Home is God’s idea. Family is God’s idea. No matter the size of your home or family, living in your space necessitates daily and weekly cleaning. When routines are established, the rhythm of life creates more time for enjoying living in your home.
As the oldest of four children, I often organized my siblings to help my mom work through the upkeep of our home. While I cleaned houses to earn money to pay for my college bill, I tested methods for speed and efficiency. As the mother of five children, I continued to re-sort the jobs to create the best outcome. The following ideas are a compilation of experience and methods gathered from others along the way.
In our home we use the word “contributions” instead of chores because I believe that everyone who lives in a space should share in the effort of upkeep. When someone cleans the bathroom, they are contributing to the ongoing work required in maintaining cleanliness and order. Washing the dishes should be shared with all those who eat in the kitchen. You get the idea. So, here are some ideas for contributions regarding cleaning daily and weekly. When thinking through the needs of your family, list all the jobs that need to be done, consider the number of people sharing your home, then sort out schedules and availability. Customize your own plan with this FREE Contribution Chart.
Before you begin, pull together all the cleaning tools and supplies that you will need for a successful outcome. As I have taught these ideas, many people have asked me where to find these Norwex cleaning items that I talk about. Over five years ago, my sister gave me my first set of cleaning cloths. Believe it or not, I still use the same mop and cleaning cloths. As I have loved saving time and money with these cleaning items, I have tried the kitchen products. They are my favorite for wiping counters and appliances along with washing and drying dishes. Since I used to clean for a living and I have cleaned so often for my family, I have a great deal of experience. They are just so fantastic. I used to clean glass with newspaper and white vinegar. While this is still an effective idea, the Norwex enviro cloth and window cloth really take this to another level. I clean so much faster with a better result. If you do not have these cloths and the Norwex mop, I encourage you to try them. One of my favorite things is that you just add warm water and the cleaning is just so easy. I love easy. After over ten years of constant use, these tools are still working hard in my home. I would not go back. If you try them, let me know how you love them.
What to Gather for Cleaning
1. vacuum cleaners (Oreck is my favorite.)
2. toilet bowl cleaner/brush
3. shower cleaner (Zep Shower Cleaner or Mean Green)
6. Norwex dusting mitt (great if you have kids helping you)
7. Norwex mop system/bucket
8. paper towels
9. Norwex rubber brush
10. retired toothbrush
As you think through a custom plan for your family, break down the jobs into daily and weekly contributions. This blog focuses on the weekly jobs.
(2-3 hours each week)
Remember to expect quality work and inspect a finished job.
If possible, parent cleans parent bedroom, bathroom and declutters. Putting things away on a regular basis is work that requires discipline, but it is what keeps order. Give yourself grace when you are exhausted.
Make a list of the needed jobs for your home and sort them out based on the number of children and their abilities. Personalize this concept for your family and space.
You may continue the process with your own jobs once the kids finish and you have inspected their work. Once you practice this system for a while, patience will win out. Your children will surprise you and slip into the flow of the work. For those children who tend to always resist work, be patient and keep plugging away. Don’t quit. Don’t be discouraged. Even if they never embrace the system that you create, they will be progressing in their skills. Remember, progress not perfection.
“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker” (Proverbs 31:17 NLT). Communicate the value of hard work which leads to a job well done.
Note: Whoever is cleaning a living space, such as a bathroom, is responsible for restocking it. For instance, the bathroom may need more toilet paper or hand soap.
My messiest child was most definitely my oldest. He participated in the above process, but really struggled to maintain his own space as a young person. This boy would panic when Katie (child number two) and I would lock ourselves in his room with garbage bags and start cleaning. Usually, the floor was not visible. First, we grabbed up all the paper and empty packaging. Then we located all clothes and shoes determining whether they needed to be put away or washed. While he was my oldest and first “project,” he experienced delayed maturity in this area. He was an excessive reader whose first ACT was a 33, so we can celebrate those things. Update: He is now 26 and is embracing cleanliness. As a single, young man, he is living minimally. This month, on his own accord, he bought a new vacuum cleaner and mop. Just this week, he called and asked me to help him pick out a rug for his entrance to keep less dirt from coming into his living space. Miracles never cease! You can’t make this up.
Individual letters on this list represent the names of my children. The numbers are their ages. This is a sample chart. Insert the names of your children. This list was created with four of my children living at home. My oldest had already gone to college.
Sample Weekly Contribution Chart:
K (15) Laundry
Plan food prep, purchasing & cooking
M (13) Downstairs bathroom Kids bathroom
Sweep & Mop all 1st floor
Clean glass on all outer doors
J (11) Dust 1st floor,
Vac 2nd floor
Straighten & vac school room
clean & vac one vehicle
J (9) Straighten & wipe out refrigerator Straighten pantry Vacuum stairs
Collect garbage – whole house
Sweep outside front door
Sweep back steps and back door
(Cleaning needed for the whole week was divided into days.)
Monday: wash clothes, change sheets and towels, sweep outside front and back doors/patio, iron
Tuesday: clean bathrooms (showers, toilets, sinks, mirrors, floors)
Wednesday: straighten, pick up and put away, dust
Thursday: vacuum whole house (including stairs), mop all floors in kitchen, bathroom and patio areas.
Friday: Fun Friday. Finish anything that did not get done during the week. Do a deep cleaning project. Or just run errands and have fun with a friend.
Saturday: outside responsibilities together, meal plan, shop for food
Sunday: worship at church together. Spend time with family and friends. Rest. Enjoy having friends and family for a meal and conversation. Food preparation for the week.
Personalize this list according to your family’s needs, and its members. Distribute responsibilities onto Mom and Dad’s list. If the family is headed by a single parent or a grandparent, sort out the daily, weekly and seasonal responsibilities first. Delegate the work. Organize a group meeting with pizza or a favorite food. Consider re-sorting as each season begins. We rework as the schedule changes in January, June and August. Start these seasons learning the new contributions. Remember that the goals of training children is to end with a competent adult prepared to maintain his/her own space.
A family working together is strong. Everyone who is privileged to live in a home should contribute to the work needed to maintain the space. Don’t embrace entitlement. Don’t encourage laziness. Don’t neglect training.
Don’t miss out on the joy of maintaining routines that establish a happy rhythm to your family life. Living in an orderly space creates a more peaceful life. The work should not fall on one person, but be fairly shared by those who benefit from the home.
If you are looking for thoughts on intentional homebuilding, browse through Nurturing My Nest. For even more ideas about homemaking, order Hum of the Home. This book is full of ideas on establishing these routines and rhythms and routines in cleaning, cooking which lead to living your best life.
Listen in on a conversation about contributions in our home at Embrace Your Everyday podcast.