Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 5 Minute Pick Up

The hardest places in my house to keep clean are my kids' bedrooms. That's where they play, get dressed, sleep, rest, etc. We have no playroom or other play area in the house so their rooms are where all the action happens - and where the piles and clutter grow rapidly. So, when they hear the words, "Go clean your room." they feel slightly overwhelmed. {I know the feeling.} Looking at the big picture, it seems impossible, but I started implementing a technique I personally use often and there has been much less drama and a lot more confidence in their own cleaning skills around here.
If you map out your day from the time you wake until the time you go to bed, you'll see that you do have periods of time {maybe even just minutes} where you're just wandering or sitting idle or waiting or doing nothing. Wasted time. I try to be conscious of those times and get short chores done. For instance, while the kids are brushing their teeth at night, I'll throw in a load of laundry to wash {otherwise I'd just be sitting and waiting on them}. Then, in the morning after my shower I'll go throw those clothes in the dryer real quick before I head downstairs to pack lunchboxes. Both chores took just a few minutes and saved me time. I didn't have to wait for the clothes to wash because I was well on my way to dreamland. In the morning, I didn't have to wait for them to dry because I put them in the dryer just before a busy time for me. By the time I'm ready to fold clothes, they will be dry.
Throughout the day, I take 15 minutes and go through one room and pick up anything out of place, hang up clothes, dust or whatever needs to be done. The time frame of 15 minutes is a challenge to me to get as much done as possible in that time frame. And believe it or not, you can get a lot done in 15 minutes!! I do this same thing when I get a phone call from my mom or sister. Otherwise, I'd just be sitting there talking when my hands could be working. It's really quite effective.
So, I decided to teach this to my kids. Since they are mainly responsible for their own rooms, I give them 5 minutes on the timer and have them run through their rooms picking up toys, putting clothes in the laudry, hanging up clean clothes, etc. They typically come out with a sense of accomplishment and pride in how their room now looks. This can be expanded as they get older, but for now 5 minutes at a time is a good fit for us. So, next time they say, "I'm bored!" they'll be sent to their rooms with the timer.
What 'tricks' do you use to get your kids cleaning?

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  1. Great idea. It's what I should be doing right now!

  2. Great idea! I try to do a few minutes here and there every day. It really is amazing how much you can get done in a minuscule amount of time when you are totally focused- xo Diana

  3. I'm pinning this! My kids are older (12 and 15) and they take hours to pick up (can you say, distractions!?!?!?)... but I will try this - for 15 minutes, no tv or phones, with a timer! Awesome idea!!!! LOVE it! Julia


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