I started getting sick the day after Cookie Day (so, last Thursday) and seemed to take a long time to kick it. Wednesday was the first day I managed to make and execute a to-do list, mostly of things that involved me sitting at my computer. Yesterday I at last was able to tackle a more physical project and felt driven to do a major clean/purge in the Blessings' rooms.
If you want some encouragement that your house isn't that bad, take a closer look at this Picasa album (complete with notes)! We're not done yet, but we've made a great deal of progress.
One thing that is a constant struggle with having 7 Blessings in two bedrooms is how to manage the "stuff."
I had packed up a lot of the girls' toys a while back in an effort to minimize what they need to deal with on a daily basis. I'd gotten rid of a lot, also. Over the last few months, things that had been packed away have been sneakily making their way out of tubs and back into the bedroom. I didn't realize how bad the situation was until we buckled down for cleanup yesterday. I will need to keep a closer on on things to help them establish some room responsibility.
The boys have the toy shelf in their room that Dad and Mom Smith built for us years ago when we had a designated play area in our basement. The Blessings had just cleaned and rearranged it recently, but I was again amazed to find that, despite our efforts to be sure they "clean their room" each morning, a huge amount of toys and stuff were all over the place in there.
I've seen where moms have made lists for their children that they are responsible to follow for room cleanup, clearly defining what it means to "clean your room." This is something I think I'm going to incorporate, and would welcome any ideas.
I'm also contemplating further reducing the number of toys available at a time. Some thoughts/ideas include:
~ Using only one shelf on the toy shelf in the boys' room at a time.
~ Putting the girls' "out of circulation" toys in the boys' closet and using their closet more for storage. Is removing temptation in this way a cop-out? Or is it giving them an opportunity to earn the privilege of having the tubs back in their room?
I've also petitioned for Barak's guinea pig breeding endeavor to be halted, and to give away/sell either the male or female guinea pigs. It has not been a successful money-making venture, and I would dearly love to gain back the space in the boys' room taken up by the extra guinea pig "pen" (which is a kiddie swimming pool).
The simple fact is, I know very well that the less clutter there is, the easier it is for children to play, use their imaginations, take care of their space, behave themselves happily, etc. When you have seven children in two rooms, the need for less clutter becomes much more critical, and to date I have not found an effective way to accomplish this. But I am determined to find a way.
I appreciate and welcome your input!