Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cleaning with Kids

This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol® Clean & Disinfect with Pine-Sol®: The Powerful Scent of Clean." I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

When people find out that I have six children, I am usually met with incredulous looks and questions like, “How do you do it all?”

Well, it’s not a secret, folks.

I don’t!

I have seriously laughingly remarked to my friends that I can:

    • read books
    • OR cook
    • OR knit
    • OR re-do furniture
    • OR keep my house clean.

But never all at the same time.

I tend to be a little obsessive about my hobbies.  I can do one of those things really well, or a few of them moderately well.

In order to keep the household in the moderately-well category, I need AND require my children to help me.  I think parents do a disservice to their children by NOT expecting them to help with the household chores. I have mentioned before that I expect my children to be USEFUL as well as decorative!  And my children do not get paid for chores.  I maintain that there are things we do because they are for the good of the family, and not because we gain an immediate reward.

So here’s how we do it—or try to!  I keep a chore chart on the refrigerator, and these daily chores are expected to be done starting at 5 p.m. each day.  Younger dwarfs rotate through smaller jobs (You’ll notice that Dopey is only responsible for the back entry and the shoes.  It even gets done.  Sometimes.)  Older dwarfs have larger responsibilities.  It isn’t a perfectly regular rotation, as the schedule is adjusted depending on who has piano lessons or dance or play practice or cub scouts or track practice… you get the idea!  I rarely do.


If you’d like a copy of my chore rotation (MS Excel file), e-mail RedHenHome@gmail.com

“Deeper” cleaning happens on the weekends.  Once upon a time I would give one dwarf responsibility for all the sinks, another for all the garbages, etc.  Unfortunately, that led to instances where, for example, the bathroom counters would not be wiped off, and I would hear a chorus of “It’s not my job!” ringing through the house.  Ugh.

So, borrowing heavily from the chore checklists created by Mads Memories, I created my own chore checklists for the weekend jobs.


Checking for dirty socks is one of my personal additions.


The “wall to wall, corner to corner” bit is one of my additions, too.  Otherwise, we end up with a really clean 10 sq. ft. area in the middle of the floor.  Please avert your eyes from the edges!


If you’d like a copy of my chore checklists (MS Word file), e-mail RedHenHome@gmail.com

Cut apart and laminated, these lists serve as reusable reminders of what REALLY goes in to cleaning a room!   For our personal use, I have separate checklists for each bathroom and each bedroom.

Believe it or not, this is really NOT how our house looks most evenings…

Pinesol 021-3

No matter what the children may tell you…

Pinesol 054-2

Just a little paraphrase from Ben-Hur there.

…but I do believe that working together to maintain a home saves time and sanity (sometimes—although the whip may indicate otherwise) and teaches children skills they need to become productive, happy, healthy adults! 

Are you a little extreme when it comes to cleaning? Win the Pine-Sol® Deep Clean Diva Crown and $5000. Enter Now!

So do you have any tips for me on keeping a busy household clean?  What has worked for you??

Please note:  No dwarfs were harmed in the making of this blog post.


Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special


Paulette said...

What a cute post and I love the smell of Pine-Sol

Shari @ turnstylevogue.com said...

Too funny....but spot on. It has to be a team effort. Kids need to learn to respect their home and take pride in it from the beginning.

Twice Nice said...

Yes! We also subscribe to the addage that we need to teach our children how to keep a clean(ish) home by having them actively participate. Although ours are paid "volunteers" with an allowance. Now that I have 2 older teens they also are learning how to do their own laundry. Good for you!

Unknown said...

Hi! I am stopping in from "Remodelaholic" where I saw your post on repainting your counter top. Just wanted to say that it looks amazing! I would never have the guts to that... but someday I may just consider it! I'm a new follower :)

awal.ny said...

No tips, I came looking for some. I think I would like your choir list. Can I borrow Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Doc, Sneezy and Dopey? Great post.

Rachel said...

I'm just impressed that you can crack a whip without taking out your own eye! That alone takes some mighty fine skills! ;)

Alida said...

