Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Cleaning Book

Well the first week of school is over and I am back. I decided to use the time wisely and give the house a good scrub down. I sort of succeeded. While I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing I came up with an idea I think will help the kids (and maybe even Zach) become more autonomous in their chores. I call it The Cleaning Book.
For each room there will be two pages, one page with an 8x10 photo of the room cleaned the way I want it to look when chores are done, and on the other a laminated checklist.
The photo is meant to be a visual aid, like one of those "What's Wrong With This Picture?" books. They can look at the photo and look at their room and notice, "hey, there's a sock on my floor" or "My shoes are in the living room" and fix it to look like the picture. The purpose here is not to be rigid, but to give them clear expectations. My parents changed their idea of what "clean enough" looked like frequently and I found that frustrating. By giving them a visual idea of what we'd like the room to look like I hope to avoid that kind of frustration and teach them to notice when things need to be cleaned.
The checklist is an idea borrowed from the years I spent working in coffee shops. We always had a laminated checklist of chores for each person that could be checked off with a dry erase marker as we went along. I loved this. I get a sense of satisfaction from checking something off a list, and again, it provides clear direction. It also aids in remembering what has been accomplished already and what is still left to be done. Right now, while they are little, we'll go over the checklist with them, but as they get older and learn to read, they can check the list off without help from us.
It sounds a little obsessive, I know, but it's really not meant to be. It's more of a guide than a command. Zach even thinks it will be helpful for him.


  1. Oh my goodness, woman, you are a genius! I LOVE this idea!!! You are brilliant!

  2. You need to send this idea in to Family Fun magazine and make money off it!

  3. My daughter also has a cleaning checklist for her room; I like the idea of adding a picture.

    Here's a lower-cost alternative to laminating, which is also easy to change and update: I made two columns on our checklist (which is on cardstock): "TO DO" and "DONE." I ran corresponding strips of clear packing tape down the page. The tasks are on small pieces of another color cardstock, with tabs of scotch tape to stick them in the correct column, on top of the packing tape. You might be able to use a dry-erase marker on the packing tape also; I've not tested it.

    I made a similar checklist for getting ready for school.

  4. Ooh, I like that idea rosemaryevergreen! I'm going to test that out.

    I'm glad you guys like the idea. I might take your advice Green Girl and submit it to Family Fun.