The One Day Home Blessing

home blessing listI’ve told you in other posts that after Baby #3, I stopped cleaning my house in one day.  I went to a system that broke down the cleaning into bite-sized pieces and spread it out over the 5 weekdays.

I’ve been using that schedule for many years and for the most part, it was a good way to do things.  However, I found as my children got older, it became increasingly difficult to get all the day’s cleaning in and all the homeschooling in as well.  When I wrote my post on keeping the house clean while homeschooling, I had done one week of afternoon cleaning instead of morning cleaning and thought this was the answer, but the next week did not go nearly as well and I found myself reverting back to old habits because I really cannot stand to homeschool when things are left undone.

Another thing I began to notice as the children grew older was that there were several days in a week when we just couldn’t do the cleaning.  Things like piano lessons and outings with Daddy took precedence.  There would end up being a month of certain weekly chores left undone.  Knowing this was unacceptable, I tried to catch up the other days of the week, but when you are constantly playing catch-up, you eventually grow weary of the game.

I’ve also mentioned here how every time we move, I have to revamp some things.  The revamping always includes laundry and this time I decided I would do something drastic with the cleaning schedule as well.

However, I was NOT going to tell all of you about it until I had tried it for MORE THAN one week.  I wanted to know if it was really going to work.

So, after an entire month of using this cleaning method, I feel confident in telling you all about it because yes, it is actually working!

Here’s a breakdown of what we are doing…

The One Day Home Blessing

1.  The Home Blessing now happens on Friday rather than all throughout the week.  Our foremothers did this and it truly does make sense.  It gets the house ready for the weekend and any guests that might be coming.  I’ve also found it is helping make my Sabbath more a day of rest.

2  We do not homeschool on Fridays.  (at least not the planned-out book kind of homeschooling).  I decided we could manage a 4 day school week quite easily since we homeschool year round.

refrigerator

3.  Each child has a list of what they need to do displayed on our refrigerator with our other lists.  It is labeled Home Blessing and serves as a master list for all of us to reference while we work.

4.  A general tidy happens first.  We all work through the house just picking up.  Even though we tidy up every single day (sometimes several times a day), in a household with children there will still be messes to clean up before you ever get to the deeper cleaning.  This was always one thing that bothered me about doing the chores on different days.  It never really felt all-over clean.

5.  After the general tidy up, we go our separate ways with mommy overseeing it all.  The 1 year old and the 3 year old pitch in where they can, while the 6, 7, 11, & 14 year olds are expected to work through their lists with only brief reminders from Mommy.  I work through my chore list as I can, but often I end up finishing up after all the children’s chores have been completed and inspected.

6.  I inspect their chores and make them do it again if need be.  I’m not looking for perfection from the younger two helpers (ages 6 & 7), so if they made an effort with their work, yet it needs a touching up, I do that.  The older two children (ages 11 & 14) are expected to complete their chores fully…even if that means doing them again.

7.  We are usually finished by lunch time.  It just seems to work out this way.  Typically, we are started by 9:30 and it’s all over in 2-3 hours.

8.  The weekend starts as soon as we are finished!  This is THE BEST part of it all!  Our entire family values our weekends greatly.  Weekends are when we get to watch movies, sleep wherever in the house we want to, and relax and celebrate with Daddy.  Once the weekly Home Blessing is over, you can feel the excitement in the house as we admire our diligence and hard work and look forward to the fun of the weekend!

Planning for One Day Home Blessing

Since we had moved, I needed to re-plan what our cleaning needs were.  One afternoon, I sat down and listed out all the chores that needed to be done on that day and assigned those chores to a specific child.  I wrote these in pencil on scratch paper and posted it on the refrigerator.  When Friday came, I told the children this list was NOT the final list because I was working out the details as we went.  And that’s exactly what I did.

I watched each child do their chores to make sure they were capable of the task at hand.  I checked to make sure no one had too many chores and thus ended up working much longer than the other children (it’s natural that the older a child is, the more extensive his list will be; however, the burden of a chore list should not fall to one person simply because of his or her age).  I also made sure I had listed the chores in an order that kept the flow of the cleaning going.  Once I was confident I had a list that was working, I put it on the computer and posted it on the refrigerator.

{To see our Home Blessing Chores click here!}

Daddy has been super-pleased with the state of our home as well!  He even said to me after last Friday’s cleaning that he felt the house was staying cleaner throughout the week as well because of this new schedule.  It always thrills me when my hard work on the domestic side gets a thumbs up from my husband!

In case you are wondering what cleaners and tools we are using, here’s a quick list:
Shark Steam Mop
2 Brooms & dustpans
Lint-free dusting rags and generic dusting spray
Lambswool duster
Baking soda
Windex (I have yet to find something I like better – natural or not)
Paper towels
Pine sol (yeah, I know, but my husband REALLY likes the smell)

To be frank, I am so surprised at how well this is working!  I really thought there was no way I could ever again do a one day Home Blessing.

Now, I would love to hear your thoughts on doing it all in one day or dividing it up!  What working for you?
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116 thoughts on “The One Day Home Blessing

  1. I LOVE that you have broken it down and each child has their own chore…I think that is SO important in a home…for children to learn to serve IN the home…there is true joy there….Thanks for some new ideas, Amy!

