I just have to share this. Why? Because it works!!
Since my children are about in middle school, I have progressively included them in the housework. This still means that most is left to Mama… this is normal, I suppose. However, we noticed that the kitchen in particular just never came clean.
Ok, part of this is due to me not exactly finishing implementing Konmari’s method… it’s still on the cards, and she’s also not the first person I heard it from, where crockery is concerned. I condemned 3/4 of our cutlery to the “naughty corner”, wondering how on Earth we ever collected that much cutlery. I only kept 5 each of the prettiest out. (Don’t want my best cutlery in the naughty corner. One ought to use one’s special stuff…) This reduced the cutlery from an unmanageable tangle nobody ever wanted to wash and everyone left to the next person, to something quite easy. I’m quietly and stealthily doing the same with plates, cups, bowls…
Anyway, we noted that the kitchen was a never-ending story. Everyone helps themselves to coffee, snacks, sandwiches. (Part of teaching my children not to have an avoidance/binge relationship with food is making it available, not only at mealtimes. It helps; however: ) Everyone just left everything standing around, taking a new cup out every time and leaving the old one, drinking water, leaving the glass, making a sandwich, leaving everything out including the marge, knife, cheese…
So eventually I called them all together. I declared that the system in place (a monthly rota of who is “on” kitchen) is defunct, and proposing a solution straight from Scouts. Everyone is responsible for washing their own crockery and cutlery, right after using it. The one “on” kitchen is responsible for communal stuff like the pots that were used for cooking or the cheese grater. I mentally gave my “new” system 5 days before this slovenly, untidy family would fall back into savagery.
This was in September. I’m totally gobsmacked. The system is still working; they are all of them sticking to it. Occasionally one has to nudge the kitchen “person” to clear the drying shelf, but as for the rest? And there’s more: The tidiness is spilling over! Our chronically messy front room is slowly migrating towards a more orderly and clean state.
I would not have believed this possible. I always thought that people whose houses are that neat, have a full-time helper, or at least are living alone. I now understand the saying, “cleaning the house while the children are growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing”. And I also realize that we’ve won!
The other day we visited at a relative whose adult son was visiting from overseas. Usually this lady’s house is spic and span; she does live alone and have a helper, and she has a fairly orderly nature. We arrived and the son had created a fine chaos of the front room. And my children noticed! It actually bothered them. Now I really know I have won. 😀
One simple little trick: Always making the little bit of mess go away immediately that is created by normal living. And they got it, and are sticking to it! What a payoff!