Yes, it’s a quote from a Barney song. It used to work for my oldest daughter a long time ago. She would have a little friend over and somehow, they managed to take out every dress up thing, plastic piece of food, Lego, puzzle piece and doll. It was mess. Right before the little girl’s mom was expected, I would go down to the basement and we would all sing that (stupid) song and clean up. It actually worked. If I sang it now, the kids would all stare at me or roll their eyes and say “MOMMMMMM! Stop it!”

Spring cleaning is always a pain around here. First of all, if it is spring, I would rather be outside and not cleaning out a closet. Secondly, I don’t have several free days that I can devote to going through closets, cabinets and shelves. If I told my kids that they needed to spend all day going through their room getting rid of the things that don’t fit, that are broken or that are not used, the cries could be heard as far as this blog will reach. It wouldn’t get done right because they would all be in a hurry. I can’t blame them. It’s not a fun job for me, either.

So my solution is this. The other day, I went around the house and wrote down all the areas I wanted cleaned out – DVD’s, pantries, under beds, under sinks, etc. I broke down “closets” into specific things – shoes, pants, shirts – and did the same to all the drawers. Armed with a full cup of coffee, I opened a blank calendar from Microsoft Publisher. I made three calendars for my kids and one for myself. Everyday they have to do one or two things from my giant spring cleaning list. In addition, they have their daily chores, which take less than 10 minutes. The spring cleaning chore takes between 5 and 15 minutes. Less than a half hour per day is not too much to ask. I spend more time in the car per child every day as the chauffeur.

We are into day five of my calendar and we are doing pretty good. Everyone knows what is expected of them as the calendars are hanging on a bulletin board in the laundry room. If you have stuff to do after school, you better get it done before you leave in the morning. If you don’t get your stuff done, you have to finish it the next day plus whatever is scheduled for that day AND an additional chore. Yes, I am becoming an even meaner mom. I don’t want this project blown off as one of mom’s crazy ideas.

I don’t apologize for making my kids pitch in. I am pretty sure they don’t want me to decide which items are broken, don’t fit and are no longer used. I did that when they were younger. I ended up throwing out this stupid star shaped stuffed toy that (I thought) my daughter never played with. She was crushed when she couldn’t find it the next day. After that, I sat in their rooms with them and went over every item. What a pain that was! My kids are pack rats!

As we are cleaning things out, they are going in one of three places – garbage, donated or eBay. I’m not saving things for a garage sale. I am trying to get rid of things NOW and it will be a long time before our two plus feet of snow melts. Besides, I don’t have 2 1/2 days to sit at the sale, plus the time to haul it all to the garage, price and then box for donating when it doesn’t sell. However, in just five short days of clean up, I have made over $50.00 on eBay, filled two boxes and three bags for donation and threw out two bags of garbage.

Now if I could only clean out my email accounts….