Running a Home

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iStock 000006919994XSmallOk so in the last post I talked about how it's a good idea to get your kids, partner, flatmate/s to help with the housework.

More information required? Yes, there is. How do you get that to work?

It will be different depending upon where you're starting from, particularly how well you're getting on with yourself. You thought I was going to say how well you're getting on with them, didn't you? Nup. It always starts with us.

If you're defensive or justifying or blaming or feeling guilty or any of that victim triangle stuff, you're pushing it uphill expecting to get help with housework from those you live with.
So number one, is to make sure you're working on your relationship with yourself.

Maybe you're keeping up a good standard in your home, but you're burning yourself out and feeling resentful that those living with you are just letting you do it, not appreciating it and not helping.

Or maybe you've kind of given up to some extent yourself, and just manage very basic stuff, sporadically, either setting or following the low standards that are currently in place.

There are a bunch of strategies you can use to get this thing moving:


- All join in together. Declare that it's housework time and everyone is helping. It helps to set a time limit and make it a game to see how much progress can be made as a team in that time. The benefit of this approach is that everyone sees you working too and fast progress can be seen the more people are involved. At my place there are 4 kids still at home with me, and once we get stuck in, things can happen pretty quickly. Saturday mornings are a common time for us to use this method – we've all had a busy week, and there can be a fun incentive after it's done – my kids like to bake at the moment.

- Set particular regular tasks to particular people. Regular chores should be age appropriate. You can vary them, rotate them, seek input about who would like which task (creating choices helps agreement). Having an area of responsibility helps with accountability and taking pride in the work.

- Yes, there's an investment of your time required to teach others how to do certain tasks. How do you clean the toilet, pack the dishwasher, load the washing machine? I've been teaching my kids to put socks and pants in the baskets right way around, not inside out or scrunched up, and to pre-sort them into lights and darks. (My research has shown this takes approximately 7 years to teach, but with consistency I'm sure this can be improved upon, lol). I remind them that the vacuum cleaner needs emptying after use and continue to show them how to do it, or get them to come and ask me when they've finished. A toilet cleaning disaster had me explain about flushing it first if needed and going out to buy a new brush, putting the cleaning products and paper towels within reach (they're old enough not to drink Windex) and showing how to wipe under the seat and all around the outside. It's worth it! Putting in this kind of effort is doing yourself a huge favour.

- Charts can be handy. I've had some success with these on and off, and will probably implement them again. I'm on the verge of hiring a cleaner at the moment, but I still want the kids to be capable and willing to do all household tasks themselves too.

- There are apps now! I've had a bit of a look and am not using one yet. I think they're good for house sharing or situations where everyone has a smart phone and agrees to the system.

- Routines. Yes, of course I'm going to say routines – that's what my eBook Organized for Life is based on. Getting those you live with involved with your well designed routines is gold! Something as simple as a routine of everyone helping clear up after a meal, from taking the plates to the sink to wiping the place mats and putting the condiments away, makes a massive difference to your daily life.

- The most important strategy for getting this to work is your mindset. Knowing why you're doing it, understanding the benefits, believing in yourself, trusting yourself, and taking action with love will get you the results you're looking for.

- Make sure you acknowledge, praise, show appreciation. This is just as important for partners as for children (yeah, especially husbands). Keep it light, keep it fun.

- Tough love when needed. Removal of all computer games/ electronic devices/ games/ toys/ phones etc until done. Let them know you mean business, then go back to fun, happy, and put up your negativity barrier and ignore any complaining.

- Think in categories which are prioritised. Dishes, washing, rubbish and toilets. When those four are under control, you're left with tidying, dusting, vacuuming and general cleaning. (Ok, and shopping, bookkeeping, maintenance, gardening, de-cluttering, organizing......) Get your family or housemates or partner to understand those priorities too.

Please share your comments about things you've tried which have worked out.

If you'd like to complain and moan about how those you live with are all lazy and selfish and there's nothing you can do about it, please leave it out and check out my recommended reading list and/or read more of my free personal development articles. Life coaching will not do you any good if the world is out to get you and nothing is your fault. Join the land of people who are prepared to have a go at being responsible for their own life – you're welcome here and we'd love to have you join us. Just one small step.

Running a home is a leadership role. You're setting the tone, you're setting the example, you're setting the standards. To do that, you need to love and trust yourself and believe that you are worthy.

And nothing needs to be perfect. Better that the towels got folded but not exactly the way you like it. Better that the floor was swept but you missed a bit than leaving it for weeks. Keep in mind the real purpose of what you're trying to achieve. Lightening your load, giving others the opportunity to take pride, making your environment a comfortable and functional space which contributes to feeling comfortable and functional on the inside.


#3 Terry 2014-01-02 06:06
Finally got to read this post! I'm sure it's helpful when there are children around to help out, but what if there are no young children, one partner is retired, and the other is still working? Is the retired person expected to do EVERYTHING???? How do you get the "working" partner to help out? Some times it's overwhelming.
#2 Aiko Backhus 2013-12-03 03:46
Great ideas on "Sharing the Load", starting with "me/us" rather than "with them"…very insightful and helpful.
#1 Brenda 2013-12-01 00:40
:-) G 8) good article. Thank you.


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