Friday, May 31, 2013

105 May Mini-Challenge -You Asked: We Heart Answering! {in a VIDEO} Cleaning Plan for our Clan!

Earlier this month when we kicked off the cleaning challenge, I promised to answer one of the hottest IHeart Organizing questions ever...

I get a lot of questions each day, but there are always those that stand out and that are just too good to go without answering them via the blog.  And usually, the answers are so in depth, that a blog post is warranted so I am not retyping the same long response each and every time.  Today is one of those days.  I would say one of the top ten questions I receive is, "How do you get your family on board with your cleaning and organizing?" and "What is your cleaning routine?".



I have a feeling this could turn into a really long post, so I apologize in advance, but it is one that I have been gearing up to for a long time!

First, full disclosure:

I am a parent.  I am not a parenting expert.  I get asked a lot of advice on ways to work with kids, but I often times avoid over-sharing our personal parenting choices on the www since no two parents are ever the same and each must decide what they feel is best for their family.  It is such a touchy subject, and although I am sure that there are parents out there that will read this post and gasp that we are far too harsh and strict with our kids, and others that will roll their eyes because we are not hard enough.  We have just been asked these questions so many times, that we are putting our response out there.  It may be right, it  may be wrong, it may be crazy.  I just ask that this does not become a parenting forum.  Pleasethankyou.

So let's get this party started!

How do I get my family on board with our cleaning and organizing systems? 

It's not always easy, that is for sure.  It is easier for me to get motivated to keep a clean home since it is my passion and is who I am.  There are days where I crave cleaning because I find it is refreshing and I am far happier and more productive when the spaces around me are tidy.  But my boys... they sure don't think that way.  They think about scooters, baseball, football, golf, the sandbox, friends, video games and Nick Jr.

So, I have had to work over the years at finding a happy medium and experiencing many trials and errors.  There were times when I would just do it all because "I was the only one who could do it to my standards anyway".  I would do it all to avoid sounding like a nag, but then get burnt out and turn into a nag anyway.  I have tried leaving their messes alone for so long that surely they would get sick of them and want to help... nope, that day didn't come.  Once a bowl of macaroni sat on the counter for six days before I couldn't take it any longer.  I have tried writing down everything I pick up randomly throughout the day so they can realize that they were leaving the milk out, cupboards open and their socks scattered down the hallway.  I have tried reward charts, chore charts, treasure boxes and allowances.  I am tellin' ya, I have been trying to figure it all out for years, and I still don't have it all down but we are getting better each and every day.

Here are some of my tips:
  • I believe that when the kids see the parents being active with their chores, they are more willing to do their own.  Monkey see, monkey do.  
  • By doing my chores at the same time that the kids are doing theirs, there is an automatic feeling of unity.  It goes with one of our many motto's, "We work together so we can play together" and one my mom always taught me, "Many hands make light work".  My kiddos hear these phrases often.

  • I lowered my expectations.  This one was HUGE for me.  I  was picky {and still am, I just have learned to bite my tongue and shut my yapper}.  If a toilet didn't get cleaned well, I would go back and redo it.  If a bed didn't get made right, I would just do it.  If my hubs cleaned the kitchen, I would follow behind him and finish what he didn't.  One day he said, "If we are both going to waste our efforts doing the same chores, I am just not going to do them anymore."  Smart man.  I needed to hear that.  I was burning myself out over my own standards.  If I ever wanted to relax, I needed to take the help of my kids and husband and not complain if it wasn't done the way I would have done it.  So, now I may offer a friendly suggestion here or there, but for the most part, if a stair gets missed or a garbage didn't get emptied, I just let it be.
  • By lowering my expectations, I was also able to remind myself that no home is "perfect".  That many of the homes I visit, have toys spread out in the living room, dishes in the sink and shoes scattered in the entry.  And I never would judge someone for those things, in fact, it makes their home feel loved and lived in.  So why couldn't I be OK with that when it came to our own home?  I would always find myself apologizing for any of our messes that were left out when we had unexpected company.  Now, I just ignore the dog slime on the patio door and hope that my neighbors might see it and think, "they have a sweet family dog" instead of, "yuck, doesn't she ever clean her glass?"  Because yes I do, just not that specific day.  And if it means that I need to let dirty dishes sit in the sink until I can get some help, then they will just have to sit.