  2. We started doing something similar at the start of this school year and it works very well. Since my oldest is only 7 and I still have a large portion of the list and it takes me a large portion of the day (and grocery shopping is done too) but it makes for such a nice weekend and less stress on the other days knowing time is set aside for the work.

  3. I think it’s a natural progression for different seasons. When you’re home most days with young children and you’re the one doing most the work, it makes sence to spend an hour a day during naptime doing some cleaning. But as children grow their needs change, and their ability to help also changes, what once took the entire day now takes only a couple of hours, while days become less predictable and less routine from month to month, unlike the day after day routines of toddlers.

    I see myself changing in the same ways, right now I try to do a bit every day, but I don’t think it will last forever.

    • When I had only 2 children, I was doing FLYlady faithfully. I cleaned on Mondays by myself and kept the house up the rest of the week fairly successfully. (and back then the laundry was done in one day too! lol) Then, I had to change how I did things because it just didn’t work anymore with so many little ones. Now, the tide has turned once again. It is true…there is a progression depending on your season and we have to just keep adjusting as things change. :)

  4. I used Large Family Logistics (the book from Vision Forum) to come up with our routine, with includes deep cleaning the whole house on Fridays. So far it works well for our family. We are only homeschooling our oldest (7) at this point and the rest of them are pretty small to be a whole lot of help cleaning. (3, almost 2, and 7 months) I feel like I am in “the thick of it” right now with only littles, but I keep reminding myself that they will grow up and help eventually! (And that I want to cherish the days I have with them as littles.)

    • Years ago, when Large Family Logistics was just a website, another mom of many took what Kim had written about the daily tasks (Office Day, etc) and changed those to be daily cleaning tasks. That’s how I originally got the daily cleaning schedule I used for years! It helped tremendously! It is so interesting how our needs and abilities change as our children grow. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this! We have been cleaning 1 room or area of the house a dat this school year but it really bugs me that 1. I’m always cleaning and 2. It never feels all clean! We may try tour way this week! I like that the weekend starts when its all done…great motivation!

    • Hello! Be sure and give it a few weeks of trial too! I’m so bad and about doing something once and if it doesn’t go 100% smoothly, calling it a bust. I wanted to be sure to give this one time before making a judgement call on whether or not it was going to work for our family in this season of our lives. So glad I did!

  6. Thank you for your real life cleaning information. Sometimes finding what really works for our family is tough–I’ll make changes and then get frustrated when the changes still don’t work for our family. (I admit I give up too soon, sometimes) It is a definite work in progress.
    I wanted to share that you may like Norwex products for dusting and window cleaning. I do not sell it–I just think it is great! No chemicals and easy for children! Their kids kit (window cloth/envirocloth/dust mitt) is perfect for us–we could do nearly all of our cleaning with just that one kit. Feel free to email me with questions–again, I do not sell it. :)

    • Funny you should mention that! A friend of mine just started selling this and she’s coming to my home really soon to show me all her things – hoping to have some great stuff to share here on the blog! I’ll be sure and look at the dusting and window cleaning stuff! Thanks!

      • I second the Norwex window cleaning cloth! For really dirty windows, fly spots and gunk, I spray with diluted vinegar first then polish with the cloth. Works awesome, all the kids can manage it, and I feel like it’s disinfected somewhat!!
        Jenn

  7. Do you have any ideas for moms with all young children? I have three children ages 3, 2, and 11 months. I try and do most of the cleaning throughout the day, but as soon as I get something clean the next room is messed up. I’ve tried to get stuff done during nap time, but usually by nap time I need a little break myself. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • When I had only 2 littles, I also cleaned in one day (Mondays) and just maintained as best I could the rest of the week. When I had #3, followed by #4 rather quickly (16 mons), I went to one cleaning chore each day as seen here: http://www.raisingarrows.net/2010/03/to-do-list-beyond-basics/ – I did the best I could, knowing there would be one day per week when something was clean. ;) With your age of children, it might be easiest to deep clean one day (and as fast as you can) and then have a regular Tidy Time and otherwise, just enjoy the time with your children and overlook the messes they make. They are also getting to an age where they need to start tidying up with your help any toys they do get out. That will help you out tremendously!

      I will tell you, there are many times when the day after I’ve cleaned the house, it looks like it needs it again. However, it is never takes real long to just spot check the house and get it back into order. No, it doesn’t stay clean (otherwise it would defy the laws of science!), but it isn’t as difficult to deal with when you start with a clean palate and maintain from there. Hope that helps. You’re doing great!

    • I have a 3yo and a 1yo. My older son likes to dust. He can also handle the whisk broom and dustpan, and he helps me by plugging and unplugging the vacuum. The nice thing about those jobs is that they are good for keeping little people following you around the house. If I give him a wipe, he’ll also clean surfaces (although he chooses odd surfaces to clean). When I’m scrubbing the floor, I’ll give him a damp rag so he can “mop” too. Other than helping with the vacuum cleaner, my son has been doing everything above since he was 2.

      I would suggest getting the 3 and 2yo’s involved with the cleaning, and confining the 11mo to a single area (especially while mopping). Distracting from toys by involving them with cleaning really helps. The 11mo probably won’t like being confined, so you may want to limit that to things where it’s dangerous for the baby to be tagging along. Then you can set him someplace with a small selection of favorite toys to keep him occupied until you’re done, and encourage one of your other children to play with the baby.

