Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting my husband to mop the floors guilt-trip-free (and a free printable!)

If Bryan got a nickle for every time he heard me ask, "Can you do me a favor?" he'd be a rich man.  And if he got another nickle for every time he actually does the favor I asked him to, he'd be twice as rich.  But there are times when I know he gets tired of me asking him to do things.  And there are times when I get tired of asking.

Now hold that thought for a minute and add it to this next one...

Every now and then in my blog surfing I'll stumble upon posts where people talk about their system for having a clean home.  Often the women writing these posts have big houses.  And, while I'm genuinely impressed by their system and their determination, those posts often left me with this thought rolling over and over in my mind:
We live in what will (hopefully) be the smallest place we'll ever live.  If I can't even keep our tiny little apartment clean, how am I ever going to keep a whole house clean someday? 

It's a daunting and overwhelming thought.

With these two thoughts rolling over in my mind I started thinking about a system for cleaning that would work for us.  I know a lot of people have a system where they assign a chore to each day of the week-- Monday: laundry, Tuesday: mopping, etc., etc.  I like the consistency of this plan--the consistency that everything gets done at least once a week--but I know myself pretty well and I know that if I assigned a chore to each day of the week I would, slowly, but surely, start to hate each day of the week because of the chore that was attached to it.  I need flexibility in my life.  And commitment that isn't set in stone.

So I talked things over with Bryan and we decided on a little chore chart for ourselves.  First we brainstormed and made a list of all of the household chores that should get done at least once a week.  We chose not to include things like laundry and dishes because those things get done on a need-to-be-done basis.  We thought of enough things that we would each need to do one chore a day (Mon-Sat) in order to get them all done.  (We actually ended up with one extra chore, so one of us just does an extra chore each week.)

Once we had our list I went and made a not-so-ugly little graphic in Picnik.  Because another thing I know about myself is that I don't keep ugly things around long.  On the other hand, pretty things tend to get a lot more use.

So I printed them out on cardstock and cut them accordingly...

Then I grabbed a handful of those junky magnets we get in the mail...

And some double-sided tape...

Cut up the magnets and used the double-stick tape to stick the magnets to the chore chart pieces...

Then just stick 'em up on your fridge (or wherever...that's magnetic) and put 'em to work!
We organize ours as you can see in the pictures above--with all the not-done-yet chores on the left.  Then next to that we have each of our weekday labels.

Once we do a chore we just move that chore from our not-done-yet area and put it next to the day of the week.  

I'll admit that sometimes we'll skip a day (or two or three or four...or more) and then as we catch up on our chores we just fill in the days that are blank.  We have kind of an unwritten rule that all of the chores have to be done before we go to bed on Saturday so that we can have the apartment all clean and nice to enjoy on the Sabbath.  Having a clean home on Sunday really means a lot to me.

Then on Monday we just move the magnets back and start the cycle over again! 

So far this system has worked awesomely (is that even a word?) for us.  And I am delighted to say that, because of this chart, I walked into the apartment a couple of weeks ago to find Bryan down on his hands and knees mopping the bathroom floor.  For the first time.  Ever.  In our entire marriage.  Without me having to ask him.

Another reason I love this system is because it keeps me from having an internal emotional break down every time something gets dirty right after I just cleaned it.  Before we were working off of this little system there would be times when we'd go a long time without vacuuming.  Then we'd finally vacuum and it would feel so nice and clean and then... something would make it dirty.  A cracker would get crumbled into it.  Leaves from outside would blow in.  And I'd internally agonize over the tragedy of our once-clean carpet.  Now?  It's not such a big deal.  I know it'll be clean again soon, so I don't stress so much.  Maybe I'm just weird like that.

And the other great perk of this system is that we don't have to do any certain chore on any certain day.  And although we do tend to pick the same chores for ourselves each week, there's always the option to switch it up a little if we want to.  Flexibility.  And commitment that's not set in stone.  Just what I needed.

Anyway, I hope this will be helpful to some of you others out there!

In the printables below I've included:
  • the weekday sheets (with blank spots for the names so you can write your own in)
  • our list of chores
  • a sheet of blanks so you can write in your own chores (these would also make great labels for other things!)

Chore Chart (part 1) Blanks for names with weekdays from Notes From A Very Red Kitchen copyright Katie Lewi...

Chore Chart (part 2) Chores List from Notes From A Very Red Kitchen copyright Katie Lewis 2010

Full Page of Blank Tags copyright Katie Lewis 2010 Notes From A Very Red Kitchen

How do you handle chores in your home?


alee said...

I pick one day of the each week and clean the entire apartment on that day. It isn't always the same day each week, but often times it is. Then, if the stove is dirty and it isn't my cleaning day, I don't fret about it. It has helped me to assign cleaning to one day a week so that I am not always feeling the urge to wipe the faucets and such...we know I have a problem with cleaning all the time!

It is also is great because I figure since I do that, then when there are little things throughout the week that need to be done (empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, etc.) I can ask Nick to do them without feeling guilty. That is how we handle the cleaning around here :)

Aleatha Shannon said...

Good for you, Katie! (and Bryan!)
I've had a complete attitude change regarding cleaning/housekeeping in the past while. I cultivated it by reading books and blogs about it (and then doing it myself!) I'm not perfect, but if I do say so myself, our house is generally much tidyer than it was, say, two years ago.I've learned that having a clean house is just something you have to decide you want badly enough to make it happen. And it makes life at home SO much more pleasant.

Lisa Lou said...

Hooray!!! I'm glad you put these up here! I love them!

Julie Rosenhan said...

Katie, this is brilliant! I'm totally going to use your printables and steal your idea. Thanks so much!

Kathy Haynie said...

I think I might use these printable, too. Thank you Katie. This is great! I'm sure you thought of this genius system because of all those chore charts I made when you kids were young. Haha!

Emily said...

I love those printables! Thanks for sharing them! I've been needing a new cleaning system too! More often than not the cleaning in our house just gets pushed to the wayside by school assignments and working late! So thanks for the good ideas and tips!

AND - CARLY LOVES her bandanna!!! You are the best!

Anna said...

Katie, I love this. I am totally going to to this. I've been working on organizing and I have a system but this seems waaaay more practical for me. This is super helpful.