  • When it comes to getting the kids on board, I sat them all down and explained that they would no longer be earning an allowance, that we all live in our home, and we all must share in taking care of our home.  Our home was the reward.  They understood at the time, but they lacked that motivation and drive within a day or two.  So, I also let them know that with the home came many of their privileges.  I have no problem with them scooting around with their friends, playing some video games and watching TV, as long as their chores {and of course homework}, were taken care of.  Now they have something to work for and motivation.  And every time I purchase a new baseball bat or some of their favorite craft items, or sign them up for another activity, I make sure to thank them for their help around the house so they associate the earning of other luxuries, as a reward for their helping hands.
  • Routine.  Huge word for us.  My kids thrive on routine.  Routines lessen the daily struggle and "surprise" element.   When they know what is expected and what their chores are each and every day, week and month, they are much more willing to help than when I spring something on them at the last minute.  The planner in me completely appreciates that, so I try to offer that respect to my kids.
  • I involved the kids and Mr. in decisions.  When we decided that we would create a family cleaning chart and routine, we made a long list of all the tasks and had each individual volunteer for the jobs they wanted first.  The remainders were divided out based on age, skill level and number of chores that each person had.  It was important to us to all feel included, and to all see that everyone is expected to be helpful, no single person would be singled out.  The chart was done in simple color code format and can be erased and reused week after week.  

  • Another motto we share around here is quite simple, "You have to work hard, to play hard".  If we want to go on a weekend getaway, we may do a few extra chores before hand.  If the kids want to play with friends, they have to finish their daily tasks.  Simple stuff.  I try and show them with real life examples, and that the motto will follow them their whole life, whether in school or for work.   That we work hard to earn our incomes, which in turn will allow us to play hard.
  • Have fun with it!  I love to play music and make sure we are all having a good time.  And I love to have fun when we are done to celebrate our hard work!

  • When it comes to younger kiddos, I have to dig deep to remember what worked best, but I really tried to get them excited about pickup time right from the start, instead up making it a chore, I would make it a game.  I always gave them a five minute warning before it was time to pick up, to avoid possible tantrums.  And if they pulled things out, they would help put them back.  Consistency was huge!  Kiddos are smart and learn quickly like little tiny sponges.   
  • Last but not least, I became a problem solver.  My kids are all SO different, and I found that different things work for each of them.  I also realized that if I were just to start watching my hubby's habits and patterns, that I could problem solve some of his messes and cater to his routine instead of asking him to change.  By being understanding to each of their ages and needs, I can create systems that work for them.  For example, my youngest loves picture labels, so I use those for him.  My middle son loves color coding, so I do that for him.  My oldest will take the quickest route to getting anything done, so we picked chores for him that didn't need attention to detail.  If my Mr. always drops his keys on the counter by the garage instead of on the tray on top of the show rack, I move the tray.  Why have him change his daily habit just because I think the tray looks prettier by the front door? 

Ready to hear it straight from the fam?  I asked them to try their hardest not to feel pressured and to be completely honest {even if they were going to say something they didn't think I would want to hear}, to make a quick video to share.  Of course, with three boys at complete different stages in life, I got a lot of fun answers and a whole range of attitudes about the entire process!




Our Cleaning Plan!

So now that you have heard a little about what each boy does, I thought I would go into more detail about our cleaning schedule.

So that you can associate each boy's age to their chores, Preston is 11, Peyton is 8 and Parker is 6.



Daily:
  • Sweep/vacuum main areas - Jen:  We have two dogs and kids.  The floors get really dirty really fast.  I like to use a stick vac and go over the surfaces quickly each day.
  • Wipe down bathrooms - Jen:  I try to multi-task and do this while I give the kids baths or when I take my own shower.  This doesn't mean cleaning the toilet or shower each day, I just give the surfaces a quick once over.
  • Wipe down the kitchen - Bryan & Jen:  Bryan cooks and we share in cleanup after dinner.
  • Put away laundry - Everyone 


  • Make bed - Everyone:  Only if company is coming, not required daily. 
  • Full house pick-up - Everyone
  • Pick up dog doo - Poor Bryan:  He volunteered for yard chores and this fell into that category!
  • Empty/Load the dishwasher - Preston
  • Take out the garbage - Preston:  This doesn't need to be done daily, but he checks it daily}
  • Bring down the laundry - Peyton
  • Get the Mail - Peyton
  • Take out the recycling - Parker:  This doesn't need to be done daily, but he checks it daily}


  • Take up and down the basket by the stairs - Parker

Weekly:
  • Clean glass - Jen: I can't get enough of my new rag and water system!  Glass glimmers now!

  • Dust - Jen
  • Toilets - Jen
  • Wipe down microwave - Jen:  I just put some water and vinegar in a glass bowl and run it in the microwave for five minutes, then everything wipes clean with a microfiber cloth.


