Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cleaning Games and Rewards {Housekeeping Pt. 4}

Now that the holidays are upon us, keeping our houses in order is harder than ever! But it's so important because a clean, orderly house (at least for me) is a huge contributor to how much fun I will have over the next several weeks. If my home is at peace, I will be at peace!

I must say though, I have NOT been doing very good in this area lately. My head has not been in the game! So, I've been rethinking my strategies and making a game plan so that I can get excited and motivated again.

I've already introduced the idea of routines in Housekeeping Part 1. Routines are the things you do every day in the same way and at the same time. You don't even have to think about them after a while. They just become habit. Routines are so important to keeping the house feeling picked up and clean. My struggle lately has been doing my evening routine. This routine is supposed to consist of loading the dishes after supper, starting the dishwasher, wiping down the kitchen counters, and doing a quick pick-up throughout the house. But if I would do my evening routine, I know that my morning routine would be so much easier! So, my goal for the holidays is to do my evening routine each night after supper. Here are my routines at a glance:

Morning Routine

  • Start a load of laundry/rotate to dryer when finished
  • Unload dishwasher/clean up breakfast mess
  • Make beds
  • Quick pick-up throughout house
  • Fold load of laundry when finished and put away
Evening Routine
  • Load supper dishes into dishwasher and start
  • Wipe down counters
  • Quick pick-up throughout house
This is really the bare minimum. But if I do this every day, it really makes such a huge difference! And if I do these routines every day, they should only take 30 minutes the most. Perhaps less. Surely, we can all do this! :)

In addition to my routines, I'd like to add doing 15 minutes of extra cleaning each day. That's all! I set my timer (which I also talk about in Housekeeping Part 1), and that's all I do. These are the types of cleaning I do in that 15 minutes: 
  • dusting
  • vacuuming
  • bathrooms
  • sweeping
  • mopping
  • trash
I can usually get 1-2 of these things done in 15 minutes, depending on which ones I choose to do that day. So, total time of cleaning each day at the most could come to 1 hour and 15 minutes. I would actually like it to be less than that. An hour would be wonderful. So that means, I'd need to get my routines done in 20 minutes instead of 30, which I think is totally doable. 

Okay. So there's my game plan for keeping up with the house during the holidays. In my post Housekeeping Part 2, I share several ideas for making house cleaning fun! Sometimes, you just need that extra bit of motivation to get going, and these ideas are so good for that. 

In Housekeeping Part 3 I share my love of aprons, how they keep me on track throughout the day, and how they remind me of why I do what I do each day for my family. I also share an awesome idea from Apron Memories called National Tie One On Day. It's coming up (the day before Thanksgiving), so go check it out!

Today's post is the last one in the Housekeeping series, so I wanted to summarize everything I had talked about before. But I also want to continue the topic of making cleaning fun! There are so many ways to do this. Maybe you already have a list of your favorite things that make it fun. If so, please share them with us in the comment section below!

I went to my friends again for this one. I wanted to get several ideas, specifically on Cleaning Games and Rewards, both of which are HUGE motivators for me. Here's what we came up with...

Cleaning Games
  • Beat the timer
    • Kids love this one too! Set the timer for a short amount of time (10 minutes) and see how much you can accomplish before the timer goes off!
  • Quick pick-up counting game
    • Set your timer for 5 minutes (or less), then start picking up things and putting them away. Count each item you pick up. The person who gets the most wins! Try to improve your numbers each time. See if you can get to 100! This is another fun game for kids, AND can help little ones with their counting skills.
  • Clean with your friends
    • This is so motivational for me! Many times my friends and I will text each other (group texting) to "meet" at a certain time with our lists and a time limit. We check in with each other, share our lists, then say "go!" After the time limit is up, we get back on group texting and share what we accomplished. Sometimes we even share before and after pictures! It's so much fun, and I always love seeing what everyone got done. 
  • More timer games
    • This idea kind of evolved from FlyLady. She loves using the timer to get us FlyBabies moving! Pick a number between 1 and 10. You could even draw it out of box (that would make it fun for the kids). Whatever number you get is the number of minutes you have to work with. Set the timer and do 3 sets of that number. So, say it's the number 4. Set the timer for 4 minutes and see how much you can get done. Then do that 2 more times. Or you could do 4 sets of 4. Whatever you want!
  • Scramble game
    • One of my friends shared this great idea for making cleaning fun for kids. Set a basket in the middle of a messy room (you can actually be folding laundry or doing something productive while they play the game). Have the kids come in and tell them it's time to play the scramble game! Basically, what you do is give them a series of commands which they "scramble" to obey (think "Simon Says"). Intersperse picking up the mess among the commands. So, for example, say "Hop on your right foot!" They do that until you say, "Pick up all the shoes and throw them in the basket!" This is how you get them to clean up the mess without them realizing it! Then, "Do 5 jumping jacks!" Then, "Pick up a toy and throw it in the basket!" You could even have commands that get them to put the stuff in the basket away in the actual spots that they go. What a fun game!
  • Rearrange a room
    • Sometimes, just completely moving everything around and setting it up differently helps motivate me to get started on cleaning that room! Funny, huh? And when you rearrange a room, you usually get it cleaner because you can vacuum behind big pieces of furniture. Make sure you leave plenty of time for this one though!
  • Make it aerobic
    • Think in your head that you will go as fast as you possibly can so that you can get a good work out while you clean! Then do it!

Many times the best motivator is a reward! And, yes, you deserve one! Rewards can be simple or elaborate. Here are some great ideas:

  • Allow yourself 15 minutes on Pinterest while you sip a cup of hot tea!
  • Read a book (give yourself a time limit though!)
  • Watch a movie
  • Take a drive through the countryside
  • Take a nap! :)
  • Buy a new magazine
  • Buy a new candle (yes!!)
  • Take a walk outside
  • Sit and just relax!
  • Eat a piece of chocolate (just one!)
  • Go shopping 
  • Check out a new flea market or thrift store
  • Pay yourself $1 each day that you get your chores done. Then at the end of the week, let yourself go yard saling and see what you can get with $5. 
  • Call or chat with a friend
  • Paint your nails
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Buy a new necklace at the dollar jewelry store
  • Work on a craft or sewing project
  • Sit and listen to an audio book while you crochet
  • Take a shower! :)
  • Get a sonic drink during happy hour (YES!!!) 
What are your favorite ways to reward yourself? If you haven't been rewarding your hard work, then start today! Believe me. It will be so much easier to start cleaning if you know you'll get to have that reward when you're done. Reward the kids too for doing their chores! Maybe it's just giving them a sticker or a penny, or checking off their chore list, or taking them to the park. But do something for them. It's okay to give rewards! :)

So, now it's time for you to get your game plan down on paper. What do you need to do to keep things running smoothly through the holidays? Be committed to doing them. And don't forget to make it fun!

Linking up here:



  1. Wonderful tips! Just what i needed in my life right now.

  2. I forgot about that 100 game!! Definitely going to try that one! I remember I once got 157 things picked up in 10 minutes! I think that was a record, but I bet I can break it cleaning my office this week... Thanks for all these helpful tips and reminders. I have LOVED this series!

  3. GREAT list!!!! We need another RIG session soon, fo sho. Thanks for this!

  4. These are some great ideas. My house needs some serious help.