. Three Essentials Habits
I helped an ill friend recently with her housecleaning and I have come away with three ideas to “ease your pain” as a homemaker: three essentials which save so much time, trouble, and hassle. Do you have these habits established in your home?
Each and every person that lives in the home turns their clothes right side out before depositing them in the laundry basket. This includes: shirts, pants, underwear, and socks. When I began the laundry for my friend last week, I faced mounds of rolled up socks, inside-out underwear (somehow it is easier to turn it if is your own), and shirts which were just pulled off every which way (meaning arms were half way inside-out and sometimes the whole shirt). It was unfathomable to me. Just a moment by each person in the family would save many minutes at the washer.
Can everyone help? Yes, everyone! (Even stubborn teenagers and a reluctant spouse.) And if they don’t? Once you have established the rule and given ample time for training (one day’s laundry should be sufficient) wash only those things which are turned right side out. It will be painful for a week or two, but soon everyone will get the point. THE LAUNDRESS has enough to do without turning dirty clothes the right way for laundry.
Each and every person that lives in the home cleans up after themselves when they use the bathroom (especially in the morning before leaving for work and school). This means putting away their toothbrush, toothpaste, shaver, brushes, combs, hair clips, and hair elastics when they are done. This small hassle will benefit everyone that comes into the bathroom later. When I was helping, I was astounded to find hair clips and hair elastics all over, toothbrushes on the counters, and toothpaste tubes not far away. Even small children can learn to put away what they get out, especially in the most commonly-used room in the house. Teenagers should not be allowed to leave their messes in public domain. Neither should adults.
It is just common courtesy to kindly clean up after yourself in the bathroom. Establish the new habit by rewarding generously those to clean up after themselves for one day, then for two straight days, then for a week according to your personal situation. Gather leftovers from the morning mess each day with a promise to give them back for a “small” job done by the offender. The job can be more symbolic than difficult; it won’t take long for the offender to understand the need to help. (One friend asked her offending teenager to sing a simple song to get back his items. After two days of this ritual, his items were never left again on the bathroom counters.) Again, look for fun ways to encourage change!
Each and every person that lives in the home empties their glass of its contents and scraps their plate into the wastebasket or disposal when they are done with a meal. Then, as circumstances allow, they might also put their dishes in the dishwasher or the sink. As I emptied half-full glasses of milk and cleaned up spaghetti, dried and mounded on a dozen plates, I wondered at the situation. If everyone had done just a little bit, the my job would have be minimized and my task much nicer to contemplate. Help your family members to see that their small part makes for a big change! (A day or two helping with the dishes, by those who leave with their own dishes “undone”, will help mightily!)
Now, I know that real life isn’t quite as easy as 1-2-3, but I also know that a little training now, in the little things, will “ease the pain” forever for your family. Implement these small changes, one at a time over the next week or two, and you will be astounded how much time, frustration, and emotional drain will be eliminated! Train, follow-up on those who don’t respond to the challenge, reward generously those who cooperate, and soon your house will be running smoother than ever.
Find more helpful ideas in the House of Order Handbook.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.