Friday, April 17, 2015

Nine "Cleanliness" Habits we are Teaching our Children

I'm going to let you in a little secret: I don't actually love cleaning.

If I could spend an hour doing whatever I wanted to, cleaning wouldn't make the list. 

But here's the thing--I live in a house with four natural mess-makers, otherwise known as children. It can be a full-time job just cleaning up after my kids!

When little ones are still toddling around, drooling and wiping banana-hands on your glass, there's not much for a mom to do besides follow them around with a Windex bottle.

But I've discovered that as children start getting older, they are capable of more than making messes. In fact, they can help keeping your house clean!

And I don't just mean teaching them how to scrub the toilet (though that is, of course, a brilliant idea.) 

Keeping a house clean is all about habits--those little things we either do or don't do, every day, all day long, which determines if our house will be neat and clean or a chaotic disaster.

I've found some specific habits that have been extremely helpful to keeping my housework minimized, so that once the kids go to bed, I don't have to spend the next couple hours cleaning!

Nine "Cleanliness" Habits we are Teaching our Children:
  • Take off their shoes at the door. We generally have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy (unless they're "inside" shoes). You'd be surprised how much less dirt is tracked in onto the floors and carpets. I still have to sweep and vacuum, but this policy has gone a long way in keeping especially our carpeting and rugs nice. As a follow-up to taking their shoes off, we also teach them to...
  • Put their shoes away. If their shoes are very dirty, I'll wash them or hit them together outside to shake off excess dirt. But if they seem relatively clean, they need to immediately put them away in their shoe box. (Even Matthias, who is 2, can easily do something like this.) This keeps the foyer from getting cluttered with shoes!
  • Make their bed before leaving their room in the morning. If you want your kids' rooms to instantly look more presentable, straightening their sheets and pillows is a huge step in the right direction! The girls still need help making their bed, but we're working on this. It's a great goal!
  • Clear their dishes after eating, and stack them into the dishwasher. This only takes each child a few seconds, and it helps keep the table and the kitchen counters clean! 
  • Wash hands [and face] after every meal. Of all these habits, the girls have this one "down" the most, probably because they love running water so much. I still help Matthias with his face and hands.
  • Keep all food items in either the kitchen or dining room. The only exception to this rule is popcorn while watching movies (in our family room), but no other food is allowed outside the dining room area. Remember, all these habits are about lessening the amount of general cleaning that the parents need to do. Food crumbs are not only disgusting, but they invite ants in your lovely home. No, thank you. 
  • Put their dirty clothes in the laundry. As opposed to, of course, on the floor. Floors are meant for walking on, not throwing your dirty laundry!
  • Clean up their toys when they're finished playing. While the kids are young, their biggest messes will often consist of toys, but as they grow older, there will always be things that need cleaned up or organized. I figure if they learn to "clean up" now, it'll be so much easier to adjust to other, bigger "messes" when they're older!
And lastly (and one of my favorites)...
  • If they're finished with something that they want to keep, they must find a place for it. If they're finished with something they don't want to keep (a used band-aid, perhaps?), they need to throw it away. 
Probably because I'm so familiar with the trash can, my kids love throwing things away, too. I have to be very specific when I hand something to them, so that they know to put in the "laundry" or the "sink" or their "drawer," and not in the trash. 

Why do these habits even matter? Because they all add up to a naturally tidier home. Of course you'll still have to clean, but it shouldn't be nearly as overwhelming... even if you have kids. 

As a great alternative to YOU cleaning your house, why not choose professional and qualified cleaners to clean your house FOR you? If you live in Melbourne, I'm happy to recommend Maid to Clean, an environmentally friendly, simple to use home cleaning service. Offering a 100% price back guarantee, plus a $20 discount for new customers, Maid to Clean is the home cleaning service you've been looking for! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Our Master Bedroom Update

Now that we've been in our house for a year, it was time to update our master bedroom! A few years ago, I was very "into" blue and dark brown, and thus our bedroom looked like this...

As we worked in the other rooms of our house, making them modern and fresh-looking, I decided I wanted a completely new look for our bedroom. 

Bright. Clean. Lots of white and light gray. Flowers. I wanted our bedroom to be a refreshing place for Matt and me to retreat to at the end of each day!

We bought the comforter set first, a couple months ago, and that gave us the inspiration for how the rest of the room came together. 

Here is what our room looks like now!

Much of the changes you see here are because of paint. My sister Hannah was an angel and helped me for hours as we transformed this room from blue to white. 

We also painted the dressers (yes, these are the same dressers!), chair, headboard, and lamp base. Paint works magic on furniture that needs some updating! 

Source List for Master Bedroom:
Wall color: Valspar Ultra White
Furniture color: Valspar Polar Star 
Chair: Valspar spraypaint white
Headboard and lamp base color: Valspar spraypaint glossy gray
Bedding: Target
Extra pillows: TJ Maxx
Headboard: found on an online yard sale group
Dressers: handed down from my aunt and uncle
Dresser knobs: Lowe's
Curtains and curtain rods: Target
Chair: Goodwill
Chair cushion: Target
Sign: birthday gift from my sister (purchased from My Paper Nest)
Small potted plant: Michael's
Wire basket: Target
Lamp base: yard sale
Lampshade: Walmart
Alarm clock: Walmart
Hydrangea: Michael's
Mirror: handed down from my sister

For those interested in the cost breakdown of this bedroom update, here you go!

Primer + paint: $116
Bedding: $80
Pillows: $20
Headboard: $40
Dressers: $0
Dresser knobs: $55
Curtains and curtain rods: $109
Chair: $2
Chair cushion: $10
Sign: $0
Small potted plant: $5
Wire basket: $3
Lamp base: $5
Lamp shade: $8
Alarm clock: $15
Hydrangea: $20
Mirror: $0

Total cost: $488

Have a great weekend!