Cleaning has never been a priority in my life. My clothes were often separated by piles â€“ (a) these need to be washed and (b) these have just been washed. My lack of organization almost drove my husband nuts in the beginning of our marriage. Now he says heâ€™s just given up (or given in).
In the spirit of compromise, I have been working hard to become more clutter conscious. My mother-in-law was over the top, so I will never compare to that. Plus, there are three boys (and often a gaggle of guy friends) all running in and out of the house on a regular basis. Itâ€™s getting there, though. Now I can have guests over without needed a one week warning that they are coming!
1. Make a schedule. The things that have to be done weekly or monthly are charted out and hung for the whole world to see. It has gone through more changes and tweaking than I can remember, but what hangs there now works for our family most days. Mon â€“ Thurs each has about three or four things that need to be done. On Friday, I tackle an entire room (organize, de-clutter, wash curtains, clean the ceiling fans, and re-arrange â€“ mostly to annoy my husband). Saturday and Sunday are both kept empty. Itâ€™s free time for the family!
2. Enlist the family. Not only is there a chore chart for the weekly chores, but daily chores (sweeping, picking up, feeding the animals, even fixing meals) is divided among the whole family. The chores are printed out on individual cards and at the first of each month we take turns dividing them out. At least no one can come to me and ask, â€œWhat do I need to do?â€ Everyone wakes up knowing just what is expected.
3. Work as a team. The more we cooperate, the faster we get things done. Itâ€™s important that we all understand that the jobs arenâ€™t about the individual, the jobs and chores are about keeping the home looking and feeling its best. Itâ€™s about good stewardship. Twice a day (first thing in the morning and just after dinner) we come together to knock out all the chores (personal and weekly). We make it a race against time to see how much we can do before the buzzer goes off.
4. Be consistent â€“ especially in the beginning. It takes about 21 days of doing something every day in order to make it a habit. Challenge the family to do all of the chores for twenty one days â€“ offer a prize at the end that everyone can enjoy. After that, strive for a consistent chore time so that each person knows what is expected of them and when it is expected.
5. Create a home for your things. The new rule in our home is if you want to keep something, you have to make a home (and that home canâ€™t be stacked on top of something else or sitting on MY desk!). If it is found outside its home, it is subject to banishment.
6. Do one more things. Every night before I go to be, I look over my list of accomplishments for the day. I try to push my self to do just one more thing before I go to be. Itâ€™s amazing how much nicer the morning is when you wake up to a home that is clean and clutter free.
Fourteen years of marriage has slowly guided me to the place I am today. My home is still not perfect. There are days when nothing gets done â€“ or at least it feels that way. There are mornings when I donâ€™t want to get up because I know what I will face when I walk in the kitchen. There is still a lot of room for growing and maturing in my clutter free life. Itâ€™s getting there, though.