      • My 3 & 2 yo “help” put dishes away. They are great at emptying dust pans, putting shoes away, placing dirty laundry in the bin and taking toys to the appropriate room. At times they even help change clothes from washer to dryer and fold rags and towels. Good luck!

    • I am the same way . . . I have a just turned 3 year old, almost 2 year old, and a 7 month old (and 14 & 15 year old step sons, but they aren’t much help). I am so frustrated now because I have NO time to clean and I am the perfectionist neat freak type, so it’s so depressing to not have a clean house. My littles are SO needy and won’t let me do ANYTHING without crying and whining. I really need some advice as to what you do when all you have is toddlers and babies.

  8. I love this idea! We are trying to do something similar which is to do general chores (dishes, tidy BR and LR) daily, then on “Preparation Day” which is Friday, we do a major prep in getting ready for the weekend. Like you, our weekend is filled with resting and family time, so the cleaning part gets pushed back! I do like the way you’ve broken down your chores by child. Can’t wait for my oldest to see just how many “chores” each of your children do, hee hee!
    Thanks once again for the encouragement Amy!

    • LOL – Their cousins about croak when they come here because they aren’t expected to do anything! Thankfully, they just jump right in and work too, but my kids think it is hilarious to see their faces when they see the chore chart. ;)

  9. This was how my mother got our house cleaned for years. We all had assigned “jobs” as she used to call it. We used to switch jobs however because I didn’t mind doing the bathrooms, we had 3, but hated dusting the living room and family room so I did all the bathrooms and gave the living room, that I was assigned to, to my sister to do. My mother didn’t care as long as it got done. It was all done on Saturday morning

    • I knew I couldn’t do Saturday morning because all too often we are busy then, but every family finds what works! I love that your mom was so flexible with who did what chores! At this point, I have to go by age and ability.

  10. My system needs some help. I’m currently really good about cleaning my two front rooms.(dining and living room) those are the rooms someone dropping by would see first and the rooms where we do school. I can’t stand clutter and madness while I’m teaching. It’s such a distraction for me. I actually take great pride in keeping those two rooms looking not only clean, but nice with fresh flowers whenever I can get them, scented candles and actually dusting things off. HOWEVER, the rest of the house is a disaster! I’ve known for a while that things need to change but starting is always the hardest part for me. Thanks for the tips though.

    • My mom (whom I have always considered to be a neat nick) said when she had all littles, everything stayed clean except her bedroom. She just let that go and closed the door. Maybe not the best solution, but it is funny to me that my mom, who looks like she’s never had a messy day in her life, had a messy room! I think it’s great you are managing what you do! And I LOVE fresh flowers! (btw, the magazine came yesterday! THANK YOU!!!)

    • I always start with the upstairs rooms or back of the house rooms on cleaning day because I know they won’t get done well if I start with the more visible rooms first. If I start upstairs though, I will still get the downstairs rooms looking nice too since we’re there most and of course that’s where visitors see.

  11. I’ve switched to a once per week cleaning day, but it is Monday. We school Tuesday-Friday. It seemed like the house was always disordered after the weekend and because we usually spend the whole day Sunday fellowshipping, I didn’t have any prep time before jumping right into the school week. Having Monday to recover the house from the weekend and get prepared for school has been great!

  12. It’s so true that each season of your life makes huge changes to cleaning schedules. Right now, I have a 14 yr old girls and 16 yr old girl at home with me, as well as our 8yr old boy. We assign daily chores along with their homeschooling – some are done at specific times of the day, others are done at a time of their choosing. Either way, they (almost always) get them done. I must say I do like the idea of a one-day housecleaning …. Hmmm – will have to think about this and see how it would work for us.
    Blogs like this really keep me on my toes ;)

  13. Each child has their area in the common parts of our home:
    15 yo son has bathrooms & basement/laundry area
    12 yo daughter has kitchen and pantry area
    10 yo daughter has livingroom & classroom
    6 yo daughter has stairs, hallways, & porches

    They are also responsible for their own bedrooms and laundry.
    We tidy throughout the day-each responsible for any major mess they make.
    Chore time is 3:30 -4:30 M-F
    With a deep clean on Saturdays 9a-11a
    I prep breakfast and lunch for Sundays during deep clean so no work is done sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday (when we choose to observe Sabbath).

  14. Thank you for the helpful tips. With my husbands job on the line he has had to work 80 hour weeks for the last month. This has left me not only to the house and children, but to pick up things he would normally do. Like loading the wood box, emptying the ash buckets, and cleaning the garage. So I have had to adapt somewhat my work load for the children as well. In the past they did the laundry and dishes, now I have them do the wood box and ashes instead.
    I have also switched from doing most items of cleaning in the morning till the evening since he is not ever home before 7. We have three weeks of school left before a month long break, so we are really pushing it on the work load already, but somehow God always sees us through.
    Right now we are remodeling the dining room. We have the drywall and painting done, but need to level the floor and do the window trim, so life has been a little more messy then most times. Still I love how the room looks so much better already with some new paint:) And by the way it will cost less than $500 when we are all done with the room:)
    It is always so helpful for me to see how other large families get the work done. I just want to say THANKS.. I read your site everyday. You are a blessing!!

