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Organization

Our Chore Assignments

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Chore Assignments The Prudent Homemaker

There is no way I can do it all. 

With a big family comes big messes, and lots of laundry and dishes. 

The secret is . . . everyone helps! And because everyone helps, they all learn how to do the things they will need to do to keep their own homes running when they are adults.

We've made some recent changes to our chore assignments.

I've assigned more to Ivory, who is now 4 and can do quite a few things to help.

I also added a few new chores, such as wiping the kitchen cabinets and counters. The job to wipe the kitchen cabinets is to do just one section a day, so that within a couple of weeks, everything will have been wiped down. I added this after reading how Yvonne at Stonegable wipes down all of her kitchen cabinets once a week. She says it's a fast job. I've never been able to do it quickly, and I certainly don't get it done that often! They could use it more often, though, so I added that chore. One section takes about 5 minutes to wipe well.

I also ended up with a few gaps in the chart; four, to be exact. I had nothing for those times. After discussing it with my husband, we decided to create a new chore that we named "Special Assignment." I choose something that needs to be done (but not done every day) and the child will work on that. I choose jobs that take 5-10 minutes to finish. A few things I've chosen so far for this are:

Organize a drawer

Straighten the pantry for 5-10 minutes

Dust a specific piece of furniture

Dust a ceiling fan

Clean the toaster

Wipe door handles

 

My children are Winter, 14, Cyrus, 13, Ezrom, 11, Liberty, 9, Wren, 8, Elsa 6, Ivory 4,  and Octavius, who is 4 months now  (and whose only job is to look cute). 

On a normal day, we have 4 loads of laundry, run the dishwasher after every 2 meals (because that's 18 plates/bowls, etc.!) , and wash a good number of pots and pans. I wash the pots, pans, mixing bowls, and do the laundry washing and drying, cook, clean, garden and sew (and everything else mothers d0).

 

Here are our new chore assignments:

 

Before Breakfast:

Everyone:

Get dressed, brush hair and wash face

Make bed

Straighten bedroom

Sort dirty laundry



Winter: Help with Breakfast

Cyrus: Wash two doors

Ezrom: Put away clean dishes

Liberty: Take out trashes

Wren: Pick up living room

Elsa: Pick up and Sweep East hall

Ivory: Pour waters and Set Table

Everyone:

Fold and put away laundry



After Breakfast:

Everyone:

Clear Spots

Brush Teeth



Winter: Sweep under table

Cyrus: Wipe table and chairs

Ezrom: Wash dishes

Liberty: Sweep and mop kitchen floor

Wren: Special Assignment

Elsa: Tidy mudroom

Ivory: Pick up living room



Before Lunch:

Everyone:

Put away school books and pencils



Winter: Pick up by front door and Vacuum kitchen rug and rug by front door

Cyrus: Sweep and mop wood floor by piano

Ezrom: Special Assignment

Liberty: Pick up living room

Wren: Set table and pour drinks

Elsa: Help Mom with lunch

Ivory: Pick up Library




After Lunch:

Everyone:

Clear Spots



Winter: Wipe Kitchen counters and cabinets

Cyrus: Special Assignment

Ezrom: Clean Bathroom

Liberty: Wash dishes and Run dishwasher

Wren: Sweep and mop under table

Elsa: Clean girls' Bathroom

Ivory: Wipe table and chairs



Before Dinner:


Winter: Pick up and sweep West hall

Cyrus: Put away clean dishes

Ezrom: Sweep under the table

Liberty: Pick up and Vacuum living room

Wren: Tidy backyard

Elsa: Special Assignment

Ivory: Wipe table, set table and pour waters




Everyone:

Clean and vacuum rooms

5 Minutes cleaning in the Library

 

After Dinner:

Everyone:

Clear Spots

Put on pajamas

Brush teeth and wash face




Winter: Sweep wood floor by piano

Cyrus: Wash dishes

Ezrom: Clear and wipe table

Liberty: Sweep under table

Wren: Vacuum Library

Elsa: Sweep and mop kitchen floor

Ivory: Wipe chairs


Looking for more chore ideas? You can read about some of our past chore assignments here.

 

Tagged in: Chores Organization
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My Schedule

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My Daily Schedule The Prudent Homemaker

My schedule has not changed much since I posted it 2 1/2 years ago, but I have made some small changes. I also have a nursing baby now. I can count on him waking every morning at close to the same time (Can I just say "hooray!" that it's usually around 5:30 a.m.? My poor mother; I woke every day at 4 a.m.!)

I usually have 4 loads of laundry a day to wash Monday - Saturday. My goal is to get them done early in the morning.

