In case you’re wondering, this is not a post about how cleaning is the best thing ever! Also, in case you are wondering, I’m not going to pretend like we have everything figured out (just ask anybody who has ever come over to our house last second). However, we have learned a few things in the past month that have made our home more peaceful (read: less stress) and they’ve helped to keep our house cleaner. Win, win!
Blake and I decided we needed a simple, clear 3 rule system (at least for starters). These three rules involve the whole family and it makes it easy for our girls to know exactly what is expected of them. That means less confusion, less getting overwhelmed, and, as an added bonus, it means that they are forming good habits. We’ve only been doing this for a few weeks, but I cannot stress enough the difference it has made in our home.
RULE NUMBER ONE
1. All dishes make it to the sink.
When they are older, this one will change to “All dishes make it to the dishwasher”, but for now, this is what our 2 and 4 year old can handle. Blake washes the dishes every morning and every night, and when we all make an effort to put our dirty dishes in the sink, it makes his job a lot easier, plus it makes our house feel less cluttered.
Rule Number Two
2. All toys make it to their home.
This of course meant that I had to clean the playroom in order to make a home for every toy. Now that I’ve done that, it’s much easier for the girls to know where to put their toys instead of just throwing them in the playroom. My next step is to label all of our baskets and bins with pictures so that it’s even easier for the girls (or anybody who comes over to play and then help clean) to know where everything goes.
Rule Number Three
3. Shoes and coats make it to the closet.
As soon as we walk through the door I ask the girls, “Now what do we do with our shoes and coats?”. Asking instead of telling always works better with my girls. When I ask them, they feel like it’s their choice and they own it. Of course they like to get their shoes out and play with them as the day goes on, so we usually have to do this one more than once.
Now, these rules may not be the best rules for your family, but I think having a consistent set of rules really does make a difference. So feel free to make your own!
A Few Tips On How To Make It Work
- Be clear. Don’t clutter your rules. Be upfront and state your expectations from the start.
- Be simple. We wanted to make the rules easy to remember so the girls didn’t get overwhelmed. We also wanted to make them easily repeatable. If you didn’t notice, all of our rules have something making it somewhere.
- Be memorable. For us, this meant putting a rhythm to the rules for the girls to remember. We say it with them over and over, and when they remember by themselves, we get super excited with them.
- Make it a team thing. Let your family know that it only works if everyone follows the rules. If everybody participates, it makes for shorter, easier work.
- Be consistent. Go over your rules and follow them every single day. It really only takes a few minutes (if even that) to complete them. If you don’t remember, they won’t usually remember. And once you start slacking off, it’s so much harder to get back in the game.
- Be an example. If you’re not doing it, it’s likely that your kids and/or spouse will also begin to not do it (is that even grammatically correct?). All I know is that when I forget to follow one of the rules, Lane is the first one to point it out to me. Just sayin.
Hopefully these little rules and tips can help to keep your homes cleaner and less chaotic. What rules and habits do you have in your homes?