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Send them to OurAmericanStories.com. They're some of our favorites. We're about to hear from Alexandra Frost.
Alexandra is here to share how she and her husband figured out how to keep a spotless home with four sons with what they call the 10 things rule. I know you're curious. I am. And I have one daughter.
Let's take a listen. We have four sons. They are seven, five, three, and we have a three month old. And people always ask us if we are, quote, trying for a girl.
And I'm like, well, clearly data has shown that's not in the cards, but we're not sure if we're done having kids or are going to have more. But we're having a lot of fun with having our four sons. Their ages are kind of fun because they're close together. So they're really good friends and they enjoy hanging out with each other.
And they also wrestle and, you know, act crazy at times, but there's always some action going on. Right at the beginning of our marriage, we had our first son and it was very chaotic. We had a lot of baby toys around. We had a dog and a cat at the time.
There were pet toys around. So there was just crap all over the floor, basically all the time. It was chaos in the beginning, but we knew we kind of wanted to live that way and have a lot of kids and a lot of commotion and a lot of fun. Together, after the third one, we lived in a smaller starter home and we had three people's worth of stuff. Plus my husband's and my stuff everywhere.
And it just felt very cluttered. My husband will admit he's got a touch of OCD for sure. You know, messes like that toy messes didn't ever really bother me. I'm like, oh, we have a lot of kids. They like to play.
They're having fun, enjoying their childhood, but they would definitely get under his skin. And he would feel kind of stressed in his home environment, which, you know, it's kind of like, oh, he's kind of stressed in his home environment, which, you know, nobody wants to feel that way. So we had to get a little smarter with organizing. We tried different things. Like I would walk around at night and pick things up for everybody or my husband and I would do that. And it, you know, it was a lot for any one person to take care of all these people's things that didn't work out too well, because, you know, we're all tired.
It was 10 PM. We didn't want to clean the whole house right then. And it also wasn't really teaching the kids any sort of responsibility. We'd also tried some of that, minimalizing, getting rid of stuff, which is helpful, but it wasn't still, wasn't really solving the problem of just getting stuff off the floor and where they should be. Also, we were noticing we'd come home from something and feel like we were walking back into chaos as opposed to like coming home and having our house be this safe haven where it was calm and relaxing. So we'd get home from something that was stressful because we had three or four kids at the time and we wouldn't be able to just kind of relax. So it was a little overwhelming.
We didn't really have the system for that many people in our house set up yet. And we were just kind of confused on how to proceed. So the 10 things rule came about because I was noticing at transitions between things, that it was a natural time for us to kind of do a quick pickup instead of us leaving everything until the evening, like we had before.
So we'd be, you know, about to leave for a soccer game. And there was this kind of like five minutes where my older kids were just like running around, not really helping do anything because I was getting the baby ready to go or we were packing lawn chairs or whatever it was. And so I noticed they could be kind of doing something at that point to help. So we started the 10 things rule. Actually, I don't think it started with 10. It might've been like five when they were real little. And I was just like, Hey, pick up five things on this playroom floor thinking, having a little bit more help instead of doing a whole house clean all the time. And also like five to 10 things was helpful for the real little kids.
Like my two year old can pick up five things in like 30 seconds. It did not work right away. They thought it was stupid.
They did not want to try. They wanted to just run around like little banshees and not, and not help that's kids. I mean, they definitely cheat the rules sometimes. Like one of my kids will slow play it.
And while the other kids are picking up 10 things, he's done like two and he's played with a few toys in the meantime and is kind of just rolling around on the floor, looking busy. So there's definitely some more competitive personalities and lazy personalities amongst them, but it was pretty normal for them to banter and see who was the fastest. And then after a while, I feel like it became part of their normal process and we just kept pushing it. And it helped that it was multiple transition through the day. So it wasn't just something we were trying once a week.
It would be before every meal, before we left. And after a while, they just kind of started doing it without me pushing them to do it, or they would start racing each other and thought it was funny, or they'd yell at one of their other siblings that wasn't helping. Cause they only picked up two things. So quickly we realized three kids who can help that's 30 items.
And you think you don't have 30 items on the floor, but if you have six people, you definitely do like, even if it's just a pillow that fell off the sofa or something like that. They started to do it other places. So they would be like visiting their grandma or they'd be at the neighbor's house. And I started seeing some of their neighbor friends do it at our house. Their friends that come over for play dates, like they all know the 10 things rule too. So the kids weren't very surprised that at the end, we asked them to clean up and they all do 10 things. So it was helpful because we weren't leaving play dates at our house or other places with a total disaster zone. You don't know you're agitated cause there's stuff everywhere until you actually fix it.
And then you're like, wow, I feel so much lighter. We have so much less stuff. It's not all on the floor. It's crazy.
I'm actually like looking at their player right now. And there's, there's one stuffed animal minion on the ground, but other than that, there's literally nothing on the ground, which is pretty impressive for how it used to be. At least if that's something that people have that feeling like they're drowning in clutter or they can't just move around freely in their house.
Cause they're going to trip over like a toy dinosaur, you know, which is reality for a lot of people. I think that that rule could work for them. I also really liked that it teaches the kids responsibility for their own stuff and taking care of putting them back is helping them just to appreciate their stuff more and also to be more independent kids and know that there's not someone around like picking up after them all the time. So I like that aspect too. I feel like there's kind of a lesson in that. It started helping me be more aware too of it's not just the kids. Like I leave stuff places. So it helped me to kind of watch myself too, to be an example. And a special thanks to Madison for the production on that piece and to Alexandra Frost, go to www.alexandra-frost.com and hear more fun stories and ideas about keeping sanity in your home by getting and having an organized home. And for many of us who are OCD types, count me as one. It just makes you happier to see some kind of cleanliness in order.
Imagine trying to do that with four boys. Kudos to Alexandra and her husband, Alexandra Frost's story here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.
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