Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Taught you to Clean?

Did you learn how to clean as a child? I'm not sure I did. Like most other girls, I knew how to sweep and vacuum by the time I left home, but my mom wasn't the best housekeeper when my siblings and I were growing up. She is also somewhat of a packrat. She's come a long way since then, but she doesn't have four children living at home messing things up anymore!

Dishes and laundry were done everyday, but as far as other cleaning tasks went, there was a big Saturday effort. Once we were a bit older, my sister and I had a chore list that we could do to earn extra money. Chores like vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the bathroom were on the once a week list. That meant that we couldn't do them more than that or we wouldn't earn anything for our extra effort. If my sister beat me to it, I was out of luck for the week! No extra cash for me!

My mom had a lot to deal with. She was widowed at the young age of 29 and was raising four children on her own. At the time my dad died, my youngest brother was barely 2 and my older sister was 7. My other brother and I were in the middle. So, we were all very, very young. Housekeeping took a back seat to dealing with grief and keeping us clothed and feed.

By the time I was in college and out on my own, I didn't quite have the knowledge or experience to keep my apartment clean. I was never a packrat (though I married one), but I was also never known as "tidy". I learned the hard way that I just can't clean the bathroom once a week and expect it to look clean on any day but that first day. By the sixth day, it'd be downright nasty!

Slowly, over the years, I've worked to get a cleaning routine down that keeps my bathroom clean most of the time and the house fairly presentable. It's still not one of my strongest traits. But, I try!

All of that to say that I want my boys to go out into the world as adults knowing what it takes to stay on top of housekeeping. I want them to know that they can spend a few minutes a day in each room and keep it relatively tidy. Today's task for myself is to make a cleaning list for each of my older boys. I want them to have a checklist of five, simple and easy-to-accomplish tasks that will leave their bedrooms cleaner and tidier than what they were before. I know they can do it!

The list for my 10-year-old son is:
  • Clean out the cricket tank.
  • Change the water in the frog tank.
  • Make bed.
  • Use the dustpan to scoop Legos into the Lego bin 5 times.
  • Take dirty laundry to the laundry room.
The list for my 5-year-old son is:
  • Use the dustpan to scoop Legos in the toy box 3 times.
  • Clean the toys off the nightstand.
  • Put the stray books in the bookcase.
  • Make bed.
  • Put the stuffed animals on the bed.
If they don't waste a lot of time complaining, they should both be able to finish their lists in less than 10 minutes. I'm also going to create a list for my own room, which mostly involves dealing with laundry and making my bed. Here's to tidier bedrooms by the end of the day!


  1. I wish I had learned to clean and develop those good habits when I was a kid. I do hope for better for my kids. Of course that means I'll have to actually DO better!

  2. It is essential that the home is kept clean.Because health and hygiene also depends on this.And this discipline is installed in small children at an early age helps as they grow.They may be taught very simple activities like keeping their stuff in place initially.

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  3. I wanted to share some sunshine with you.