My stress level tends to be highest right around dinner time- the kids and I are all cranky and hungry, we have been playing all day, so the house is a mess, which makes me more irritable, and so on and so forth.
For several years, I had tried various ideas of keeping the house clean, with maybe a week of success, then I would start forgetting, and get nothing done again, or get really annoyed all day long with the kids for making messes and not cleaning them up.
I am still far from perfect, and there are LOTS of days when Daddy still walks into a messy house. BUT- I finally found a method that we have been using for about a year that works! We call it "Power Hour".
We do Power Hour immediately after dinner, and everyone is supposed to help clean until the house is tidy. The hardest part of Power Hour, no question, is getting the kids to help. It is so much faster and easier if I do it all, but then the kids keep making more messes and I get seriously annoyed, and they learn no responsibility.
So Power Hour started out with me doing hand over hand with Chelsea (and sometimes her brother, but he got it pretty quick), every day, putting her clothes in the laundry basket, cleaning up her toys, etc.
Last night was the most successful Power Hour we ever had, and it was very encouraging! Chelsea put all the books into the bookcase, vacuumed, put clothes into the washer, washed the table, and made her bed.
Her brother took out the trash, folded a load of laundry, and helped load the dishwasher.
No, none of their completed jobs would be professional. Yes, the books were put in horizontally rather than vertically, and the folded laundry was mostly inside out, BUT they are learning that in our family, we work together to keep the house clean! And I am very proud of each of them for it!
On top of that, I can enjoy my evenings after the kids are in bed rather than clean constantly and get really resentful.