  • Wipe out fridge - Jen: I do a fridge clean out each week when we bring in new groceries.  I sort of love a freshly organized fridge!
  • Wash sheets/towels - Jen: I can run these loads while working from home, super spoiled.
  • Vacuum cabinet fronts - Jen:  I do this a few times a week when I run the vacuum on the rest of the kitchen floor, this step only adds a couple of seconds.
  • Vacuum under furniture - Jen: I will admit, this is a least favorite and I skip it more than I should.
  • Organize the mail bins - Jen: I do this to ensure our bills are getting paid, papers are filed and that they don't get out of control from being neglected each week.  
  • Pull Weeds - All: Another one that if you stay on top of it weekly, it isn't so bad.  We all own it in the spring when they are the worsts, then, I will mention it each week and usually my younger two are excited to get muddy and dirty.  We only have a few small areas to weed, so it's only a few minutes per week tops.
  • Clean shower/tub - Bryan:  I don't "have the strength" I tell him.  But when you do it weekly, it shouldn't really ever be that bad.  He does the shower so he doesn't have to clean toilets.
  • Mow lawn - Bryan
  • Weed whip - Bryan
  • Mop floors - Preston:  I vacuum so all he has to do is run the mop over the floor.  Easy peasy.
  • Bring up garbage can from curb - Preston:  It is simple enough for him to grab it when he gets off of the bus
  • Collect garbage - Peyton:  He gathers the small garbages from around the house and places them into one on garbage night.
  • Vacuum the stairs - Peyton:  He ends up doing this 2-3 times per week since our new stairs show dust ten minutes after they are cleaned. 

Monthly:
  • Scrub grout - Jen:  I use baking soda, water/vinegar and a grout brush and go to town!  We only have grout in our lower bathroom {the kitchen  backsplash gets wiped down with the counters}, so a counter and the floor isn't too much to keep up with.
  • Clean out garbage cans - Jen:  I rinse each garbage can out with hot soapy water
  • Vacuum ceilings/corners - Jen:  Our stick vac rocks!
  • Vacuum couch cushions - Jen:  It is amazing the things I find in those things!
  • Cycle clean appliances - Jen:  I just use the special solutions found in the cleaning aisles at Target for cleaning the dishwasher and washer.
  • Launder bath rugs/mats - Jen:  One extra load on linen day!
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts - Jen:  A microfiber rag and water removes any footprints and dirt circles around the hardware
  • Clean stove top burners - Bryan:  A little elbow grease gets rid of the food grease.
  • Vacuum vents - Bryan:  He is happy with any excuse to play with the shop vac.
  • Dust ceiling fan blades - Bryan:  He can reach easier than I can.
  • Sweep the garage - Bryan:  Since it is cold 90% of the time in Wisconsin, I avoid the garage.  It is my hubby's man cave.
  • Wipe down the car interior - Bryan: A boy and his toys.
  • Vacuum car interior - Preston: He can bond with his dad during this time.
  • Wipe down switch plates - Peyton:  Have you ever noticed how dirty those things get?  Thank you microfiber for making cleaning them simple!

Quarterly:
  • Clean oven - Jen & Bryan: tag team!
  • Clean out fridge/freezer - Jen & Bryan:  Since Bryan cooks, we do this together and meal plan and toss as needed.
  • Launder furniture cushions - Jen: Another load on linen day.  Slipcovers get done quarterly too.
  • Lander bed comforters - Jen
  • Vacuum mattress - Jen:  Same time as washing the comforters
  • Descale coffee maker - Jen:  I am the only coffee drinker in the house.  With our hard water, the machine needs quarterly lovin'.
  • Change furnace filter - Bryan:  I would have no clue how to do this.
  • Vacuum computer - Bryan:  Bryan works on computers daily for his profession, just as a HVAC guy will tell you to change your furnace filter, my hubby will tell you that you need to carefully vacuum the inside of your computer.

Semi-Annually:
  • Wipe down doors - Jen:  Water and microfiber for the win again!
  • Wipe down walls & trim - Jen:  Same same.
  • Smoke alarm battery check - Bryan


Annually:
  • Exterior windows - Jen & Bryan:  Excited to try our new inside method, on the outside!
  • Clean out cabinets - Everyone:  Annual purging and decluttering.  If I am good throughout the year, this is easy, if I slack, we have a little extra work to do in the spring.
  • Clean out drawers - Everyone
  • Any other random cleaning chore that only needs to be done as needed - as needed.

As the kids mentioned, our house isn't perfect every day and night.  It gets messy.  We live in our home and use and abuse it day and night.  Chores are prioritized and if life happens, then chores don't happen.  They are just moved to another day.  By having the reusable checklist, we can check off the things that have been done and catch up when life gets in the way.  The weekly chores are often times spread out so it's not too much to handle on any given day, typically 15-20 minutes is spent per day each of us, since it is so nicely divided.  It is important for us to be flexible and forgiving with this system, or else I would drive myself bonkers.  And as the kids mentioned, they don't love doing chores, but who does?  I definitely didn't when I was younger, but looking back, I am so glad my parents left me with lists and responsibilities.  Fingers crossed my boys will feel the same some day....


