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Family Cleaning Tips

How to Get Your Family to Help With the House Cleaning


These family cleaning tips are for you if...

You're a busy person you work hard at your job, take the kids to lessons and practices, run your errands, and you come home to a pristine, peaceful house. Well, not quite!

The scene looks more like this...

  • breakfast dishes are still piled in the sink;

  • shoes, coats, and backpacks are in a heap inside the door;
  • can't eat at the kitchen table because the mail, your laptop, and a few groceries are perched there;
  • Magazines, books, and toys are all over the TV room;
  • and the bathroom - we won't even go there.

You can't even begin to actually clean because there is too much in the way!

There's nothing more discouraging than to come home to a mess, and have nobody but you doing anything about it. How can you quit struggling solo, and get your family members to do their share? Here are a few family cleaning tips and ideas:

Family Cleaning Tips: Be proactive...

Have a family meeting once a week and discuss goals. Express how a clean house is not just one person's job - it's everyone's job.

Get everyone to acknowledge how much better it is when the house is neat. Have every member tell what it is they like or dislike about the way things are right now.

Your teen might say she does not have enough closet space. Your husband might say he needs something to hold his magazines. You might say that it frustrates you to pick up wet towels off the bathroom floor every day.

A family meeting will give everyone, including you, a safe forum to express frustrations and ideas of how to improve the situation.

Family Cleaning Tips: Divide and conquer...

Make certain people responsible for certain rooms. Assign the upkeep of a bathroom to one person. Give one of the kids the TV room and say,

"It's your job to see that everything is put away and neat before you go to bed at night".

Have a laundry basket for every person, and separate the clean load out for each to fold and put away their own things.

Family Cleaning Tips: Create new habits...

Tell your family that any time someone enters the kitchen, he or she has to check the dishwasher, and empty it and reload it if need be.

So if Jane is home from school before mom and dad arrive from work, it's up to her to do it. If dad gets up from the TV for a snack, and the dinner dishes are now finished, it's his turn to empty.

Likewise, establish zones for coats, shoes, paperwork, and the like. Work with your family to form the habit of putting things away upon returning home so that they are not all over the place.

Family Cleaning Tips: Don't let them get away with it...

Your six-year-old is not allowed to make a mess at school and leave it for the teacher to clean up. Tell her,

"It does not work at school, and it is not going to work here".

She'll make the connection when you say it's cleanup time. If you run into resistance have reasonable, clear consequences and be prepared to carry them out to the letter.

("If you do not put away your toys, then I will take away your video games for two days.")

Use a timer, especially with little ones, as it will help them stay on task.

Family Cleaning Tips: Give up control...

If your son is not so hot at vacuuming, don't simply make it one of your jobs. A so-so job is better than not having it done at all.

Do not tell him it was not good enough, and he should redo it; that will only foster negative feelings about participating in cleaning. Instead, teach and encourage him to do it the way you would and he will eventually meet your expectations.

Before he does it the next time tell him,

"Remember that you need to move the furniture and vacuum under it".

You may have to give gentle reminders, but over time having a neat house will become second nature. The minds of your family will get used to order instead of clutter, and they will unconsciously say to themselves...

"What's wrong with this picture?"

...and do something about it.











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