Here’s a hard truth to swallow. If you live with other family members in your house, but you are the only one attempting to get organized, you will never get the house as organized as you would like it to be. You won’t achieve that goal, because you will be outnumbered by the number of people making messes versus the number of people trying to clean up the mess. It’s physically impossible.
So if you are now realizing that this is why the house is always a mess despite your best efforts, then it’s time to sit the whole family down for a talk. You NEED to get everybody on board with your organizing goals. EVERYBODY has to pitch in and help get rid of things they don’t want/use/need anymore, create homes for the things they are keeping and consistently put things back in those homes when they are through with them.
And you need to learn to delegate tasks to them. As you have probably figured out, trying to do all of the home maintenance and organization yourself is a sure recipe for burn-out and resentment. And it deprives your kids in particular of learning essential life skills.
Here are four ways you can delegate some of your household tasks so the house stays neater and runs smoothly more often:
1. Start teaching your children to do chores. It’s never too late to start teaching them, but they definitely are more receptive to learning how to do chores when they are young! Children over the age of 5 can be taught to empty the dishwasher, fold clothes, put laundry away, feed pets, set the table, wipe down counters, sweep and more. Just think of what a difference it would make in your house if each of your kids did 30 minutes of chores a day!
2. For bigger, less child-friendly chores such as preparing meals, going to the grocery store, and running loads of laundry, make a list of a week’s worth of chores and divvy them up with your spouse/partner. For the purposes of domestic harmony, I have found it works best if you give your spouse a span of a week in which to complete his/her share of the chores instead of dictating precisely which day each chore needs to be completed on.
3. You can delegate tasks to non-family members too. This is key when you have kids too young to help with chores. For example, you could hire a 12-year-old to come by your house once a week to fold all of your clean laundry. I know so many parents struggle with staying on top of the laundry, so why not pay a young person $10 once a week to take that hated task off your hands? A pre-adolescent (some call these kids “mother’s helpers”) can also help with chores such as sorting outgrown children’s clothes into hand-me-down piles, raking leaves or vacuuming.
4. You could swap tasks with a friend. For example, she could organize your pantry and you could cook her a meal (now that you can find where all of your food is!) She could do your ironing, you could do her home repair project.
The bottomline is that if you are struggling to keep your house under control, maybe it’s time to stop trying to do it all by yourself and start asking others for help. You didn’t make the entire mess yourself, so you shouldn’t have to clean the entire mess up yourself. Are you good at delegating household tasks? If so, let us know your secrets in the comments below.