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When you breathe a sigh of relief that your friend can’t come over tomorrow after all, that might be a sign that the mess is a little out of control.

Raising kids ain’t for wimps, you get that. But you didn’t think you’d be taking your life in your hands every time you walked across a floor in your own home!

If the chores around the house aren’t getting done the way you thought they would, do NOT worry!

The solution is actually a lot easier than you’d think.

You don’t actually need long chore charts or systems you’ll only remember for 2 days before you quit.

For our family of 8, it was really a few simple tricks that made all the difference in our home. And I’m gonna give them away to you right here!

That is, if you are looking for a little less stress in your life…

Let’s Make Mommy Life Easier!

My favorite part is that these ideas work right away!  It took years of raising six kids for me to work out all the kinks, but you get to skip straight to the part that works.

But you don’t have to have six kids to love these ideas.

1. Messy Floors

The floor might be keeping you safe from night burglars, but it’s also a tripping hazard for the people who live there. 😉

This one is actually easier than you think.

Just have everyone pick up 20 things. 

Any time you’re feeling a little stress, it’s announcement time. “Everyone stop what you’re doing and pick up 20 things!”

If you have your doubts, they’re probably valid. Here are some extra pointers that make this work:

Tips:

  • Make sure they choose 20 things they know how to put away.  Some of mine are NOTORIOUS for choosing the one item in the room they don’t know what to do with…and just walking around with it for 5 minutes.  (Why??)
    • The nice thing about this method is that you’ll find out what doesn’t have a clear home. You can either create a new home or get rid of those things!
  • The half done puzzle does not count as 20 things.  But maybe 20 scraps of paper does count? That’s up to you.

2. An Easier Chore Method

Every family has chores that have to be done each day. In our house, every kid 5 and up does one of those chore for an entire week. 

By the way, this is the one chore chart that we’ve been using now for 20 years without forgetting about it. Can you believe it?? Probably because it’s so simple.

On Sundays, simply rotate names down one.

Your chores might look a little different than ours. Maybe you want to have someone sweep the floor, unload the dishwasher, clean the toilets, whatever you prefer.

It’s always funny how the 3 and 4 year olds really want to help out (but when they turn 5 it suddenly seems a lot less fun!). So match a younger child with an older child so they can learn how to do the chores, too!

By the way, I have a whole list of chore ideas for kids right here if you’re looking for suggestions.

3. Ways To Keep Up With The House

I don’t know about you, but I am so dang tired of looking for lost library books.

I found one in the bottom of a toy box I know no one has opened for months.

(By the way, that made me figure out that we could just get rid of the toy box…and everything in it. Victory!)

But being neat doesn’t come naturally to me.  And it obviously doesn’t come to my offspring, either.

The magic bullet for me turned out to be as simple as reading this amazing book. Oh.my.goodness. Who knew that asking two little questions while you clean could make such a difference?

(I’m not sharing the questions here because a) I don’t like stealing other blogger’s work and b) I really do think you need some Dana in your life.)

4. What About The Hated Sock Matching?

Matching socks might be a nice chore for bickering kids…but then again, that could be considered cruel and unusual.

I can’t stand matching socks! There are always leftovers that you’ll never see the mate for again. WHY??

Seeing that I haven’t been able to convince anyone to just stop wearing socks (blisters, Mom!!), I came up with this solution:

Buy Hanes socks from Target or Meijer.  The small letters on the bottom of the sock are different colors for different sizes.

My 4 year old gets the green letters, one kid gets blue, another gets red.

Put one kid in black socks and the other in white.

If everyone wants black, at least get them different brands so you can keep them straight.

And when they get those cute socks in a fun pattern, secretly throw them away!

Kidding! Kind of…

I’m all for saving money, but I don’t mind a mini sock splurge if it will make my life easier for months.

Here are my favorite laundry hacks for simplifying that hated job.

5.  Podcasts Or Audio Books

While you’re all working on chores, you could listen to music.

(But mine complain when I listen to NKOTB.)

OR you could find an interesting podcast or audio book to listen to while you work!

That might make them stop hiding when it’s chore time. (Miracles DO happen.)

I know books aren’t popular these days, but after a year of reading aloud to my kids, they finally have begun to really enjoy listening to books together.

Some of our favorites have been The Green Ember, The Saturdays, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and The Phantom Tollbooth.

Try it!

6.  Skip The Schedule, Go For The Routine

When my oldest were young, I tried really hard to stick to the schedule.

But if I was out running errands and noon hit, I felt like I had to stop everything and make sure all of us ate immediately.

After a while, I realized that just wasn’t working for any of us.

BUT, I was completely lost without my schedule! I’m way too A.D.D. to flow through life willy nilly.

That’s when I found out about the magic of a routine.

(And now I’d be lost without it!)

Maybe make a list of things that happen in your house on a regular basis.

Then mark it up.

  • What’s important AND urgent?
  • What’s urgent, but not important?
  • What’s important but not urgent?
  • What are you doing that you shouldn’t be wasting time on at all?

