Pick-up is kept fast and easy for both the kids and me. There are several places to quickly stash toys in the main living areas. The older kids have large containers to hold different categories of toys. A little extra motivation was needed to help the older kids put away what they got out before the mess became overwhelming, so I instigated a confiscation program. If things are left on the floor in the bedroom, in the office, or on the counter in the kitchen overnight, they become mine to give to charity. So far, with very few reminders or warnings, I haven't had to confiscate anything. Each child has one major responsibility for each year they have aged. These chores include cleaning bathrooms, gathering laundry, putting laundry away, dusting, helping with dishes, and sweeping the floor. It's amazing how helpful an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old can be.

My house would still not pass a white glove inspection. But I'm not ashamed when people drop by unexpectedly, and there is no longer a mad dash of cleaning when scheduled guests are coming. Friends and relatives have complimented me on my housekeeping abilities, and that encourages me that God is being my strength in an area of weakness. However, writing this has been convicting, because I am sitting at my disorganized, cluttered desk. I know the master bedroom closet could also use some attention, so I guess I'd better go get to work! 

Originally ublished on April 20, 2009

Cindy Puhek resides in Colorado Springs with her husband and 4 homeschooled children (with baby number 5 due to arrive this summer).  She earned a BS and MA in chemistry and taught college and high school classes before realizing God's highest calling for her was making a home for her family.  Visit Cindy's blog at www.HSEBlogs.com/cindy.

This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr 2009 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Get more great homeschooling help by downloading our FREE 8-page report entitled "The Secret to Homeschooling Freedom" by visiting http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com/resources/report.htm