I only have two left at home. I don't pay them for chores, although they do get a bulk undisclosed sum of money put into their accounts when we get our tax return:) I seriously think the earlier you start letting them help out the better. Mine are 8 and 9 and every Saturday morning they start on their chores without my asking. I love that! Still, it would be nice to have a whip...:)

Unknown said...

and here in lies the problem with keeping my house clean...both my children are very young and i dont want them around chemicals and i cannot get it through my husband thick thick thick skull that guess what he lives here too jyst becuase i pick up after the kids doesnt mean im picking up after him, the hammper is on the way to the bathroom for a reason...or not to just set dishes in the sink waiting for the magickal moma cleaning fairy to clean them and put them away...ugh maybe i need to buy a whip

Donna (My Mothers {favorite} Daughter) said...

this is one of the best posts EVER! makes me almost wish I had kids at home...I only had one daughter and she is grown and newly married recently...so maybe I can get a whip for the grandkids...I am actively seeking 5!!! But honestly I totally agree with everything you said, its their home too and they should take pride in it and want to it be nice.

Anonymous said...

Congrats for teaching your children how to take care of their environment!! When we were tweens my Mom started having us each make a (simple) dinner meal for the family once a week so we would learn how to cook as well. As younger kids my Mom had a box in the closet that all "not picked up toys etc" would get put, and we would have to buy (for a nickel or dime) that toy back...we learned VERY quickly not to leave things out...:)

Gypsy Heart said...

I totally agree with you! My kids always had chores and it helped me tremendously and they are none the worse. :-) Both are very, very good in keeping their homes, however, my son & dil do not require much at all of the grands. I don't agree but it's not my place to say anything either.

Hang in there! :-)

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

Crack that whip, Korrie! They'll thank you later. Really.

SImple and Serene Living said...

So funny, Korrie. No wonder I have such a problem keeping my house clean now. I let me children grow up and leave home :)

Heather said...

This is too funny Korrie!! Wait till your kiddos turn into a preteen and a teenager - it gets reeeeeal interesting then! HaHa! Visiting from Bergers 2 Gardners blog - love all your refinished pieces...you have inspired me to redo a bench I found at Goodwill. I am your newest follower. I sent you an invite to join my friends circle on Google+ too! Please visit my blog and say hello sometime - I love to make new bloggy friends and follow me back if you would like to keep in touch :)
Have a wonderful week! Heather @ settingforfour.blogspot.com

Brooke said...

Laughing, laughing, laughing and thinking you have a great idea.

Bliss said...

Of course I love this post, a page from my own six dwarf home. Yours look much more enthusiastic than mine ever did, must be the whip.


momto8 said...

i love this post! and I know it is true..because I do this too. My kids all do many chores...happily and then they get to play happily because the feel good about themselves! 4 of my kids are out of the house now, and chores helped them so much in establishing their own lives.
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
happy cleaning!

Anita at Cedar Hill said...

You had me totally laughing out loud over this one. Now that my baby is a driver, I have threatened to cut off the free gas if she refuses to help. It's my version of the whip and BTW, it works rather well!!

*Reading Between the Lines* said...

I liked your room lists...especially the vacuuming...wall to wall...edge to edge. I will have to pass that one on.LOL

Practical Parsimony said...

My children always had chores, but when I divorced, I was working and needed more help. At first, I said clean up what you mess up. Of course, the house was a wreck because no one claimed the towel on the floor and someone always said that they put those socks/jeans/underwear in the hamper and could not explain how they got out. (Son could have been responsible for once again antagonizing his sister.)

Then, I changed it to three chores each day: 1)pick up, dust and vacuum den.Return everything to its proper place in the house. 2) clean off kitchen table, empty dishwasher and put dishes away, sweep floor. These two chores were shared by the two older children. The younger always had the same chore: pick up all towels in the bathroom, wipe off water from sink, straighten anything within reach. Put shoes out of bathroom into the den. (She was only four)

It worked like a charm. I told them even if someone else put it down in the room he or she was keeping clean, pick it up and put it away. The house was much better looking.

One day, while I was gone, my son washed a load of clothes, dried them, folded them and put them away. I cried and told him how proud I was. I had left laundry and cooking as my permanent jobs.

Later, I found out he was making chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. How? He left a drop on the door handle of the oven...lol. Otherwise,he had put away recipe, ingredients, washed all dishes, dried them, and returned them to their proper place.

KimMalk said...

Hi Korrie, As always, I'm behind on checking your posts. You are so good! Having (only!) five children, I was not nearly this good at subdividing and managing chores. Now I'm down to two at home and things are still a mess in their rooms and bathroom. I think it's time to revisit the whole chore-chart thing. Thanks for your inspiration!