Baby Step 14

Dear Mama, If you're feeling overwhelmed about starting the homeschooling year, come join us on our baby steps path to a peaceful home and rhythm.  Start at baby step 1!  Love, Kelly Today we’re going to set up our daily and weekly housework routines.

Routines make housework feel manageable even for homeschooling families who are always home making more messes! The key is to stay on top of it with a system you don’t have to think about - it’s just the routine.

Start by making a list of all the housework you’d like to get done daily and weekly. Estimate how much time each task will take and then decide where it will fit in your rhythm. Pairing chores with anchor routines is often a good trick for jogging your memory. For example, get in the habit of always sweeping the kitchen right after bedtime. That way, since bedtime always happens, the sweeping will happen too! I recommend that you make a chart for yourself of what you’ll do when and post it on your fridge so you have a visual reminder.

Then make lists for each child - a list of what chores they can already do on their own and a list of what chores they are learning to do or can do with your help. For example, a two-year-old could put away her own shoes and coat (on a low hook), and with mama’s help she could put her toys in the basket and fold the washcloths. A four-year-old could take out the compost, clear his dishes from the table, fold small cloths and towels, and put his own folded clothes away, and with mama’s help he could tidy up his toys, water the plants, and make bread. A seven-year-old could fold and put away her own laundry, clear and set the table, sweep the kitchen, and tidy up small messes, and could help with cooking and baking, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, and tidying up her play areas. Children at all of these ages could have their own small garden to take care of with help.

Think about how you want to structure chores in your family. Is there a set time when everyone does chores and works together? Do you assign specific chores or let your child choose a certain number each day from the list? Make a chart for your child’s chores and when they will happen and put that on the fridge too (or add it to the chart you made for your own work).

That's it!  This is our last week of baby steps and you are doing great!  If you want to celebrate and find motivation with other awesome mamas, head over to this post on facebook and let us know you have your housework routines planned out!

P.S. Another tip - putting laundry into your daily rhythm (map out time to wash, dry, fold, and put away a load of laundry each day) will make you feel like a rockstar!

P.P.S. If you are completely overwhelmed by your home because there’s too much clutter to know where to start or if you’ve never had housework routines and feel out of your element….first of all, you are not alone, you are not inadequate, and these are learnable skills that you can acquire with some help. Second, it’s almost impossible to keep up with housework if you’re always managing clutter so I highly recommend starting with a daily routine of decluttering one small area of your house at a time, perhaps for 15 minutes a day (baby step 6!). Third, I want to recommend some great resources that will help you with decluttering, getting into housework routines, and learning new habits in general:

Zen Habits - I’m a major Leo Babuata devotee and love his gentle advice. Fly Lady - This system has helped huge numbers of people who were overwhelmed with the mess to get on top of it all!