Oh!  And to really go the extra mile, I like to pull in fresh flowers and light a candle after the kids are in bed.  It really makes the house look and smell good!  I highly recommend it!  #itsthelittlethings


So there you have it!  The super duper lengthy all about cleaning our home post!  Did I chat your ears off?  Did that answer your questions?  If it sparked any additional, feel free to leave 'em in the comments below.

Have a happy weekend my friends!  And don't forget, Monday we are linking up everyone's cleaning posts and tips so stay tuned!

105 comments:

  1. loooooved the video! and loved seeing (and hearing) from all of you! your boys are so adorable! i don't think i could get my 3 to sit still and answer me - they are busy-bodies! :-)

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  2. Love it Jen. Our girls are older now, so most of the year it is just the two of us. However, we did things very similar when they were younger. I too was one in the beginning who always went behind them. It just frustrated all of us. Loved the video. The kids are adorable. Preston had me giggling with his eye rolling...such an 11 year old!

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    1. Haha - yes, true 11 year old boy who had so many things he would have rather been doing than filming a video about chores for mom, ha!

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Dear Ms. Jen,

      love your blog! what is the font that you are using that has the numbers in the circles? i've been looking for it all day.......thanks!

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    3. Hi Mariam!

      It's Arial Black. :) Should be a standard font your on PC.

      xo!
      Jen

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  3. Oh my word your boys are adorable! I love how Parker has his legs propped up like his just chillin' at home. And how he makes you ask about his teeth! I die! You middle one stroking his cheek because he is really contemplating his answers. Your oldest when you ask about girlfriends, like ugh mom. Adorable!

    Please tell me you will keep this video to show their girlfriends when they are older.

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    1. Thank you CC! They are all so very different. And they were trying really hard to find proper answers for the "blog friends". So cute. My oldest wanted nothing to do with the video and was so nervous, that I was trying to get him to giggle throughout the filming... hopefully I will finally get a smile out of him when he sees it all put together. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing! I like that you break each thing down into manageable tasks, and that those tasks are both age-appropriate and as needed. I appreciated your disclaimer about not making this a post about parenting. No judgment here and thanks for giving us eyes into your hearts - nobody's perfect, even on a blog.

    I also really loved that your youngest guy said "brushing his teeth" was one of his chores. My kids would agree with that. ;)

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  5. Hi Jen,

    Would you mind sharing what type of stick vac you have? I'm considering going that route myself.

    Thanks! Rachel

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    1. Hi Rachel!

      We use the Dyson DC44 Animal vac. It is really great for most jobs, but I found just like many cordless vacs, it needs to be charged frequently. But it's great for the floors and other projects and has essentially replaced our regular vacuum!

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Jen, I have to vacuum our kitchen/den floors daily, also, or they look awful! Dark slate - love but shows everything, and we have a new dog that sheds like a - well, like a big dog! Are you happy with the Dyson? I was reading reviews and it sounded like it wouldn't stay charged long enough, you have to hold the switch constantly, etc.

      Thanks!

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    3. Hi Malena!

      I would agree with both those statements. I have to charge in between doing our upper level and lower level. But I have used other stick vacs in the past and this has been my fav by far. It has a strong suction, and it can break down quickly for stairs and upholstery. And from what I have read, majority of stick vacs lose their charge quickly, I haven't found one with amazing reviews when it comes to that aspect.

      I believe they have a good warranty and many stores probably have a decent return policy {just check before hand}, so you could probably give it a shot and return it if you don't love it.

      xo!
      Jen

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  6. Wow, that was a megapost! The detailed breakdown is so helpful (although... vacuum the computer? I believe you, but I'm still not going to do it). I have to admit we're pretty lazy about cleaning, and we hire someone to come twice a month. I felt really guilty about that at first because I don't want to teach my kids that if something is unpleasant, you can pay someone else to do it... but now I don't feel guilty and I'll cut out any other non-essential from our budget before that. We all just clean up as needed and mostly it works OK. But I should take some inspiration from you and give regular jobs to the kids.

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    1. You shouldn't feel bad about that, we all have to do what is best for our family. I bet those kiddos appreciate the extra mom time they get because of that choice!

      xo,
      Jen

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  7. Haha this post is amazing !
    So cool to "meet" you guys !
    Parker is sooooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!
    :)

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    1. Thank you! He definitely is a firecracker! :D

      xo!
      Jen

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  8. your kids are too cute! growing up, we were always taught that chores were a responsibility, not an option, as well. don't know that I agreed with it so much at the time, but I think it's a good philosophy, because you're right - everyone has to live in that house! :-)

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  9. Thank you for such an awesome post!

