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Balancing- keeping up with housework?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am wondering how folks here find a balance between homeschooling, activities, and keeping up with the household chores.  We are here so much more these days that the house shows it.  Unfortunately the lived in (read cluttered) look is trying the patience of everyone, especially my hubby.  Our kids do fairly traditional schooling (text books with assignments for day or week).  They do some out of the home activities like clubs, scouting and catechism class.  I work out of the home 2 long days. DH works out of home 5 days, on shiftwork.  It seems like there isn't a great way to keep up, let alone get ahead.  Most folks I know irl don't quite get it because a) they don't homeschool so they don't understand homeschooling and what it means as far as commitment b) most don't have anyone in there house except dinner and sleeping.  My kids are capable and can be very directed on some things. At one point while I was working full time and they were still in a school, we would have a full on cleaning day. It was miserable! I don't want to have that much discord in the home again, so really need to find a different way. I finally feel like the school stuff has hit a groove that works, now onto the other stuff.


How do you keep up? How do you get ahead? Any resources that are helpful?


post #2 of 11

I don't know how old your kids are and I think that makes a huge difference.


I am not a neat freak at all. I find staying on top of things a challenge but we have hit on a system that seems to work okay for us for now and takes about 30 minutes a day if we all work together.


I have 4 kids and each is responsible for a zone/chore. Everyone's zone needs to be done before we sit down for school in the morning and again before dinner.  These all take about the same amount of time (about 10-15 minutes)

My oldest is responsible for the kitchen. That amounts to basically putting the clean dishes away, wiping down the counters and sweeping.

Our other zones are:

vaccuuming (one level/area or the stairs per day - each person is responsible for their own bedroom)

bathrooms (swish and wipe toilet, clean sink, fresh towels/TP, tidy, empty garbage and sweep).

mudroom/garbage/recycling (tidy, sweep/swiffer, wipe down bench and doors, sort recycling)

animal care (food, water, clean cat litter) (this one rotates through kids).


We also have a list of other chores which need to be done regularly and they get assigned 1 per kid, once or twice a week (dusting each main room, washing windows in our two main doors, wiping down kitchen cupboards/shelves, fold laundry etc). They are typically 5 minute chores which get tacked onto the zones on our home days (2-3x a week and we rotate through a list of them).


We also aim have 10 minute tidies twice a day, before lunch and before dinner which are essentially a sweep through the house with each kid getting a room or area to just put things away, straighten, fight clutter etc.  If we are busy this often happens only once a day but if we have been out at least we aren't making the house messier.


During the day I do food prep, dishes during the day, laundry at night (one load a night about 3-4 nights a week) which I hang to dry overnight and the kids fold the next day.  Kids do dinner dishes.


In theory the kids are supposed to do 10 minutes in their room before they come down and again before bed - this rarely happens at their rooms are in varying states of disaster. I shut their doors during the week.


Saturdays or Mondays (depending on the shape of our week and weekend) we do a bigger clean. I scrub down the bathrooms. The kids vaccum their rooms (which usually necessitates a larger cleaning), I damp mop floors, clean out the fridge etc, and bigger room tidies - the den/school room needs a go through about every 2 weeks. I usually help the kids do a bigger clean up of their rooms once a month. 






post #3 of 11

So, I'm not sure what age your kids are - but we are not very good at keeping up either. Basically I do some each day. And try to keep up with the dishes. I don't do the deep cleaning very often. My goal is just to keep it from getting really messy and to try and keep our homeschool supplies organized.


Regarding dealing with my husband, who is a neat nick, I think about what is most important to him. It is most important to him to have most of the dishes done at night. So that is what I try and have done for him. If I get behind, as long as they are organized in the sink and soaking nicely he isn't too upset. 



post #4 of 11

Wow Callimom! You do have a system. I think that your house is much cleaner than mine!

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by numericmama View Post

Wow Callimom! You do have a system. I think that your house is much cleaner than mine!

