I use some crazy cleaning strategies in my house. I get desperate for a solution to the mess.
Crazy cleaning strategies are the only ones that actually work in my house. I have tried the more usual methods, such as cleaning my kids’ rooms while they are away at camp. It worked! The rooms were clean! Then real life intervened and the rooms became messy again by the next week. I also instituted a policy of cleaning bedrooms every weekend. This is a nice goal, but life often gets in the way. It’s difficult for the whole family to stay home and clean on the weekends when the weather is perfect for a hike and it’s our only chance to spend time with Daddy. So instead of well-thought out cleaning plans, I get desperate and resort to crazy cleaning strategies.
If my kids fight with each other, I set a timer for ten minutes and send them to clean their rooms.
Honestly, I really like this strategy. It stops the fighting and gets grumpy kids out of my hair for ten minutes. They can calm themselves down and get some good cleaning in at the same time. I already send my children to their rooms to reset themselves when they get out of control. This strategy is similar. One of my relatives pointed out that this strategy makes cleaning a punishment. My children already view cleaning as a punishment, so I’m not that concerned. Also, my children don’t view being sent to their rooms as punishment anyway. It’s a chance for them to reset their behavior and attitude, much like the reset desks that are used at school. Thanks for the idea, school!
I tell my kids that Santa won’t leave any new toys if their rooms are messy and filled to the brim with old things.
My kids are super motivated to clean and give away their old possessions when the chance for new toys dangles before them. My kids accumulate so much stuff that I really do need them to get rid of some before the holidays. It is impossible to keep things tidy when there isn’t enough room to put everything away properly in the first place. My kids have a hard time giving up old toys and books, even when they have outgrown them. A promise of shiny, new gifts makes the parting much easier. I just point out that Santa and I are old friends and he will (or won’t) bring whatever gifts I suggest.
We throw crazy dance/cleaning parties.
This is my favorite of the crazy cleaning strategies. I grab my phone and turn on loud music while we focus on cleaning one room. Both my kids and I sing and dance while picking up all the random toys and trash that accumulate so quickly in our home. Cleaning together makes the work go a lot quicker and we can help each other. I ask the kids right then and there if a random object is an important piece of a toy or just random junk to throw away. When my kids begin to lose focus, I can redirect them towards picking up certain items. As a nice bonus, my kids are developing a love of 80s and 90s music!
When all else fails, I grab a garbage bag.
The garbage bag comes out when I am at my most desperate. This happens when I have asked and asked my children to pick up their belongings so that we can actually walk through our house with stepping on their toys. They tell me that there is too much for them to pick up. Then I tell them that it is a sign that they have too much stuff. The more we get rid of, the less we will have to clean up. Most of the time, there is a large amount of actual junk that belongs in the trash (or hopefully recycling bin) strewn all over my house. The amount of stuff kids bring home from school is truly amazing. The sight of the garbage bag definitely will get the cleaning motivation started when all other methods fail.