Having a clean and tidy house makes life so much simpler, but how do you keep that happy state, especially with a family to raise and jobs to go to? Keeping the house tidy certainly helps when it comes to cleaning day, but sadly cleaning can expand to take as much time as you have. Is it ever truly done? Your partner and children have gone to the park/zoo/football/grandparents. They think you are going to have some ‘me time’, but can you resist the need to run the vacuum over the hall carpet or empty the kitchen cupboards and wipe them all down. Maybe it’s time to put the mop away and sit down and make a plan.
Getting everyone to tidy up after themselves, even very young children, is a good first step. This means putting dirty clothes in washing baskets and dirty cups in the sink; toys can go back in boxes and books be put on shelves. Older children can learn to use the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner; they can do the washing up or load the dishwasher. Delegation is key.
Another way of distributing tasks is that everyone in the household is responsible for a particular room for a period of time, such as a month. The room has to be handed on to the next person in a clean and tidy state, and that way, everyone has a vested interest in not letting their room get too cluttered or grubby.
It’s a personal decision about how children are rewarded for helping around the home, if indeed they are. Keeping the house clean and tidy may be seen as being part of the family, or it can be done in return for pocket-money or even in return for extra treats. Whatever arrangements are made, they need to be followed, to keep domestic tidiness and harmony.
If all fails, remember what Quentin Crisp said: ‘After four years, dust doesn’t get any worse.’ That’s probably not something busy Moms and Dads want to test.