How To Get Your Family To Clean? Living in a family is nice and warm and fuzzy but let’s be honest, it also comes with its fair share of challenges and one of the challenges that I hear about from you guys, obviously, is how frustrating it is to get everyone on the same level, when it comes to cleaning; whether it’s parents talking about how to get your kids more involved in cleaning, you know, they make a mess but they never clean it up, whether its siblings talking about one another or even spouses talking about the other person who perhaps is overly tidy or not tidy enough, whether it’s helping your kids or your spouse come to an agreement with you, so that everyone can kind of be on the same level when it comes to cleaning because let’s be honest, a clean house and a house that people clean together is a much happier house.
So, in this article, I’m going to cover off seven different strategies. I’m going to help you get your family in the groove, when it comes to cleaning, if your family could use a little bit of help when it comes to cleaning. Before you get started with any of these strategies, you’ve got to keep in mind that you might have to have some uncomfortable conversations with your family but if you can come together, have these conversations, I promise you, you will walk out better for it.
The first strategy is coming up with common goals and understanding what clean means to each family member and obviously if your kids are really young, you can’t have an in-depth conversation with them about that but on some basic functional level, they will understand tidy versus messy or clean versus dirty. So, as long as everyone can get on the same page about cleaning and what it means to them, everybody else in the family will start to understand what the common vision and goal should be when it comes to a clean house. So, that also means that if one spouse or partner is overly clean and the other one is overly messy, it helps for each of you to understand the other’s vision and then, that way you can sort of commune and figure out a nice level playing field for the both of you.
MIA’s or most important areas is such an important concept to me, It’s this three-step system and figuring out what your MIA’s are, is really important because, let’s be honest, you’re not going to clean your whole house all the time. I don’t and I don’t expect you to, but what makes sense is to figure out those areas that are really important to you. The ones that gets that guttural reaction from you when you see it messy, it just drives you crazy and when you see it clean, it makes you feel good. You need to sit down at the table with your family, kids, obviously, who are old enough to understand what MIA’s are can participate and everyone needs to talk about what’s important to them. So, if it’s two spouses sitting down, they can chat about areas that are really important to them, it will give the other person insight as to what they can do to keep their spouse happy and content, when it comes to cleaning and organizing.
So, for example, in our house, the kitchen is really important to me as an MIA. Specifically, the kitchen sink, counter and dishwasher. If the dishwasher is still full and there are plates on the counter and the sink is dirty, it just freaks me out. I don’t like cooking in there and only being in there, the bedroom is an MIA for him. Specifically, the bed and the floor with the laundry. So, I have to be respectful of that when it comes to others and I keep that in the back of my head. So, when I’m in the room, I always try to put my laundry away, Husband makes our bed every day, which is nice and when we’re in the kitchen, he knows kind of my shtick in the kitchen. So, that’s how we’ve worked it out and then, you can sort of build your cleaning around everyone’s MIA. So, that way you’re focusing on what’s important to everyone in the family.
You are kind of leaving the rest of the stuff for a later time. Figure out who likes to do what. There’s no sense in assigning a cleaning task to someone, if it’s going to make their blood boil. So, when you’re having this conversation figure out if there’s anything that needs to be done in MIA or a cleaning task that someone in the household actually likes doing. For example, you guys know by now, I hate vacuuming. So, guess who does not vacuum unless there’s like a vacuuming emergency? Husband does. He’s sitting right over there and the reason he vacuums is because he doesn’t mind it and he knows it makes me crazy but you know what I do? I clean the kitchen and I clean it like a champion and he doesn’t really have to worry about cleaning the kitchen, I mean sometimes he does but most of the time, I take care of it because I like doing it.
