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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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Writing a Garage Sale List

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Twice a year, a master-planned community near my house has a neighborhood garage sale.

I like being able to go to several sales in a short period of time.

I make it a plan to take a list with me. I go to this semi-annual sale with my mom, so I take 3 copies of my list: one for me, one for her, and one to hand to the person having the sale. I don't always use the third one, but if someone asks if I'm looking for something in particular and they have several things for sale, I'll hand them that copy of the list. This has helped me several times. Once, a woman said, "Oh, I had one of those out at my last garage sale and forgot to put it out this time! I'll go get it!" which resulted in this:


A beautiful metal embroidery hoop, with a date on it of 1917. This is definitely my oldest embroidery hoop. I paid $1.50, and it was in a bag with several other vintage items for that price. It's my favorite hoop now (it's actually much smaller than you see here; I love the small size as it prevents my hand my cramping).

Another time a woman noticed I was looking for sidewalk chalk. She had a large coffee can full of it, which I most likely would not have seen has I not given her the list. When I asked how much, she said I could have it for free!

My list does a lot more for me than that, however. I use my list to specifically shop for clothes and gifts for my family.

I write down each person's name in the family, along with what clothing items they need, and the number of items that they need. For the children, I write down anything they need next year and the following year (the next two sizes up). If they still need anything for this year I will include that as well, but in general, I am shopping ahead for them. By shopping for the next two sizes, I am better prepared for sudden growth spurts. It also is important because sometimes it is difficult to find anything in the sizes I need; having two years to find something helps a lot.

For example, one person on my list might look like this:

Cyrus (age 10 1/2)

4 short-sleeved shirts size 14
6 long-sleeved shirts size 14
3 pairs shorts size 14
1 pair dress pants size 14
2 pairs jeans size 14
3 pairs long pants/corduroys size 14
1 tie

7 short-sleeved shirts size 16
6 long-sleeved shirts size 16

Etc., Etc.

By having a specific number of items, I can be certain not to overbuy. I purchase enough for a week's worth of clothing (including church clothes) for both hot weather and cold weather.

I aim to pay 50 cents to a dollar for clothing items. I will occasionally pay more ($4 for a coat, for example), or $2 for a new items with tags on it, but in general, most items I buy are in the $0.50 to $1 range. This means that, in the example above, for a year's worth of clothing in one size, I am out the same price as one brand-new shirt at Target.

(This does not not count socks, underwear, pajamas, or shoes--just other items of clothing. I purchase socks and underwear on back to school sales. I make pajamas, usually repurposing sheets for these. I look for sales on shoes).

Most of my boys' clothing is used, from garage sales as well as hand-me-downs from friends. I like preppy, vintage clothes, and for the boys, it is usually quite possible to find button-down shirts and polo shirts in like-new condition, as these items are worn less often than t-shirts.  I find it harder to buy my girls clothing that I like, but I do find things for them on occasion (especially cardigans and jeans). I love vintage-style dresses, so I tend to make those, but I have found several jumpers and occasionally a few dresses.

Besides clothing, I have other items on the list.

I have listed both types of books as well as certain books that we are wanting. I have often found specific books that we wanted. I use these for the whole family or for individual children. If I plan on keeping it for a birthday gift or a Christmas gift, I put it up until that time. I pay .25 to $1 for most books. (I did buy a few last year for $2 each, that were hardcover books in like-new condition--and they were books on my list).  I will also pick up books in like-new condition for us to give as gifts to friends; these are often books that we already own and my children love, so I know their friends will like them as well. I put those in my gift box.

My list includes items that I know the children would like for birthdays and Christmas. Sometimes I find those items and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I find items that I know they will love that aren't on my list; that's okay, too, of course! (A couple of weeks ago a neighbor on my street was having a garage sale that included several like-new games, all marked $1 each. One was Harry Potter Uno. I've seen that on Amazon--for $53! I bought it and put it aside for Cyrus' 11th birthday later this year).

This vintage Ball jar was a garage sale purchase.

If there is anything I need in the kitchen, I'll put that on my list. Right now, for example, I'm looking for a metal pie server. I have one, but I would like another one for when we have several kinds of pie at once. I have an idea of the style I would like. I'm not in a hurry, but it's an item I would like to have, so I'll look for it.

Any other needs I have are also on there. This year, I am looking for a few bicycle helmets.

I have a few items on my list that I would like for sewing; I am looking for some specific shades of velvet and wool. Often these two items can be repurposed clothing items, so I look for pieces in good enough shape to cut up for those projects (a velvet skirt can offer plenty of fabric to make a girl's dress bodice). I aim to pay $1 for these. Garage sales are also a great place to look for sheets (to use for sewing) and blankets (to use as-is).



The white quilt on my bed was a garage sale find for $15. I have purchased blankets for the children at garage sales, too.

I usually take $35 to $45 with me. Most times, this is money that I've made from my own garage sale. I plan to go to this neighborhood sale in April and October; I might go to one other sale a year (this year I went to three already, as two were on my street and one was two streets over).

My list has also served another purpose for me for the past several years. A friend of my mother's (a woman whose children are long-grown) goes to Oregon and Washington each summer. She loves garage sale shopping while she is there, and she offered to look for things for me before if I would give her a list. She brings back several bags of clothing (usually including a few costumes), along with a list of what she paid for each item. She looks for items in the same price range as I do (most items she picks up for 50 cents each). I email my list to her.

I'll be going garage sale shopping at the community garage sale this Saturday. I'm looking forward to it!


Have you ever written a garage sale list? Do you use garage sales to buy the bulk of your family's clothing?





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