Organizing family chores can make a household run smoothly and make it more likely that everyone’s attitude is positive. Here are five guidelines that help a family get organized:
“Clean Up Your Own Mess”
All family members are responsible for their own messes. That means taking their dishes to the kitchen, putting away snacks, hanging up clothes, putting dirty clothes in the appropriate place, and making their own beds.
Share Common Chores
There are “common” chores shared by the entire family. Examples include carrying out the trash, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, cooking, purchasing and putting away groceries and doing the dishes, the laundry and the yard work.
Use a Signup Sheet
A “signup sheet” insures that everyone knows his or her responsibilities. With my children, I posted all common chores on Monday with a time when the chores were to be done. Each person had to sign up for a “during the week” chore (e.g.: unloading the dishwasher as needed) and two “Saturday” chores (e.g.: vacuuming). My children took turns being the one who was allowed to sign up first. I volunteered to be the last one to sign up for my chores.
Below is a sample signup sheet that our family adapted to meet our needs. Family members can initial below their name on the items they choose for the week.
|During the Week Chores: As Needed|
|Help with Meal Clean up|
|Take out Trash|
|Help with Meal Prep|
|Weekly Chores: Before Saturday|
|Sweep and Mop Hard Floors|
|Wash, Dry, Fold Towels|
The Deadline Must Be Met
Set an absolute deadline for chores to be completed. Ours was noon Saturday unless we planned to be busy on Saturday morning. In that case, the deadline was earlier.
Chores Before Anything Else
Chores must be completed before going outside, visiting on the phone, using electronic devices, or doing homework. The rules include everyone in the family, not just the children.
Try This with Your Family
This little organizational system was not perfect, but it did add variety to what could have been routine and boring. As you work out your own system for doing chores, remember that the more you plan ahead of time, the less you will have to make “on the spot” decisions.