This is basically the time where you air out your dirty laundry with your family. You get everything out in the open, you tell them if you think something is going to be overly time-consuming or frustrating or difficult or challenging because if you keep it in and then, you agree to do something and you’re resentful or it’s taking up too much of your time, that’s not functional, that’s not going to work for you your lifestyle or your family. So, you have to be frank, you have to be honest, get everything out on the table and then talk through things. If there’s a bunch of cleaning tasks that no one really likes doing but it’s evidently important to everyone in the family, consider something creative like putting all of the little cleaning tasks ahead and everybody kind of just drawing tasks until you run out of tasks or doing like a cleaning draft, where you list all of the cleaning tasks and then, everybody gets to go around the circle and make their picks of their most favorite if you can bear that to your least favorite cleaning tasks and everybody kind of gets to find their jobs that way.
The point is, it has to be fair, it has to feel equitable and you have to talk about it so that everyone feels good. A family cleaning routine is a living breathing thing. It’s going to evolve over time. People might take tasks on and realize that it’s too painful physically for them to do or it’s too time-consuming or they really don’t like doing it or perhaps, they can get it done a lot quicker than they thought. So, as you go through and you set up this cleaning structure and by the way, there’s no sense of me giving you one prescribed cleaning structure, it’s not going to work for every family. You have to really feel it out for yourself, customize it, put it together and then tweak it and change it along the way. That’s how you come up with a routine that really works and if you can do that, everyone in the family will be much happier and if you find yourself with a little bit of extra time, pitch in and help someone else out because you know what? When you’re in need, they’ll do the same for you. That kind of kindness only gets kindness back. When you’re sort of resentful and you don’t help other people, you are going to get the exact same response.
Timing is a critical discussion point, when it comes to cleaning because you guys are busy. I get it. You know, you’ve got a whole bunch of things going on during the week and you probably don’t have a few hours to carve out to focus on your cleaning and there are some of you who are out there and I know this to be true and it’s something that a lot of you guys deal with, you might not clean at all and you’re thinking well, how can I go from zero to a hundred and get everyone cleaning right now. The truth is, I’m not telling you that you need to get yourself up to two hours of cleaning every week. If you can get yourself to ten minutes of cleaning, a week, you’re making an incremental improvement. So, when it comes to timing, be realistic about what time you have available during the week and when you can pull that time, whether it’s late at night early in the morning on a weekend, midday, whatever works for you and your family and your schedule and then, figure out how much time is reasonable for you to contribute to cleaning; that’s you, your partner and your kids.
See what everyone has to offer up and then, that should be the amount of time we spend cleaning. If you have these unrealistic expectations, you’re going to have that all-or-nothing mentality and you’re never going to get any cleaning done, you’re just going to feel like you fail before you even got started. So, set the bar low, you have my permission to do it, meet that standard and then, if you can creep it up a little bit. You’ll probably be really excited by the positive reinforcement of seeing your space clean, even incrementally but again, focus on the amount of time that you can realistically dedicate and start there. When I used to work at the bank, we had this annual strategic planning session and I liked it because I got free lunch but everyone else liked it because it was a really good way to set the business on the right track for the year. We would sort of look at the overall goals, we would think about what kind of clients’ events are we going to do? How are we going to increase our sales? What are our goals? And it basically gave everyone in the branch the opportunity to look a year in advance and schedule out the things that they needed to do, to contribute to the growth of the organization and when it comes to cleaning, you can apply this to your house as well.
You can sit down and have strategic cleaning meetings, if you will or planning meetings, one, two, three, four times a year. Think about the larger cleaning tasks that need to be done. For example, what are you going to do for spring cleaning? How frequently are you going to clean your overhead exhaust or get your ducts cleaned? Whatever it is that you need to cover off in these larger cleaning tasks. If you just kind of leave them, they really aren’t going to get done. No one feels accountable to them but if you actually sit down and have a planning meeting, you’ll be able to book in dates and times and assign tasks to people and then, that way, it’s booked, it’s done, everyone knows what they need to do and it will keep your household running like a well-oiled machine. I know that this family issue is a big thing for a lot of you guys.
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