Here are some tips I’ve used over the years to help me keep control over the state of the house. Many of these tips take cooperation between all members of the household. If your household members aren’t willing to help, you’ve got a whole other problem.
*Assign Dish Days – If your children are old enough to do dishes, let them take some responsibility for them. If your family members are at home all day, then give them the whole day. If they are home only in the evenings, give them a turn washing supper dishes each week.
*Make a list of chores that have to be done each day in order for your home to look its best, and then assign those chores to family members daily. Example: my list could look like this:
trash out – mom
floors swept – daughter #2
clean clothes folded and put away – son #3
bathroom cleaned – mom
After I make my list, I assign those chores to a family member and that family member is responsible for that chore all week, or all year. We swap up chores here twice a year.
*Put it away. Make sure your family members learn to put away all personal items and all items they have been using. This will save a ton of stress if you can teach yourself and your family to do this. You’ll have to stay on them while they are learning.
*Get rid of STUFF that isn’t necessary. We are in the process of this right now. We’ve been uncluttered for years but the STUFF piles up and has to be purged every now and then. Less STUFF means less to clean, organize, store and step over.
*Get rid of some TOYS. When we had all 5 children at home in a small house we required them to get rid of toys. But we were heartless about it. I allowed each child a certain size Rubbermaid container to keep toys in. Once the container was filled, they had to get rid of everything that would not fit into the container. We used some pretty big containers, I think they were 64 quart size. Each child could fill their container and give away the rest. They chose what to keep.
*Keep all toys and personal items in bedrooms. If you are blessed enough to have a play room, keep the toys in there. Only very small babies are allowed a toy basket in the living room in our home. Once the child is walking, her toys have to be kept in her room. Of course the children can bring their toys out of their room, but the toys have to be taken back at the end of the day and stored in the child’s room.
One good way to teach family members to keep their personal items picked up is to have a 10 Minute Tidy in the afternoon. We have our 10 Minute Tidy at 4 pm. We all works fast and hard for 10 minutes picking up personal items and cleaning up small messes.
After a while, you may see that you have a child who just won’t get with the program. What I have done in the past is to tell the child that if his personal items are not picked up and put away in X number of minutes, I will confiscate those items and they will be tossed. I know that seems hard, but sometimes it is the only thing that will speak to a child. Everyone can learn to pick up their own things, some children are just more stubborn than others and need a harder tactic.
*Help older children understand that your home is a reflection of all of you. If the house is a disaster, it reflects no only on mom but on every one who lives there because able-bodied people who are responsible and mature, help to keep their home in order.
In line with this thinking, don’t allow your children to have guests if they haven’t been willing to keep the house in order. And don’t encourage a flurry of cleaning so that a guest can come, encourage daily cleaning and organizing habits so that the house is always pretty much ready for guests. Bring to your family’s attention how much less stress and fewer arguments occur when the house is organized and clean.
*Get a regular routine going. Routines are essential to keeping an orderly home. Routines help you get your work done faster and help you work more efficiently. For more information on routines, check this article.
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