Remember when you could put aside a Sunday afternoon to spruce up the house/flat and take the whole week to put it back in disarray? Now you have a family you need only to blink and your newly cleaned kitchen worktops are smeared with jam, the cleared coffee table covered in post, kids artwork and various items from emptied out pockets. You remember walking into rooms and not sighing at the sight that befalls, but it seems so long ago.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home or a working parent, constantly being expected to clean up after your nearest and dearest takes its toll. Not only does it make you tired but it can make you feel taken for granted. Usually, there’s one person who ends up taking over the primary management of the housework. However, that does not make it one person’s sole responsibility.
Here’s our gift to you for 2022 – our guide for how to create a family cleaning rota that everyone can actually stick to.
We have some great ideas for systems you can put in place to make household chore management run smoothly. More importantly, though, it’s about reframing the family’s attitude to keeping the house tidy and forming new habits that will help to create an organised family home you can all feel relaxed in.
How Can I Get My Family To Help Me Around The House?
Ah, the age-old question-come-cry-for-help. Getting your family to help around the house is not always easy. If you’ve been told you ‘only need to ask’, are now on your third time of asking and are being accused of nagging, then you’re not alone in your frustration. So you probably already know that simply asking is not always the answer to getting your family to help around the house.
A wonderful way to get your family to help you around the house is to go on strike. Put your feet up, secure control of the remote and refuse to lift a finger (unless it’s to change the channel). Unfortunately, for many, it’s more of a hardship for us to watch the mess mount than it is for other family members.
The other way to get your family to help around the house is to create a family cleaning rota and put in place some of our top tips for sharing out the household chores.
How Does A Family Cleaning Rota Work?
There are many different ways to implement a cleaning rota in the family home. Some choose to divide up the work by assigning family members particular rooms to clean and changing it around every week.
Other families have different members taking responsibility for tasks such as hoovering, gardening, washing floors, etc. Usually, these are the weekly tasks. Some come with financial bribes to sweeten the deal but the general reputation associated with this assigned household chores method is one of constant nagging and household tension.
Different families respond to different approaches. However, what Haus Maids find is that it’s not the big jobs most parents want help with. After all, the hoovering, kitchen cleaning, window cleaning, floor washing, weekly dusting and other such jobs can be outsourced to us! Instead, most parents want help with keeping the home tidy day-to-day. So, we recommend a cleaning rota that promotes teamwork by assigning regular small tasks aimed at sharing out the general daily chores.
Make Your House A Home
The first step to getting anyone to do anything they don’t want to do is to provide motivation. The purpose of keeping the family home tidy is not to present a perfect showroom for visitors but to create a sanctuary for every family member. You want everyone who lives with you to come home and feel comfortable, relaxed, warm and safe. Clutter and mess do not promote these feelings. So, show your family what the home can be when it’s tidy.
Hygge your home with houseplants, warm blankets, soft lighting, candles and inviting scents. Make your living room the perfect place for popcorn-assisted weekly film nights. Make your kitchen or dining room the hub of family togetherness by ensuring that meals (it doesn’t have to be dinner if you’re not all in) are enjoyed around the table.
Creating an environment that everybody wants to be in has to be the ultimate reward for everyone playing their part to keep the home clean and tidy.
Create Rituals Not Routines
Having shown your family how welcoming a tidy home can be, now is the ideal time to introduce a family cleaning rota.
Working together not only gets the jobs done faster but it means that family time begins earlier.
Make your children part of creating the atmosphere for family meals by clearing the room of clutter, laying the table, choosing dinner music and loading the dishwasher whilst you serve up.
During dinner, why not make a plan for the evening, whether that’s for an evening spent together or everyone doing their own thing. Then, it is the responsibility of everyone to get themselves from the dinner table to the evening’s activities, which means clearing up after the meal.
When you all make a plan together, even if it’s a plan to be apart, then it becomes a group exercise to put that plan into action. Make clear your plans for the evening too so that family members are made aware that you have aspirations beyond staying behind to clear the dinner plates, and that they are as important as theirs.
