Thursday, January 27, 2011

Help Wanted

I know a number of wonderful ladies who have cleaning women.

 It got me thinking - Why don't I have a cleaning lady? I have a house, I like it clean therefore doesn't that equal a cleaning lady? But I have always said if I were to hire help the first employee would be a masseuse and the second would be a cook. And I actually like to clean - being a bit of a neat freak as well as a type A personality (and as any teacher will tell you an A is better than a B or now it's a 4 is better than a 3)

I grew up with a wonderful mother who taught her children the importance of house work - She worked full time as a nurse, was a fantastic cook and kept a spotless house. Her secret? Children!! Now you might say children just make a mess - true, but they also can learn how to clean up that same mess. Every week we were assigned a job. Mine was always dusting. At the time I had not become the neat freak that I am now -miracles do happen - and I was content to spray, swipe, move on - DONE! But then I was sent back to redo the job. Week after week I was the duster, my sister the sweeper - how I longed to sweep and be rid of dusting.

So now it is present day - 4 kids, job, house, dog - how do I get the help I need and get everyone on board -
                                        THE JOB LIST
 - yes, that's how it works. Ever since the kids were able to put socks on their hands and dust a table, I have enlisted their help. I would write on a piece of paper the jobs that needed to be done that week - basically dust, sweep, kitchen, bathrooms and then I would yell "jobs posted". Now, I am not exaggerating when I say they would come running to sign up for the "best and easiest" job. Each one had their own opinion about that. I think that is the secret. I didn't assign them and they had the freedom to do the job they wanted for that week and they raced because then they were guaranteed that job. I would usually take the unwanted job that no one signed up for which also gave me variety,too. Then I would set the time limit - sometimes it would be by lunch,other times it would be by the weekend - once their job was crossed off, they were free to do what they wanted to do - instant cleaning lady!

Now these jobs were not paying jobs - this was a "do you want to sleep inside or out" job. But I do post paying jobs for those kids that want to make money and not have to pay taxes. It might be cleaning the garage or washing the van. Those I would post on the fridge with a money amount I was willing to pay.

This system has worked wonders in our house. My one son is away at school living with a bunch of guys and it is fun to hear him complain about how messy they leave the bathroom and what he had to do to clean it up. Maybe he needs to institute the job list with them? Anyway, job well done!


  1. This is the simplest way to get the kids to do their jobs that I have come across! And I LOVE it! Thanks Mary!!

  2. SO great! I will have to start doing that - maybe it will lessen the groans that occur when chore time comes!

  3. Good stuff! My mom used a rotating card system for house cleaning, and she would lay out the cards every Saturday morning for us. You didn't want to get there late & get toilets, lol.


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