September 12, 2007

The Key To A Spotless House


My kids, probably like most, hate to do chores. But you know what? In this house we all pitch in. The whining and complaining and fighting though, over who is doing less and who is doing more is enough to send me into a dark corner with a spoon and a pint of cookie dough ice-cream.

One day during early summer I decided to try a different approach. The yard was strewn with toys and instead of them doing it once, not passing inspection, and then doing it a second time (or until they did it right), I decided to just go out there with them and do it together.

They thought that was fun…..no complaints…done right the first time….everyone was happy the WHOLE ENTIRE TIME!

Hmmm…..I just might have something here.

So when school started up again this year (we homeschool so they are home with me all day) I decided I was done tackling this 3000 square foot house all by myself. I could either homeschool or have a clean house but if I continued to do it all by my self, one of those was going to have to be sacrificed.

Unless…..

I remembered our success during the summer and decided to transfer it to the inside. I broke the house into 5 zones (one for each school day). I wrote a list of every little idealistic thing that I would love to have cleaned in that area once a week. Then I assigned a 30 minute group cleaning time to our daily schedule.

The first day of school arrived. We did our lessons, ate our lunches and it was finally group clean time.

“What does this mean, Mom?” they asked as they looked at the next thing on our schedule.

“Well my little darlings…. (clearing throat) good news. No more chores anymore,” I exclaimed and was immediately greeted with shouts of celebration and chants of Long Live Mommy!

“Instead, we are going to clean TOGETHER everyday!” I tried to deliver this with matching excitement.

Didn’t quite go over as well as I’d envisioned.

But when we started working, the time flew by and within 30 minutes all four bedrooms were cleaned and dusted, 2 bathrooms were sparkling, the stairs and hallway were vacuumed and the house smelled like pine sol and lemon pledge.

Did I mention that there was nary a complaint during the whole process? In fact, we cranked up Toby Mac and boogied our way through the whole job like it was some kind of party or something.

By the end of the week my house was company ready, in complete order, and I wasn’t exhausted from the whining and refereeing normal involved in this task.

Oh…and since I was working alongside everyone, it was all done right the FIRST time.

So that is the answer (in our house) to having it all….or at least homeschooling four kids and still having a clean house.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, go visit the great links at Rocks In My Dryer.

25 comments:

Christine said...

We have added chores to our daily schedule, and it is amazing how it helps. Granted, we still have days when, in general, things are a big miss. However, my toilets and sinks are always clean, and the laundry isn't taking over the house!!

Jill said...

Horray for TobyMac. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to take part in slave labor, I mean chores :)

Anonymous said...

I think you have just led me to a new path of cleaning. I have done this before and it worked like a charm. Why don't I stick with it. I have been having the dickens of a time trying to get my girls to work. Needless to say it hasn't been the best start to a school year.
Susan

Kathy in WA said...

Gayle -- look at you, getting the number one slot on Shannon's list. Way to go!! I count that as a real accomplishment since I usually blog between the hours of oh, say 10 pm and 1 am. Ha! I am lucky to be in the top 50. Not that it's a contest or anything. Or is it??

I LOVE your tip. Thank you so much for sharing. This is a constant and HUGE battle for me (and the kiddos). Your idea is wonderful and I think the way you pitched in and worked WITH the children was very significant.

Let us know how it continues to work throughout the season. Quick question - do you have the clean up time scheduled just once during the day? Does the house stay picked up the rest of the day or do you "let it go" until the next clean up. It seems like we need two pick ups during the day for it to look decent by bedtime.

You're awesome!!

Duckabush Blog

Halfmoon Girl said...

We have daily chores too, but this is a different take. I too, find myself having to ask the kids to do things over again. I am very interested in this idea. So, did you all pitch in, even in each child's bedroom. Tell me more. I want to try this out!

Proverbs31 said...

Fantastic! This is very similar to what we do, we call it Musical Cleaning. And it really does work! Ok, so technically, the detailed list and zones per day was for myself, but first we all clean together - running through the house cleaning one room as fast as we can while one song plays before moving to the next room for the next song. We do this before we start school and then later during nap time I go back to my detailed list to fill in whatever holes there are for that day. They love having me help them and I love having them help me. Ain't it great!! Aren't you glad you (and I) don't have to listen to the complaining and arguing like before? =)

Have a great week!

Zen Master said...

My kids like doing chores. I have 5 kids and not enough chores to go around yet. They are still young. Unfortunately, I fear that when they are old enough to do the chores I need help with they will no longer want to do chores. lol

jtcosby said...

I am loving your links to books! have you read the books you are linking to? I love love love to read so these are great ideas for me ;0).

Another question for you, is it easier for me to use the jtcosby and you to click to me or to use the www.cosbyfamily.wordpress.com? Can you get to me that way?

Thank you!!! I apologize if I'm asking too much...THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Heather said...

This is a great idea. I saw on Don't Try This at Home she is doing a blog carnival on jobs and allowance. This would fit right in. I love hearing creative ideas!

Mom2fur said...

My kids have their assigned jobs, and I still get grunts and groans...and the youngest is 17. My oldest is the one who'll ask what needs done without a word of complaint. Then again...he's 24 and living here for a measly $50 a week (he's looking for his own place--just graduated college). But he shows me there is hope for the younger ones.
You are smart to get the kids started early. Mine always had chores, but nobody likes them. Your idea is great in that it will instill a sense of family duty and fun at the same time!

EmmyJMommy said...

Awesome idea Gayle! I think I will try to find a way to incorporate that into our lives...even with me a part-time out of the house working mom! Thanks!!!

Rachelle said...

This sounds awesome! I've been looking for a new way to tackle the house work and I think this is going to be it.

carrielouise said...

But this means I'd have to get off my butt! WAAAAAHH!

Seriously, good idea. We are definitely in the same boat as far as kids at home and keeping the house picked up.

tonsofsons said...

Cleaning together always works best. I have 5 boys and we homeschool, too.

Your children will thank you someday!

http://tonsofsons.wordpress.com/

EmmyJMommy said...

Gayle, a quick word about Facebook...they have an age limit, I'm not sure what it is exactly (I'm WAY over it!), but I do know that the kids have to be around 15 or 16 to have an account! Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting my blog! I have enjoyed reading around yours!!!

Lady Why said...

That is a great idea! I think I might try that myself because we are a little scatter brained with our chores these days!

Laane said...

It's the way I learned everything from my gram...doing it together.
I have so many amazing memories, because she used to sing a song to each chore as well.

Cindy said...

You're so brilliant! I've done this occasionally, and find it really does help. Why, then, one might ask, don't I do it everyday? BECAUSE I'M LAZY. You rock, girl, and you may have inspired me to try to make it a routine. Maybe.

"My Little Wonders" said...

I am going to have to put this technique on my list of things to do to keep my house in order. Sounds like a good idea, thanks for sharing it.
Lori

Rhen (yestheyareallmine) said...

Love the way you organized them!!! I am going to have to schedule some chore time for us. As of now I don't have a specific time but we do have specific chores. Making a time spot for it makes a lot of sense. Great tip!

jtcosby said...

Ok. so this is not a random post. I LOVE this idea! I am so instituting it! I also have to tell you I am so happy with my scheduling! It is amazing! Of course today was a weird one with all four home and everyone ill but otherwise, I love it love it love it!

Tracy said...

This is a great idea - one that I am going to figure out how to implement with my own kids!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Excellent idea! How old are all your kids? I am just wondering if this might work in our home or if we need to wait a couple of years.

ConservaChick said...

We do the same thing... TobyMac and all. ~Karlie

Shan said...

Thanks for a great idea.

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