So, I feel like this one is kind of to each his or her own. It kind of depends on your personality. For me I have become more of a neat freak the more kids I have had. I think its the irony of the more kids you have the less control you have hence you crave it so much more. Ironically, I feel like I pick up and work all day, but if anyone ever just "pops in" I realize I actually just live in a pig stye. Thanks kids. Thanks. I have developed a few habits over the years that have made all the housework a little more manageable. Since we homeschool I'm at home most of the day with the mess making humans so these hacks may look a little different than they would in your home, but here goes.....
1. Just keep swimming
Like I said, their are many days that I feel like I sweep, and wipe, and gather, and fold and wash dishes and clean up toys and on and on and on. This can be so defeating and infuriating. In our house we try to pick up a bit throughout the day. The goal is to eat breakfast, clean up from that, make sure everyone is dressed and their beds are made and all the clothes involved with sleeping are taken care of. Then we start our day. Between school and the most destructive two year old on the planet the downstairs is generally destroyed by lunch. I usually make lunch, everyone helps clean up lunch and all the kids are directed to clean an area. Naps/rest time/playing outside/afternoon activities come home make dinner and more mess. Basically, as best you can do a little bit throughout the day to get on top of life so it's not so overwhelming at night.
2. Empty your sink
I don't know why, but, for me, having a clean kitchen makes me feel like my house is cleaner. I try to clean the kitchen after each meal. This may not be your thing or it may not be feasible, but for me it's life. If you can't clean the kitchen after each meal i would try to get it clean after dinner. Starting the day with a sink of dirty dishes literally makes me want to crawl back in bed and hide. I can't.
3. Gather and stage
Some nights, I just can't adult anymore, but I also know myself. My days are so full and the messes seem to grow exponentially if I let them, so, if I don't have the energy to pick up each room after everyone goes to bed I will walk around with a clothes basket and fill it with whatever doesn't belong in that room. Go to each living area and do this. You can empty the basket whenever (Its prob best to do it before you have 37 baskets full, but whatevs, you do you), but to have each room picked up and ready for the next day can be a game changer mentally.
4. Storage containers are life
While I love a well decorated house and organization when you have littles that play and disorganize on the daily cute little shelves to display all the things isn't realistic. We found some awesome benches at target that we store all the downstairs toys in. In the kids rooms we have the classic ikea storage shelves with the fabric containers. Every child knows how to pick up all the toys and load them in whatever container is their. In my pinterest world I'd love to have each bin labeled and everything perfectly organized, but that is not realistic. I'm happy if each kid picks up their area and gets the correct crap in the correct bin. We even got rid of the boys dressers and set up giant tupperware bins designated for t shirts, shorts, pants, etc. Makes life so much easier! To have everything in one space and to be able to shut the container and have your room look less cluttered is, again, a game changer mentally.
Storage bins from target for the living room. "Rustic" bins for the boys room. aka boys are slobs and don't care.
5. Purge, Purge, Purge
My kids know when i get that twinkle in my eyes they best hide anything they love cause momma's about to throw away all the things. I HATE CLUTTER. Kids LOVE clutter. It's great fun. I usually try to purge every 3 or 4 months. I go in each room, dump out the bins and throw away or give away whatever is broken or the kids haven't played with since the last purge. It's amazing how much seven humans can accumulate in such a short time. While I'm purging I try to think, if keeping whatever I'm debating giving/throwing away will enhance my life or will it just be something else that will make more work. Less is more with a lot of humans. I'm no minimalist, but their is something euphoric about dropping bags and bags of stuff to donate and and walking into your newly purged, organized room. Doing this regularly makes the job so much easier.
Seriously, the bane of my existence. Now, my mother in law can't watch me do laundry because it makes her twitch. It's something I have chosen to not be great at. I can't. If I were, it would be all I do. This will vary so much depending on how many people are in your house. For me, our laundry room is upstairs. I've tried bins in each room for dirty laundry, it just doesn't work for us, so now, I keep a hamper in our laundry room and the kids know that all the dirty clothes go there. To be really honest, I load the washer throughout the day, as long as it's not towels, it goes in. When it's full I start the load. I usually do one to two loads a day. Most days I swear we're going to join a nudist colony because where the heck do all those clothes come from!?! I try to do it every day. Again, getting behind can be such a mind game. Clay is awesome and often, if I can't get to fold the load during the day, he will do it when he gets home while he watches t.v. Here's the kicker, I try to put the clothes away right away. If I don't it just builds like the leaning tower of Pisa and makes me want to hide....again. I just try to do it quickly and it's one less thing for the next day.
7. Take a breath
Even with all of this, and the daily fight to stay on top of life, I can't. I will never get it all done. Their will always be messes, something to organize, something to clean. I cannot let my list rob me of my joy. i cannot let my list cause me to miss the moments in the day that are important. I think that the more organized you can be the more you can enjoy things, but that only goes so far. Remember to take a breath and stop. Stop and rest. Stop and enjoy what is in front of you. Stop and enjoy your people. And remember, we are all in the trenches with you!