Saturday, January 12, 2013

Family Job Jars

A few nights ago on Facebook, I gave you guys a sneak peek of something I've been really excited about! My 4-Week Cleaning Schedule is getting a lot of hits lately, leading me to believe I'm not the only one making New Years' Resolutions about having a cleaner house!

This year I decided I really needed to get my kids more involved with cleaning the house. When I think of having my kids help with chores, I think of torture. Seriously. Buuuuuuut.... I've been thinking ahead to when my kids are a little older, and how I imagine they would react when, after 10 years of being exempt from doing chores, they were suddenly expected to do them. I didn't anticipate that going well. So that led me to....

I decided that each Saturday, we would spend an hour on the house. My husband and I could work for a half hour, and the kids could work for 15 minutes, leaving 15 spare minutes for my 3-year-old singing on the potty, someone throwing a tantrum, me accidentally getting sidetracked by an US Weekly, etc. Hopefully that's not just my house. During that time, we would pull sticks from the jar, complete those jobs, and repeat, repeat, repeat for the allotted time frame. Once the sticks are pulled, they go back in the other direction. The next week we pull the jars out again, start with the sticks that are still not done, and go from there.

I was originally going to have us work in one room at a time, but then I remembered that my house is microscopically tiny and we'd be falling all over each other if we tried that. I decided to separate mine into Upstairs and Downstairs and rotate the buckets each week.

So I sat down and made a list of all the chores in the house that needed to be done, separating them by "kid" jobs and "adult" jobs. My kids are 3, 5, and 7, by the way, and the jobs I picked for them will originally need lots of instruction, but hopefully later will be able to be done independently. Much later, in the case of the 3-year-old.You are welcome to download and use my Family Job List as a starting point.

Then I bought some wooden craft sticks and painted them in happy, fun colors that I love.
After fiddling with my camera and mysteriously disabling its focusing ability, I wrote each job on a stick with Sharpie, making sure to keep most of my writing on one end of the stick so it wouldn't be visible when we were choosing sticks. I then filed the extra specks of paint and paper off the edges of the sticks with a nail file.
 And then I put each group into a cute pail from Target's $1 section. I put them with the job side down so that you can't see the job when you're reaching for a stick. They go back in job-side-up when the job is done (which is how you're mostly seeing them in this photo). It would be good to paint one end of the sticks a contrasting color so it's easier to tell the difference. I may do that in the future, but my episode of The Biggest Loser ended and I had nothing else to watch, so I got bored of painting.
And that's it! Today was our first day starting our Job Jars, and they were a huge hit with the kids. My kids are still little enough that it's really fun for them to help. As I was tucking my kids into bed last night, my 5-year-old told me that the job jars were his favorite time of our day, and my 7-year-old told me, "Mom, thanks for letting us pick out of the job jars today. It's your best invention EVER! Well, except for kisses." So I think it'll be a keeper for our family! And it sure was nice to come home to a clean house after our Saturday errands.
I will say, in closing, that the downside of this system is that you don't get every single chore done every week. It's just not a big deal to me, but if it's a big deal to you, you could do all the sticks each week instead of working for a given time period. Or check out my 4-Week Cleaning Schedule, Daily Cleaning Routine, or Pink's Daily Cleaning Checklist for more comprehensive daily/weekly cleaning plans.

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D said...

I'd love to see the list of your kids' chores. My three boys will be turning 3,5 and 7 next year. I have them put their clean clothes away and pick up toys regularly and generally pick up their own clutter but not much else. This sounds like a great way to get things started.

Katie said...

D, it should be linked in the text where it says "Family Job List." That should take you to a Google Doc. If it doesn't, please let me know, and I'll see if I can fix it, or I'll add the list to the bottom of the post. Thanks!

thethinkingcloset said...

"And snap! The job's a game." What a great way to make chores more fun - - and more organized. Love this idea! And thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. Glad you found some inspiration there. Cheers!


Paula Parrish said...

Your “Family Job Jars” are a fabulous idea to get everyone involved and motivated to cleaning the house. ;o)

D said...

Awesome! Thank you! Sorry I didn't notice that before!