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Getting Housekeeping Help

I do believe I’ve tried every option possible to recruit help around the house. I’ve tried withholding special items. I’ve tried paying good money for chores. I’ve even tried a little torture .. only joking. Few things have worked. Some things have not. But I have found that if you change back and forth from one good idea to another, help usually happens. When your family stops helping out around the house, try another method. After all, we all get bored with housework.

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One of the basic housekeeping rules is to keep it simple. Oh sure it would be nice for our husband to wake up one day and say "You know, I really feel like deep cleaning the bathroom today. You sleep in!" If you are
like most housewives, you’d probably be happy if somebody else would do a few
little jobs each week. Or at the very least, cleaning up after themselves!

Baskets are easy and simple. You can leave a basket at the top of the stairs for items that need to go downstairs. Or a basket by the door for items that need to leave the house like library books and movie rentals. Get into the habit of checking your basket every time you pass it. Others will see you doing this and hopefully pick up on the idea. If they don’t pick up on it, then pick something up from the basket and throw it at them. Maybe next time they pass the basket they’ll remember to look in it!

If you are always running out of items and nobody is telling you, try this simple technique. Buy colored toilet paper. Put the colored toilet paper in the back of the supply. When you see the pink paper, you know it is time to buy some more. Get family members into the habit of writing down the item when they open the last box. Keep a running list posted on the refrigerator or by the front door. If your family is always forgetting to write down the items, have them toss the empty box into a special basket or box so you can make the list of the needed items. Make sure that the list is handy enough to be spotted so your family members will remember to write on it and so they’ll take it with them to the store!

The most important simple housekeeping method that I’ve used that actually works is using a timer. Everybody is eager to help if they are trying to "beat the clock". Make it a game. Even if they are reluctant to join in the "fun", they’ll be more eager to help if they can see it is not an all day event. And it is a great way to keep track of cleaning points for rewards.

Rewards are a very good motivator for children. You can use many different rewards. From paying per chore, to paying per minute of work. Earning cleaning points toward a treat or special event. Heck, I even knew a wife who gave her husband "bedroom points" for his cleaning minutes accumulated. Whatever works for you and gets the job done. Just include the family in your reward system planning before you set it up. Nobody wants to work for a reward that you don’t really want!

If all else fails, hire a housekeeper. If paid help is not in your budget, explain to your family that you have to do without cable, or eating out just so you can pay for a little help and your sanity. That’ll get them every time!


Roxanna Ward, Community leader and staff writer for,
lives in Georgia with her husband and her three children. As a published freelance writer the focus of her writing is concentrated on sharing household tips, her experience with her frugal lifestyle as well as the phenomenal process of breastfeeding, child rearing related issues and romantic relationships. She is also currently the Editor of three newsletters:

What’s New at BabyU?, Intimate Encounters and At Home with Baby University. Roxanna can be contacted at

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