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  10. I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed watching your video...We being myself and my three boys ages 5,3,&1. My five year old had just finished vacuuming and commented "Her boys have to help their mom too." They especially loved the playroom excerpt! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Thank you SO SO much for this!! I was one of the ones who "asked" haha. Your little ones are adorbs! Thanks so much again. I will DEFINITELY be using this to create our cleaning schedule (I even have "days of the week" magnets on the fridge all ready for this project). :)

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  12. Encouraging! Helpful! Amazing! Thank you!!! :)

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  13. Loved the video! I hope there are more to come. We just started a similar system earning privileges by finishing chores. We had a cleaning lady for a while, which was great until I realized every time I cleaned my son would ask, "Who's coming over" or when I'd ask him to clean up after himself he'd say, "That's Shirley's job." Yuck! I did not want to teach that lesson to my kids. One thing I need to do more is frequently thanking the kids for their help while rewarding them. What a great was to reinforce good behavior! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Hello Jen! Thank you for this post! Will you be creating the nightly schedule for us to purchase? (Pleaseeeee... =)) I already purchased your household binder and planner and I LOVE THEM!

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  15. This is really cute, Jen!!! I love the bit with the boys. Parker reminds me of my 6 yr old. Peyton and his contemplating his answers. You really can tell Preston wanted no part of it. LOL Your boys are definitely not overworked. LOL Chores are good.. it is character building and building a work ethic, which is a good thing. :) Responsibilities/chores around here are expected and not an option. All three kids have had (oldest has moved out) chores. The younger two, they are pretty good about it. The oldest, oh she was a pill! Now, if only I can get hubby to keep his garage clean! LOL Oh the stories I could share. hee!hee! In his defense, bitty garage and too many tools and such. We need a shed. Let's hope this nasty weather they are predicting doesn't hit us!!! Have a good weekend!!

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  16. I just love your organization ideas. I'm a mom of 6 kids and your ideas have helped my family stay organized. Even though my husband thinks I have OCD when it comes to organization, you have shown me some ways also. Thanks Jen!

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    1. Thank you Lisa! That totally made my morning to hear that!!

      xo!
      Jen

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  17. Such a cute video!! Funny, I just found your old vlog on YouTube yesterday so it was so nice to see you made a new one, your vlogs are a really fun break from your traditional blog. Don't get me wrong though, I can't get enough of your blog! Keep writing and filming :)

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  18. That video is great (and cute too). Thanks for such a great post!

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  19. Oh my goodness, that video was just too cute! i loved it - your kids are gorgeous and you are so blessed! xoxoxo

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  20. most perfect post ever! loved it!
    and your house reflects you, you are so pretty :)

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    1. Thanks sweet Renata! So kind of you to say! <3

      xo,
      Jen

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  21. As a teacher, I quickly learned that reward systems can turn into "what do I get". I believe that helping around the house is part of living there and I never wanted helping out to be about what they got. So I'm with you on the allowance.

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  22. I know this is an odd comment but I have been looking for dishes that look alot like yours. Where did you purchase them? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Amanda!

      The blue dishes are Paula Deen, you can find them here: bit.ly/13tBVSk

      xo!
      Jen

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  23. Your boys are so cute! Thanks for sharing them with us today! May I ask how old they were when you started having them help around the house?
    I have two boys, ages 4 and 1.5. The 4 year old helps some, but my 1.5 year old is in the "wreak havoc" stage right now, so he is the opposite of helpful, lol. It has been hard to motivate my older son to help because he sees his little brother making so many messes and not really helping to pick much of anything up. I know that this phase will pass, but some days I wonder if I'll ever have a clean house again! ;)
    Thank you for breaking everything down so simply. I love the "plan for your clan"! Have a wonderful weekend, Jen!

    ~Abby =)

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    1. I agree that is very common for the 1-3 year old age, but they can still find ways to be helpful. Celebrate every time they pick up their messes and kindly let them know what is theirs vs. yours. For the four year old. find simple little things they can help with. Like sweeping or wiping up the counter. When my kids were younger, they were even more excited to help and do things with mom. I just made sure to play it up and really reinforce the positive behaviors. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Great tips! Thanks, Jen! I will be trying these out ASAP. :)

      ~Abby =)

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    3. Abby, a few things I've had my kids do in that age range are to stock the toilet paper in the bathrooms, change out hand towels, and wipe down the front of the dishwasher and oven. They love having little tasks to do at that age. :)

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  24. This video was hilarious and your boys are soooo cute! I can just imagine the girls going crazy when they become teenagers! :)

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  25. Loved this post. And hearing from your boys =) I have a question. What stick vac do you use? We are definitely in need of one and I'm hesititant to pull the trigger because I know very little people who use one.

