We’ve all been there – someone wants change and the others resist. Thats the way it will usually be until you get everyone on board with the changes – and its not going to be easy (the best things in life never are though!)
Children can be quite happy with being disorganised – as they can run around leaving mess with no consequences, and your partner may be perfectly happy with how things are at the moment – basically – you have to make them understand why you are wanting this change, and what the benefits are for them, and then they should get on board more easily.
Here are some simple ideas that may just help – good luck! Trust me – its so worth it!
Hold a family meeting
Within my Home File I have added a section for family meetings.
I really do feel that this can make all the difference as its a way to communicate quickly and effectively without having to moan and constantly nag throughout the rest of the month.
If you have older children then include them as well so they get to see what goes into running a home (this will be such a great life skill for them when they leave home), and of course, invite yourself and your partner.
Within this meeting, simply talk about things like whats coming up over the next month, any issues, any changes to schedules, finances, plans (holidays, home refurbs etc…) – basically anything that you need to talk about.
This is a good way to get people talking, and to start introducing the concept of getting more organised. You don’t have to do it all in one go (we all know by now that thats impossible anyway and will sure as anything scare off the family into never wanting to see a list or a schedule again!), in fact, small chunks seem to be most effective when trying to get everyone on board.
Start with the idea of delegating some of the household tasks more to others – when people can see what everyones schedule is like, then they can start to appreciate the fact that if everyone mucks in, then you all benefit from more free time and much more relaxed parents!
You still need to be at the head of the family – but don’t let it become a dictatorship – as that way no one will feel heard.
Introduce Colour Coding
You have 4 people in your home – RED, GREEN, BLUE and WHITE.
Here are some ways that can help:-
1. Have a box/basket for each person in the hallway – labelled with these colours, and in each are any items you find around the house that need moving to their correct place, or shoes and bags, or PE Kit – basically – the list is endless – but whenever anyone needs to find anything of theirs then it should be in their basket!
2. Have different coloured towels for each person so you can see at a glance who has left their on the bathroom floor AGAIN!, and this also helps when children are starting to do their own washing and drying….
3. Have a different coloured basket for all toiletries, so that everyone knows whose is whose.
4. This even helps for things like lunch boxes, games etc….. – having a small coloured dot on each persons belongings will save a LOT of arguing in the long run!
So – pick a colour and use it!
There are so many tasks around the house to do – that everyone really can help – whatever age.
My 4 year old can help change the bed, put her washing in the laundry basket, sort washing into whites and colours, and generally tidy up after herself. She considers this to be just a form of game, and also pretending to be mummy – but I’m not going to stop that!
Whatever you children are capable of – give them some responsibility. If they can see how they are helping, then they should start to become more house proud, and look after things better. This then saves you so much time as not only are jobs being done, but you aren’t wasting time having to clean up others mess (and so you actually end up with more quality time with your family so everyones a winner).
Just as I add to my weekly schedule what jobs I have to do each day to stay on top of the house, so too can I have a day by day schedule for anyone else in the house, so that they can see whats expected of them.
Rewards are invaluable
If people are doing more around the house, then there is no reason not to reward their efforts.
I am a firm believer in rewards – even rewarding yourself for a job well done – as it tends to make people more likely to get a job done, and shows them someone is appreciating the effort.
Rewards don’t have to cost anything either – here are some ideas:-
- Extra time on TV / Computer
- Day out
- Friends to play
- One on one time with you (what about an evening out with your partner, or an afternoon with each child separately so that they get quality time)
- A few hours at the park
- Staying up late one night
TIP – A great way of doing this is to ask the family what rewards they would like – that way they are working for something that they really want (have a selection of rewards on pieces of paper in a jar, then they can choose one once a week/month etc…)
Have a place for everything – and Label it!
If people can easily see where something goes, then they are more likely to put it back there.
If you can start to organise the house, while labelling and making it really easy for people to find something, then they are able to instantly see how well being organised works as it will save them time too!
TIP – if you have small children, then having picture on the labels rather than words is a great way to get them started
Keep it simple
If your homes natural stance is disorganisation and mess, then take a step back and look at the reasons why this is happening.
Do you have something that bugs you on a daily basis that could be easily fixed without causing too much angst to the rest of the family?
What about if someone is constantly leaving dirty clothes lying around their room? Would having a laundry bin in their room be a quick fix, rather than trying to constantly make them take it somewhere else?
Basically – look outside the box. Are you making more hassles for yourself by trying to do it the way you’ve always done it? Is there a simple fix?
Make it easy for everyone to be organised
If you want everyone to tidy away the things they use, then make sure that they can!
It sounds simple, but often you see childrens coats lying around a hallway, only to find that their coats hooks are way out of reach. A simple fix would be to have a set that are within reach – done! (try moving around the house on your knees to get a kids perspective on things!)
I recently had a new kitchen, and ensured that all the plates/dishes/cutlery and glasses were stored within arms reach of the dishwasher. I spend a LOT less time emptying it, and waste a lot less energy – as I can stay in one place and quickly and easily get it done.
I have seen houses where clothes are strewn around – clean clothes – simply because they have run out of space to put them. A quick look inside your wardrobe may make all the difference – what about hanging 2 rails – one at the top, and one halfway down. A lot of clothes only take up half the hanging space in a wardrobe, so you have effectively (and easily) doubled your hanging space – easy!
Anything that makes life easier is a quick win when it comes to getting organised.
Don’t have so much stuff!
This may seem obvious – but its amazing how many people just don’t realise that stuff means having to be more and more organised. You need to store it, clean it, maintain it, use it, mend it etc……
A simple declutter, keeping only that which is necessary, useful or that you love, will make being organised so much more simple!
Rotate things more
Not got enough clothes hanging space (even if you do double up as with the previous point!), then why not try rotating your clothes with the seasons. Then you can simple pack away out of season clothes and keep somewhere out of the way until the time comes to rotate again.
What about toys? All children seem to have too many – so why not get into the habit of rotating toys, and keeping some back. That way you have less toys clutter in your home, and your children will always have something new to play with (hopefully stopping the “I’m Bored” remarks a little too!)
Change peoples jobs around often
If someone is given something to do that they don’t like – then they are less likely to do it.
However, if they know that their jobs will change each month, then they can see an end, and are more likely to accept that this just has to be done for a short while.
A good time to review what people in the household are doing is at your family meeting – that way everyone can see that the work has been shared fairly and that everyone is getting a turn at the good and bad jobs!
However, don’t overwhelm your family by trying to change too much, this may well backfire and create resistance to change that will be hard to get over.
Start by holding a family meeting to get everyone talking and understanding whats involved in running a house, then introduce delegation and rewards for helping around the house.
Once people can see the benefits of being organised, and living in an organised house, they are bound to want to continue!…. and to take those skills with them when they move out..
Create a more organised home, and you will have a more relaxed and happy family.