House Help: Creating Clean Habits

I absolutely LOVE having routines for housework. Designating days or people for certain tasks is what makes me feel secure. 🙂 Yes, I’m slightly insane.

I have found that the best way to create a cleaning habit is to set a certain day, time or person for that task. For us, this is the ONLY way things get done.

This does take some time to become a habit, though, so assigning every task to a day and person doesn’t just automatically make it all happen overnight. Writing it down, though, and posting it somewhere public in the house does help with making it happen sooner than later.

I was very good about chore charts for a while with the girls. The chart was posted at their eye level and we did well going over it every day and checking off the items they completed. Then we fell off the wagon and became lazy with marking the chart.

I make chore lists and daily to do lists for myself all the time. This I am very good at doing and completing regularly. So, here are my tips for getting a good cleaning schedule down:

1. Make a list of ALL the household chores/tasks that need to be completed each week. Don’t worry about breaking it down into daily chores yet. Just make a giant list of everything that needs to get done – laundry, toilets, floors, windows, dishwasher filling/emptying, even coffee making. 🙂

2. List each person in the house that is physically capable of completing at least one of those chores. Leave plenty of blank space below each name to fill in their chores later.

3. Take your master list of chores and group them together, like with like. For example, toilets, bathroom floors, bathroom mirrors all go together because they’re all in the same room. 🙂 Changing sheets and laundry could be put together because they are similar. Or you could break down “changing sheets” to “parent bed sheets” and group it with “vacuuming parent bedroom”. Whatever you think will make the most sense for you. Don’t overthink it, though. You’ll be here all day grouping things!

4. Decide which person can do which chores. My husband empties the clean dishes from the dishwasher first thing in the morning because he is the first one up and downstairs; this gives us all clean dishes for breakfast, so it just seemed natural that he be assigned that chore. Maybe the last one to take a shower in the morning could be responsible to tidy up the bathroom? Or the first one up could set the coffeemaker to start? Whatever flows easiest for everyone; don’t have everyone go out of their way to do these things. You want it to be a natural reaction after a few weeks of doing it.

5. Break down each person’s chores for each day of the week. Monday through Friday is the typical range of days for chores to be completed, with the weekend off. HOWEVER, if you have a different type of working schedule, maybe different days for chores and off days would work. Do what will work best for everyone’s schedules.

6. Type up a cleaning chart for each person and post it somewhere in the house that each person will see it and be reminded each day – bedroom, fridge, bathroom mirror, wherever.

Here’s my own personal chore list:

Monday – Laundry
Tuesday – Groceries, gather all garbage into kitchen can for garbage day(Wed.)
Wednesday – Change everyone’s bed sheets
Thursday – dust and vacuum and clean windows
Friday – floors (kitchen and bathrooms), wipe down appliances

I am in the habit of cleaning the toilets, sinks and mirrors in both bathrooms DAILY. This is something I like to do because we have 5 people using the toilets every day, 2 little ones that use the bathroom on their own (and aren’t necessarily the cleanest bathroom users!), and 1 that is potty training and holds onto any part of the toilet she can reach (ew!). Sooo, I have found that I feel less disgusted by it all if I wipe down the mirrors, sinks and toilets (and swish the toilet brush and some cleaner on the inside of the bowl) each morning. That’s my personal feeling about bathrooms, though. Don’t feel you need to adopt it. 🙂

Once you can write out everyone’s chores, go over them all with each person. Be sure they know what supplies to use and how to complete the task. Be prepared to remind kids (and husbands!) for a while to complete their list, but don’t feel obligated to complete any tasks that they don’t. If you leave a sink dirty for long enough, it might just click that the person assigned to it really should do it because they are the one responsible for it. Trust me, kids are gross sometimes, but they will notice when things are stuck to the sink and will take action. 🙂 Husbands might be a little more difficult….they might even complain about something being dirty, even if it’s theirs to clean. I’m still working on molding mine! 🙂

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