    Thanks soooo much!!

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    1. Hi Megan!

      We use the Dyson DC44 Animal vac. It is really great for most jobs, but I found just like many cordless vacs, it needs to be charged frequently. But it's great for the floors and other projects and has essentially replaced our regular vacuum!

      xo,
      Jen

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  26. Oh Jen! I loved it. Thank you so much. My little boy is 6 and exactly like your youngest. My daughter is 8 and very much like your middle boy. The same temperament. This is a wonderful insight into what works your family and has given me some great tips. Thank you!

    Anne xx

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    1. That is so sweet. All my boys are so very different, which makes things extra fun around here. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  27. Thank you for this post! My kids are the exact same age and they do have simple chores, but I love your chart system. Life gets crazy here sometimes, and with a chart you can keep track of what got missed.

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  28. I absolutely loved this! The video was my fav part. Your boys are so cute. My almost 2 year old son sat and watched them intently. My husband and I were both brought up the same - household chores are everyone's responsibility. I want to instill that in my little boy (and future kiddos).

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  29. Wow, this is inspiring! I think I need to do something like this in my family too!

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  30. Thanks for this post. What is your method for cleaning glass? I tried to search for it on the website but couldn't find it? I could use a good glass cleaning system! Thanks :)

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    1. I found some glass cleaning rags in the cleaning department at Target, they are made by Scotch Brite, and one is like a microfiber type rag and the other is a polishing rag. You just spray the glass with water, wipe it down with the microfiber rag and go over it with the polishing cloth and it works so so good! Not a single streak! Love them!

      xo,
      Jen

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  31. I am a clean freak. My friends call me the queen of clean. HA! I have to say that your boys are simply beautiful. Seriously, You had me in your corner until I started watching the video. When your boys came on I thought, They are way to cute for cleaning. They should be modeling!!! LOL.
    I commend you on how you are teaching your boys to help out in the house. They will grow up and make their wife very happy. My husband is such a big help to me. He does the cooking and I do the clean up afterwards. That one makes me the happiest. When my kids were little I did all the cleaning. I never minded. They learned to love a clean house and keep theirs spotless.

    Great post I really enjoyed it! :)

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    1. That's so super sweet of you to say Cathy! Thanks so much, I think they are pretty stinkin' cute, but then again, I am totally biased!

      xo!
      Jen

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  32. Oh Jen,
    Thank you so much for such a treat, really! I watched the video with my daughter (5years old) and the first thing she asked was: "Are they real (the kids), Mom?". I had to laugh...She immediately loved your youngest and thought he was funny.
    It was highly inspirational for my daughter because she woke up this morning at 7 am (which she never does) and went straight to her to clean. She was on a mission.
    I do everything around here and never thought of implementing such system but after watching it...I am gong to create something for my small family. I love to clean. It's like meditation or therapeutic for me. And my daughter loves to help. It also teaches kids responsibility, sense of belongingness and togetherness....
    I love watching you-its' always good to put a face and a voice to someone you sort of know.
    Your family is super cute and you better find a place for your middle boy's piano:)
    Thanks again. I know creating videos is a lot work. But it was worth it.

    Anna

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Anna! Love to hear that this post was able to inspire such a little lady :) That is awesome! Thanks for taking a moment to comment, I hope you have a great weekend!

      xo,
      Jen

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  33. This is very helpful! Shortly after having a 3rd child, we moved into a house nearly triple the size of our old one. Between the baby, unpacking, and a whole lot more house to clean I've been having trouble keeping up. Seeing everything broken down is helpful and as we get more settled will help me get a better routine for our household.

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  34. First of all, I love your blog and I read it almost every day! I love to be organized, and I just think it is great all the ideas that you put out there! Your house is beautiful and so is your family...what handsome little men! :) I really liked this post and I love that you shared what your boys do. We've been trying to put our 5 year old to work, but sometimes it's a struggle. Does your house ever look messy?? OMG, I would LOVE to see a post about that - even though I'm an organized neat freak, the two kids just wreak havoc around here!! And some days I just don't have the energy to deal! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my house gets messy! We have been at baseball 6 out of 7 days this week, and it's showing due to the neglect. Maybe a post on sharing messes would be a fun change of pace? :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  35. Your boys are so stinking adorable!!! Loved watching this. I have an 11 year old step daughter and I don't feel so bad about her 10-15 minutes worth of chores a day :D Now to get a chart for me and keep me on track.........................................

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  36. Great post! My 5 kids are 8-19 and def have chores!! We did just start allowance though, and added to it.

