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Messes all around: Who has time to clean it up? If making a mess were an event in the Olympics, we would win the gold hands down. As a mom of four with dogs and a chicken at our home, chores are a big part of life. Sometimes we do a great job, sometimes we get too busy and don’t get to everything. I guess that’s life.

coming "clean" about cleaning

On the days we do it well, we use a few tricks to get it accomplished.

1. Breaking up the work: We break up the tasks around the house so that more than one task can get accomplished at the same time. In a small house, this helps big time because things get messy faster than I could possibly clean on my own.

2. Buddy system: No one wants to feel like they have to do it all by themselves. Giving each person a partner or team to work with helps because then you feel like the jobs are more doable.

couple cleaning dishes together

3. Turn on the music: Music is a great motivator to get my family moving and in a good mood. I try to pick something that everyone will like.

>> This “Songs to Sing in the Shower” playlist is great to listen to while cleaning the shower, too!

4. Name it: When we have lots of laundry to get done (which is often), I say, “Okay, we’re having a Folding Party!” with my most exciting voice. They know exactly what that means. Then we all get together and talk most of the time, laughing until the laundry gets done.

5. Use a timer: I could spend two hours cleaning my bathroom if I don’t think about it because one task leads to another and then I’m emptying drawers and reorganizing the cabinets. A timer keeps us focused on getting the task done. It also keeps my kids from going in their rooms and getting distracted because they think they have all day to finish it.

kikkerland timer

6. Make a checklist: We make a list of what needs to get done so we have a picture of what we want to accomplish. Then we can see about how long we have to get it all done. The kids like to be the ones to cross them off.

>> Read more: 10 Healthy Household Cleaning Products

7. Thank them: I tell my kids, “By everyone working together to clean the living room for 10 minutes, that is the same as Mom working for almost an hour by myself. You just saved us more time so we can do something fun now.”

At the end of the day, life is messy. We all contribute to the mess in our house so we are all responsible for helping clean it up! It’s never too late to get the kids on board helping around the house. I just try to remind myself that one day they will be the adults with their own places and they will thank me when they know how to take care of them.

>> Read more by Rhea: Teaching My Kids to Love Books