  15. We are working on a new cleaning schedule too. I’m trying to have three half hour or so blocks of chores (after breakfast, around lunch, and right before I start dinner). Now that the two eldest ( 5 and 4) can read I can give them an index card with the chores for that day and time slot on it. When the chores are done they report for inspection and are dismissed. So far it’s working fairy well, although I may need to tweak the cards slightly…K

  16. We have been working at a weekly home blessing for a little while now and when it gets done, it really does help the overall daily chores. I am please this is working for you.

    For our family, I had to break down the exact jobs I wanted to have done instead of saying, “clean the bathroom”, I have this on my bathroom list:

    Pick up and put away items in bathroom and little hall floor
    Purge magazines
    Straighten under cabinet
    Replenish toilet paper to full
    Clean and Polish
    Empty trash can & wash and dry
    Clean light switch
    Clean mirror
    Clean sink and counter
    Clean toilet – make sure to wipe the sides and around the bottom
    Finish Up
    Sweep and mop floor of bathroom and little hall

    I’d love to share my list if it would be helpful to anyone.

    • I also wanted to add that once I have the daily and weekly list established for each child, they keep the same chores for a year.

      • I also wanted to share that we use the P.E.G.S. system by Family Tools to keep track of our daily chores. I give it five thumbs up!

        • I have detailed the chores on index cards and posted them in the different rooms. :D Now, no one has the excuse ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to do THAT!’ ;) So far, I have a list for the bathroom and each bedroom. Really need to make one for the other rooms as well.

  17. We do our cleaning just as you’ve described! We have 5 children (12, 10, 8, 6, and 2 years old), and we homeschool just 4 days a week (Mon-Thurs). We clean on Friday. Each child knows just what their chores are, and they know how to do their jobs well.

    We’ve been cleaning this way for a long time now, and I don’t ever even need to tell anyone, “okay, time to start cleaning,” they just get up and start cleaning after breakfast! Everyone looks forward to Fridays, because, as you mentioned, the weekend begins then! We love to start the weekend with a clean and orderly house. :)

    • I’ve been amazed at how everyone actually gets to work and enjoys Fridays and cleaning because they know when it’s all over it is ALL OVER! lol LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thank you for this detailed post! As my family grows, I’m looking for ideas to help me change my habits according to new needs–and outside inspiration always helps!

    Right now, with a 1 yo, a 3 yo, and one on the way, all in one day still works for me (usually). There are daily chores, of course, but major cleaning happens once a week.

    However, I’ve actually chosen Monday for my cleaning day. I know Friday is traditional (especially for those of us who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday), but since I don’t do housecleaning on Saturday–not even the daily stuff–and we usually enjoy family time on Sunday, meaning that daily chores are usually ignored on Sunday as well, the house is a mess when Monday comes around–regardless of what happened on Friday!

    I try to do a quick tidy-up on Friday beyond the daily chores. This keeps the sink, clutter, and floors from driving me nuts on the Sabbath. Then I let it go until Monday roles around. After Monday cleaning, I get to enjoy having a fresh, clean home at the top of the week.

      • I used to do home blessing hour weekly too according to Flylady, but now I am choosing my own day, which I think will be Fridays (except this week because we’ve been on spring break it will be sunday and monday to get back in order) and I will change up the chores to our needs and not necessarily all 6 that she recommends doing. I may even change it weekly depending on what area needs the most work. But 1 hour, 6 chores, 10 minutes per chore, set timer and GO!

  19. My house is just frankly not clean most of the time.

    My littles are 4, 2 (3 this summer), and 7 mo. Only the 4-year-old is really capable of doing much, with some help from the 2-year-old. I’ve been working to train them for a couple years, which means with some simple directions, the 4-year-old can, for example, clean the playroom. I still have to break down the messes for them — “Pick up the cars. Now get all the papers. Okay, let’s fold up the blankets,” and there are certain things (like folding those blankets) that she can’t do alone. The 2-year-old can, if properly motivated, do the same, but I have to watch him the whole time. In this stage of our lives, since training does take time and I can’t yet rely on anyone to simply “take care of” their area, cleaning takes a lot more time. And thus doesn’t really get done.

    I make sure each morning the kids see me doing my “morning chores,” which usually consist of emptying the dishwasher, refilling the water and ice, making breakfast, clearing off any counters or the table, starting a load of laundry, etc. They’ve gotten interested in this and talk about their “morning chores” and try to pitch in when they can.

    Realistically, any major cleaning happens on Saturday morning. We park the kids in front of the TV, turn on some Veggie Tales, and my husband and I spend an hour cleaning up together. When the kids are older they’ll help too. I’m not sure how it will work out once they’re bigger, but I guess we’ll see!

