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Cleaning up after tornadoes (aka, your kids)

July 25, 2011

With the recent devastation to Alabama and Georgia from the tornado systems, we are reminded of the number of times we hear (mostly) mom clients refer to their kids as tornados. And it doesn’t seem to matter how young or old the kids are, especially if they leave a mess in their wake.

The kid mess seems like a special brand of “mess”. You know you can hire a professional cleaning service if you want, but you aren’t sure you can get the clothes and toys and books up off the floors, the laundry put away, the week-old dishes out of the sink before the cleaning specialists come over, right?

We hear that a lot. So what are your options?

Option #1: The Chore Chart Method

chore-chartWell, you could make a chore chart and reward the kids for accomplishing their chores like

  • put dirty laundry in the hamper
  • make up your bed
  • load the dishwasher

We like Jeri’s Organizing & Decluttering News for the latest tips in keeping all your stuff in its place.

Then as they incorporate these basics into their routine, change the chores to include tasks of increasing cleaning and sanitizing importance, like dust the wood furniture with a specific product, sweep the floors, vacuum, and so on  until you have taught them which product and technique go with each type of cleaning task. Soon, you’ll have them cleaning the house every Friday after school…well, at least that’s how my mom taught me.

Option #2: Bedtime Reading about Cleaning Up

We recently started thinking about how we—veterans of the professional cleaning industry—can start teaching our young kids “the biz,” so to speak. Now with potty training, we read some books with the kids to get them used to the idea of using the bathroom instead of their diapers.

imageMost of what’s available for kids are stories about picking up the toy room, putting dirty laundry in the hamper, and making up the bed rather than dusting, sweeping, sanitizing, and disinfecting. But it’s a great place to start, and Amazon has an eclectic selection, from dinosaurs to the Berenstain Bears, to Clifford the Big Red Dog to Curious George.

Option #3: Maid and Butler Services

Did you know that a LOT of professional cleaning services either have or can refer you to a partner service for maid and butler services—yep, dishes, laundry, even ironing!

Imagine not having to spend a whole day just on your kids’ laundry. We’ve seen it, the eight piles of laundry made in one week by a family with three kids. Do a little math, and you’ll realize that laundry takes approximately 9 hours to run through the entire washing and drying routing. And THEN you have to fold it and put it away.

Now, if you had a maid service doing even half of that laundry, you’ve just given yourself back half a day of your life. That’s two whole days a month you can add back to playing at the beach in the summer or snowball fights in the backyard in the winter!


Even if you can’t or don’t want to have a maid service come in but once a month for a day, we know how much of a treat that can be. Though we clean up for a living, we sure do enjoy when someone else does it for us once in a while!

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