Saturday mornings on Beck's Bounty start early .... breakfast and prayer, dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed, faces clean ... junky clothing REQUIRED. Then we turn on some music.
We start upstairs where there are the children's bedrooms and a bathroom, and a foyer area. We all work together, sorting toys and stripping beds (washing and remaking later in the day) .... we clean windows (inside and out as ours "flip" in - what a great feature !) .... we dust and use a drymop for cobwebs (these seem to be MOST prevalent in this old house) .... we clean out and straighten closets and dresser drawers, toy bins, and shelves .... and in the end we sweep and MOP the floors. The result - sparkling clean rooms. After this, we put away all of the clean laundry (childrens and bathroom towels) ... and then we scrub the bathroom. TA DA !!
Next, we have a mid-morning snack ... to keep our energy UP. We tackle each room downstairs in the same manner ... TOGETHER ... deep cleaning every crevice and crack, dusting, putting "left" things away, scrubbing trashcans, cleaning out under furniture cushions, dusting and de-cobwebbing, cleaning windows .... this takes the rest of the morning and usually finshes around lunchtime with 1 more room left to do ... the kitchen.
So we have lunch .... and turn the music volume up a bit (and maybe select music that is a bit "faster" to keep us going) .... we rest for a little while (30 min or so) ... and then we dive into CLEANING THE KITCHEN. This includes cleaning out the refrigerator, scrubbing appliances, cleaning out and straightening drawers and cabinets, wiping down inside and outside cabinets, scrubbing exterior doors .... the WORKS, which ends ultimately with sweeping and really SCRUBBING the floor.
And then, usually around 1-2pm, we go outside ... to gather debris and trash, to put toys & bikes away, to sweep the porches and clear cobwebs from the outside of the house. This part takes usually 15 minutes at the most ... the children are HIGHLY motivated at this point to work hard to the finish because it is the LAST ITEM on our TO DO LIST.
By mid-afternoon the house (and yard) is IMMACULATE .... then all we have to do is "maintain" it through the week by picking up after ourselves and putting things away after dinner (our chore time). This leads to a nice clean house nearly all week, other than a bit of "school" clutter that happens daily. This lessens our load daily considerably, and enables us to be more active with church and school and other activities. Our hard work and DISCIPLINE on Saturday mornings brings FREEDOM through the rest of the week.
Why do we do this ?? Because as the older women will tell you ... Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Order in our home enables us to DO more ... this order and cleanliness creates FREEDOM for us as a family and as individuals. Also, this is a HUGE house (6000 sf ??) ... but even in smaller homes we have lived in, it was critical that we all work together, and that each child learn the skills of basioc housekeeping so that someday they will be prepared to care for their own homes. BTW - this is NOT just a skill we are teaching our 2 daughters, but rather to EACH of our 6 children. DadToCherubs is great to pitch in and help, mostly through the week though as he sleeps on Saturdays (he works nights) until around 3-4pm. And lastly, this Mom thrives in an orderly environment ... and the other old saying is "If Mamma ain't happy, then nobody is happy." I find that working as a team makes the project easier (a great life lesson !), and that through the years the children are ultimately MORE careful to put things away as they do not want a total disaster to clean up on Saturdays (or at evening chore times when they are to straighten things up in their designated area to "maintain" our hard work from the past Saturday) .... the secret to motivating them is that after the cleaning is COMPLETELY finished, it is PLAY TIME .... FREE TIME .... or sometimes we go out for an outing as a family - to the lake, or shopping, or even occassionally ot to dinner.
Our Saturday Morning Routine finally became a HABIT ... and through it we work toward DISCIPLINE (of self) and ORDER .... all of which are critical life skills that we feel our children (and ourselves too) cannot live without.
One other benefit - there is little to no panic when a visitor stops by unannounced ... or when, after church on Sunday someone says "we were planning to stop in to see you this afternoon" ... the house is already in good order (or very close to it).