Mine too I would venture to guess! :)  Thank you for your tips Callimom and numericmama!!! My kids are 10 and 12.  I assigned the kids the job of making a list of chores to them this week and to try to figure out a system that will work well for them.  Dd gets frustrated with ds because he needs things spelled out. So if I say "Clean the bathroom together" it either ends in a fight or with her getting angry for him not reading her mind and just doing it alone.  I told them they need to break it down into smaller jobs like wash sink, wash toilet, wash tub, mop floor, wipe mirror, empty trash and put dirty towels in the hamper.  Then we will figure out how to assign them.  They actually have been working on it today, so I have some hope. We'll see how it goes.

post #6 of 11

My kids are younger and I definitely don't have a system down, but it's getting better as they are getting old enough to help.  As it stands, each kid has one chore to do first thing in the morning, so they get dressed, brush teeth and do their chore.  They have a different chore each day of the week and that stays the same for several months until someone starts getting restless with one of their chores!  They also pick up their room every night before bed.  


As far as clutter, which I am terrible at controlling, and my dh gets so frustrated by it... we have started doing "flash cleanups."  The boys and I do it together, and that's key because I'm in it with them.  I set the timer for 5 minutes, and we get one room as clean as we can.  Then we move on to another room.  Within 20 minutes, we have really hit alot of the clutter.  I will do this on days I really need to vacuum and I need the floors clear or when the clutter just gets out of hand!  I don't know if your kids are too old for this tactic, but it has worked with my boys because they know it isn't going to last forever.


Can't wait to hear more replies!

post #7 of 11

We just live with the messiness.

Everything is clean, as in hygienic, but we are a not a tidy family (even though it's only 3 of us).


There are chores though. Ds washes dinner dishes every night, and has to spend some time cleaning his room every morning.


Dh and I split the rest of the spaces, which are few and small, but with all the projects going on between the 3 of us, it's impossible to keep it looking neat.


post #8 of 11

I only have a 4 year old. She has a couple of chores like putting away the clean dishes, folding towels and putting away her own clothes once I've washed them. I'm sure I will add more as she gets older. 

My dh is a total neat freak. Thankfully, he's willing to do a lot of housework because of it. I do all the everyday neat and tidy stuff and he does the heavy cleaning once a week or so like scrubbing toilets and tubs and such.

I'm not sure where I heard it but I got some good advice about never letting something that will take a minute or less go undone at the time it comes up. So things like putting a used dish in the dishwasher or mail get dealt with right away so it doesn't pile up. It really only does take a minute or two (which I can usually spare) to go through the mail when I take it out of the box but it takes forever to sort through if I pile it for a week or two. I don't read and deal with everything in that moment but I put things where they should be dealt with later so bills go on the office desk, junk gets thrown in recycling, etc.

Since your kids are older and both you and dh are working I think it's great you are trying to work out a system for them to help. I hope it works out for you. I also work and homeschool and it's just so very very hard to keep up with everything. 

post #9 of 11

I just got a Neato robot vacuum for $300 on Woot.  I will never go without one again.  I have a couple of homeschooling friends that have them too.  I am going to run it daily on weekdays in the downstairs.  Keeps dirt levels down overall and also simplifies cleaning counters and stairs because you can sweep dirt or crumbs onto the floor knowing that your robot will be picking that up. 


I generally do dinner dishes in the morning because I'm pooped by the time dinner is over. 


Slow cookers are very helpful.


post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

You guys are awesome with the tips!  I am working with the kids on a better plan and trying to be more mindful as I look through the house to see what jobs are not being done frequently enough and stay on top of them. I love the ideas of the hot spot clean-ups.  Keep it coming!!! :)


post #11 of 11

Leila says it better than I can:  http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-your-new-years-resolutions-take.html


Seriously, that woman deserves sainthood.  Reading her blog and implementing her ideas has changed my life (in a very positive way).


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