Keep clearing up together fun and try not to ask for help with the expectation that you’ll be met with resistance, but with the assumption that the response will be positive. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make. Lose terms such as ‘jobs’, ‘tasks’ and ‘chores’ and instead imagine these times working together as family rituals. Keep talking to each other and maybe even play music to keep the atmosphere lively.
Teamwork Makes The Dream-Work
When making fun plans, such as having a BBQ, inviting friends over or making Wednesday evenings Family Game Night, make sure the plan for everyone else isn’t just to have the event magically take place. Together, create a list of what needs to be done to make these things happen and assign everybody tasks.
So, for a more enjoyable family game night two people may clear up after dinner and another two may tidy up the room where the fun may take place. If you have a family member of two left over then perhaps they can be in charge of setting out snacks and drinks or packing the next day’s lunchboxes so all the evening’s tasks are completed.
When having friends over for BBQs or parties, perhaps a different family member can be put in charge of each room so that the house is ready to receive visitors? There may be arguments over who gets which room but you can always promise to swap around for next time.
By sharing the load you’re showing your children what a little work can lead to. You’re also allowing them to feel more involved in creating delicious dinners, game nights, film evenings and BBQing afternoons and you’re enabling them to share in the pride of having helped to make them happen.
Pop It On The Stairs
When you have a family home where everybody mingles together downstairs then it’s inevitable that items gather. One simple solution is the ‘pop it on the stairs’ method.
If children’s toys, books and clothes have been abandoned downstairs then pop them on the bottom stair. It’s not just for children either – to avoid multiple trips up and down the stairs, when you aren’t already going there, pop items that should live upstairs on the bottom step.
The essential rule is though that every time a family member goes upstairs they must check to see if there’s anything of theirs that can go up with them. This simple technique makes clearing up an automatic part of daily life, meaning it isn’t seen as a series of tasks that get in the way of the fun.
It is natural for one person to take on most of the big jobs, such as laundry and bathroom cleaning. However, that does not mean it’s up to that person to go hunting through the house so that they might undertake such jobs.
For example, you shouldn’t have to dig around each bedroom to source dirty laundry. A simple rule is that if it’s in the laundry basket, it goes in the wash. This will save you valuable time and it will also keep bedrooms tidier. Children should also be responsible for making their own beds each morning and bringing down dirty plates and glasses from their rooms. Children can also take their lunchboxes out of their bags and put them in the kitchen ready to be washed and repacked.
Other adults in the house should also know where things are kept and be able to return items after use. If this isn’t being done though, you may resort to finding yourself a small basket that you can fill with the items that have been left out. This can then be given to the perpetrator to deal with. It’s been known to be an effective technique to teach big children the sense of clearing up after themselves, as they go.
The general rule is that from age 8 and above, you should only be doing the bigger jobs in your children’s room, such as changing the bedding, hovering and cleaning. Taking responsibility for the day-to-day tidiness of their rooms helps teach children and young adults how to keep their personal space organised and to take pride in its appearance.
The basket technique works better for some than others but it’s basically an amber light. The written warning prior to full-on strike action being implemented.
Outsource The Big Jobs
When you have a family with children, both young and older, the cleaning of the home can quickly become overwhelming. It’s not just a one-off problem either. The issue with cleaning is it needs to be done often, especially when you have a busy household. Whilst the ideas and routines for your family cleaning rota help with keeping the clutter down and making tidying-as-you-go a part of daily life, it doesn’t help with the bigger tasks.
A professional cleaner is definitely worth considering if you’re starting to feel that cleaning is either taking over or taking a backseat. Having a professional cleaner come in once a week or even once a fortnight can give you back so much time. Just because you can clean doesn’t mean you must be the one to. Just as anyone can cook but not everyone is a chef, you might find that a professional cleaning company can do a superior job for you in half the time! After all, it’s probably not your main job, right?
With many people working from home now, or juggling family life and work, outsourcing the house clean to a professional company can pay for itself with the time you get back.