You Can Have a Clean House While Homeschooling Challenge: Week 1

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It begins slowly.

You’ve run ragged all day. Each kid had a different activity. The baby’s screaming, and you’re done. So you skip cleaning the kitchen.

In the morning you’re still recovering. The kitchen’s a mess, the kids are hungry, and you don’t know where to start.

Laundry can wait for tomorrow.

You Can Have a Clean House While Homeschooling

The next thing you know, your life is out of control. You’re juggling appointments, activities, and homeschooling praying nothing gets dropped.

Kids are diving into a pile of dirty laundry to find a pair of socks to wear.

You feel like a failure.

You want to feel good when you relax in the evening. You’d love to sit down on the sofa and enjoy a lazy afternoon read aloud great books to your kids while sipping a steaming cup of peppermint tea.

Right now you can’t even find the sofa under the mound of clothing, blankets, and pillows!

You want a clean house while homeschooling!

The Secret to Getting Your House Back on Track

The secret to getting your house back on track is to pick one place to start.

You’ll see people recommend cleaning the sink, making the bed, or running one load of laundry. But I start with the dishes.

Yes, the dishes.

Regardless of what else is happening in your life, the family must eat. And eat without getting sick.

Dirty dishes encourage food poisoning, and dirty dishes make it impossible to cook.

Believe me. Nothing is worse than walking into the kitchen to prepare dinner only to have to wash every single pot and pan before you even start.

Then the babies are screaming because dinner is late. The teens are grumpy from hunger pains. You have a raging headache and can’t take another minute.

So you go to bed early and leave the dishes for the morning.

It’s an endless cycle!

So today you are to wash all the dishes!

If you’re lucky, you have a dishwasher. Grab the kids and have them scour the house for dishes. Remember to look under the sofa!

Rinse the dishes if needed and load your dishwasher.

While it’s running, go read a book with your kids, take a walk, enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book.

The moment it’s done, unload the dishwasher and start another load!

And remember to have the kids help you. Your preschooler can sort the silverware, and an older child can put away plates, cups, and mugs.

If you’re like me and don’t have a dishwasher, grab the kids!

Again you’ll want to send the kids looking for missing plates. While they’re searching, fill the sink with hot sudsy water.

You’ll wash. Assign your children to dry and put away the dishes. I usually have an older child drying while the younger kids are putting away the silverware and cooking utensils.

I immediately dry and put away knives myself unless I’m working with one of my teens.

If you have babies and toddlers, either put them in their high chairs with a snack or assign an older child to entertain them.

Heads up: banging pots can be a fun, but noisy, activity to keep tots occupied while you clean!

Wash the dishes in this order:

  • Cups, glasses, & mugs
  • Silverware
  • Dishes
  • Pots and Pans

Soaking dishes and silverware first will help to remove congealed food.

Keep working until you have all the dishes washed, dried, and put away.

On-Going Assignment

Your assignment is to stay on top of the dishes this week.

If you have a dishwasher: load dirty dishes into the dishwasher after every meal and run it after dinner. Put the dishes away as you’re preparing breakfast in the morning.

Don’t run your dishwasher at bedtime. They can catch fire. 

If you wash dishes by hand: wash, dry, and put away the dishes after every meal. And you don’t need to do it by yourself! Grab a child and have them help you. Preschoolers love to help mommy clean the kitchen! Older kids can clean the kitchen by themselves.

Tip: when you start cooking, fill up your sink with soapy water. You’ll find you can stay on top of dirty dishes by washing dishes as you go.

This tip drives my husband batty though. He’ll come in, put down his cup, and turn around to find that I absentmindedly washed it!

Another trick is to fill the sink with soapy water before meals. As kids finish eating and are excused, they quickly wash their dishes and put them in the drying rack.

This works wonderfully with my teenagers. However, my 1st and 2nd graders tend to forget.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Often another glass or two will appear after you’ve finished washing the dishes. After all, kids wander into the kitchen for a glass of water.

Do not move into the kitchen to wash every single dish the moment it’s dirty! Run the dishwasher after dinner and call it good. Hand wash the dishes after every meal and call it good.

Then head into the living room and enjoy a good book and a cup of tea.

You’ve done an awesome job!!!!

>>> Now go wash all your dishes! And be sure to download your weekly checklist!

Don’t forget to check back next week for week 2 of the You Can Have a Clean House and Homeschool Challenge!

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  1. One thing to supplement the dishes thing is to instill the ‘never leave a room empty handed’ rule with EVERYONE. The entire concept is that you never leave the room… well you get it. Dirty tissues, socks that get taken off, full baskets of clothes that just got folded, and so on. If they take dishes from the table (ideally only older kids/teens unless you are having a pizza/movie night or similar) then they must take them back when they are finished. Same with spouses. This will almost completely eliminate the need to search for dishes.

    1. I don’t let my kids eat anywhere outside of dining room anymore! It’s almost a year since I set the rule. After all who wants to run 3 flights of stairs to get plates! Not me.

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