Monday, December 21, 2009

Cleaning Truisms

If you read my overly wordy post this weekend, you'll know we've been busy. Another way you might be able to tell we've been busy would have been to walk into my house. After three weeks of non-stop projects and activities, my house was beginning to look like a candidate for a "Clean House" episode.

The only reason we've had clean dishes to eat off of for the past week or more is that the Jedi quietly took over dish duty. The Jedi hates clutter, but he knows the Xuan loves Christmas, so he's been suffering in silence while chaos reigns around him.

Last night I announced that Monday would be a house cleaning day. Nothing else was getting done until the house was clean. I think the Jedi felt like cheering. He didn't. He just calmly affirmed me by reminding the kids that this meant no computer, no ds, and no wii till they helped Mommy get the house clean.

So, last night, I wrote a list for each of us on the whiteboard in the kitchen. It was a simple list that, for the kids, read like this...
1. put away laundry
2. clean bedroom
3. clean living room
4. clean school room
5. dust living room and bedroom
6. sort laundry
7. shower and get dressed

My list was similar and went like this
1. Empty and reload dishwasher and water plants
2. Clean kitchen (table, counters, stove, floor) and hang up new Christmas cards
3. clean living room
4. clean downstairs (schoolroom and master bedroom)
5. vacuum
6. sort laundry and start laundry
7. clean bathroom, scrub tub, shower and get dressed.

This morning, I announced that we would set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and at the end of each 15 minute segment, I would check on everybody's progress. When the kids got one item done on their list, they could either move on to the next item, or they could have a few minutes of free time until I was ready to move onto the next item on my list. It was a good system. It kept everyone on track and broke the work into bite sized chunks.

We got all the cleaning done by 12:40. As we worked, I discovered a few fundamental truths that I felt worth sharing.

  • Any product that claims it "cuts through kitchen grease" is a bold face liar. I personally believe that the bricks which hold up the gates of hell are mortared together with kitchen grime because its nigh industructable.

  • Extraverted 6 year olds are incapable of working independently for 15 minutes without interrupting their mother at least twice.
  • "Put it away or I will throw it away," is a great motivational phrase.
  • It is possible for a pre-teen girl to clean her bedroom without turning the proceedure into a soap opera.
  • Questioning whether one's mother is in danger of violating child labor laws might just get you assigned to a research report on the history of child labor laws. Just saying.
  • An aspiring young artist can quickly accumulate a pile of papers in his bedroom that could be pieced together into enough blankets to supply the entire homeless population of a small city.
  • You probably don't want to know what the large clunking object was which your vacuum cleaner just sucked up. The important thing to know is that the machine is still working.

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