On Saturdays, we have a bit of a relaxed schedule, and we sleep in just a little. We don't have school on Saturdays, but chores, laundry, and meals generally follow the same schedule. When it's cooler, I'll often spend most of Saturday out in the garden. Sundays I don't do laundry. We have church and spend a relaxed day together, playing board and card games together.

 

Schedule



4:45 Wake and prayer

4:50 Move laundry from the washer to the dryer; start a new load in the washer

5:00 Shower and dress

5:30 Nurse baby

6:00 Wake children 

6:05 Move laundry to dryer and put another load in the washer. Move laundry that is dry to couches for children to fold.

6:10 Put away large pots and pans. Encourage children with chores. 

6:15 Brush girls' hair. Start breakfast.

6:50 Move laundry from dryer that is dry to couches for children to fold. Move load of laundry to dryer and put another load in the washer. 

7:10 Plate breakfast

7:15 Breakfast

7:30 Encourage children with after-breakfast chores

7:45 Move laundry to dryer. Wash pots and pans; tidy kitchen

8:00 School with children 

11:00 Start making lunch

11:30 Lunch

12:00 Encourage children with after-lunch chores

12:15 Wash pots and pans; tidy kitchen

12:30 Continue school with children

1:30 Garden, make bread, sew, take photographs, blog (usually one or two of these). Children's nap time/quiet time in their rooms.

3:00 Household chores

3:30 Snack time

4:00 Wash snack dishes. Start dinner.  Children's playtime.

5:00 Work on dinner. Have children do before-dinner chores

5:30 Liberty piano practice

6:00 Wren piano practice

6:30 Dinner

7:10 Have children do after-dinner chores.  Put a load of laundry in and program it to wash in the morning to be done before I get up (using the delay start option). 

7:30 Scriptures, songs, and family prayer

7:45 Wash pots and pans; tidy kitchen

8:00-9:00 Work on blog and website; spend time with my husband (talking, playing a game, watching a show on the computer together, etc.)

Bedtime sometime after that, but usually before 9:30 (later if I'm posting on the site, like tonight!)

September Garden The Prudent Homemaker

 

I'll sneak in a bit more time in the garden, in the sewing room, or cleaning the house if I have a dinner that takes a bit less time, or if I'm making a more hands' off meal where the dinner is in the oven instead of on the stove. I've been finding myself using the oven and the solar oven a lot more recently; it's nice to put something in and walk away, giving myself extra time to work on other tasks. 

For our homeschool schedule, see here.

Tomorrow I'll post our current chore schedule.

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Super Spiffy Day

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Library The Prudent Homemaker

Super Spiffy Day is a day where the tasks that don't get done on a regular basis (like cleaning baseboards and walls) get tackled. I call a Super Spiffy Day whenever the house needs a good deep clean, but it's also great for seasonal cleaning, or to do before guests are expected.

I have a list on my computer of items that need to get done. This list is for the children. They get to pick and choose which tasks they want to do, while I work on other major cleaning projects (such as cleaning the carpets, scrubbing furniture and walls, washing shower curtains, and cleaning the hood vent, stove, and oven). Letting them choose which chores they want makes the job a bit more fun. They write their name down next to a task, and then cross it off when it is done and pick another task. My list has grown in length as our children have gotten older and have become capable of harder (and higher) tasks. This year my three oldest suggested several new tasks that we added to the list.

I organize my list by rooms. Halls and the entryway are listed as rooms too. For each room, I have broken down the job into items such as:

Wash both sides of door frame

Wash both sides of door

Clean baseboard

Clean windowsill(s)

Clean lightswitch(es)

Wash walls (each wall is listed as a task)

 

Dining chairs are wiped every day, but on Super Spiffy Day, they get scrubbed. Each chair is listed as one task.

The kitchen jobs includes such tasks such as cleaning the toaster, cleaning the outside of the fridge (including the top), and wiping cabinet fronts (which I break into sections for jobs).

Vacuuming under the couch cushions is another job.

Most of our scrubbing is done with washcloths, using a bit of Murphy's Oil Soap and warm water in a couple of buckets. For some jobs (like the vinyl covered seats of our chairs) a scrub brush is in order. 

Kitchen The Prudent Homemaker 

At the end of the day, we have a treat (usually ice cream).

In case your little ones are needing a little inspiration, check out this cute Backyardigans Epsiode with Mr. Spiffy.

Tagged in: Organization
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New Chore Assignments

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Cutting Chamomile The Prudent Homemaker

Five weeks ago, I made new chore assignments at our house. After a month, it was apparent that the new chore assignments were not working, so I made some changes, and the new assignments are a much better fit.

