Cleaning house: It's a family affair

If you're like me, the ritual goes something like tis: You spend a solid weekend cleaning your home an vow to never let it get out of control again. Two weeks later you stand in the middle of a disaster zone wondering what happened.

In the whirlwind of work, chid care and other obligations, many of us find our homes don't reflect the images we would like them to. Yet, coming home to a clean house eases the stresses of the day and encourages us to relax in the little spare time we carve for ourselves.

The question: How do we get and keep our homes clean?
The Key: To work as a family.



First, you need to get things in order. Make it easy, pace yourself. Choose one room each week and clean it. Take anything you haven't used in a year and put it in a box marked "Rummage Sale". When the house is clean, hold a rummage sale and split the proceeds between your children. Set a goal each week for when you finish, getting ice cream, taking a walk, going to the zoo...continue this reginem until your home is in order.



Each night as you watch television, use the commercial breaks to hold a race. Each person in the household has to put back everything they touched that day which is out of place. See who can put the most back the quickest.

Weekly, do your main cleaning, sweeping, mopping, doing a little bit each day and by working as a team your house will stay under control.



For ongoing help try setting up an incentive chart. Have each child choose something they would like. Post this on a piece of paper and design a path to attain it. The path should contain squares and each square should have a goal. For example, mop kitchen Sept. 2, unload dishwasher Sept. 3, fold laundry Sept. 4, the length of the path should correlate with the price of the item.



Five Easy Cleaning Tips

  1. Use baking soda on carpets before vacuuming to reduce odor.
  2. Use baby oil to remove "stickies" left from price tags.
  3. Keep a spray bottle of equal parts bleach and water to remove tough mildew, but not in the reach of small children.
  4. Use coffee filters to prevent streaking when cleaning windows.
  5. Murphy's Wood Oil soap works great to remove food and grease from the top of a stove.

This article was reprinted with permission from Single Parenting in the Ninetties Copyright 1995 by Pilot Publishing. All rights reserved. This article may be printed out for personal use but may not be reproduced in any other manner, including electronic, without prior written consent from Pilot Publishing. Permission requests may be submitted to Brook Noel

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