However, when bedtime looms I cannot stand leaving the apartment in that state. And so the clean up begins. I try to get my kids to help a bit but it is mostly futile.Usually they undo what I am organizing mere minutes after I am done. So I will straighten up a bit while they get ready for bed and pick out their books and then finish the rest after they are sleeping. I pick up the toys, clothing and books, sweep and throw away all sorts of trash (and even some art projects, but dont tell my kids). I am usually not satisfied until it looks something like this:
Sometimes I am very unmotivated and it takes me a while to get going, but for some reason I cannot go to sleep when the apartment is in disarray. It's kind of funny, considering my efforts are going to last exactly for the 11 hours that my children are sleeping and as soons as they wake up, it starts all over again.
Part of it is the feeling that if you don't stay on top of the mess, it will just grown into an unmanageable chaos. Part of it is the desire to have an apartment that is put together and clean, even just for a few hours of the day.
I believe that kids should be allowed to be kids- toys, food and messes are generally allowed around here with some notable exceptions: no coloring on the walls or furniture, no gratuitous dumping of toys, no breaking things, etc. (These rules are usually ignored by my children as well but that is another story altogether)
But at the end of the day, kids need structure as well. They need order and they need cleanliness, to learn that every toy and object has a place and that we all need to pitch in. I think it is helpful for kids the same way schedules and routines are important for them. .
So after another night of picking up random things off the floor and wondering how in the world it got here, I can now go knit and read in bed satisfied that there is a little bit of order in our chaotic house- for the time being at least.
How do you keep things clean? Do you do a nightly clean up or do you let it build up for a few days? Do your kids help?