We added a few new chores into the mix, and Ivory, who turned 3 in April, now has regular chores as well. She already helps fold napkins and washcloths as part of the every day laundry. She often times helps me move wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. She picks up her toys. We're giving her a couple more chores now; she can easily set the table with napkins and silverware. She also will have dusting to do; I have some small dust cloths that I made up that her hand can fit inside for some simple dusting of low areas, including the piano.

Here are our children's ages:

Winter: 13

Cyrus: 11

Ezrom: 10

Liberty: 8

Wren: 7

Elsa: 5

Ivory: 3 

 

Laundry is every day but Sunday. I wash 3 to 4 loads of laundry a day. You can read more about my laundry system here.

The trash gets picked up twice a week, so twice a week the big cans get taken to the curb. 

Several things are repeated through the day (like sweeping) because they constantly need to be done.  For mopping our floors, we use a hardwood floor mop similar to this one, and these floor mop covers. We just use water to clean the hardwood and marble floors (the kitchen and my bathroom have marble). In the children's bathrooms we have tile; for that we use water and homemade orange vinegar.

 

Before Breakfast:

Everyone:

Prayer

Get dressed, brush hair and wash face

Make bed

Straighten bedroom; vacuum bedroom

Sort dirty laundry




Winter: Wipe one door

Cyrus: Put away dishes & Pour waters

Ezrom: Pick up boys' hall

Liberty: Take out trash

Wren: Pick up living room & Help Mom with breakfast

Elsa: Take out trash

Ivory: Set Table

Everyone:

Fold and put away laundry



After Breakfast:

Everyone:

Clear Spots

Brush Teeth




Winter: Wipe table and chairs

Cyrus: Sweep under table




Ezrom: Pick up boy's bathroom

Liberty: Wash dishes

Wren: Pick up girls' bathroom

Elsa: Sweep kitchen floor

Ivory: Dust




Before Lunch:

Everyone:

Put away school books




Winter: Pick up and vacuum by front door and Library

Cyrus: Sweep wood floor and Pour Drinks

Ezrom: Help Mom with lunch

Liberty: Pick up living room

Wren: Set table and Sweep Boys' Hall

Elsa: Pick up Library

Ivory: Pick up Library




After Lunch:

Everyone:

Clear Spots




Winter: Clean Bathroom

Cyrus: Sweep and mop under table

Ezrom: Clean Bathroom

Liberty: Wipe table and chairs

Wren: Wash dishes & Run dishwasher

Elsa: Mop wood floor by piano



Before Dinner:



Winter: Put away clean dishes

Cyrus: Pick up and vacuum living room

Ezrom: Pick up and sweep girls' hall

Liberty: Wipe table, set table and pour waters

Wren: Clean up backyard

Elsa: Pick up wood floor to door

Ivory: Pick up living room


Everyone:

Clean rooms

5 Minutes cleaning in the Library



After Dinner:

Everyone:



Clear Spots

Put on pajamas

Brush teeth and wash face



Winter: Get ivory ready for bed

Cyrus: Wipe chairs

Ezrom: Sweep and mop kitchen floor

Liberty: Clear and wipe table

Wren: Sweep under table

Elsa: Sweep wood floor

 

In addition to our regular daily chores, we have a few weekly chores as well. Both Cyrus and Ezrom are now taking turns mowing the lawn. (In the winter this job doesn't need to be done at all; though it doesn't snow here, it is cool enough that grass doesn't grow much). Cyrus uses the gas mower and Ezrom uses the push mower. 

 

You can see our past chore assignments here.

You can read more about how we do laundry here.

You can read our daily schedule here.

Tagged in: Chores Organization
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New Chore Assignments

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It has been over a year since I last posted our chore assignments. For the most part, they have remained the same, with a few small changes.

After a while, everyone is ready for new chores. Changing the chore assignments helps alleviate boredom and more importantly, it helps children progress in their knowledge of how to run a household. One of the main reasons we have chores is to help our children grow into capable adults who know how to take care of themselves.


We decided to start new chores today along with our new school year. I asked the children what chores they didn't want anymore and what chores they would prefer. Some of the answers for the chores that they wanted surprised me! They did a great job today in their new chores, too.

We've given more chores to our 6-year-old, who asked for three things rather enthusiastically, and then proceeded to do them rather well! I was very surprised and happy about that today.



Here are our children's current ages:

Winter: 12
Cyrus: 11
Ezrom: 9
Liberty: 7 (almost 8)
Wren: 6
Elsa: 4
Ivory: 2

Ivory has been rather helpful in picking up the toy cars and people, and the blocks, and those are usually her mess. Unlike her 6 older siblings when they were her age (and some still!) she will go pick up the cars right away when asked, and will do a thorough job. She seems to understand that everyone cleans up, and she loves to help; she tries to fold laundry, but is still working on getting a washcloth folded (she has done it a few times).

