Chore sticks…


A clean home is a happy home.  I know, I know, if ever there was a guilt inducing statement, that is it!  But, seriously, think with me for a moment… consider some of the very best homemaker feelings/accomplishments.  Doesn’t a ship-shape-top-to-bottom tidy give you a great feeling?  How about a thoroughly cleaned out garage, a freshly cleaned and ordered pantry, fridge or bedroom closet?  If you stop and think about these sorts of things, you’ll probably quickly remember how great it felt and how smoothly things seemed to run in your home.  Remember? 

With the advent of our son getting married a couple of weeks ago, a bit of space was freed up in our home.  And, well, as you can imagine (especially if you’ve got a lot of children still home), the ideas and possibilities seemed to explode and the enthusiasm to clean out, paint, rearrange and clean up bedrooms was at an all time high.  And at the end of a few days, when the bulk of the work was completed, the bedrooms were nearly all set up. Fresh and clean… and happy.

I have an idea for you… something that might add a little fun to your cleaning schedule — and maybe even to help you set up a cleaning schedule and give you some time saving ideas, to give you some inspiration and to make it fun.

You’re going to need a few supplies, first.  I’d suggest that you get a binder or a piece of paper that you’ll add to your kitchen binder / log / whatever.  Make a list of all the different chores you know must be done.  Then, go back an prioritize the list into groupings of least to most important (or vice versa).  The reason I’m suggesting that you write this down in a binder is that you’ll then have a written record that you can consult every time you’re going to do seasonal chores or monthly chores.  If you don’t have a kitchen binder or a home/time management binder, then, most sincerely, I’d suggest that you get one, and begin to load it up with your family/home information, plans, important lists, etc.  And, yes, I do mean paper, pens and a plastic/metal 3-ring binder.  You’ll keep this with your cookbooks, etc.

After you’ve written your necessary chores list and arranged them in some order of importance, then you’ll need to get some wide craft sticks or tongue depressors and two jars.  Then, write the chores – individually – on the sticks.  I have written with Sharpie pens so that the ink won’t run if the sticks get wet – and I can reuse them many times this way.   I may give an estimated time to complete the chore – or an asterisk on the stick to indicate importance or priority.

It really doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just a matter of doing what you know you must do and determine to get those things done. This stick method is but one method you might use.

This isn’t meant to put you in some sort of chore bondage, or to dictate that you must do it this way — and, believe me, this method is not the key you’ve been searching for to get your house in order once and for all.  The order — once and for all — deal doesn’t exist.  But you can learn ways to bring about a semblance of order that makes for a more smoothly run home and a more orderly way of keeping and caring for the things we all need to have/use in our homes.

So, maybe you’ve got the idea of making the lists in the binder and you’ve even imagined that you could write out the chores on the sticks… now what?  Simple put the sticks — as many as your chore load dictates — in a jar.  And then, establish a cleaning segment of every day and pick sticks each time, do the task on the stick, move on to another and another as time allows.  STOP working when your allotted cleaning time is up.  Plan to work the next day and the next — starting and stopping at the planned time, and so on, until the jobs you need to complete have all been completed.    Put the completed chore stick into the empty jar and see how quickly you can get the sticks transferred from the first jar to the next.  After a few days, you’ll be amazed at how much you can do AND how much you’ve gotten done.  Save the sticks in your cabinet for the next overall house deep-cleaning and a couple of months (you can also make chore sticks for daily work or weekly/monthly work).

This will go much faster if you’ll mobilize your troops!  Seriously!  Teach your children to love to work and to work hard at it!  Your attitude and zeal will be very motivating for them.  And the daily allotted time deal?  It’s a real loving incentive and doesn’t break morale —if— you’ll but stick to it.  God bless you and your clean, happy home.


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