I was w/o internet or too busy to look for almost a month, so I am just now catching up on all kinds of blogs, but there is one thing that I have been reading that I just think is fantastic!
My friend Alicia has a blog outlining her new cleaning method. Before I had a 25 hour a week housekeeper for around $100 a month (I know, I know, everyone is jealous, just move to Guatemala and you too can have this luxury!) I did the flylady program and loved it! I seriously did hardly any work and my house was neat!
For me, with a preschooler, a toddler, and a newborn on the way, the trick to keeping things neat is having the kiddos be responsible for their own stuff. (w/in reason) For example, if I have to pick up my preschooler's toys, then I keep them in something called a "work-it-out box." Since I had to do his work, he has to do some of my work in order to "buy" back his toy. (Pick up the Baby's toys, or put folded laundry in the correct room, for example) BoyD makes his own bed, picks up his toys, can only get out 1 (sometimes 2) toy at a time, and must clean up one before getting out another, puts up his own dirty clothes, takes his plate to the kitchen after eating, wipes down the table (on occasion), feeds the dog, helps me put clothes in the dryer or picks up the clothes pins when they dry on the line, and generally helps me when I ask him to (pick up any trash, put things on the stairs, etc) BabyM picks up her toys (with help), and is learning to take her plate to the table after she eats. She also picks up trash and puts it in the trash can.
I do have a very organized play room and kids rooms, so that my kids know exaclty where everything goes. We also talk a lot about how good it feels when the house is straight. We talk about how nice it looks when we go to bed at night, and how nice it looks when we wake up in the morning.
The real problem is my bedroom. I (and Gladys) keep it relatively neat, but it seems that there is always clean laundry folded on a surface. Clean laundry is my bain. Also, I have a problem with stray glasses. I get a drink, take it upstairs, and leave it. Gladys, every day she is here, gathers up cups from the house to wash. I don't know what my problem is, but I just can't seem to keep up with a cup! :)
You will never, though, hear me complain about housework. I, for the most part, do very little. That being said, I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that they don't have to do chores, just b/c Gladys works for us. We make the kids clean up spills, sweep up stuff, etc.
I know, if and when we move back to the states and I am again responsible on a regular basis for cleaning my house, I will go back to the FlyLady stystem. It works and it kept our home neat.
Oh, a photo for Alicia:
This was taken the morning after taking steroids for a mosquito bite on his forehead. He was bitten on Day 1, Day 2 he woke up with his eye swelled shut and the bridge of his nose flattened out, we went to the doctor and got some steroids, and after taking benadryl that night and steroids for the swelling, he woke up like this. And we thought at the time that he looked SO much better. Poor guy! (I attached a picture of the boy looking normal for a reference, in case you don't remember what he normally looks like. )