Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Get Real - Housework

A blogging friend, Adrie, and I happened to both be wondering how the other "did it all".  This conversation led to this six-week series, "Get Real".   Seven women from different parts of the United States with different views and beliefs, but with so much more in common, are sharing our voices each week.  This week we share about keeping up with the house work.

Well, I have a hard time functioning when things get too cluttered or too dirty.  So upon walking into our home at 4:00 in the afternoon and finding the house in disorder, I know that before I do anything else, I need to get the dishes done and the counters cleared and the floors swept.  What at first can seem really overwhelming actually only ends up taking 20 minutes or so.  If I am really short of time I will give a shout out and call everyone down for a 4:00 tidy and give each child something to do so we can get it done even faster.

(We don't have a drier - so hang our clothes on a line in the bathroom and the rest on a hanger by the woodstove and then outside in the nice weather.  I fold the clothes and put piles for each child on a bureau that is in the bathroom which holds Isaac's and Abraham's clothes.)

Much of the housework does fall on my shoulders but we do have a regular weekly and daily rhythm where everyone helps.  

Dishes are divided among the older children so Mike or I just have a couple of nights each week that we do them.  (We don't have a dish washer.)   I still do them several times during the day as they sure do pile up with 8 - 9 people living in one house and making most of our food from scratch.  I try to practice gratitude, however, while washing - to be thankful for the food we had to eat.  I also remember to be grateful for the convenience of the running hot water.  We lived two years carrying water and heating it before each wash.   To just be able to turn on the water - wow, I still think that probably the majority of the people in our world do not have that convenience.

I don't have a fancy cleaning spreadsheet - I am just not that kind of a person.  The only regularity to my week is giving the bathroom a thorough cleaning on Tuesdays.  Other than that, I will take note of a larger cleaning job that needs to be done and when the timing works out, tackle it, such as cleaning the top of the refrigerator.  Other times, I may just wash a window or two if everyone is happily busy. 

Part of my early morning routine is making my bed.  So much more peaceful when done.

The children each have some regular chores that have become routine.  Isaac vacuums the living room rug each day, Abby the stairs.  Nolan sweeps the front porch twice per week.  Sarah clears and washes the table after dinner.  Three of the children are responsible each for cleaning out, vacuuming and wiping down the car each week. 

Mike is really good about helping out with the laundry and the dishes or sweeping when he notices the dirt piling up.

(Our entry area by late afternoon)

I love cleaning with Emily now.  Every time someone is washing the dishes she says, "dish, dish" and grabs a chair to bring it up to the sink.
When I am scrubbing the floor, I give her a sponge and spray bottle.  Sometimes water can get out of hand, but it is nothing a towel can't wipe up.
We have a child size mop and dust pan.  Whenever I am sweeping, Emmy is sure to get them out and "help".    Sometimes it takes more time as dirt may be spilled on the way to the trash can but I think it all worth it.  

So that's about it - I keep things simple by picking up here and there, doing a small cleaning project when I find a few minutes and by enlisting the help of our children and my husband.

Please visit these other inspiring women that are sharing their Get Real stories today ~

Warm wishes,


  1. Enjoyed this!
    There is no routine or chore list for cleaning here, either. The boys each have different rooms on different days that they are in charge of (they all sleep in a loft together...so they don't have their own space to be in charge of). I love doing dishes, so that's one job I haven't given to them (we don't have a dishwasher either).
    There is always something to do, so I just try and keep on top of it, with their help, all day long. It's so much worse if it gets overwhelming. ;)

  2. I do not do well with clutter either. It is nice that the girls are older and can help out more, but it may have been easier when they were younger, they made less messes!
    Sweetie Emmy, little helpers are good! Definitely worth the extra minutes or extra wipe down to let her share in the joy of of the household work.

  3. Wonderful post! It is rather refreshing to see a real home and not one all made up for photos.
    I'm not as fussy as I used to be about keeping things spic and span, especially now with our 10 month old grandson into everything! As long as the kitchen and~ bathrooms are clean ~ everything else I just try to keep tidy.

  4. I really love these "get real" posts you ladies have been doing! I have one question about your housework--do you cloth diaper? I have a newborn son and we are cloth diapering but haven't really gotten into a rhythm with it yet. I'm using trifolds and birdseyes with a variety of secondhand covers. We don't have a dryer, either, but we do have a clothesline and indoor drying racks. Any advice you have would be really helpful! :)

    1. Yes we are still cloth diapering but we have a woodstove with a "fence" around it so I am able to lay the diapers over it and then just when we are not using the woodstove as much I can hang them outside.

  5. I am so enjoying these "get real" tidbits into your lives. It connects us :) m.

  6. I have really been enjoying this series! It's so nice to know I'm not the only mom whose house isn't perfect and spotless all the time. :)

  7. Thanks for this post, it is encouraging to see how other people manage things, and as someone else commented, it is lovely to see a real home x

  8. Can the "get real" series live forever? I love it! Thank you.

  9. Your front entry, looks like ours - only we have 3 people living here! I made a decision a few months ago, that we all had to take more responsibility for it. I always make it a habit to greet my family at the front door (either coming home from school or work) and I started reminding them after a kiss and hug, to place their shoes neatly at the door.

    It took a while of gentle reminders, and they've gotten into the habit of leaving their shoes straight and no bags dumped near the entry way. Of course, there are those weeks which tend to be filled with lots to do, so I let neatness go for all of our sakes. But when it slows again, it doesn't take much to remind them, and they're back into keeping it tidy.

    Cleaning really becomes a habit the more you practice it, but I also think it's important to give respite when the circumstance requires it. Perfect isn't my motto - just be neater when you can be. It's when we become accustomed to mess, that it starts to breed infinitely, lol.

  10. a very wise neighbour once counselled me...as long as they have clean clothes and healthy meals, the rest will get done in time...she was 85 at the time. i took her advice, calmed down and 20 years later, I'm still following her advice. Except now I don't have any little kiddies and there is no excuse for my sloth...oh well. you inspire me daily.

  11. Yes yess, I find it so helpful to do a bit of picking up here and there...as I walk, if something is there along my path, I pick it up and drop it off where it needs to be. I (unfortunately) am the only one in the house who thinks like that *sigh* but that's okay. I did get back into making my bed, but now with a napping baby who pops in and out of there all day long, I just don't bother. Maybe next year ;)


  12. I love having my toddler "help" too. True, it actually adds to the work, but the cuteness more than makes up for that. :)

  13. Wonderful, Tonya! We don't have a dryer either, which I love ,but can also be challenging. I'm definitely a fan of clean floors and sink before moving on to anything else. :)