After long winter days of being cooped up in the house, one thing is definitely true – the house needs to be cleaned – even though no one feels like it.
When I need some serious house cleaning inspiration, I turn to this lady and her 15 minute rule. I tweak things a bit, though, to make it equitable and fun (sorta) for my kids. Usually, we have 5 people cleaning and 15 tasks to be done. In the 15-minute world, the whole house will be shining clean (sorta) in 45 minutes. Plus, your family will have
endured enjoyed some quality bonding time.
Here’s what we do:
Before Cleaning the House:
- Make a list of everything you need cleaned around the house.
- Divide that list into tasks that can be accomplished in 15 minutes.
- For example,
- Vacuum the stairs
- Scrub the powder room
- Windex the interior downstairs windows
- Dust all the woodwork
- Dust the furniture
- Empty all trash cans in the house and replace bags
- Vacuum the downstairs
- Mop the wood floors
- Wash the exterior of the kitchen cabinets
- Vacuum interior of the car and clean interior windows
- After you have the tasks, write them on index cards with any directions you feel are needed.
- Assemble all children to what they think will be a fun breakfast and announce that the house is too messy and it is going to be cleaned now. Do not indulge groaning.
- Reassure them that the whole thing will be finished in 45 minutes…ignore their skepticism.
- Now assign them their jobs. You know who does which things the best, and it saves on whining if you just tell them what to do.
- Place all essential cleaning supplies on the counter.
Cleaning the House Time:
- Blast some music for an energy burst.
- IMPORTANT! Do not allow your children to wear headphones and sulk around listening to their own music – that will wreck the esprit de corps of the whole thing.
- Set the timer and GO. Give everyone a halfway there heads up and a 2-minute warning.
- At the end of the 15 minutes, children should collapse exhausted while mom checks up on everyone’s work.
- Repeat 2x or as needed.
After Cleaning the House:
- Put away all cleaning supplies.
- Enjoy the clean house.
When it is all over, I give you permission to go in your room and shut the door -because probably, that was enough family esprit de corps for a while.
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Maureen Paschal is a freelance writer, a teacher-librarian, and a mom of four almost grown kids. She blogs at Raising The Capable Student where her goal is helping parents to keep family life a priority and school success in perspective. Her work has been featured in On Parenting from the Washington Post, Grown and Flown, Perfection Pending, and Today Parents.