Ah, chores. They are such a necessary evil.
It may be hard to believe, but I don’t like to clean.
Instead, I choose to do a tiny bit each day to ensure that I never waste a day cleaning house when I could be out conquering the world.
Or answering email.
I look at it as getting all the Have-Tos over and Done With so there is more time in the day for the Want-Tos.
And trust me. Cleaning never has been nor it ever will be a WANT TO!
Our family has a list of chores that we try our best to accomplish daily. Now that the kids are old enough to help, they do.
When I am sick or am away from the house, the kids and my husband step up and help maintain order in the house.
We’re still real people, and we don’t live in a museum. I’m not going to lead you astray and say that I make sure the following tasks occur each and every day no matter what. I might burst into flames.
and the smoke detector started beeping last week and I haven’t replaced the batteries yet…
I write about The Daily 7 in my household planner for moms — Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life and I have shared these tiny chores with hundreds of thousands of women from all over the world. (probably there were some men sprinkled in there, too! 😉 )
Number 1: Make Beds Right Away
Number 2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry
Number 3: Empty All Garbage Cans
Number 4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
Number 5: Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do the Same
Number 6: Bathroom Wipe-Down
Number 7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up
I have outlined all of these steps in my Clean Less, Play More book in detail.
Make Beds Right Away
The second you climb out of bed in the morning, make it. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have accomplished something at 6am. Teach your children to do the same—if beds are made daily, they don’t get destroyed as easily, and it really takes less than a minute to pull a sheet taught and straighten the comforter. If you haven’t already done so, streamline your bed linen to the bare essentials. There’s no need for 50 decorative pillows or an elaborate stuffed animal collection. Really.
Do One Complete Load of Laundry
A complete load means one that is washed, dried, folded, and put away. I’m not trying to be mean; I’m trying to be realistic. It is no fun to save all the laundry for one day a week and not be able to leave the house. Do a little each day, and you will no longer waste away a beautiful afternoon because you are stuck inside tackling a mountain of clothing. I hate ironing, but have found that if I iron clothes while slightly damp I save a ton of time.
Empty All Garbage Cans
On our honeymoon, Adam promised he would empty the garbage cans every single day without being asked. This hasn’t happened. It actually kind of pisses me off. Instead, the kids help with the wastebaskets in the bathrooms and their bedroom, and I take out the kitchen garbage every morning after emptying the dishwasher. If I fill it again during the day, I put it right in the middle of the kitchen with the recycleables and hope Adam trips over it. I’m kind of mean like that.
Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
I don’t know what it is, but if you put something, anything, into the sink, other pieces of flatware are magically drawn to it and all of a sudden the sink is completely filled and rendered useless. Instead, take the time to put your dirty items into the dishwasher right away, or wash the item quickly by hand. It really doesn’t take that long. Just do it.
Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do The Same
My friend Alison homeschools her nine children. I love Alison. I met her before having children of my own, and she is hands-down my mommy idol. She shared with me once that the secret to parenting is to remember that your goal is to raise capable adults. Chores are not only okay, they are necessary. Model good behavior for your children. Take the time to put your shoes all the way into the closet and hang up your coat. Once you are putting your own things away, your children will be more likely to follow suit.
This is my favorite. I keep a container of disinfectant wipes in the bathroom, and wipe down the toilet (inside and out) every day. If it’s been a particularly um, busy day—I will do it twice. This keeps me from never having to scrub out the toilet with one of those scrubber brush things that I find beyond disgusting. I also quickly wipe down the shower stall and bathroom floor. After showering, use an item from the dirty clothes pile to dry the shower walls and door. This will keep mold and soap scum from accruing. Now use your damp item to quickly mop up the bathroom floor. Dust and hair will disappear and will keep you from needing to mop.
Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up
Before retiring for the night, do a super quick once over the living spaces of your house. Recycle the magazine left on the coffee table, and stack leftover drinking glasses in the dishwasher. Put the couch cushions in order, and fold the blanket. You will wake up much happier each morning if you aren’t greeted to last night’s mess.
and that is it!
YOU CAN DO THIS. 🙂
Learn the Exact Strategies I use to Keep My House and My Family Running Smoothly
(without losing my marbles) by downloading this free cheat sheet for moms. Enjoy!