Winter is assigned to make breakfast. She is learning to make more things this way. I'll help in her this chore; sometimes she can simply dish up breakfast, but the main goal is to teach her to make a variety of things.

One thing we've changed is that instead of just vacuuming their rooms on Saturday, the children will now vacuum on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays.  This is just part of cleaning their rooms. Since all rooms are shared, they can trade off who gets to vacuum.

Our trash is collected twice a week. The job of taking out the trash includes taking the big cans to the curb on those days as well as bringing them back up; every day it includes emptying all but one of the trash cans in the house (the kitchen trash, three bathroom trash cans, and my desk trash; I empty the sewing room trash when it is needed).

Also, though it's not on here, Cyrus cuts the grass each week as part of his chores. Winter helps in lots of ways that aren't listed on here (she helps with Ivory a lot and all of her siblings love her a lot because she plays with them); they all help in lots of little ways each day as well (taking plates of food to the table or offering to help in other ways, etc.).


Here are the new chore assignments:
 
Before Breakfast:
Everyone:
Prayer
Get dressed
Make bed
Straighten bedroom
Sort dirty laundry
 
Winter: Make breakfast
Cyrus: Take out trash
Ezrom: Put away Clean dishes
Liberty: Pick up living room
Wren: Set table
Elsa: Pour Drinks
Everyone:
Fold laundry
Put away laundry
 
 
After Breakfast:
Everyone:
 
Clear Spots
Brush teeth
 
Winter: wash dishes
Cyrus: Wipe table and chairs
Ezrom: Sweep the floor under the table
Liberty: Pick up girls' hall
Wren: Sweep and mop the kitchen
Elsa: Dust
 
Before Lunch:
Everyone:
 
Put away schoolbooks
 
Winter: Sweep wood floor by piano
Cyrus: Clean boys’ bathroom
Ezrom: Pour drinks and set table
Liberty: Pick up library
Wren: Clean girls’ bathroom
Elsa: Pick up living room
Ivory: Pick up library
 
After Lunch:
 
Everyone:
 
Clear Spots
 
Winter: Wash dishes
Cyrus: Sweep both halls
Ezrom: Wipe table and chairs
Liberty: Sweep and mop under table
Wren: Vacuum Living room
Elsa: Clean bedroom
 
Before Dinner:
 
Winter: Pick up and vacuum living room
Cyrus: Put away clean dishes
Ezrom: Wipe and set table
Liberty: Clean Patio
Wren: Clean up by front door
Elsa: Pour drinks
Ivory: Pick up library
 
Everyone:
Clean rooms
5 minutes cleaning in the library
 
 
After Dinner:
 
Everyone:
Clear Spots
Put on pajamas
Brush teeth
 
 
Winter: Sweep and mop kitchen floor
Cyrus: sweep and mop by piano
Ezrom: Wash dishes
Liberty: Sweep under table

Wren: Wipe table and chairs


Tagged in: Chores Organization
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My Schedule

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One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is what my daily schedule looks like. I will answer that today, but I don't think it will answer the real question, which is, "How do you get so much stuff done?" The answer to that is a lot deeper than just telling you my schedule, so this post will be the first in a series on accomplishing more in your day.


This schedule is of course the ideal day. No day is ideal. I do my best to keep to this plan, but it never works perfectly. I have found, however, that since I decided on a schedule several years ago that I accomplish much more than I did without a schedule.

I have also found that I accomplish more if I am up before my children. That's not always possible; I have early risers and sometimes they will be up before I am, or before I would like them to be. I used to have children who would be up at 5:20 every morning, and I found it really hard to get much done until I started getting up before them (which meant 4 am!) Those children have stopped waking so early now, though I do have 2 children who still seem to wake rather early most days.

I'm sure as you read, you're going to be thinking, "Why doesn't she do it this way?" or, "Why isn't x, y, z on there?" This is an honest schedule. My house is far from perfectly clean at the end of the day. I could spend all day cleaning, but then I'd never get anything else done, and that's not the way I want to live, either. So here it is!


Schedule


4:45 Wake and prayer

4:50 Start a load of laundry to wash; if there is one washed from the night before, put that one in the dryer.

5:00 Drink a glass of water and read scriptures

5:10 Work online on blog

5:30 Shower and get ready for the day

6:00 Wake children who are still sleeping

6:05 Move laundry to dryer and put another load in the washer. Move laundry that is dry to couches for children to fold.

