The Sanity Saving “Housecleaning/Chores” List

cleaning-TMHave you ever spent the day attempting to clean your house, but find yourself busy all day, exhausted by the end of it, but your house is still cluttered? Running from room to room to clean the house is probably the most common mistake we all make. We can spend “hours” cleaning our home, only to find that later, it looks like it did when we started. Let “Sister Lister” into your world to help you conquer the clutter. Learn how to engage the family (including 5 year olds) in completing their chores with these wonderful techniques.

Having raised five children and maintaining a high stress job took its toll on me. My only real time to clean was on week-ends. I often found myself starting in one room only to find myself, five minutes later, in another room as I moved things back and forth. One time, I was cleaning my kitchen. I found a bottle of nail polish on the counter. I was on my way to the bathroom with the polish (to put it away) when I decided to stop and put a coat of red polish on my finger nails. Of course I had to wait for them to dry. While waiting, I soon discovered that my bathroom needed a good scrubbing but with newly painted nails, it would have to wait. I decided to get dressed and go shopping instead. Over the years, I learned a few tricks. Here they are:

• If you only pick up one tip – here is the one you want – Focus on one room at a time – don’t leave that room until it is finished. Getting one room done completely gives you a sense of accomplishment and will inspire you on to the next space.

• Carry a laundry basket from room to room. As you clean one room, if you find items that do not belong in that room, put them in the basket. (DO NOT LEAVE THE ROOM UNTIL IT IS DONE.)

• Carry the basked into the next room. Take anything out of it that belongs in the new room and add things into the basket that do not belong in that room. (DO NOT LEAVE THAT ROOM UNTIL IT IS DONE).

• Keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom and kitchen for easy access.

• If you have a 2-story home, if possible, have a vacuum on each floor so you don’t have to lug it up and down the stairs. Have a small one for the stairs.

• If you have small children, assign them special tasks like stacking up the newspapers. I heard one time that the way to get children to help is by kneeling to their level and telling them, “Your job is to stack up the newspapers and don’t let anyone take it away from you.” (I’m not sure if it works but it sounds good.)

• Get your husband and older kids involved too. This is not just YOUR house. They live here too. On your list, identify special chores for them. Be specific. If they are to clean the bathroom, spell out exactly on their list, what you expect. For example: Scrub around base of toilet, clean inside of toilet, clean tub and walls around tub, sweep and mop the floor, put stuff away on counters, clean off counters, and wipe down mirrors. Make sure they have the supplies they need to do the tasks.

• They can check off each item as they complete it (thus becoming “Sister (or Mister) Listers” in their own right. It’s a good habit for them to learn. Their future partners will appreciate you for teaching them.

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