    Where do you find good microfiber cloths? I had some I purchased from QVC and didn't really like them. Also, any special way to launder them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found them at Target, TJ Maxx/HomeGoods and Amazon. I just toss them in the wash on a normal setting and clip them up to dry. I have sent some through the dryer and they seem to be just fine after as well.

      xo!
      Jen

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  37. What a sweet family, Jen! :) I read the post last night, but just got around to watching the cute video. Thanks for all the tips! Also...I'm glad to know it's not just my husband that gets a little less productive during football (or in his case RUGBY) season! ;-)

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  38. Your kids are too cute - now I hope to have sons when I'm grown up ;)

    Luckily I'm in boarding school monday to friday, so I don't have chores while school, but the weekends are always full of cleaning the steps, ironing my laundry and taking the dog for looong walks :)

    Btw I absolutely ♥ your blog! It inspires me to keep my room clean and organized - my mom is thankful ;) (she failed at this)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How sweet are you Hanna? Thanks for taking a moment to comment, and kudos to you for keeping up on your room and chores! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  39. Clearly this has been said already...but, your kids are TOO CUTE!

    "Do you have 3 girlfriends?"
    "No!"

    haha Loved it! Especially, the contemplative posture and attitude of your middle
    son. Really trying to give the best answer. Made my day! Another fav: "Ask me
    how many teeth!"

    Great post! I've been looking for a cleaning breakdown like this. Thanks, Jen!

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  40. This is a fantastic post. I have to say I think adding the family to this was a great touch. I must day that your boys are so dang cute. I hope my boys are as helpful when it comes to doing chores. I've started with the oldest who just turned 6 and the youngest (3) helps here and there. I just wish I could get more help out of the hubby. Sometimes his messes make my life that much harded.

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  41. girl you just never cease to amaze me :) you are so so inspiring ... you truly are gifted. and heellooooo, your fam is just the cutest. i was watching the video just now while i had my cup of tea & a cookie :) and i was chuckling as you were talking to the boys ... the thing that stood out to me most though, and it might be a weird silly thing, was that the garage was your hubby's man cave ... like you, the hubs is so on board with anything that i do in the house, it's easy for me to forget that the garage does not need to be cluttered up with my spray painting and diy-ing projects that slowly creep in and take over! i really want to be better about intentionally not allowing my stuff to clutter up that space! love ya girl ... you're just the bomb.com ♥

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    Replies
    1. So funny! I think there are a few spray painting projects sprawled out in the garage here too as we speak! :)

      Thanks for your continued sweetness Miss Jaime!

      xo,
      Jen

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  42. Thank you so much for sharing your really nice video! Also, thank you for all of your time and effort to create your informative post, along with the video. It was very motivating. You have a beautiful family. It is so nice that your sons take pride in doing their chores. You are a wonderful inspiration for moms!

    Best Regards,

    Deb

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  43. Thanks so much for being REAL! I feel so much better now because we're just normal like you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! That is what I was hoping. I love to organize, but that doesn't mean that we have a "perfect" home! Sometimes that word gets confused with organized and we really have many of the same struggles as everyone else {or so I tell myself}.

      xo!
      Jen

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  44. Yours is one lovely family Jen and your boys are just adorable, so well brought up. Absolutely loved watching your video. It is so remarkable that all of you put in your share in the chores and at the end of it everyone seems happy. Thanks for sharing this.

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  45. Cutest family ever! I loved hearing straight from the boys :) Thanks for all the detail, too. We have no assigned chores around here and I think that needs to change ASAP. Thanks for the inspiration and details to put a chore plan in action!

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  46. Je would love to see a normal day

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    1. Yes, I have been wanting to do a post like that again since it has been awhile. Funny though, I don't think I really have a "normal" day, every one seems to be so different and constantly evolving {kids home for summer break, changes in my daily tasks and goals, changes in seasons, etc...}

      xo,
      Jen

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  47. Ths is what I need. Iwas just burning out yesterday telling the husband and kids that I can't do it all around the house. I'm excited to read through again and see what I can implement. I'm wondering, what is the stick vac you use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Katie!

      We use the Dyson DC44 Animal vac. It is really great for most jobs, but I found just like many cordless vacs, it needs to be charged frequently. But it's great for the floors and other projects and has essentially replaced our regular vacuum!

      xo,
      Jen

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  48. I just loved your video! Your boys are absolute knock-outs! You have a beautiful family!

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  49. That video was TOPS!!! I loved meeting your family and hearing your voices! Thank you for posting it!! I am SOOOOO showing it to my kiddos today!! :-) we heart y'all!!

