In addition to daily chores, we have several systems/schedules that we use to get other things done around the Reish home. I will list a dozen or so systems that we have used through the years—some work well with younger children, some with older children. Some are profitable with several children, some with just a couple.
Each family has its own dynamics. For example, a homeschooling family must consider how it will get three meals prepared, served, and cleaned up in the midst of school work. A non-homeschooling family’s mornings are likely the busiest times of the day, getting everybody ready, fed, and out the door. The ages of your children, the number of children, your educational situation, parents’ work schedules, and more all come into play in developing home management systems.
Maybe some of the ideas below will help you manage your home more efficiently—and give you more time for reaching your children’s hearts and training them in godly character.
1. Daily chore sessions—see yesterday’s post for a sample of this and the previous days’ posts for details on setting up a daily chore schedule. The twice a day (now, formerly three times a day) daily chore sessions help us keep all of the daily work done. We have done daily chore sessions ever since I can remember—and we seldom have dishes in the sink or laundry piled up as a result of it. Again, if you have trouble getting daily work done, implement these chore sessions and focus on getting those down pat first. You will be amazed how good it feels to have daily work done each day—and how helpful your children (and spouse!) can be in getting it all done.
2. Morning routines—I use morning routines for children’s personal tasks—their own grooming, dressing, bedroom straightening, and picking up their own things. (See morning routine blogs from early in the year.)
3. Room to room—Before we begin a daily chore session, we have a five minute period that we call “room to room.” This means that everybody stops what they are doing and goes through the house and picks up anything they have had out. This allows whoever has to clean or do other tasks in a certain room to do that without having to work around people’s toys, books, socks, etc. We also use “room to room” before we do family cleaning times and other times when things just need picked up.
4. Jurisdictions—After room-to-room time, and before daily chore sessions, we have “Jurisdiction time.” This is a five minute time period in which everybody goes to their designated area (thus, the word jurisdiction) and straightens up, fluffs pillows, organizes things that are in disarray, etc. Again, this allows the cleaner (or laundry person or meal person) to do his job. We also use “room to room” and “jurisdictions” right before Dad gets home, a few minutes before company arrives, when we are walking out the door (and don’t want to come home to a mess), etc.
5. Blitz—Blitzes are quick! They are times in which we all (whoever is here at the time) work together for a certain amount of time in just going through the house and picking up, organizing, and/or cleaning. The type of blitz and the duration of the blitz is dependent upon the need at the moment. For instance, if it is Friday evening and we didn’t get to chores that day because of a field trip or something, we might call a ten minute blitz for laundry, dishes, trash before we start our family night. Or if we only got to daily chores all week, with no family work sessions (for weekly cleaning), we might call a fifteen minute cleaning blitz in which we all clean. Blitzes obviously do not work well without Mom or Dad or both leading it. If you truly want to go fast, you have to model that for the children.
6. Family cleaning time—As our children have gotten older and are involved in more activities along with their work schedule for our publishing company, it has gotten harder and harder to set aside a two hour period of time each week for us all to do weekly cleaning. I tried passing out individual jobs (i.e. vacuuming, mopping, bathroom cleaning, refrigerator cleaning, etc.), but it just didn’t seem like everything was ever done all at the same time. Thus, we began family cleaning times. We were amazed when we began how much we could get done when all eight of us (before the girls all got married, went to college, and went on the mission field) or all five us (currently) were going full steam. We run family cleaning times as follows: we set the timer for thirty minutes, pair off in teams of two, and assign each pair a room. I give instruction as to what needs focused on (windows, washing the registers, cleaning the rugs, etc.), and we get out the cleaning basket and go. I shout out the remaining time in five minute increments, and in thirty minutes, Ray, the children, and I have a big majority of weekly cleaning done. It should be noted that we do not declutter or pick up during this time. The children have to have everything up and put away before we begin as we are focusing on cleaning during this time, not picking up.
Numbers 7-11 will be listed in tomorrow’s post. Thanks for reading!