A One Hour Miracle

My house is rarely clean. It’s usually cluttered, there is almost always a minimum of one or two dirty dishes, a basket of laundry waiting to be folded and put away (I HATE putting-away), more than a basket waiting to be washed, and a fine coating of dust and dog hair on top of it all.

What can I say? There are two teenage girls living here, one of whom works 25-30 hours a week and goes to school, I work full time and write part time, my husband works full time and we have three dogs…It’s gonna get messy.

So, walking the line between messy and outright nasty is a constant challenge around here. Through the years, I’ve tried just about every strategy imaginable to keep it clean – from chore charts to allowances to a half hour of required cleaning time a week and everything in between. All of it works for a week or two, then we return to our normal state of utter chaos.

Last week I tried something new. Before anyone could go anywhere on Saturday, we all four (plus an unfortunate spend-the-night friend) had to clean for one hour. The three girls put on aprons and ipods and decided to work as a team, tackling first the kitchen, then the bedroom and bathroom. My husband cleaned his “area” next to his chair (yes, it did take the whole hour) and I took on the living room.

Unbelievably, it worked! The house was cleaner than it had been for quite sometime. And, bonus, since it was relatively clean, it was easier to spend a few minutes every evening maintaining the cleanliness and this weekend there are just a few must-be-done chores. Even the plants look happier.

I don’t know how long it will last, but for now, the one hour of cleaning has motivated us all to try and keep the mess under control.

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