Cleaning the house seems anything but mindful. The word drudgery makes more sense. But what I’ve discovered, is that by making house cleaning a weekly family event, the drudgery is transformed into team building. On a deeper level, each family member feels like they’re contributing to the family home, a part of building a safe and comfortable family shelter.
I started what we call The Big Clean several years ago. I decided I couldn’t rationalize paying a maid to clean my house for the same rate per hour that I was making to teach Zumba. Teaching Zumba requires $1000 worth of training (I took 3 course levels), 3+ hours of prep per week (choreography and practice) and then the responsibility of leading and teaching a group of up to 50 dancers for an hour of intense physical and mental workout.
Are cleaners overpaid? Probably not. Are Zumba instructors underpaid? You bet!
Hence, The Big Clean was born. The entire family helps out. When we started the big clean by youngest was 4. Even she helped out.
My children each have the responsibilities of cleaning their rooms plus my oldest daughters clean one bathroom each (yes, toilets and tubs). My eldest daughter also tidies the family room while the middle child tidies the front hall and organizes the cloak room (shoes , etc.). My husband sweeps and mops the entire house. I clean and organize the kitchen, dining, living room, master bedroom and clean the master bath. My youngest cleans her room and cleans the living room windows (she loves this). One of us takes out all the garbage and recycling during this time too.
Our Big Clean happens each Sunday morning for about 2 hours total. If one child is away at a friends, she will do her chores as soon as she returns home. If someone is sick–we all cover for that person.
Do I like cleaning? No. Do I like a clean house? Yes, and I demand it–it has to be clean or I can’t relax. Do my kids clean as well as I do? No, but I let go of being anal and go with the flow. I offer suggestions on ways to improve a poorly cleaned area, but I give them freedom to do things their way too.
It’s amazing how talented my cleaners have become–honestly, my kids to a much better job at organizing the craft cupboard and sweeping than I do. My youngest is the most thorough sweeper you’ll ever find--not one dog hair to be found under the chesterfields!
The Big Clean helps give each child purpose and autonomy within the family–we’re creating our home together and all of us are capable.