Organizing Housework: How to Organize Family Chores with Kids
Who has time to clean?
As a full-time working wife and mom of three, I’ve often struggled with keeping up with the demands of housework. Hiring out housecleaning services would certainly be my first choice, but it doesn’t fit in our tight budget. Instead, I’ve learned some tips for organizing the housework to fit our busy lifestyle.
Over the years I’ve tried several different systems to help me keep up with the house. I’ve tried to do it all in one evening during the week; I’ve used the weekends to catch up on all the cleaning; and I’ve tried getting my husband and kids in on the chores.
No matter what I tried, however, I found that none of those housecleaning methods worked in and of themselves.
Can you relate?
When I tried cleaning the house one night a week, something would inevitably come up that night, and then everything would get pushed back another week. When that happened, the amount of work would be so great the second week, and then I would be too overwhelmed to even start. I’m sure that other busy moms will relate to my struggles.
Trying to do all of my housework on weekends didn’t turn out much better. After working all week, then cleaning all weekend, I found that I had little time to relax or enjoy my days off. Besides what mom wants to spend her entire weekend working on all the household chores? I can’t tell you how many times I would have rather been outside playing with the kids but felt overburdened by the amount of work inside.
Recruiting my husband and kids in on the housecleaning action certainly seemed like the best plan of all. This however, came with the same road blocks. Someone would have something scheduled, the ball would drop, and everyone would end up upset. And then the house still wasn’t clean! This system didn’t just frustrate me, but frustrated my family as well.
What worked for me
The best approach that I’ve found for my family has been an intentional combination of the three. Instead of one designated night a week, however, one household area is scheduled to be cleaned each evening. This system requires some planning and organization, but the results are well worth the effort.
For example: Mondays would be kitchen cleaning night. Everyone pitches in to wipe down the counters and stove, sweep and mop the floor, and make sure everything is put away. Everyone working together for a short period of time is much easier to handle than trying to get everyone to clean the whole house. The following day, would then be to clean the living room and so forth.
Weekends work into this organization as well. Saturdays are for grocery shopping, catching up on laundry or finishing any tasks that may have not been completed. Sundays, however, are reserved for recreation and relaxation.
This method of housecleaning keeps the large tasks manageable and isn’t too much of a burden for anyone – including mom! Organizing the process early spreads out the chores and gives mom some help and some time to relax.
Try these helpful housework tips
- Make a chart so everyone knows what room gets cleaned each day. Keep in mind practice and activity schedules ahead of time so that you aren’t setting up your child to fail.
- List out the assigned responsibilities for each room. This will help everyone be clear on what’s expected of them.
- Purchase convenience cleaning products. Swifter dusters and toilet brush wands are a lot easier and more fun for the kids to use.
- Dole out laundry responsibilities as well. My youngest learned how to do her own laundry when she was eight. Before that, she was still responsible to put her own laundry away.
- Try to complete one load of laundry each day of the week. This will prevent laundry overload on the weekends.
- Reward their efforts. Treat a job well done with an ice-cream cone or a special meal. Develop incentive programs for great attitudes and extra efforts. We use a bonus point system.
- Give each family member a night off during the week. We all deserve a break.
- Create and follow through with consequences. In my house, if it’s your day to empty the dishwasher and it’s not done by a certain time, then you have to empty it and load it after dinner.
- Be flexible. No one will clean quite as well as you do, but having the help is well worth it. If the job is done very poorly, then teach them how to do it right. For the most part, I leave it – it’s better than it was. I only go back and give something “the mom touch” if we are having company. I want them to be proud of their work.
Balancing a career, housework, and family responsibilities isn’t easy. Keep in mind that the charts and schedules are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Your own organization will look differently depending on your family and your home. Encourage your family by rewarding their efforts with plenty of praise and affection. We busy moms need all the help we can get!
Be sure to vote this up if you found it helpful or if you can relate! Add your own tips, tricks, and frustrations with housecleaning in the comment section below. I'd love to hear from you!