Picking Up Around The House
Many years ago, way way back in the last millennium : ) (that sounds impressive doesn’t it?), as a young bride (that sounds depressive – am I really that old?), I read one of the best tips on cleaning and housekeeping.
The woman who wrote it was an older woman and said she had been an awful housekeeper until she asked her friend who had a spotless house what her secret was. Her secret was that she never stopped picking up. No matter where she was walking to and from in her house, she automatically picked things up to take with her and put away. It really works.
Some of you are saying, “My kids and husband just need to pick up their own stuff.” I agree that the family needs to be responsible, but the reality is that kids and husbands have their heads in the clouds when it comes to these things. There could be an elephant in the room and if you ask them, “Why didn’t you pick that up?” they would say, “I didn’t see it there.” Duhhhhh!!
God has given us all different gifts and seeing the things that are out of place is not one He gave to kids and husbands so, in the same way I need them to help do things in the areas where I’m not as gifted I need to help them in their weaker areas. : ) That doesn’t mean they are off the hook when it comes to picking up. It just means I need to do a little extra.
For example, each morning, before anyone gets fed, their rooms must be picked up. Sometimes during the day or evening if things are getting out of control, we have a “pick up” time where everyone jumps in and helps. I usually try to make a game of this. Then at night before their snack and bedtime story the family room and, once again, their rooms get picked up.
I also taught everyone to clean up the bathroom after themselves and take care of all their dirty clothes and dishes so, as you can see, I am not solely responsible for all of the picking up. The type of thing I’m talking about is picking up that stray toy in the corner, that piece of paper or throw pillow on the floor and all those small odds and ends which so often get overlooked or that everyone refuses to claim as his or her own. With those things, it’s not worth the time to wait until the family gets home to demand to know whose it is. It seems everyone in the family is waiting for someone else to do it and then it never gets done. As the mom, you have to just do it and pick it up. It saves so many headaches.
As I walk through a room, let’s say on my way to the bathroom, I will scan the room as I go through to see if anything is out of place. If it is, I pick it up to deposit where it should go on my way to the bathroom. When I come out of the bathroom headed back, I pick up things from in there that need to go to the other end of the house.
Most of the time this takes me less than a minute. It has become such a habit that I didn’t realize how much I did it until I was over at Tawra’s the other day and started doing it at her house. As I was walking along, I spied a marble, then a Lincoln log and grabbed those up… next, a scrap of paper. I put the paper in the trash can that I passed on my way to the boys’ room, where I put the other things. I was headed that way anyway and it didn’t take me 5 seconds to scoop, grab and put away. It is such a habit that, even when I am tired, I do it without thinking.
Try doing this with one room. If the room is mostly picked up go in, scan the room and pick up those little overlooked things and see what a difference it makes in the room. Then get into the habit of always picking up those little “out of place” things. You will be surprised how many little things there are laying around and out of place in your house. One word of warning: Be careful of piles. I have the bad habit of piling things at the foot or top of the stairs and planning to take them up later but that is my weakness – not seeing the pile when I head upstairs – so try to do as I say and not as I do and keep the piles under control.
-Jill, the lean, mean, picking up machine
photo by: whgrad