Thursday, November 4, 2010

Homekeeping with a Happy Heart

Let's face it, not many people really ENJOY the tasks involved in homekeeping...well, at least I don't.  And my kids certainly don't either.  Nonetheless, they are tasks that MUST be done.  Over the last few days, I seem to have had a change of heart though...not that I enjoy the tasks any more than I did, but that my perspective and attitude seem to be changing.  I recently attended a Seminars for Encouragment and Enrichment at our Church.  One of the sessions was presented by a mom of TWELVE!  I know how much clutter and chaos happens in my own home and I only have five children and one is off to college.  I figured I really needed to listen to what she had to say.  If she could manage a house, homeschool, take care of all those children and still smile at the end of the day and maintain her sanity, well then I could too!  One question was on how to keep the house clean with all those family members passing through her home non-stop.  She mentioned that her strategy was that each person had a task in the kitchen and in addition to being responsible for their own bedroom space, each was responsible for another space/room in the house entirely.  I thought about this one long and hard.  Today I finally sat down with the kids and discussed it with them, along with some ground rules.  We decided that as far as the extra room/space and kitchen duties go, each child would hold those particular tasks for a month and then they would be rotated.  I decided the best thing to do for the first month was to assign the tasks/rooms myself and then as they are trained in those tasks, they can determine if they can find an easier or more efficient way of handling the task.  Here are some of the tasks we determined needed to be done in the kitchen.

  • pick up the trash

  • set the table/island (we actually use our island as our eating area)

  • wash counters

  • sweep floor

  • clear table/island

  • straighten chairs/put away

  • wash dishes

  • clean inside refrigerator

  • clean inside microwave/stove

  • dry dishes

  • mop floor

  • wash down stove

  • put dishes away

  • wash down refrigerator

  • wash down microwave

  • take out trash

Now these tasks have different frequencies, but most are at least once a day, if not more.  Each child (of those at home) has 3 tasks to do, Mom (me) has 3 tasks and Dad gets 1.  Additional tasks are cooking (mom or dad), organizing cabinets, cleaning out the pantry closet.  Mom will most likely take on those tasks with some recruited help.

Our common area rooms include: living room, upstairs bathroom, upstairs hallway/stairs/coat closet, downstairs hall/laundry area, downstairs bathroom, classroom, and basement storage area.   Each person will be responsible for one of these areas entirely.  Of course, we'll continually work on training to keep things in order so the job isn't so overwhelming.  All these tasks will be covered by specific children during the month of November.  I'll re-evaluate then and hopefully move forward.  I really am looking forward to a less chaotic space.  I'd love to hear YOUR ideas on how to take the chaos out of homekeeping while homeschooling (or even while working outside of the home).

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