6:10 Put away large pots and pans. Encourage children with chores. Make bed and tidy bedroom and bathroom.

6:30 Brush girls' hair. Start breakfast.

6:50 Move laundry from dryer that is dry to couches for children to fold. Move second load of laundry to dryer and put third load in the washer.

7:10 Plate breakfast

7:15 Breakfast

7:30 Encourage children with after-breakfast chores

7:45 Move laundry to dryer and put fourth load in the washer

8:00 Start school with children. Wash pots and pans

9:00 Move fourth load to dryer. Continue school with children

10:00 Take fourth load from dryer. Continue school with children.

11:00 Start making lunch

11:30 Lunch

12:00 Encourage children with after-lunch chores

12:30 Continue school with children

1:30 Garden, make bread, sew, photograph, blog (usually one or two of these). Children's nap time/quiet time in their rooms.

3:30 Snack time

4:00 Clean kitchen/wash pots and pans from lunch. Start dinner. Have Liberty start piano practice. Children's playtime.

5:00 Work on dinner. Have children do before-dinner chores

5:30 Have Winter do piano practice. Continue dinner

6:30 Dinner

7:00 Family Scriptures, songs, and family prayer

7:10 Have older children do after-dinner chores. Put pajamas on youngest child. If I have one that day, start a fifth load of laundry, or put the load in and program it to wash in the morning to be done before I get up. Tidy/clean bedroom.

7:30 Tuck children in bed

7:45 Work on blog and website

8:30 Spend time with my husband (talking, playing a game, watching a show on the computer together, etc.)

Bedtime sometime after that, but usually before 10:00



There are lots of things that aren't on here. If I'm cooking a pot of beans, I'll usually start that either while I'm making breakfast, or sometime between then and before lunch. Sometimes I'll start caramelizing onions mid-morning during school time to have them ready for a soup for lunch, since they take 40 minutes to caramelize.

My husband and I will often (almost daily) talk about finances between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. while I'm making the bed and tidying the bedroom (he often helps me make the bed). He usually gets up and starts working at his desk in the bedroom right away. Later he'll shower and go in to the office. We have family prayer with him right before he leaves. If decides to work from home, we'll have it around 9:00 a.m.

If we are having leftovers for dinner (which is usually once or twice a week) I have more time to work on a project, such as sewing or gardening. It gives me 2 extra hours in my day if I have leftovers for dinner. If I'm working in the garden and the weather is nice, the children are usually playing in the garden near me. It's harder to sew after naptime than garden, but I will occasionally be able to sew a bit then.

Summer is different, in that I'll usually take a day or two a week and work in the garden in the morning  (when it's only 100º out!) while my husband makes sure the children do chores. He makes breakfast on those days.

We have school year-round. We take off extra days at Christmas, and on really beautiful spring and fall days. I'll usually take off some pretty spring days to work in the garden and the children will have a picnic lunch on the grass in the garden on those days.

Saturdays are similar, but I don't get the children up early as there is no school. I do still expect them to do chores.

On Sundays we go to church and chores are limited. I do not do laundry or major chores on Sunday. I also do not garden, sew, or make bread on Sundays. Sunday is a day of rest for us. I try to prepare as much of the day's meals as possible on Saturday.

I know some of you are surprised that I use a dryer. Our dryer is natural gas. Our water heater, stove, oven, and central heat are also gas. My bill most months is around $33. The only loads I hang up are things that cannot be put in the dryer, which are usually 2 loads of delicates per week. Using the dryer saves me a lot of time as well.

My house is a one-story house. The laundry room is right off the kitchen, which I love. We set up the dining area right next to the kitchen. During school time, their schoolwork is done at the table. If they don't need help for a few minutes, I can work in the kitchen. If they do need help, I am just a few steps away.

I don't leave the house most days. When I do run errands it is usually at night after the children are asleep. Other times I will go in the early morning (while my husband stays home with the children and makes sure they do chores) or occasionally on Saturdays. If I have more than one place to go, I try to get them on the same trip, so I'll do two or three stores on one trip out of the house.

When I am pregnant or I have a new baby (so every other year!) the schedule is a bit different, as I am sleeping more/nursing/changing more diapers.

That afternoon quiet time to work on projects is pretty important to me. If it happens and I get things done during that time, I feel good about myself and my day. If it doesn't happen, I find that I feel a lot less satisfied. How well it goes depends on how well the children decide to nap/read/play without fighting or coming out of their rooms. If I don't get planned projects done, you can be assured that that is what happened several days that week!

In a few upcoming posts, I'll be talking about some ways that I try to maximize my time so that I can use it well. We all get 24 hours in a day, and I like to make the most of them.
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