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Blogger Friend School Assignment – Feel free to join the fun!

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Assignment: How do you keep energized so you can get it all done? bouncy music? treat it like a workout? Do you use a schedule?, a housekeeping binder system? luck of the draw system?.. or is this an area where you need encouragement? Do you need God’s help to keep order and beauty in your dwelling place? Take this week to tell us how You diligently keep going with your housekeeping chores.

 

Day by day I keep myself going purely by routine, habit and a desire to train my children to be competent at these tasks. 

 

When we have a particularly big task, or unpleasant task ahead of us we turn up the music – loud and bouncy.  

 

Lists, lists, lists help me keep focused.  I have an

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overall list that covers everything to be done in the week, month, quarter.  It includes the kid’s chore routine and my morning/afternoon routines.  I refer to this Master Sheet everyday to write up my daily-to-do, which includes housework, homeschooling lessons, office work, and personal concerns.

 

The age of my children has certainly affected how we keep house.  When they were younger a lot simply didn’t get done.  I had to accept that my focus on was being with my littlies and training them to do the task.  I don’t believe in going behind the kids and fixing everything that they do.  If they have done a chore to the best of their ability it stays that way.  I have had to come to the place where the atmosphere in my home is more important than the image.

 

My favourite verse that helps me keep this goal:

 

Where there are no oxen

The manger is empty,

But from the strength of an ox

comes an abundant harvest.

Prov 14:4

 

My house is a house where we are producing a family, its gunna be messy!

 

As my children grow older, the training starts to pay off and they start to share the load of household responsibilities.  Their daily chore roster has them responsible for a particular area of the house; Kitchen (dishes after Breakfast and Lunch, and cooks helper for dinner), Laundry (washing, hanging, folding), Outside (potplants, rubbish, scraps, chickens and the veranda) and Bathroom/Family Room.  The older two can maintain the house without supervision, including cooking simple meals and the laundry.  Nomi at 11yo is in training and Daniel is still in the instruction stage. 

 

The children’s help is a big part of our family.  There are several benefits:

  • They are being trained to manage their possessions, their time, and developing a work ethic
  • They are a part of our family ministry to the wider community as they recognize the need to keep the house ready for hospitality, welcoming friends or people in need.
  • They also see that they can release me into other aspects of our family life while they look after areas of responsibility where they are able. 

 

Tips for staying on top of it:

  • Have daily tidy up spots – ours is 5.00pm though when they were younger we had a clean up time just before lunch as well.  Anything that is still out of place by this time gets dealt with.  The ideal is of course is that people put things away when they finish with them, but…
  • Learn to let it go.  I plan for things to be done on a weekly or monthly rotation.  This means if circumstances pile up and I don’t get to it, I can leave it till next week, or next month and things will still be okay.  I don’t try and squeeze everything into tomorrow.  A chore has its day and if it doesn’t happen, the day will come around again!
  • Have a catch up day.  This is on a needs only basis.  I go through the house and write a list of the tasks that are hindering us or bugging me, and they are the only ones that we deal with.  Soon the house is back on track and we start again with our routine.

 

A few things to guide us on a catch up day:

  • The kids and I all work in one area of the house – eg, the kitchen.  The youngest does the easiest jobs, the oldest the more difficult.  All working together increases energy and we see quick improvements where we are working.  If necessary we move onto another area of the house when the first area is done.
  • Plan who can do what tasks ahead of time.  The children like having their own list though because we are in this together they are encouraged to offer to help someone else if they finish quickly.
  • Catch up day is not my training time.  The time for that is during our daily tasks.  When I had younger ones I did keep them close by though, you don’t want them to be making a mess somewhere else!  They often play the role of “gopher” – go get this or put this away.
  • Work for short bursts of time, racing against the timer.  We each have our own task, we work like fury for 10-15minutes and then move onto the next task.  We repeat this 4 times.  After 4 bursts we have 15 minutes off and then we head in for another round of 10-15 minute tasks. 
  • Enjoy the labour of our hands – after a big catch up session, the house is tidy and clean we generally take the afternoon pretty casually.  More often than not we all pull out a creative project.  It is as if a tidy space turns on our creative juices.  
  • We have simple simple food after a big cleaning day – frozen pizza, meat pies, or nachos.  Something we can eat with plastic plates in front of a movie, with hardly any cleaning up.  This is a part of our reward for working hard and as a team.

 

This afternoon a few HS mums were talking about this very issue.  One mum said the bottom line is that the family has to be functioning and if things (either things undone, or an unrealistic standards/expectations) are hindering us from being a functioning family (not just scrapping through type functioning but functioning in life and joy) then we need to look at it. 

 

The only problem with me sharing these things with you online is that it is hard for any reader to really see what goes on in our house.  I had a dear friend say to me the other day, “I wish I could let things go as you do.”  Now, isn’t that something that only a friend could say!!  But she has a point.  There is definitely a lived in look happening in my house.  Each room is not spotlessly clean, there are aspects that have been let go, according to the standards in how-to-clean books and lifestyle magazines.  My house isn’t terribly orderly, this is our constant goal and something we are working on.  But we are a functioning family. The children are being trained, relationships are being built and there is always a welcome for someone who knocks on the door.  These are the things that help me keep perspective with the endless tasks of keeping home.

I have been working on getting my office organised and functioning. 
This was taken before the make-over.

The whole office was rearranged, new furniture, and space for systems. 
As you can see there are still some piles to be worked on
but little by little we’ll get there.

This photo is posted in the family room –
it sets the standard for what a clean desk is to look like.
Having a photo posted works as a constant reminder of this standard.

We use baskets to pick up and tidy up a room.
This day Daniel decided his reading shelf needed extra attention.

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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