I am writing this to help all moms and dads. Managing a household is not an easy task especially when parents are working full time during days, evenings or weekends. Whether you have a work from home job or you go out of the house to work, some things have to get done around the house. There are daily, weekly and monthly tasks/chores that we cannot afford to ignore or else they will pile up and become daunting. It’s important to prioritize what has to be done when. For example, a load of laundry has to be done every night before bedtime, the dishes have to be taken out of the dishwasher in order for the dirty ones to go in and kids’ clothes have to be sorted monthly so that you can give away, donate or keep for another child.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone should be aware of what is expected of them even when you’re not around. This means that when mom or dad is working late, the kids and the other spouse at home can manage and keep the house tidy. It’s not fun coming home from work at 12.00a.m. to a dirty pile of dishes! Thank goodness, this does not happen in my house.
Every household has different methods of doing their chores depending on the number of people living in the house, their ages and their abilities to help out. I’m going to let you in on the way we do things around my home. I may not provide you with the perfect solutions to your problems, but these methods are what are working for us at the moment.
In my family there is myself, the hubby and three boys ages 10, 7 and 5. Everyone has their own set of responsibilities. For example, all three boys can empty out the dishwasher within 5 minutes. They have done it so many times that it doesn’t seem like a chore to them anymore. Loading the dishwasher or washing pots on the other hand is not age appropriate for them at the moment so that’s not something I would ask them to do. Sorting the socks is something my 5 year old can do and then the 7 year old can then go ahead and roll them up into balls. While sorting laundry, all shirts are hung and my 10 and 7 year olds do that while I fold everything else and put into piles for each person. While I’m doing that, they take the hung items and hang them into each person’s closet. I am perfectly capable of doing all these tasks myself, but I want them to learn to help out around the house as it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep it organized and tidy. If I don’t teach them how to do these everyday tasks, they will have a hard time doing them as teenagers and an even harder time as husbands!
Cooking, cleaning washrooms, vacuuming and mopping are chores that need a bit more time and attention, so they are usually done by the adults in the house. This is not to say that if someone drops cereal on the ground, mom’s going to sweep it! Even the 5 year old is able to do that and thoroughly enjoys helping me out. When it comes to cooking, there are simple things the kids can do to help you. For example my 10 year old can make salad as he is now able to use a knife. The 7 year old can help make a dip or mix cake batter. I find that in the evening when its dinner time, everyone is hungry and tired. In order to keep Mr. Hungry and Mr. Grouchy away I like to involve the boys in small tasks in the kitchen. It could be something simple like setting the table, wiping the cupboards, making salad or a dip. Once their hands get busy, they get happy and feel involved. The end result is a calm and happy family having dinner together which is very important to us.
The following are a few of the things that I do to maintain organization around the house.
If the parents do the ground work in each area of the house for the children, then things aren’t as daunting to the little ones. You cannot keep telling your child to clean his or her room when you haven’t done the basics for them. This could be as simple as labeling bins for them on their toy shelf so that they know where what goes. For example on the Ikea Expedit in the kids study/playroom we have various bins labeled with wooden train set, balls, pirate set, dinosaurs and play dough. In their coat closet, they have bins labeled swimming, winter accessories, library and rain gear.
You could buy a kitchen utensils tray or a drawer organizer and set up all their school supplies for them. Each of my boys have their own set of school supplies in their desk drawers in the study/playroom. I keep brand new extras in the closet in the same room.
In order to keep things organized around the house, everything has to have a place of its own. For example, when the kids come home from school, they come in through the garage and into the laundry room. Our laundry room has large black mats to hold all the salt and dirt that comes in with their boots during winter. I’ve also put a large plastic boot tray there for them so that they may take off their boots and let them dry there. There’s a winter accessories bin in their closet and that’s where they put their gloves and hats. When they take off their back packs, they know that they have to first take out their homework and lunch bags. Then they put their bags under the counter on a designated shelf. The next task is to hang their snow pants and winter jackets. There are plenty of sturdy wooden hangers hanging in the closet in the laundry room. In fact I’ve designated that entire closet for the kids to use for their own shoes, boots, sandals, swim wear, winter accessories etc. After doing that, they wash their hands and then walk to the kitchen with their homework, homework caddy(a post for another day) and lunch bags. After that, they place their lunch bags on the counter and immediately head to the kitchen table for snack time. After snack time, they do their homework on the same table as everything they need to complete their homework is in the homework caddy. Sometimes my eldest child has some research to do so he goes into the study/playroom which is upstairs. He can then go ahead and use the computer, printer or anything else he might need to complete his homework. All this may sound like a lot to do within the first hour of getting home from school, but I find that because it’s become their daily routine, they don’t need as many reminders anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I do have to remind them about a few things now and then, but you know that is a part of being a mom.
