My house is a mess, now what?

Your sink is overflowing with dishes, the mountain of unfolded laundry on your couch is getting bigger, and the toys you put away a thousand times have still somehow escaped the toybox. In other words, your house is a mess! You’re only one person and you shouldn’t be expected to do it all yourself, it’s time to get your family involved. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to get your family excited (yes, really!) about cleaning and get your house looking great again.

Start Small

When I tackle a cleaning day, I always start small. I’ve tried it the other way around, starting with the biggest mess in the house, thinking it would be easier that way. Let me tell you friend, that is not the case. That usually ends up with me putting all of my energy into the biggest mess and not having any left over for all of the other messes in the house. So when it comes to starting your cleaning routine, always start small. Start by putting all of the dirty dishes lying in various places around the house in the sink. Try separating the toy bins into smaller categories. Start folding all towels first instead of the clothes. However you choose to start small, it will definitely save your energy and reduce burnout.

It takes two…or three or four

As mentioned above, you are only one person. For the longest time, society actually had us convinced that it was solely the woman’s job to keep a tidy household. Well, cue the 21st century, where both parents have to work to make ends meet, where children grow up to be better adults with both parents raising them (go figure!), and where gender norms are coming crashing down every single day. Surprise! It’s not actually solely a woman’s responsibility to cook and clean. So it’s time to get your family involved. Create a chore chart (here’s one that actually works) or assign one or two specific days a week with your family that is focused on cleaning. Just make sure to include fun somewhere in that agenda so it doesn’t become a mundane task for everyone.

Make a game out of doing chores

This is always so much fun. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated and can even help get your family members involved. Making games out of doing chores is the best thing since the invention of the coffee maker. Got trash laying around? Grab a trash bag and shoot some trash into it, making it a fun and friendly competition. That huge pile of laundry? Set a timer, whoever can fold 5 towels the fastest wins. Toys all over the floor? Create a riddles and clues scavenger hunt, get your kids’ brains moving while they work to solve the riddle of what toy goes in which box. There are so many ways to turn your chores into a game. Something I like to do while I clean solo is utilize my Alexa and ask her to run a game of trivia while I’m working, it keeps your brain busy while your hands are working and makes the time go faster! Have fun with coming up with new games and keeping yourself and your family wanting to “play” more.

Reap in the rewards

Remember that chore chart I mentioned above? Well, what good is a chore chart without the rewards! I know you may be thinking that we shouldn’t be rewarding our children for doing tasks that will be expected of them later on in life. Well, considering that I too reward myself after cleaning (a bowl of ice cream or my favorite show) why wouldn’t we also reward our children? The goal is to get our family to not only willingly clean the house, but also see this responsibility as an opportunity. The rewards don’t have to be expensive or cost anything at all even. My absolute favorite rewards system is using the S’moresUp app. It’s a great way to keep track of your family’s chores and see how many rewards points your kid has left until they get their actual reward. For younger kids, I recommend a “treasure chest” full of small sensory items, treats, or books. You can even use special events as rewards such as a day at the park, family movie night (their choice) or an ice cream and arcade day. For older kids, get a little bit more creative. If they have a favorite video game, maybe they can buy new characters or items within the game. Sometimes even money is a good reward for older kids. Cash for pre-teens and debit transfers for teenagers. Regardless of how you reward your family’s efforts, make sure it is consistent with the amount of work they are doing to help maintain the house.

Cleaning your house is always a difficult task. Especially if you have ADHD like me or you suffer from low executive functioning skills. It’s usually a pain in the butt no matter what, so might as well do your best and try to have fun along the way. Happy cleaning!

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