It doesn’t take much for these kinds of piles to occur and not disappear. In a medium sized house with seven people, messes are just a fact of life and getting the cleaning as well as the cleaning up done can be (often is ) a struggle!
I’ve tried all kinds of different methods: individual chore charts, checklists for each room, incentives and disincentives and each method has worked as long as I kept up with it! If I made sure things were checked off and did the inspections of work then the work got done. And if not, then not.
This year as the children have gotten older and more responsible and our lives have gotten busier with activities and a regular weekly co-op, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with a chore system that was too elaborate.
I was also seeing two problems with the system we had:
children had developed extreme loyalty to the jobs on their chart and found it a great hardship to have to do “someone else’s job”
and older children weren’t doing jobs well enough to graduate to something harder and free up their jobs for a younger sibling who needed to be stretched.
One day in frustration I did this :
A simple list of everything that has to be done in a week. No frills, but a clear list of what there is to do, that if we do keeps things running smoothly.
It’s actually not that much. Some of the jobs are done multiple times a day, some once a week. Some of the jobs are done by little kids and some by big kids. The jobs rotate, so no child can claim that they are being asked to do someone else’s job.
Every week during my planning time, I print one of these and fill it out.
Some weeks I write in an approximate duration for each job and encourage the children to set timers for themselves. Some weeks I don’t.
Jobs are still divided into Morning, Noon and Evening and I post the list on the fridge so that whenever I walk into the kitchen I pass the list and can see what I still need to check off.
The big children have been moved up on some jobs and the little boys are stepping up as well. I pitch in as I’m needed but find that more and more my job is to facilitate during chore time.
So I start putting things in the dishwasher for the dish person. I sweep for the clear-wipe-sweep person but I don’t do anyone’s job in full.
It’s not a perfect system. Some days more gets done than others but I am seeing the majority of the boxes checked by the end of the week.
My aim is that this list becomes so routine that we all are able to just do the “must be dones” as they are called for. After all, someday I won’t be there to make lists for them and they won’t be here to clean (or make messes)!
Here’s a blank version of [download id=”46″]