New Toiletries Shelf
Another tip I’d like to give you is for toiletries. I have two linen closets in the upstairs hallway. I store towels, tablecloths, napkins and the kids’ bed sheets in one of them. The other closet has spare blankets, king bed sheets and an entire shelf designated for new toiletries. It has things like body wash, hand soaps, bar soap, razors, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, gel, toothpaste, lip balm etc. If anyone in the house needs any of those items for themselves, they are able to go in there and help themselves. I tried putting the new toiletries under the washroom counters, but they got mixed up with the ones being currently used. This method has created a mini Costco in my own house and a new item is taken out only if the old one is finished.
Now you’re probably wondering what we keep under out washroom counters. Kind of personal, but I’ll tell you anyway. I use lazy susans in all my washrooms. Yes, that’s my little secret! Each washroom has one under the counter. It holds things that are being used by whoever uses that washroom. For example in my washroom, I have two of them as my hubby and I have our set of things we use daily. His hold things like shaving gel, deodorant, face wash and perfume and mine holds cleansers, toners and moisturisers. They keep the washroom tidy and organized. It’s easy to access what you need as you just have to turn it around to get to the item you need at the moment. There’s no moving things around or digging into a drawer to search for something.
I have a shelf outside the kids’ bedroom that has three levels to it. At night before going to bed, I take out each child’s clothes and put them on the shelf so that there’s no wasting time looking for socks in the morning. As they get dressed in the morning, they fold their pj’s and place them on their own shelf. I wash their pj’s every two days as they only wear them at night. This way they need minimal supervision while getting dressed.
We all have laundry baskets in our homes, but how do we all use them efficiently? I have placed a huge one outside the kids washroom and they know that any item of clothing that they have worn for the whole day must be washed. They take off everything from head to toe, take a shower and put on their pj’s before going to bed. This way the dirty laundry is where it’s supposed to be (in the basket) and ready to go downstairs for washing. My entire family understands that clothes belong in two places only; in the basket if they are worn and dirty, and in their closets if they are washed and clean.
Everyone has different closet designs and storage space. Every closet in my house is different with its own set of shelving or drawers. I use the same method for organizing everyone’s clothes no matter who it’s for. Pants are folded, shirts are hung, pj’s are folded, socks are rolled and put into a bin or a drawer, underwear is folded and stored in a drawer or basket. These methods have worked for me since I got married. It’s easy and keep the closet organized. I never and I repeat never have to “clean” anyone’s closet as there’s no chance of it getting messy since there’s a spot for everything.
Less is More
Due to the changing seasons, wear and tear, outgrowing clothes, we end up donating a large garbage bag of clothes every month. That may seem like a lot, but I inspect the clothes when I take them out of the drier. If there are holes, or the clothing is worn out, it immediately gets thrown away. It’s best to be on top of this a load at a time so that it’s done monthly and you only have what you actually wear in your closets.
Garbage bin in car
We have a red garbage bin in our van. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done to keep the van clean. Things like juice boxes, wrappers, tissues, coffee cups always need to be thrown away somewhere and the car can get messy very quickly if that’s not done immediately. I keep extra bags inside the bin so that I always have one handy.
I have lots of other methods of keeping my family organized, but we’ll save them for future posts. Let me know what topics you’d like me to write about. I could write about the refrigerator, the laundry room or the freezer. Are there any challenges you are facing in your own home at the moment?
hAPPY eATING & kEEP sMILING
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