Try to prioritize things the way they SHOULD be. If you’re intentional about it, you should be able to make a few changes that will make a huge impact.

BUT, do keep in mind that you’re a mom. Build in plenty of time for putting out the “fires” that pop up all day every day, no matter how much you try to plan ahead.

7.  Speaking Of Running Errands

If you magically get the chance to run an errand while someone else is watching the kids (maybe a spouse or older child), try to take one of your kids along with you.

A ride in the car often gets my kids talking about life because they’re trapped uh, there’s plenty of empty time to fill.  😉

Need more ideas for spending quality time with kids?

Chores for Kids By Age And How To Make It Work (This Time!)

8.  Little Jobs

It’s easier to do those little jobs yourself than to have a kid do it, then make sure they actually did it.

I get it!

But it’s worth teaching your kids to do jobs the right way. Both for them and (eventually) for you!

Here’s exactly how I get my older kids to do chores without the struggle.

9.  How To Choose Who Does What

When there’s a chore to do, choose the youngest kid in the house capable of doing that job.

Remember, three or four year olds can be paired with an older child (or with you, Mom!) to learn how to do small things like folding washrags.

They say if he can operate a smart phone, he can handle a chore!

10.  Add Fun and Games

It’s funny, but once your hot spots are clean and you can actually use them for fun things, that seems to turn on the A-HA! light for the kids.

“Now that the table is clean, we can all sit down and play a game together!”

If you have young kids, Jenga, Honeybee Tree and Spot It (our family favorite!) are a few that even adults love, but don’t require reading.

Older kids love strategy games like Ticket To Ride or Catan.

11.  Screen Time

This is probably the main reason kids balk at the idea of chores.

Face it, most of our kids are addicted to screen time.

The problem became so drastic in our home that we decided that it just wasn’t worth it anymore.

Here, no one under 16 is allowed to own a smartphone at all. They also aren’t allowed to play many, if any, video games.

They can’t even earn time by doing chores!

You might think it’s easier to let your kids be plugged into screens than to listen to them bicker, but here’s a secret…

they are probably fighting so much because of their screen addiction!

If you doubt me, try it for a month or two and see.

(Don’t forget that there will be some detox time!)

12. Color Code Everything

20 Quick and Easy Hacks for Raising Large Families That Will Calm You

If you have trouble remembering who belongs to what, start color coding. Try color coded zip ties on zippers to keep track of boots, coats, and gloves. 

As you buy replacement items, get them in your children’s favorite colors.

At a glance you can tell who didn’t put their bowl away, who left shoes on the floor, and who can’t seem to hang up their towel.

13.  Two Minute Declutter

Ask every kid to run to their room and bring you one item that is broken, doesn’t fit, or they just don’t love anymore.

Repeat as necessary.  (It’s much easier for kids to part with things one at a time.)

By the way, once you get the hang of that, start watching Minimal Mom videos and get rid of everything!! Just kidding…kind of.

The ordinary arts we practice at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

14.  Cleaner Kitchen

If you have a dishwasher, try to keep it on the dirty side as often as possible.

Get everyone in the habit of putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher as soon as they are done with them.

No dishwasher? Grab a scrubby do (that’s what I call this, anyway…oh, and get one like this with a twist on lid for less leaks!) and teach kids to scrub off their dishes when they’re done.

15. Scale That Laundry Mountain

Time for a laundry folding party!! 

Dump your clothes in the living room and “invite” the whole family to sit around the pile and fold.

Hey, this is another chance to listen to a podcast/book/music you all love!

16. Go Outside

Being outside improves everyone’s mood.

Ok, so that means you have to do it often so everyone gets used to it. (I know they’re going to whine about being too hot, too cold, booooored, etc.)

Show them some of these fun things they can do.

Whatever….the point is that if everyone is outside, they aren’t trashing the inside of the house.

17.  Go For Paper

In busy seasons of life, use paper plates without guilt.

Real plates take water and energy to clean, so they aren’t completely free.  And your sanity is worth a few dollars.

18.  Whisper

It might take them a little while to notice that you’re only whispering to them.

But once they notice, they’ll start whispering back! It’s maaaagic.

19.  Use Assignments

From assigned seats to assigned parts of the house to clean, it makes everything easier!

Some people call it boring, I call it practical.

Let’s say you find homework lying on the floor. Right away, you’ll know which dining room chair to set it on so that child finds it when they get home.

If you’re worried about it, let them trade spots in a month or two. But I bet no one will remember by then.

My kids are totally comfortable using the same assigned seat forever.

20.  Easier Menu Planning

Have each child write down two meals they want to eat for the next week.

At least now you aren’t starting your plan with an intimidating blank piece of paper!

Choose foods that are in season for the best prices.

For the easiest meal planning ever, grab this free guide!

These easy hacks will make your house cleaner in no time…even with young kids!

Got teens? Here’s how I get mine to do the chores.