A Clean House is a House of Order.

Cover of "Clean House!"

Every father has visited another parents home and wondered ‘How in the world do they keep their house so darn clean with all those gunky kids running around?’ I’ve thought it, you’ve thought it. I don’t think there is a parent out there who hasn’t. Well I’m here to tell you how they do it.

First off, if your house is a gunk pile, you have no body to blame but yourself. Especially if the first thing you do when you walk through that front door, is kick your shoes off, drop your keys, wallet and phone wherever they happen to land, and fling your coat over the sofa. You’ve got to set a good example if you expect the little ones to be clean too! Now I know, kids are inherently gunky little beings, but you can do this! Trust me!

1. Have a field day at least once a week.

Thats right. You learned this in boot camp. Same rule applies in civy life. Everyone has to participate. No exceptions. Pick a day that works best for you. I use saturday. I know, it’s the weekend. SUCK IT UP! It’s the best time to gather the entire family together, but to make it work, you’ve got to start it when the kids are young enough not to know any different! Don’t fret if that’s not a possibility. After a few weeks, the kids will know what to expect.

Assign age appropriate chores. No one in their right mind expects a toddler to clean the toilet. However a seven year old is perfectly capable, with a little help, of cleaning their own bathroom. You must teach them! Don’t be lazy! If you have little ones, say the age of two to four, give them a dust rag and let them loose on the house. Tell them to dust everything they see. They’ll think its a game. Do not expect them to do it right. At this age, it is merely a training exercise to make YOUR life easier later on! Moving on.

Unless you have brilliant children, like I know you do, you and the Commanding Officer are going to have to pick up the slack and clean most of the heavy duty items. Get used to it, you were going to do it anyway. If you have older children, assign them to mop the floor, vacuum, scrub the floors, FIND SOMETHING! and for Pete’s sake, have them clean their rooms! This should be done immediatly after breakfast and should only last a couple hours at the most!

You will find that four year old’s love to fold the laundry and toddlers love to destroy it! Start them off with something easy, like towels. Show them how to fold it and let them loose. Do not expect perfection here, but be grateful for their help.

2. Keep on it!

I don’t know about you, but if your kitchen and dinning area is even a little bit unkempt, the whole house feels dirty. It really bugs me! And I know the wife is thrilled every time I pitch in a helping hand and sweep the floor for her, or put away the dishes. Get over your ego and do it! Being a man does not mean being a putz!

A clean kitchen is a clean house! Clean that kitchen everyday and keep on it! Let your children pitch in. Have them clean off the table if their old enough or at least move their dishes into the sink.

No plate and cup towers. Sweep that floor! Especially if you have nasty gunky little children who seem to think that food belongs on the floor! Your not going to win this battle, but you can clean it up afterwords.

3. Keep on them!

If your going to be successful at having an orderly and clean house, you’ve got to keep on your children. That means hound them if they drop their clothes on the floor. Tell them to pick it up and put it in it’s designated area, if it be clean or dirty. Let them know that you expect their rooms to be clean after their done playing. Set up some rules for them. One toy at a time and then it goes back. If your kids are already used to dragging toys all over the house, it stops now! Be firm. Like the policy on Terrorists, there will be no negotiations. Either follow the rules or suffer the consequences. My children are terrified of plastic bags. Because after I warn them and they still refuse, they know I mean business once that Wal-mart bag comes out.

No matter how horrible you think your lovely little children are at following simple orders, they will learn, but you must teach them in a way that get through to them and NO ONE can tell you how to do that but YOU!

4. Have a designated play area.

For those of you lucky enough to have an extra room in the house, don’t be greedy. Let your kids have it for a play room. Your welcome!

Nothing can make a house feel dirtier quicker then scatter children’s play things. And having stepped on the proverbial toy in the dark, I can tell you from experience, that nothing makes the bottoms of my feet feel safer then knowing that all the toys have a designated storage area. My little devil pups know that their toy room must remain orderly when they are finished, or they will suffer the consequences. Make up a few for yourself. They kids need to know what to expect here, make sure they’re clear. Mine know that the door will be locked for a set period of time and if they don’t clean up in the allotted amount of time, Mr. Garbage-Sack comes out to play. (No I don’t really trash their toys, they just disappear for a time.)

Keep that play room clean. One toy rule especially applies here. Do not expect your little ones to follow it, but do expect your bigger ones to know that they are responsible for cleaning up the little ones mess and ensuring all is well.

A bonus of having a designated toy room, is that all of that toy clutter is located away from the common areas. No more mountains of blocks in the middle of the living room. No more scatter Zhu Zhu Pets waiting to terrorize the undersides of your feet in the middle of the night.

Summary.

Have a set day that the whole family cleans the house together. Don’t let them be pigs!

Keep on it yourself. You’ve got to clean or nobody will. Set the example. Being a man does not mean being a putz.

Keep on your children. Train them. Motivate them. Set the ground rules.

Have a designated toy room if you can. Your welcome.