Summertime and the living is easy ... if your kids are in year-round boarding school, that is.
If not, as moms everywhere know, living gets a lot wilder and dirtier with our little darlings at home all day.
How will you (and your home) survive this constant onslaught of mud, fingerpaints, and toys?
Simple. Set your ground rules for summer now. And stick to them.
Here are the five big ones I enforce in my household to simplify summer cleaning.
When the weather is gorgeous, kids should be outside.
We're not raising moles here. No TV or video games during the day.
That rule alone should minimize toys strewn around the house and simplify summer cleaning, too.
This rule will also minimize in and out traffic - especially if the kids are wearing sneakers they have to take time to lace up each time they want to come and go.
The major culprits in bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms are dust, tracked-in dirt, and clutter.
Easy cleaning tasks for kids who can handle a vacuum and know where things go. Hand out chores for each kid.
No weekend fun till chores are done.
Forget cleaning day: Instead, try cleaning as you go; and further save time by breaking down big cleaning jobs into small tasks tackled daily.
Trash on Monday; bathrooms on Tuesday; kitchens on Wednesday; laundry on Thursday; floors on Friday. And you're off for the weekend!
Figuring out what to cook for dinner occupies too much time and brain power.
At the beginning of each month, ask each family member to write down his or her ten favorite dinners and his/her five favorite lunch and breakfast foods.
Get out your calendar and mark through the days when you're eating out. Then plug in your family's requests for the remaining days.
Now you can shop by the week and make everyone happy - at least for a couple of meals a week.
Practice prevention this summer when it comes to housecleaning and cleaning products. Show kids the safe way to use cleaning products when they go about their chores. Store your cleaning supplies safely out of reach of curious little hands.
Now that you've managed to simplify summer cleaning, you can enjoy summer, too!