Housework is one of the top reasons couples quarrel. Add a few kids to the equation and chore time can quickly become wartime; but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little prep work and a little innovation, you can compile a family housecleaning checklist. The checklist serves as an organizational tool that will help everyone get into the habit of performing certain tasks on a regular basis. Compile the list on your computer and print out multiple copies which can be posted on the refrigerator, in bedrooms, and other central locations. The checklist then becomes an ironclad “who,” “what,” “where,” and “how” that will keep the house sparkling and—hopefully—whining to a minimum.
- Daily duties: The first checklist should contain five to ten things that should be done every day to keep chaos at bay. Chores include making the bed, picking up clutter, cleaning as you cook, and sweeping the kitchen floor.
- Strong on the weeklies: Regular weekly cleanings prevent dirt and debris from spinning out of control. Separate lists need to be made for bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, stairs, and hallways. Weekly bathroom chores include cleaning the toilets, scrubbing the tubs, wiping down the mirrors, mopping the floors, and washing the sinks. In the bedroom change the sheets, dust the surfaces, and vacuum floors. In the kitchen clean appliances, toss out old food, and thoroughly wipe down the countertops.
- Month to month: The dreaded monthly chores are also divided by rooms. The grout in bathrooms need to be scrubbed every four weeks. In the bedroom, launder the duvets and mattress pads. Once a month, head into the utility room and vacuum floors, wipe down the washer and dryer, and clean out trash cans and recycling bins.
- Fine tune your lists: Divide the lists between family members and make sure every chore gets checked. The key to cleanliness boils down to communication. Families that have a clear understanding of the chores they are expected to perform spend less time negotiating or arguing over what should be trivial matters that keep the household ship floating on a steady course.