control. I too, am a huge fan of Real Simple magazine- good food, good ideas, great philosophy. I just renewed my subscription for the third year.

  4. I LOVE having a clean house. It is the best feeling and environment to work in. I'm the same. I can't think clearly or concentrate when I know their are dirty dishes in the sink. I think a clean home makes a harmonious home!

    That said...I still could be better with the deep cleaning side. Like Kathryn, I feel for me it's a daily, consistent activity and I never make it to the larger tasks I want to tackle (like clean out the cupboards and re-arrange some of the foods).

    Maybe I should try these Method products you both love. I haven't tried them before. Oh I just's in London at John Lewis and Waitrose!!

    That is such a weird comment about not thinking you would have kids because you like a clean home....weird.

  5. I love this post because I AM THE EXACT SAME WAY! The weekly deep cleaning is what takes up a lot of my time, but I feel it's important with all the dirt and grime that comes with the kiddos. Having said that, I am struggling with finding a balance. My girls are getting older now (almost 5 and 7) and are bringing their friends over more to play. I have discovered that other people do not teach their kids the same kind of cleanliness and respect for things as we do. That in turn causes me about 10 times more work after their friends leave. I want our home to be an open and welcoming place, but am finding that it's almost not worth the extra work. I just want to tell them to go outside and play when they're over, which is fine with my girls because they love being outside, but their friends don't seem to like it as much. I'm trying to figure out if I should just lay down the rules of our house (washing their hands after they eat, leaning over and drinking at the table only, taking off shoes after being outside, etc) or if that is just going to freak their friends out and embarrass my kids.

  6. Mmm. That's tough Megg. Obviously I'm not there yet with the older kids BUT I have the same issue with asking people to take off their shoes, for example. (Home teachers, maintainance guys, friends, family, etc.) It's my home and little Cole crawls in what they bring into it so I see no problem in asking them to take off shoes. (Usually I just have Brad ask..) We always had the no shoe rule or only eat in the kitchen rule when I was younger. It seems like it would just take one or two times of reminding your girls' friends of the rules and it would be habbit after that?? Maybe you could make a fun sign that you put by the door that they come into the house from when they are over. Let us know how everything works out. Worse comes to worse...outside is fun and healthy.

    Deep cleaning is tough Lindsey. What I've done lately is pick one "extra" thing every week. (After a month, I've tackled most deep cleaning chores: wiping down cabinets and appliances, scrubbing baseboards, cleaning out fridge..) Method is so great because it's non-toxic. I'm sure there are pleanty of other brands in London that are just as great. It's just a little trickier for me to find them here.

  7. I like the rule of taking your shoes off as well. Why would you want people walking on floors that your baby is crawling on when they've been outside among massive amounts of germs, not to mention toxic chemicals (ie: the gas station).

    Anyway, Megg, I've thought about your situation a lot lately since we've talked about it. Funny that Kelli posted this at the same time we were discussing it. Kindred spirits. We all are.

    What I was thinking was about how I always loved being at Becky's house growing up. It was so much more fun at her house than our own. So, I've thought hard and long about it and here are a few things that I came up with...

    1) Her parents made the children clean. Before she could play, she had to clean. I specifically remember being in 5th grade and wiping down the walls (!) with her. I didn't mind at all. Our mom never let us do that. She did it herself. I realize your girls aren't quite to the deep cleaning stage yet, but my point being that I don't think kids mind cleaning. You can ask them to take off their shoes and just remind them when they come back in to take off the shoes. Would that work?

    2)The Spirit was present at her house. And I think that is part of having a "clean" home. Simply put, it was there and not overbearing and tyrannical, but you felt it when you went in the house. And part of it I think was because it was clean and things were put where they were (even with 8 kids). Do you agree? You spent time over there too.

    I think it is probably more work to have kids over to your house, but I think the more the same friends come over, they will learn the rules and your girls are too cute and fun for them not have friends continually coming over:)

  8. It was never a rule in my house growing up for guests (or anyone to take off their shoes), but at my best friend's house it was, and it really was not a problem to do it. If we forgot her mom would nicely remind us but after a few visits it was habit.

  9. Yeah, I think it will just take time for the girls friends to get to know our rules. Some of their friends are definitely better than others. It's when there's three or four over at the same time that chaos occurs. It's interesting to see the differences in how things are run at other peoples homes. I can tell simply by how some of these kids act. I think that the girls are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves at their friends houses from the expectations we have here.

    I agree, I think the girls should clean. Eden cleans out the toliet bowls with that little clorox thing and Bree can unload the dishwasher. I would like them to take a more active role in cleaning around here than we did when we were little so that they will learn to respect our property and know what it takes to keep things looking nice.

    The Warnick house was definitely a fun time and I hope we have that kind of home someday. A place to gather...a place to have fun...a place to feel the spirit.

    I'll let you guys know if I figure anything else out, but in the meantime, I feel better about laying down the law and not being embarrassed about it. Asking servicemen or hometeachers to take off their shoes might make me a bit uncomfortable, but I can do it with the kids.


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