Is chaos how you would describe cleaning and chores in your household? Do you dread cleaning and put it off for "another day"? Read on for some HELP: hope, encouragement, laughter, and a plan.
As I laid down to go to sleep last night, I took a long deep, cleansing breath and felt a sense of contentment about the cleanliness of my home. Now, I know what you are thinking....so let me dispel a couple things:
- I do not have a maid or anyone who is at home full time to clean.
- I am not delusional...well mostly not
- The magical cleaning fairy has not returned by calls, texts, or emails. Ever.
No, the secret here is a concept I dreamed up one night as I was falling asleep or possibly in the shower where all great ideas come to life. This is it: a cleaning schedule. I'm all about organization and schedules, so this was no surprise to my husband. I was ecstatic! We've used this strategy on and off throughout the past few years. The location of our home and members of our family have changed, so by necessity our cleaning schedule has adapted.
I personally love a cleaning schedule for a few different reasons.
- Gives everyone in the home a visual reminder of their responsibilities.
- It gives me a reminder that I am not the only one responsible for managing the house (if you live alone, I give a strategy below). I find this especially helpful on days off when my mind starts drifting to "what do I need to get done next?"
- It builds structure and routine and most importantly responsibility skills. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I love the idea of giving children realistic and manageable chores to develop executive functioning skills (higher level thinking skills needed for adulthood).
- It can be very rewarding to check off a list! Right? I know I'm not the only one who will add things I've already done to a list just for the satisfaction of having it be crossed off.
In schedule 2, you'll see that the letter C (me) has a few more items than M (my husband). We're all a work in progress right? To be fair, I enjoy the satisfaction of having cleaned something much more than my husband. Did you catch that? I enjoy the satisfaction of the cleaning being completed, not the cleaning itself :)
I also have a hard time delegating things so this is a big step to delegate 11 things to my husband...not that I'm counting of course. I also included chores for my toddler son and my dear mother who helps with some chores one day a week.
I included the silly step-by-step directions for how to clean our Keurig and washing machine because I know going to look for the manual is just one more barrier that will prevent me from completing it.
Overall, my detail-orientedness and priorities have changed a bit between the two, but the overall concept has remained the same. This may look like a ton of work to put together, so let me simplify it for you.
- List all the people in your household that can contribute to the cleaning schedule. Don't forget kids! Children as young as two can be responsible for cleaning up toys with some guidance from caregivers and lots of repetition.
- If you live alone, spice things up a bit. Put the name down of the music artist you want to listen to each day while cleaning. That way when it's Saturday and it's time to clean the toilet, just remember it's time for Aretha Franklin to scrub it up! Here's some ideas: cleaning tunes.
- Write down all the rooms in your home and next to each room put down chores that need to be completed. Also include how frequently these chores need to be done. As you can see in my schedule, we vacuum the basement 2x per month and call it good.
- It may seem daunting to put down every chore that needs to be done, but spacing it out throughout the week or month depending on your priorities can make it feel very manageable.
- If you have multiple cleaners, ask them which chores they are okay doing and which ones they strongly dislike. If this is your child's or spouse's first time being responsible for chores, it's likely going to go more smoothly if they are able to give their input into what they are expected to do.
- My husband and I did this and it actually worked out really well. I really dislike emptying the dishwasher and cleaning the toilet whereas he could care less. Washing the dishes every day isn't something I love, but I loathe dirty dishes in the sink and my husband loathes hand-washing dishes.
- Assign the chores per person and per frequency
- Determine how you want to organize your chore list. If you plan to check things off, consider placing it inside a page protector or laminating it and use a dry/wet erase marker.
- Determine incentives if needed to encourage completion (reinforcement of positive behavior promotes positive behavior!)
- Hang it in a very visible place in your home. The fridge is a popular spot for many.
- Start cleaning, one day at a time :)
Hope this helps you to calm the chaos one clean day at a time.
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Caitlyn J. Hanson
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.