    • It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job Mama!
      I have all littles and my oldest is 6 so I am just now getting some real help around here! ;) Don’t give up on training them- one day, all of a sudden, your oldest will suddenly surprise you with how well he/she? does their chores and your diligence in training them will pay off. I have just entered this season myself and it is quite wonderful! Not everything is getting done yet how I would like (my others are 4, 2 and 1- all boys!), but I see it on the horizon. My four year old is great about getting his jobs done without complaining and the 2 year old is the most motivated diaper dumper I have ever seen! He literally grins from ear to ear as he puts the dirty diaper bag in the big trash! So keep on doing a great job and be patient- your fruit is coming soon!
      Something I think helped to make a happy worker with my youngest was being “over the top” with encouragement and congratulations on his doing a job. It felt silly at first, but I think it has paid off in his eager attitude!

  20. I want to do this, but we have a VERY big home, and I only have one child capable of doing chores…and he’s only 7. Any tips?

    • Our last house was large (for us) and I didn’t attempt this because of that fact. I would try my weekly schedule instead. (see link in the post) :)

  21. I LOVE this idea! I need to implement/do something different and only schooling 4 days a week would be WONDERFUL motivation for my kids! Not sure if it should be monday or friday….I see the perks to both. Maybe I should do a deep clean on friday and a 30 minute quick pick up on Monday to start the week…with 15 minute pickups throughout the week. hmmmm things to ponder! I do have some older kids with some littles…..there is a 16 yo, 11 yo, 9 yo, 3 yo (special needs child), 1 yo and another on the way!

  22. I am going to try getting our house work all done on Friday evening. My kids are all older and we can breeze through it if we really set our minds to it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. I used to do all my own chores, when the children were little, in 1 day. Then, as they grew, they helped. Then, we did chores all through the week. I am wondering if it would be more productive to just pick a morning or afternoon to do it and get it done? Thanks for making me re-think. It does seem like chores drag all week some weeks. Plus, we are putting out a very big garden (very soon I hope) and it would be nice to get all housecleaning done for a week so that would be out of the way.

  24. Amy, I’m curious, what do you use to clean tubs and bathrooms? Do you use something natural? My husband and I were just discussing yesterday the need for a non-chemical cleaner that actually cleans mold and mildew. I was just wondering if you had suggestions :)

  25. I love that you have your family working with you. I have made chore chart after chart, but it always seems it ends up easier to just do it myself than argue with the littles. i don’t have any older ones, a 9 girl, 2 girl, and 4 month boy. Some how I maaged ok with the girls but since having the boy, I have no steam left. How did you first engourage them all to help? Do you ever deal with “whinning or behavior about chores?’

    • You’re going to deal with behavior concerning not wanting to do chores for a very long time because children are foolish. ;) Just stick with it and encourage them by being upbeat yourself. And honestly, the biggest motivation my children have behind the One Day Home Blessing is the fact that after it’s over, the weekend starts! ;)

  26. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve tried the Maxwell’s chore system… but it just doesn’t seem to be working well enough… The 11yo daughter does fairly well with most chores. The 9yo son needs almost constant supervision most days. The 4yo and 3yo boys tend to delight in being destructive during chore time (much to the aggravation of mom & ‘bigs’!). The 8 month old… he’s just too cute ;) So, with mom needing to oversee one while refereeing two and nursing one… ~sigh~ BUT! Dad’s schedule is changing (again) so, perhaps it is time for our chore system to change again :)

  27. I got the e- cloth products. Little cheaper than Norwex and cheaper. I love that I can give my little ones a spray bottle of water and an e cloth and they go to town cleaning! Love your chart! Hope you don’t mind if I “borrow” it!

  28. Our “Saturday house cleaning blitz” was taking away from our weekends. It was so discouraging having to wake up Saturday morning to a house that needed to be “Blitzed” before we could even start our weekend. Keeping up with homeschooling, extra circular activities and cleaning house week had proved to be unsuccessful.
    So we started “Clean House Fridays”, we’ve been doing it for about a year now. My wonderful husband likes to vacuum so we (me and our 4 blessings) get the rest of the house “ready to be vacuumed” and he takes care of the vacuuming when he gets home from work. We are done early enough to have a great “Fun Friday” too. It truly is a great way to kick off the weekend.

    • Oh, I like the term “Home Blessing Day” what a great reminder of the blessing that is our home.
      I need to break it down though for each of my 4 girls (2*13, 8 & 7) they’ve got the general idea but I need a better solution, list of expectations, picture of a completed room that would pass inspection etc.
      Thanks, for your post.

  29. I am looking forward to trying this. I have always enjoyed cooking more than housework, which is another way of saying I’m not good at keeping things clean. Hopefully I will find something we can all stick with.

  30. We also do a one day home blessing. I do it in the afternoon on Thursdays, but I like Fridays and then starting the weekend!!! I broke up our house into zones (ala Flylady). I wrote down a list of all chores to be done in that zone. Then I assigned zones to each child. Throughout the week, they are in charge of making sure their zone is clean and tidy (the child with the kitchen zone makes sure whoever brought out bread and milk to make themselves a meal puts it away when they are done and the child in charge of the bedroom makes sure everyone puts their dirty clothes in the hamper and makes their beds in the morning, the person in charge of the family room makes sure others put their toys away when they are one playing, etc.). Then on Thursday when we do our deep cleaning, they clean their zone following the list of what needs to be done in that zone. I leave zones for about 3 months so they become efficient in their zone, not to mention it makes things easier on me. We also have assigned laundry days. Having only four children, each child is assigned a day to wash, dry, and put away their own laundry (this includes their bed sheets). Even our 5 yr old boy can do his own laundry (he does get a little help with folding or putting bed sheets back on). One day is assigned to mommy and daddy (I do our clothes), and one day is for towels (each child has their own bath towel since it is just for drying off something already clean – no more getting a new towel all the time because they forgot o hang up the one they previously used). This has been the best advice I ever got regarding housekeeping! No more mountains of laundry!!! It is wonderful!!

