One of the best things about Simply Living is knowing that if you work the plan, everything has a place and everything [is almost always] in its place. And if it ISN'T in its place, it's [simple] to know where its place is. I don't know about you, but when my home is in disarray, cluttered, and dirty, I have a hard time being effective in other pursuits. It's very difficult for me to leave things undone because I know that it will still be waiting on me and probably growing exponentially! I love order in my world and having a plan to maintain it helps keep me sane.
So the Plan goes like this … [simply] delegate, delegate, delegate!
Ha … it doesn't always work so well, does it? It takes a little more than just delegating. It also takes planning and communicating, but the delegation is a great part of the success of the plan. Here are some ideas on getting some help.
To delegate means to involve your family members or those you live with. Perhaps it's just you and your husband/wife. Perhaps you live with roommates. Perhaps you have children. Whatever your situation is, if you share the chores and everyone contributes, it makes life so much easier to get through and no one will feel as though they are doing all the work.
The nitty gritty of the Plan will be revealed next week, but this week I want you to spend some time thinking about how to involve those you live with. Here are just a few ideas that I had: (WARNING: alot of these have to do with children so if you don't have any munchkins running around, hopefully you can figure out how to divide up chores!)
- Everyone makes their own bed. Unless a child is super young and can't follow directions yet, they can make their own bed. I taught my children to make theirs by first making it with them, with me on one side of the bed and them on the other. As they grew a little, I taught them how to walk from one side of the bed to the other to pull the covers up by themselves, and by the time they were about three or four, they were doing it by themselves. It didn't always look pretty! But they were learning and taking responsibility. Bed not made? No TV, or no playing outside, or whatever privilege meant a lot to them.
- Everyone puts their own dirty laundry in the bin. For a long time, I've had separate bins for darks and lights and taught them how to put them in the correct bin as soon as they knew the difference. Made MY job much easier!
- Children can help fold laundry. My young children loved folding the washcloths and sorting the socks. They don't like it so much anymore! But they still do it!
- Kitchen chores: determine who is going to cook, who is going to clean up, if those are different people, and again, involve the kids. Even young children can put silverware and napkins around the table. It's a great opportunity to teach them the proper way to set a table. Emptying the dishwasher is a good 'kid chore', especially when they are old enough to reach the upper cabinets. Ben has been our resident Trash Man for many years now. He hates it. But he loves eating our food, so he takes out the trash!
- Yard chores: I don't mind mowing the grass, but Ken usually did it until Ben got old enough to handle the machine. If you have a pet, decide who'll pick up the … well, you know … the yuckies! Every child should be involved in putting away bikes and yard toys … if they can play with them, they can put them away.
- When the kids come home from school, have them put away their backpacks, coats, shoes, and lunch bags. A place for everything and everything in its place. This small act of orderliness will help your mornings go so much better because all of the stuff they need to take with them is all there!
- A note to those with older children … as they get older, it is more and more difficult for them to do the larger chores because of extracurricular activities and their social calendar expanding. I would encourage you to maintain some level of expectation for their contribution, however. Our oldest, who is now 19, lives with us and although she doesn't pay rent to live here, she does her own laundry (including her sheets), keeps her own room, and is expected to clean the bathroom that all of the kids use thoroughly at least once a week. She also pays for her car insurance, cell phone bill, and school. I'd say that makes her quite responsible!
These are just a few ideas. I'm sure you have many more! And that's the beauty of this … it isn't all about me. Remember? I'm not a professional ANYTHING! I'm just sharing things I've learned and you can add your stuff, too. (Remember the comments section has innumerable spots for you to fill in!)
Involving the ones you live with requires a little planning and communication, two things that are very important. With younger children especially, chore charts work really well because they love seeing accomplishment. Stickers are like gold! We used them all the time. You can decide if chores should change weekly or if the same child keeps the same one for a while. I do recommend mixing it up here and there so that they learn how to do more things. Some people give rewards for all the chores that completed. My personal opinion is that doing chores is part of being in a home and doesn't require rewards. However, praise and encouragement should never be in short demand and that sometimes takes on the face of a little gift or a notecard left on the child's bed or deskl. Hopefully, by the time they leave the Nest, they will know how to take care of their own space, clothes, and relationships and find fulfillment in Simply Living. (This paragraph could be extended into its own post, but I'll spare you all of my thoughts on that – for the moment anyway!)
This week, [simply] determine if the chores done around your house are divided up well, if things are getting done, and if you want to use chore charts with your kids. If you do use chore charts, or have a recommendation of a chart that you like that might help another reader, feel free to link to it in the comments section so that we might all learn. If you have created your own chore chart, let us know that, too! I know there are some talented people out there!