Friday, March 7, 2008

Tidy-up Fridays

By the end of the week, our house is looking less than orderly. The kids’ beds, which at the beginning of the week had fresh sheets and a solid tuck-in from me, now have random lumps and bumps, which make them look dishevelled, even when made. Our bed isn’t much better.

There are baskets of clean laundry, some even folded, that have yet to make it into drawers and closets. Some of them have been rooted through to find a missing sock or favourite shirt.

The TV room (which is supposed to be a dining room, but functions better in our house as a kid space) has remnants of various kid activities: dried up play-dough, glue blobs, little bits of paper, scattered crayons and markers, etc. The kids clean up the big stuff, but the little stuff lingers.

The counters need a good scrub, more than the hurried wipe they get each morning and evening. The dishes that have been left “to soak” have soaked enough and need to actually be washed and put away.

The floors. Ugh, the floors! The carpet needs vacuuming; the kitchen and entranceway need a good mopping. The whole upstairs needs a damp cloth to catch the dust and bits.

The crazy thing is, the kids are only awake in the house for about 4-1/2 hours a day during the week. Part of those hours are taken up with eating and reading and bathing, leaving not much time for all this mess-making. And yet, we are faced with this end of the week challenge every week.

Anyway, for the past few weeks, we’ve been doing Tidy-up Fridays. Homer buys Lisa and Bart a special treat (like, they split a bag of Cadbury eggs, or he buys a cheap kid movie). When we get home, Homer starts dinner while the kids and I tackle the house. The goal is to get most of the tidy-up work done before dinner is served. While cooking, Homer does the kitchen. If the kids participate enthusiastically, they get the special treat.

You know, it has worked pretty well. I still have things to do on the weekend (never-ending laundry, changing the beds, cleaning the bathrooms…), but the stuff that used to really annoy me is dealt with during a flurry of activity on Friday evening. Not exactly the way I would choose to use my Friday evening, but it’s something.

11 comments:

Laural Dawn said...

Good plan.
I often wonder how our house gets so messy. It drives me nuts. Oh well. We do our clean up on Saturdays. I wish we had someone magically pick up after us!

Don Mills Diva said...

Sounds like a pretty constructive tradition to me...

JMC said...

Good idea. I may have to implement something similar.

Jess said...

Our apartment is at least that messy and we don't have any kids to blame it on. Or to help clean it. Damn it.

Banana said...

What a smart idea. That way you are not spending the weekend worrying about all the cleaning you have to do. Sweet.

Welcome to our World said...

Ohh I love this idea for when the kids get older!! I will file that one away for a few years from now! LOVE IT! :)

Misty said...

Pfft. Your kids clean AND they are not picky eaters?

What did you sacrifice to the offspring gods? I have to know.

desperate housewife said...

i think this is a really good idea. I always have to bribe MYSELF to clean with the promise of coffee or dessert later, so I think it's totally reasonable to offer the kids a treat. Good plan.

Artemisia said...

Hmmm....

I wonder if A. would help tidy up on Fridays if I promised him a "special treat" in return...

Beck said...

That actually sounds like my house on a GOOD day. It's really, really messy, because no one puts anything away here. We are a lazy people.

Family Adventure said...

Great way to get the kids involved and get some of the work out of the way before the weekend! Hope you don't mind me giving it a go in my house!

Heidi