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How Do Large Families Keep The Van Clean?

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This week The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are discussing how large families keep their vehicles clean.

I really can't wait to see what the rest of The 4 Moms team says about this one, because, while I am gifted in certain areas - winning staring contests being one - this area is definitely not it.

For instance, I can show you how to get 7 kids buckled up in under a minute, or how to keep 8 kids occupied in the van while on a road trip, but if you have seen the condition of my van recently, you know keeping it clean is a struggle for me.

At one time, I had "van clean-up" on this list of daily chores, which rotated among the older children. For some reason, which I cannot recall, that chore seems to have rotated itself right out the door.

Which I am regretting right about now, just like I regret it every time I happen to take a peek at the back bench seats in the van and say something to the effect of, "WHAT has been going on back here? Are we now a family of raccoons? Are we saving gum wrappers and straw trash for any particular reason? And WHAT in the WORLD is up with all these socks??? NO WONDER we can't find matching pairs!"

Currently, my van cleaning system consists of:

  1. Reminding the kids every time we exit the vehicle to pick up anything that belongs to them.
  2. Freaking out when I am getting the van packed to go on a trip because I realize they haven't been doing #1 above.

But as of this very moment, I am resolved to add "Van Clean Out" back into the chore rotation, because I am remembering far fewer freak outs and raccoon DNA questioning sessions back in the good old days when it was cleaned out daily.

Do you hear me kids? Get ready to pick up those sucker sticks!

Now, come with me to read what the rest of The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids do to keep their vehicles clean:

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  1. Thanks for the laugh this morning! “Are we now a family of racoons?” I’ve definitely said similar things. 😀

    I’m going to have to try having the kids take turns cleaning the Suburban as part of daily–or, at least, weekly–chores. I hadn’t thought to do that. I’ve always thought that it was something I had to closely supervise. Which means, of course, that it rarely gets done. 😉

  2. When I saw this post on FB I was hoping you’d say something like this! Now I don’t feel so bad about my van. :) But we might add it to our chore list too.

  3. If only i could send my two year old out right now to clean the car…except for the fact that he always tries to drive it, he tries to stick the mail key in the keyhole! (I am never showing him the real car key!!!) Anyway it seems the only time I remember to clean out the car….is when my husband has it with him at work. This post also reminded me that no I’m not crazy and the sippy cups have not disappeared….they are in the car. Whoops. Guess I know what to tell people when they ask what my son wants for his first birthday.

  4. Who knew we were twins in this regard? And here I thought you were perfect…;-)

    Our system is identical to yours except we use our van regularly for Boy Scout outings which means I am either frantically cleaning the van or dying of embarrassment about once a month.

    On an up note, it is widely acknowledged that we have the coolest car in the Scout troop because we have a party van.

  5. Jenni Dill says:

    I really think I have a “strict” “IF YOU BROUGHT IT TO THE CAR, YOU BRING IT BACK TO THE HOUSE!” policy… I mean, I yell it every time we get out of the car! But, um… My car is un-sittable at the moment – literally, the kids have to kick stuff out of their way to get to their seats!
    I blame my husband. He’s notorious for carrying load after load TO the car (to be fair, I pack the bags and set out the stuff for him to load), and then when it’s time to get OUT of the car, he suddenly has to go to the bathroom desperately bad or it’s almost time for him to get ready for work, or he’s just picked up the mail and is engrossed in this farm newsletter, or he’s been designated to carry in the sleeping toddler… But, does he come back out and help bring in the rest of the stuff?!?! NO! I make several loads and then finally I give up – “I’ll get it out later tonight.” Yeah, that never happens!!!
    I’ve even put on my “honey do list:” Clean EVERYTHING out of the car. My husband’s mind reads “scrape off the top layer of things from the car, then go watch the Waltons.” :-/
    Luckily, my husband’s teenage sister is somewhat of a neat freak and recently detailed my car for me – FOR FREE!! Shampooed the carpets and everything!!!! It was fabulous! And lasted about three days…

  6. Oh My- my daughter asked why I was laughing hysterically early this morning as I read this. How true this is with most of us even if we can’t admit it! I wish I could say our vehicle has a reprieve since the littles have all grown up, but alas, it’s just different projects and bigger socks now :) I was complaining (and threatening!) just yesterday about the demise of ours and reminded the guys that “You know, REAL people do NOT live like this.” But I was met with stares and rolling of the eyes from my teen guys and the “What’s wrong?” I guess we know the truth now- REAL People in fun, busy families DO have messy vehicles sometimes. Thanks for adding the realness to the start of the day!
    Hugs to you & yours- J
    On a side note- we did detail our rig last week and are challenging ourselves to see how long it can stay organized- with rewards offered and incentives from mom, of course. I’m hoping the stash & trash days may be over with our new maintenance plan.

  7. Agh! I know exactly how you feel. You and I are in the same boat – 8 kids, one van – it ain’t pretty.

    One thing that helps a lot is to say, “Everyone pick up 10 things that do NOT belong in the van” as we’re climbing out. Sadly, yes, there really are that number of things lying around…. But it does help to stay on top of things!

  8. great idea. I loved the racoon thing!