February 4, 2013

Managing the Household Chores

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know household management and I haven't always gotten along so well. I've tried half a million different schedules and plans it seems, and nothing sticks for long, if at all.

Well, to make a long story short, I finally just combined lots of really good advice from Hannah Keeley, The Fly Lady, and a few other household management schedules I came across on Pinterest to create my own.

Housework Schedule for time crunched people

I have a copy of this pinned to my control board that hangs in the kitchen, where I have to pass it a few dozen times a day at least. It's great because there's no need for a daily check list. I just stop by the control board and see what I'm supposed to be doing.

Some things may seem like a lot, but when you keep how often they're done in mind, it's actually not much. Take the fridge for instance. If you clean it once a week, how long does it take? With both Hubby and I working together, we can get it knocked out in fifteen minutes or so. The oven, pantry, closets, and dressers tend to be similar. If you go through them once a month, it's not so  big a deal.

We actually have the bottom of the school room closet free, when it's not holding half-finished artwork like it is now. So we take a bag around as we straighten up the dressers and closets to put donations in and just keep it in that empty spot until it's full. The actual straightening only takes an hour or two, and then it's just a matter of dropping off the donation bag as needed.

Another helpful thing is how much everyone else in the house pitches in. Even at four and six, the girls are perfectly capable of helping out. They make their beds each morning and straighten up their room each night. Boo Bear does the wipe down in their bathroom three days a week using a nontoxic cleaner and the kitchen sweeping after dinner. Sneak helps with the low dusting and saves my bum knees by spot cleaning the kitchen floor after Boo sweeps. All four of us tend the gardening, and Hubby washes his work clothes.

No really, it's right there in the E. house rules posted on the control board for all to see, "Everyone who lives here helps keep the house and yard clean."

Yes, I'm a wife. Yes, I'm a mom. I'm even a stay-at-home-mom. However, if I do absolutely everything for the girls, how are they supposed to learn not only responsibility but how to clean, cook, sew, tend a garden, and make minor household repairs among a thousand other things adults need to know? How am I supposed to keep my sanity while trying to maintain our home by myself, homeschool them, and run a business for that matter?

And true, some of the rules may seem a bit harsh. Take a minute to think about it though. I read these rules out to the girls on a regular basis, especially on days they want to whine about doing one thing or another. It's the hearing that's the thing. If they know fighting over it will cost them their toy, they're much more willing to talk out a way of sharing. If they're reminded leaving their toys all over the house will get them thrown away, you'll be amazed how quickly they start putting them away. It only took having a couple toys chunked in the trash and a handful being donated when the control board first went up to get the point across.

Now for that last rule, the girls know this just applies to drama and tantrums. If they're actually hurt or upset, they get their hugs and snuggles. Once again, the reminder's the thing. That's not to say I haven't asked, "Are you bleeding?" when one of them goes into a drama fit. On the contrary. They know the rules well enough by now for that question alone to be a reminder.

Anyway, after the damage done to the house by the holiday season and the cold that would not die has been repaired through Keeley's 30 Day Decluttering Challenge, I'm going back on this tried and true household management schedule. It's tailored to our family, but it's easily adapted.

The real question is, how can I manage stocking the store better in 2013 than I did in 2011 and 2012? I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of preparing for holidays three to four months in advance, and after last year's three week fiasco in preparing for Con Kasterborous last minute, I'm starting preparations in mid-March this year.

What about you? What are your household management tips and tricks?

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