There are some things we “have” to do in life – one of them is cleaning, unless of course you don’t mind dust bunnies and dirty underwear.
Do I love cleaning? No. However, I don’t have to hate it either. I am a big believer in making things fun. Anything I don’t like in life, I find ways to make it more enjoyable.
I was sick of ordering my kids around and having to yell in order to get things done. Here is a fact – my kids don’t want to clean and neither do I. I would much rather be playing.
I am a busy entrepreneur so folding, cleaning, wiping, and putting things away rate high up on my things I don’t have time for list. However, if I don’t do these things then I fall into vicious cycle of overwhelm and irritability and that helps no one.
I don’t buy into the idea that growing up means we lose our sense of fun. So, I thought, why can’t I play AND clean?!?! Guess what? You can! You may even end up with a smiling face and a basket of folded laundry!
Two things are required to get your house clean: Make it fun and simple!
The first thing I do is put my kids in charge. If they have a say, then there is less yelling and they feel empowered. I set a timer for 5 minutes and we each take an area of the house and make a list of all the things that need to get done. When the timer is up, we meet back in the kitchen and divide up the chores. This is way better than
having people tell you what to do.
Then we go for simple and fun. Here are some things we do:
Getting the beds made
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Don’t use flat sheets and throw pillows. The less you have on, the less you have to deal with. Sleep with only a comforter and fold it or pull it over the bed in the morning. Takes 10 seconds.
FUN SOLUTION: Have a contest. This is how I started with my kids. When everyone was up and out of bed, I yelled “On your mark, get set, GO!” Fastest bed maker wins. We did this for a while until the excitement wore off and by then the kids were trained to make their beds!
Getting laundry done
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Schedule laundry days and do it as a family. We do laundry Monday and Thursdays in our house. It is a team effort on all parts. Everyone has their own laundry basket and brings their clothes to the laundry room and separates into piles and someone starts the load. I have taught my kids to do this (they are 7 & 10) and it has empowered them. We are sending way too many kids off to college without knowing how to do laundry! Make sure you SHOW them how, otherwise they may take it in their own hands and you may get this:
FUN SOLUTION: Make a Game Out of It
SOCKS: Play Match, Fold, & Toss
Throw all the socks in a giant pile and race to see who can make the most matches and then toss them into a laundry basket for points. To make it more difficult, have someone hold the basket and move it around.
SOCKS: Play Go Fish with socks. Divide socks among family members and leave a pile to draw from. Each player takes a turn and holds up a sock and asks another player if he has a match. If there is no match, they must draw a sock from the pile. The player with the most pairs wins.
Fold, Stack, & Put Away: Everyone folds their own laundry and sees who is the fastest. If someone has more clothes than others, pitch in and help so everyone has an equal amount to start. Say “1, 2, 3 Go!” and race to fold your clothes, stack them up, and run and put them away. Sometimes we break into teams, Parents vs Kids or Boys vs Girls. Make sure you teach your kids how to fold.
Getting Dishes Done
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Wash dishes or put them in dishwasher immediately!!! Do not let them pile up in the sink.
FUN SOLUTION: Turn on music and make a family dishwashing train! Switch off who does what. Give yourself a reward when you are done. A family dance party, a dessert, or play a game together.
Doing the Dusting
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Everyone gets a room and put on a song and dust until the song is over.
FUN SOLUTION: Dust Race! Pretend the floorboards are race tracks and see who is the fastest!
Sweeping the Floors
Simple solution: Turn on music and dance and sweep
FUN SOLUTION: Get two brooms and have a sweeping contest to see who makes the biggest pile!
Make sure to take breaks, add music, and set timers. I find when I add a timer, there is less distraction and it gets done faster. Music is definitely a necessity! Here is a video of my family in cleaning action: