I’m supposed to be the manager of my home, and several years ago it finally dawned on me (or maybe I read somewhere) that managers don’t DO all of the work! They simply make sure the work gets done. Daily chores management is something that I’ve had to work hard to get under control. I’ve had to find the line between what the kids are capable of doing and should be doing, versus being “that” manager who only barks orders and never contributes to the team. We’ve finally found a daily chores management method that works for us, and I’d like to share it with you!
Daily Chores Management
Back when I was reading and reviewing for The Homemaker’s Mentor, I read some really great tips on all the things that need to be done in each room to keep a clean home. It’s a big list! I don’t remember now if the book had me do it, or if I just decided that I needed to break it down into smaller bites myself; but one of the best things I’ve done is to take that monstrous list and determine what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. (Of course, there are things that are done every other day, every other week, every other month, or twice a year as well; but, you see my point!)
For our daily chores management, I’m going to focus mainly on the things that need to be done daily. Towards the end, you’ll see that I did end up including some basic weekly tasks as well, mostly just those that were closely related to the daily tasks themselves. Here are the chores I determined needed doing every day in our home:
- dishes – twice, usually
- laundry – at least one load, usually two
- clutter in the main part of the house
- bathroom – with boys, it just has to be done every day, trust me
- sweeping – this house has no carpet and the floor really needs it daily
- trash taken out
- pets fed
- at least some attention paid in the kids’ rooms to clutter
Well, guess what? No one likes doing dishes. That’s just the way life is! It’s everyone’s least favorite chore, but it really is the most essential chore of the day. If dishes don’t get done at lunch, we don’t usually have enough for supper. If dishes get left out overnight, there are hygiene issues to consider. (Let’s go there a different day, shall we?) No one really seems to mind dropping laundry in the washer or switching it to the dryer, but no one wants to sort the laundry and no one wants to fold it and put it where it belongs. No one likes chores!
Even less than we like chores, no one likes doing the same chore every day. So we decided early on that we would take turns doing dishes. We were doing this before we moved into this house, and we didn’t have a dishwasher. (And that is yet another reminder to me that when we moved into this house, I had said that one reason I was happy to have a dishwasher was that – now that the kids could all wash dishes by hand – I could ground the kids from the dishwasher if I needed to!) Well, if we’re taking turns doing the dishes, why can’t we take turns doing everything else? We can!
I had to condense the daily chores list into only the same number of chores as we have people. There are 5 of us people fully capable of doing every chore, and 2 little ones who can help or do small things. We assigned the small people to taking care of pets, and they tag along with me (mostly just me) as they learn to do the other chores as well. So, my final daily chores management chart looks like this:
- Dishes, twice
- Clutter and trash
- Bathroom and your own bedroom
We combined picking up clutter and taking care of the trash because often in the midst of picking up clutter, you end up filling up the trash can. To then switch it out and take the full one outside is a natural progression of the same chore. Cleaning up in the bathroom was the least intensive chore both in difficulty and in time, so whoever has that chore for the day has an extra 10 minutes to spend picking up in their own room.
Besides the condensed list, I also wrote out instructions on carrying out each chore. It seems that my children didn’t naturally recognize that putting away the leftovers, clearing the table, and wiping down the table and counters is all part of doing the dishes. (I can’t blame them; I had trouble with this growing up, too! Who decided that, anyway???) Once a week, someone needs to wipe down all the cabinet fronts and do some kitchen deeper cleaning chores.
How to Do Chores
Picking up the clutter also includes everything small in the corners and on the surfaces like the coffee table and end tables. Once a week, we also need to check for clutter under the couch, between the couch cushions, behind the television, under the computer desk, and on the various bookshelves.
Cleaning up in the bathroom includes clutter, clearing off the sink, emptying the laundry hamper, wiping down the surfaces (including the toilet, all the way to the floor), and making sure there is plenty of toilet paper. Oh, and that the smell-good stuff is still working, plentiful, and refills are available. Just saying. Once a week, the shower needs a good cleaning, as does the toilet including the bowl.
Doing the laundry includes washing, drying, folding, and putting away one load of clothes and one load of simple items like towels or sheets. We’re moving toward an “everyone do your own laundry on your laundry day” method. Once a week, the laundry from all the hampers all over the house needs to be gathered up and sorted.
You might think that sweeping would be pretty self-explanatory, but I’ve had to specify that the broom needs to go under the table and all of the kitchen chairs, so you might need to move those out of the way. Sweeping the kitchen includes the hallway. I’ve had to point out that since our kitchen cabinets have a lip and don’t go all the way to the floor, you have to purposefully sweep under the cabinets. It’s essential because that seems to be where most of the “stuff” in the kitchen floor ends up! Once a week, the couches and chairs in the living room need to be moved and swept under, and once a week (at least…) the whole floor needs to be mopped.
The biggest logistical issue was that we have 5 people who can take care of chores, but 6 days each week when chores need to be done. So, once each week everyone does one of the chores twice. I let everyone pick which chores to do twice in the week. When you do the chore for the second time in a week, you do the extra “once weekly” portions as well.
We moved slowly into using this full daily chores management schedule, and have been using it for the better part of a year now. It really seems to work for us. We’ve modified it a time or two, to allow mostly for mine or hubby’s work schedule changes. But for the most part this is something that we’ve stuck with because it really actually works for us!