I would rather spend a cool fall evening on the patio with a glass of wine than clean the house. Yep. I said it. I’d rather play Monopoly with the kids, have a date night with my husband, or spend a weekend with my family in the mountains. Seriously – I could fill this entire post with things I like better than cleaning the house. And I would bet your list is just as long! Despite my endless Pinterest search for the best house cleaning tips, I couldn’t find a solution to motivate me.
Once in a while I would get this burst of motivation and spend two days straight just cleaning the house. And then I would get completely burned out before I’ve tackled it all. But most of the time, I put it off for one of the other gazillion things I’d rather be doing. And every time I put it off, I soon regret it.
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So how do you keep on top of the cleaning the house, and not miss out on all the family fun?
You make a fun family activity out of it!
When my kids were 5, 7, and 9, I figured there was no reason they can’t be right there with me. If we tackled it as a family, we could knock it out a little at a time. I’m sure I was way overdue getting them involved, but better late than never, right? And really, it wasn’t to clean my house. It was to clean OUR house.
Aaand then I remembered how distracted they get. It was like herding cats. Wait, what room are they cleaning now?? (Turns out the 5 yo was back in the playroom, in the middle of a pile of books and toys all over the floor). Then all three wanted to vacuum at the same time. 45 minutes later, they each vacuumed the same spot over and over while I finished everything else in the room. But it got done. Woohoo!
But they were all excited to help, so that was a total win. 45 minutes was a little too long to keep their attention though. They each needed just one job to stay focused and on task. Keeping them all in one room with me contained them and I knew what they were all doing – and we could do it together. As a team.If keeping a #cleanhouse takes away from valuable #family time, try this simple strategy Click To Tweet
We Needed A Plan – With A Time Limit and A House Cleaning Schedule
We broke it up into something more manageable for all of us. No more than 15 minutes spent on one space each day and one job for each of the 5 of us (yes – Daddy joined in too!). I know, I know – fifteen minutes doesn’t seem like enough time. You’ll be shocked at how much can get done in such a short time when you are fully focused!
First, we made “zones” – one for each day of the week. Depending on what fits your schedule, this could be 4 days or 7 days. Because we wanted to reserve weekends for adventure, we chose to do 5 spaces:
- Living areas
- Guest room & Hallways
Then we wrote down 5 tasks for each zone, making sure each space had a few appropriate chores for kids. I used that to create a house cleaning schedule for our family.
Rotational jobs are things that don’t really need to be done each week (ceiling fans, baseboards, window coverings).
This works because it can be modified for your family and your home. Any part of this can be changed to work for you. Do you need more zones, want to spend less time per day, or have more days in the week to get it done? No problem!
Using this weekly schedule does mean there are a few daily jobs need to go into the plan too. Anything that just can’t wait a full week. But these are generally quick and easy and already part of our daily habits.
Ready to create a plan for your family? Download a blank house cleaning schedule here!
A Few Keys to Success
- A cleaning basket with supplies and made just for them makes it all a little more exciting. I surprised my kids with baskets I decorated for them, but they may have had more fun decorating it themselves! Something small and inexpensive is all you need.
- If someone finishes before the 15 minutes are up, help someone else to finish their job.
- Prioritize any chores not finished in the 15 minutes the next time you clean that space.
- Have a small reward for immediately afterwards (10 minutes extra screen time, stickers, bubbles), especially as you are in the process of making this a daily habit for your family.
- Keep it interesting by rotating chores from week to week (so they all get a turn to vacuum!)
- Kid-friendly tools can introduce them to the “grown-up” jobs – my favorites are these Norwex towels that clean without the chemicals and this stick vacuum that even the little ones can handle.
Seriously, these are the best cleaning products I’ve ever bought. These Norwex cloth towels are ready for the toughest jobs with just water. No chemicals! And the stick vac? So awesome! Takes care of all the dog hair, works on hard surface and carpet, and uses almost no storage space. I’ve never owned a better vacuum!
Most importantly, this method for cleaning the house has instilled a sense of responsibility in the kids. They are proud of what they can accomplish when they are in charge of a job!Conquer #cleaning once and for all with a method that gets the entire #family involved! Click To Tweet
The verdict? This has turned into one of my favorite house cleaning tips!
15 minutes and one area isn’t too much for any of us. Even when someone don’t feel up for it, they know it’s just 15 minutes (or just 1/2 a TV show!). And it’s much easier for them to know we are done when the timer goes off instead of “we are done when it’s all clean” – because that could feel like forever.
Ok, now that you have some extra time on your hands, you can get out for that family hike! Need some tips? Here are ideas for planning the perfect hike with the little ones!
What are your favorite chores for kids or house cleaning tips? Let me know in the comments!