I love organizing, or at least writing and thinking and planning about organizing. But when I step away from the screen, and pull the twins off their screens, to tackle chores and daily tasks, I’d simply rather not. When the spring rolls around, there is a slew of things I’d rather be doing outside in the sunshine. But then I eventually have to step over the piles of laundry and strewn toys to get to the door. That’s just irritating.
With heads hung low, we tackle our tasks with dread. The clock stands still and it feels like we’ll never get the task at hand, much less the ones behind them, done. OK, a little dramatic, but the twins are entering tween years so I guess it’s rubbing off.
When the day’s chores feel overwhelming (which is, oh, almost always), and we just don’t want to do it, I set a timer for 15 minutes. We get basics done, make a clean spot and generally feel pretty good about ourselves. That feeling often spurs us into action to get back to school or tackle another task on the list.
I’ve broken down how we get all our chores done in 15-minute chunks during the day, with allowances for those days where you just know nothing is really going to get done.
Tackling Chores in 15 Minutes
As a full-time working homeschool mom, I do not want to waste my free time cleaning.
I found if I just do 15 minutes in the morning (and have the kids pitch in wherever they can at their age), then the house stays relatively clean and sane. But then the big stuff builds up and I’m back to spending a few hours on the weekend once a month doing all that stuff that, if it doesn’t get done, makes a bigger mess.
So, I broke those down into daily tasks that if I spend 15 minutes on can be put in the “good enough” category. Basically, it’s not too embarrassing if the ABA pops in unexpectedly or friends want to drop by.
Bonus – I find if I just give 15 minutes to cleaning and homeschool organization, it feels like a big accomplishment, and I made a clean spot! The kids get a sense of accomplishment and will “go the extra mile” (their phrase) and continue to clean.
I created this list to keep the clutter at bay and to keep the house feeling fresh, and me less stressed. The main point of cleaning is to simply have a comfy space, not a pristine palace.
Homeschooling is a lot on to of all the other things you do throughout the days and months. Take it easy. Do what you can because what you are doing is more than enough.
I find if I just give it 15 minutes, it feels like a big accomplishment. If I have time, I may take on a few extra and have more catch-up days to spend on homeschool planning, a new client or a much-deserved park day. Happy homeschooling!
How to Get Kids to Pitch In
Even as I wrote that heading, I had to laugh. There is no truly easy way to get a reluctant cleaner to pick up their toys, clothes, popsicle sticks, you know what I’m saying. Especially around the holidays when it can be so hard to concentrate. Give the kids some space and plenty of time.
A timer works for us because we use it as a game. How much can we get done in this amount of time? The kids also like that there is a known end to the chores. However, if my reluctant chore child spent that time chilling, I reset the timer to see if we can do a better job. Ahem.
When they were younger I would also break it down into colors. Such as, pick up all the yellow toys, now blue.
We had a Twister spinner we used so they felt in control. I used the colors and also put age-appropriate chores on there, such as fold your clothes or make your bed. They whacked that spinner with glee to find a color, object or chore. Again, it was only for 15 minutes, so the novelty didn’t have time to wear off.
Kid Chore Tips
For the kids, we use dry erase boards with a list of their specific chores. My son needs details while my daughter just needs the word Poop to know to go and pick up the backyard. They mark off the dry erase board as they go. No computer until the chores are done.
We have one board for morning and one for the evening to help them stay on task and not feel overwhelmed. It works really well for helping with those executive functions they need to hone as they grow. And their entire list of chores takes about 15 minutes.