  31. I am not even done with today’s Home Blessing but already I feel that I am reaping the blessing of our day spent together this way. Thank you for this post and for the simple ideas that got me off on a great foot today!

  32. I can’t wait to get there again. My oldest is 7 and I’m pregnant with my 4th. I was JUST praying about how frustrated I am without my one big cleaning day (Iused to have). Now I’m on bite sized mode, but only for a season. My 7 year old has his chores and my 3yr old is catching on. Soon I’ll have a team!

  33. Check out amybayliss.com! she has a series on homemade cleaners and trying to detox your home. I have yet to try them, due to very limited funds and other situations that are beyond my control at the moment. I will start trying them though when things begin to settle down again.

  34. I use a chore list that helps me keep my home clean and my mind sane;
    Monday; laundry day (wash all laundry), vacuum living room and tidy all rooms.
    Tuesday; Bathroom day; scrub sink, tub, & toilet, wipe down toilet and sink surface, wipe down cabinets and cupboards and drawers (throw out stuff you don’t need @ this time and straighten items ) sweep and mop, wash shower curtain and hand towels and replace hand towels, stock up toilet paper and put in new air fresher.
    Wednesday; surfaces day; sweep all floors (exclude bathroom from this day) , mop all floors, wash rugs (every 2 weeks or so) , vacuum all rooms, wipe kitchen counters (removing appliliances and getting under everything) , clean windows ( I do main windows the ones that get dirty every day or more often, not every window) dust living room, and bedrooms.

  35. Continued…
    Thursday ; organize/clean out day. You can pick one thing (like the garage or attic) that is time consuming enough for one day or several small things. I like to do my paperwork on these days. I go through and throw away/organize paper work from schools or mail and the newspaper, clip coupons, file papers needed filed, ect.
    Friday vacuum living room, tidy house. Then weekend off! Yay! :))

    • I started this back in February, so its been ongoing for about 3 1/2 months and its been a successful cleaning schedule. Not for someone homeschooling obviously, but it works great for those who have children not homeschooled. I have 4 children ages 9; 6; 5; & 8 months. So I was very busy running back and forth between two schools (one elementary the other preschool) along with an infant on a demanding schedule and I’ve kept things very organized. Instead of getting overwhelmed about my messy house (im a clean freakkkkk!) And trying to get it all done @ once, this helps me remind myself not everything can get done when I want it. Now im planning on color coding as well to keep things even more organized! :)

  36. Just to clarify~ On the Home Blessing day they do their every day chores PLUS the cleaning list, correct? My kiddos complain that they do nothing but clean (probably true, but Mama doesn’t pull out all the toys!!!!!), but the house is never truly dusted, polished, mopped, or swept all at once. At the same time, if I had to do all of their chores while they cleaned I think it might defeat the purpose. I love this idea and want to give it a shot!

    • We have Morning Chores (which is more hygiene than anything), Table Chores (3x a day) and Evening Chores along with Tidy Up Times 2-3x a day. Beyond that, there are no daily set chores. So, what they do is a General Tidy Up prior to their set Friday Home Blessing chores and we are usually finished by noon. I have 4 who are really good helpers with the tidying, so while it does take about 30-45 minutes to do a really thorough job of it, it isn’t unreasonable. ;)

  37. I’ve been looking at your year-round home schooling advice and also your cleaning schedule advice. I’m not pleased with where our cleaning schedule is, and I’m really liking your Home Blessing method. Also, after taking the summer off and having to do lots of relearning for the past 2 weeks, I’m thinking of never taking summer off again. My teen would not like that – she’s 11th grade this year – but she’s mostly self-taught and does her own schedule, so as long as she has a good reason to take off summer time like being a camp counselor or volunteering, then I could see allowing her to take the time off. Anyway, thank you for your advice and ideas. You have inspired me to be a better mom, better organized, and not just think things need to stay the same especially when I’m not pleased with the outcome. (-:

  38. Amy, I love this! After you mentioned it earlier, I really pondered on it for a while and decided to give it a try with a few tweaks. I divided the house into zones- living room, kitchen, two front rooms, etc. and wrote them on pieces of paper. Saturday morning each family chooses one paper from a hat and that is their zone, in addition to their bedroom. Rule is you cannot have the same zone twice in a row, because of course everyone has their favorite! ;). I spent the first two weeks really training to show what I expect and now am using “how to do it” cards that have specific instructions. It has allowed me not to be the chore monster all week and created a feeling of teamwork. We turn on kLove and sing our way through the morning. A great sense of accomplishment follows! Thank you so much for introducing this idea…it has been a blessing. And yes, we still tidy during the week! ;)

  39. Okay, this post has convinced me to try the once a week cleaning! Because right now it ain’t happenin’! I have four littles six and under who are doing great with their chores, but by the time they do their daily stuff, home school, naps for three, me cooking all day and keeping the washing machine going, the other things just aren’t getting done. And I’m about ready to see through our windows again. Minus glue. This seems like a great thing for us too, since we almost always have folks over for bible study and fellowship on the Sabbath. Now, to get used to the fact that yes, we will need to homeschool year round… :D Thanks for the encouragement to try this- hoping it works for us!