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  50. Jen, what are in the white, yellow, and blue bottles next to the sink?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lotion, hand soap, dish soap. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  51. Stop it!!! You guys are the cutest ever!!!! I LOVE being able to watch and hear you...just totally fell in love again! And my boy is 11...and I get that SAME expression...hilarious! I'm totally motivated to divide up chores better...I've fallen into the habit of just doing most everything bc it's easier than pestering them to do it!

    ps -- what game were they playing on the xbox?? looked fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you sweet sweet friend!

      They were playing Just Dance - we are addicts and have lots of dance parties {it's quite comical!} :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  52. Jen, I loved the video! I have 3 girls 10, 6, and 4, so I loved getting the boys take on all this. I had already started some of these ideas with them, but have not been consistent, so I am going to get a schedule going, asap. With end of the year activities dance and softball, everything has gone to the wayside and I start to feel anxious.

    I started reading your blog about a month ago and love reading it everyday. Your processes are simple and easy to follow and I don't feel overwhelmed. Thanks for breakin it down, making it real and sharing.

    Jen H.

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    Replies
    1. So kind of you to say Jen! THANK YOU! <3

      xo,
      Jen

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  53. Can I ask what stick vac you use?

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  54. I was just working on tweaking the chores and tasks for all of us now that summer is coming!! Tonight your video will be shown to my kiddos as part of our fun little family meeting :) thanks so much!!!!!

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  55. This may be a dumb question but when you vacuum the vents do you actually go in there to vacuum or is that surface cleaning? I'm originally from Germany and never had that there and when I got married, my hubby never cleaned the vent, so I seriously don't know. LOL. Sorry about that

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  56. Oh my goodness, Your boys are so cute! I have three boys...ages (almost)4, 6, and (almost) 8 :) My six year old also uses the phrase "easy peasy lemon squeezy" Ha! I'm going to show them the video as we talk about how to work better together as a family. I think it will be encouraging for them to see your boys talk about it!

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  57. Ok, I know this has been said a million times, but seriously, your kids are SO HANDSOME! This was such a fun post to read and watch, so thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I really enjoyed this post! Lots of great ideas here an dI"m motivated to implement some of these ideas with my family. Your little guys are so sweet and handsome! :)

    ReplyDelete
  59. This was so great! Your kids are adorable! (And so are you.) And thank you for all the great info. It was sooooo helpful to see exactly what you do and how often you do it. I feel ridiculous to admit this, but I didn;t really know how often I'm "supposed" to do certain cleaning tasks! So this was great. Definitely gonna create a chart for my three kiddos too! (Well, not so much for the 18 month old quite yet...) :)

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  60. Jen - I'm sorry if I am missing it, but what is your new method for cleaning glass? I feel like I'm looking everywhere except the right place! Please let me know or link me to it. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Great post, thanks so much for the details. I have two young boys and I'm already seeing just how much time I spend cleaning and would love to get a better system started that includes their help. I'd love windows that shimmer too - what was your system? Just a special rag and water?? Thanks

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  62. Thanks for sharing Jen and family. You guys are my organizing/cleaning inspiration!!!

    ReplyDelete
  63. I must admit that I am mildly obsessed with your blog and check it daily. Like you, I have 3 boys and feel if you can do it, so can I! I want to start a cleaning plan like yours to get the whole family on board. I could really use the help! I was just wondering if you have ever tried breaking chores down by day instead of listing them as weekly chores? For example; Monday dusting, Tuesday vacuuming, Wednesday mopping...do you find yourself doing the same chores on the same days anyway? Thanks so much for your advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great question! I don't put days of the week because our nightly schedules are ever changing due to sports and activities. But, I really only have a 20-30 minute window for chores each afternoon, so I do what I can until the next day. I never do all the weekly chores at once, I definitely spread them out. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  64. Thanks a lot for your post! It is so inspiring! As a mother of two nearly 1 year old twin boys and wife of a loving husband who is really wonderful but, unfortunately, often just can´t overcome his weaker self ("I´ll do this tomorrow") I hope that my household will be just half as organized as yours one day. Well, one day my boys will be older and will get their own chores...
    Thank you for all the great ideas! Your boys are so cute :-)
    Greetings from Germany
    Karen

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  65. All your boys are so cute! Better watch out for Preston in the next few years!

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  66. Oh MY! You are making me look really super bad as I have 10 loads of laundry to be folded on my couch ! ha. So cute you little boys :)

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  67. That blue couch shud have a silver floor lamp behind ;) .. Just saying

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  68. Thanks for sharing this video. Gosh, your boys are so adorable and your eldest looks so much like you. Such blue eyes!

    I like your schoolwork organizing tips and tried to use a similar method.
    This might sound silly, but I really liked your sweater cardi. Can you tell me where you got it from?

    Thanks,
    Meg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meg! I think they are pretty darling but I am sure I am a bit partial. :) And the shirt was from Gap a few years ago now.

      xoxo!

      Delete

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