It can be so difficult to find time to clean the house properly. My husband and I both work full time (and then some), but we still try to keep evenings and weekends free of major housework. One of the best advice I've been given is to get a babysitter to come round one or two afternoons a week and play with my son while I do some housework. I tried this for a while and now that our second one will be here soon I'm thinking of doing it again. I actually went ahead the other day and googled something like "quick housecleaning tips" and found a few I'd like to share:
Clean up while you cook. Put away the flour/sugar/seasoning as soon as you've finished using it. If you only used a measuring cup to measure flour, you can just wipe the inside with a (clean) damp cloth and put it away. Put used bowls and plates straight in the dishwasher, you'll have less clutter and more space to cook and bake. You'll also enjoy your food better if the kitchen is clean and tidy-ish while you eat!
Let the kids help out. The older ones can help do the dishes and laundry, but they don't have to be very big to help out. The other day after we'd had rice with dinner it was all over the floor (as those of you who have ever had a two year old over for dinner will know all about) and when I was getting ready to hoover it all up my son wanted to play with the hoover. I just let him do that and he hoovered almost all the rice, one at a time, while I finished doing the dishes!!!
Try to get some things done before you leave in the morning (can be very difficult when you're trying to get the kids and yourself ready to leave on time). I try to clear some of the dishes while my son eats breakfast, you can take the garbage out with you when you leave the house, and it's always a good habit to make the bed as soon as you get up. It helps a lot to not find everything a mess when you come home from work and need to start getting dinner ready.
When the kids are in the bath (if they're big enough that you don't have to hold on to them while they're in the tub), you can get ready to go out. My son has reached the age where I can now take a shower while he's in the bathroom with me playing with the water in the sink or some toys. When I get out I'll put him in the bath while I get ready, comb my hair and put on some make-up. This only works on the weekends though, I'm not about to start giving him a bath every morning before taking him to daycare.
This is the best one I think, I did this just tonight. Again, it's about bathtime. While the kids are in the bath, clean the whole bathroom! Just hoover before they get in (if the like to splash, like my son), and you now have plenty of time to shine your sink and do all the rest. The fantastic thing about this is that they can stay in the bath for as long as they want, so you can skip the hassle of getting them out.
Some people have a fixed routine for when to do what, but that doesn't work for us. I can never know if I'll have time (or the energy) to clean the whole house every Thursday and do the week's shopping every Friday like my parents do, but if it works for you, it's an excellent idea!
This is the room in our house we spend the most time in. It´s where we read, watch TV, work on the computer, build Lego forts with our son and just chill out.
We've almost been living in our flat for a year now, and I still can't decide what to do with this wall. I know I want it to be a gallery wall, but exactly how I hang the pictures (and what pictures to hang), I don't know. I have the two big pictures, the red one, which is a poster I bought at the Saatchi Gallery in London and had framed, and the one with the two ballerinas which my best friend painted and gave me when I graduated from Uni. I also want to hang smaller pictures, photos of my family, my son's artwork, my own drawings... and so on. Anyone have any helpful hints? I don't know whether to hang the large pictures somewhere else and just have the smaller ones here, or whether I can combine the two. I've also contemplated putting up a couple of long IKEA Lack shelves to organise smaller bits and have maybe just the big red one hanging to the side of the shelves... I keep going in circles, please help!
It seems toys are everywhere in our house. Before I had kids, I thought this would be something that would bother me. I envisioned loud garish plastic toys, Legos everywhere (particularly exactly where I would put my foot down - literally) and, for some strange reason, cheese filled musical instruments. But you know what, I think toys are cool! At least they can be. Legos are fun. Our friends and family seem to like us, because they haven't given George any squeeky or otherwise loud parent torturing machines. The only toys he has that make a sound are musical instruments, which I don't mind. And some of them also look totally cool. Like this cute little Elmo my parents got him on a trip to the states recently.
There he is, trying to hide behind a green bucket full of other toys.
Last summer our cousin came to stay with us for a couple of monts. We don't have a guest bedroom so he stayed in George's room. He always sleeps in our bed, so that wasn't a problem, and we took most of his toys and gave them their own place in the living room. We had an old teak coffee table that we used for this, we put books, jigsaw puzzles, cars and such on top of it, and underneath went the green buckets containing Legos and other assorted things. George was obviously thrilled with this arrangement, and we were actually quite happy too!
What I really like about this is that the piece of furniture holding it all together isn't a designated nursery piece. This could be used in a kid's bedroom too.