  40. I ,just this year, switched to a once weekly deep clean. We used to try to spread it through the week, but (like you said) it just didn’t feel clean.
    I have all the weekly chores listed on a master list in my housekeeping binder (a.k.a. my second brain) then on Saturday morning (Saturday night is Dad’s last night for the week..sometimes we clean on Fridays) I list everything that needs done on the dry erase board and my oldest 2 (ages 5 and 7) pick what they want to do. We frequently alternate the ‘fun’ jobs. (Washing windows and using the feather duster haha) it is so nice to get the whole house clean in one fail swoop. Then we each have daily chores to keep it looking and feeling nice through out the week.

  41. I am following your housework and homeschooling posts and doing the homework and I came across this post too…here is my Monster. How often do you do things like…washing/dusting ceiling fans, light fixtures, washing walls with soapy water, washing door jams and doors, shampooing carpets, having cloth furniture cleaned? These are my problem areas that seem to suck up the grime. I could do all these things plus all the rest not mentioned daily to keep it clean looking. It’s a nightmare! I have a 2, 5, & 6 yr old. The 5 & 6 yr olds are my boys. My husband is a truck mechanic. Oh yeah, and we have a wood stove and our home is close to the road. Vacuuming and sweeping the floors everyday, I am completely dumbfounded at how much dirt is swept up! Honestly it’s discouraging…I’ve thought of not wearing shoes in the house but it’s not practical due to how many times we are all coming and going from the yard and house…It’s so bad I actually started discussing with my husband having central air installed just so we can add a hepa filter to remove some of the dust… and putting additional free standing air purifiers in each room…and removing all the carpet…and investing in smooth surfaced wipe-able furniture…is this all realistic or am I doing something wrong?

    • I’ll be talking about this a bit more tomorrow, but the things you listed in the beginning of your question are “deep cleaning” items to me, not to be done but one or two times a year. Tomorrow I’ll be giving some ideas on how to get these things accomplished with less headache. And I totally hear you on the floors. It just happens and as your children grow older, they will be more help in keeping up with the everyday stuff. One thing you might consider that wouldn’t be nearly as expensive as redoing your entire house is to create an old fashioned “mud room” or sorts somewhere in your house and have that as you staging area for your husband to change out of his clothes after work and the kids after play and contain the biggest messes to that room (or hallway or corner ;) )

  42. Hi- my name is Stephanie our family is in the first year of homeschooling our 2 boys, Austin(6) and Chase(4). We started school in August and I have been very overwheelmed since the 3rd week when I realized I could not keep up with all these “to do list” that I made for myself each week. I have to remind myself daily that school is priority but the neat freak in my wants to vacuum, wash clothes and unload the dishwasher. I have tried to do a few things in between handwriting assignments but that doesn’t seem to work either. Our state requires 4 1/2 hours of school a day, this is hard for me to do and still get all my other jobs done. The kids do try to lend a helping hand but I am learning they are eager to help (unload dishwasher, vacuume baseboards) How can I help keep them motivated to “help” me? Should I do allowance, sticker chart? Currently they just help me because I ask, should they get a reward? Thanks for any advice.

    • Our rule of thumb is a child get rewarded if they go above and beyond what is expected of them. Doing chores is expected. However, pitching in unasked w/ a task that is big or not their own will get them rewarded. Also, you might want to clean before school hours, so you can have a clean slate to work with. :)

  43. Hi! I love the cleaning schedule and we’ve been doing something similar, but my schedule has to fit my schooling in with the children’s and my husband is often out of town. So laundry happens when he’s home. I just wanted to ask if you’d tried tea tree oil as a cleaner? It smells like pine -sol!! I use it to help w my skin And cleaning my home. Along w eucalyptus oil and vinegar in water. This allows my three year and two year holds to spray and wipe down surfaces. They think they’re almost being naughty, it’s so. Much fun!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes, we love tea tree oil! However, my husband can smell vinegar a mile away and does not like me to use it as a cleaner. I can’t seem to put enough essential oils in it to make it bearable for him.

  44. You are absolutely right!!! I have three teenagers and a 6-year-old and splitting it up into workable pieces was not working. Between actual teaching time, grading, assigning, dishes, dinner, and laundry, the week is too full. For two weeks now, each child has their duties to clean the entire house, we each take care of cleaning our own rooms, and I do the detailed cleaning for the particular zone for that week and VOILA! My house actually looks clean! I think the laundry is going to one day too! ;)

  45. Lemon oil works well as a cleaner and I use it also to freshen my towels. It removes the musty smell towels can sometimes get. I like your site and I am trying to decide if homeschooling is for our family. My kiddos are 7, 5, 2, and 6 months, all boys except for the 2 year old. She is our princess. I like the Cleaning chart and I want to try a version of it at least. Thanks for the blog its great.

  46. I just found your blog through a comment you left on Blogging with Amy. I love the concept of “raising arrows” and will be browsing through your site later this week!!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  47. I am new to your blog:-) and had a question. Do you no longer do the weekly chores, and instead do the 1 day cleaning? Of course, there would still be the daily routine, but I wandered if that consisted of all cleaning then?

    • We only do a tidy up every day and the one day clean unless there is some touch up (usually mopping!) that needs to be done. We used to do daily chores, but now that I have plenty of big helpers, we are able to do the one day clean. For years though, a little every day was all we could manage.

  48. I absolutely love how u are doing things at home. I have found myself in a lot of the same dilemmas u were once in and I need change. I have four children, ages: 8,5,3,1. Things are definitely more crazy with the fourth child I will agree. I really need some help getting started organized and I have started my meal list and I need a boost of Godly motherly encouragement. Please help me. I’m going crazy being disorganized and I fight with my two older boys constantly to clean. What kind of punishment should they have if I have to keep reminding them to clean and wining and complaining. I do not homeschool but we do have a four day school week. It’s so hard bc I don’t see my oldest all day and the last thing I want to do is be hounding him to do this and that, but I want him to grow up to be a wonderful man of God. He just wants to run loose after he gets off bus and frankly I don’t blame him. I also need some more lunch ideas. I find myself referring to unhealthy stuff and I don’t like it. Ok we’ll u kind have the general outlook on my life, so u can email me or have any words of encouragement that would be much appreciated.

    • One big thing I can recommended is to think of everything you would like them to help with around the house and then make a chart for things like after dinner chores (we call them table chores) and cleaning chores, etc. You can work alongside him so you are still spending time with him, but the chart is the “bad guy” and keeps him accountable. You are right in that he needs to learn these things. Persevere, mama!

      • Great idea! I feel like I’m overwhelming myself. I’m going to start homeschooling my 3 and 5 year olds, and on top of it I’m trying to get my meal and grocery once a month started also. First time for both! On top of it my little girl who is 15 months is still nursing and is pretty demanding. I love nursing don’t get me wrong. The Lord will help me through this. I’ve decided to do some homeschooling bc my five year old we are told isn’t ready for kindergarten next year bc of speech and fine motor skills and they just don’t think he is mature enough. My husband is struggling bc if we don’t do kindergarten next year then he will be 19 1/2 when he graduates. I don’t think it’s a big deal but he does so in order to get him ready for kindergarten I guess I will need to do some extra work this summer with him. What are your suggestions.?

        • I forgot to ask, have u found something different then winded? I have something that works great if u haven’t and its natural.

        • If your plan is to send him to public school, then you will do best to look through a scope and sequence (you can find these online) and go through each thing listed for Pre-K. Cheap workbooks work just fine for this. And read, read, read to him!

          • I sell shaklee products that are so economical and save a lot of money. It’s the basic H concentrate an u only mix like 1/4 tsp to 16 oz of water. Great window cleaner! Also they have a scour off that does magic. My son about two weeks ago got into a permanent marker and scribbled all over my husbands bathroom sink. Ugh!!! I tried alcohol and other things until I thought to try scour off, a few scrubs and it came right off. AMAZING! My husband is a cabinet maker and he couldn’t believe it bc it’s the old laminate counter top and a sales man told him that its virtually impossible to get stuff off like that! That is just a few of my testimonials about Shaklee products! All the products weather it be supplements, cleaning products, weight loss, makeup or baby products they are all phenomenal. The best thing about it u get your money back no questions asked if your not satisfied with the product. It is he bet natural and healthy line out there, I think, but everyone is entitled to there only likes. If u are interested please let me know and I can give u a website to go too. It may seem a little spendy, but a bottle of basic H lasted me a long time. It’s used for many purposes. All purpose cleaner, window cleaner and degreaser, and I used it for my boys grass stains in their jeans that came out completely. I use the nature bright which is laundry booster, and the basic H and scrub into the stain for a minute with a little water and let set for half hour and wash and see the magic. Ok I’m done now! Done going on my excited about Shaklee. Thanks for advice! Let me know if u are interested, i would really like to grow my business. No hard feelings if your not interested.

  49. I’ve been doing it this way for years, because i hated never feeling like the house was completely clean. My problem is i always felt like i was ignoring them when i did it. I like the idea of including them and dishing out tasks for them to accomplish too. they are actually begging me for more work to do, hehe. i’m going to try this an make assignments for them. thanks for all your wisdom!

  50. I have had chore lists for my kids for years, but it’s always been a daily thing. I like having just a bit to do each day, but I don’t like how the house never really feels clean. I love the way you do a home blessing & am thinking I’m going to try it! I’m just wondering…do you ever rotate chores between different kids who can accomplish the same task? I’ve always rotated chores (assuming that the younger one isn’t going to do as good a job as the older 2)…so that they all learn to do different things, but also just so one kid doesn’t get stuck with a chore they really don’t like. What are your thoughts?
    Also, are there some things that you still do during the week to keep things up? Maybe our family is just messy, but I can’t imagine not vacuuming under the dining room table more than once a week.
    I’d love to know your thoughts! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • We do Table Chores and 15 minute Tidy Ups every day. I do not rotate, but will make a brand new list about 1x a year to give out new jobs. It is easier for me to keep track of that way.