Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cleaning Lists

Welcome to the Kids Out and About readers! I know Deb loves to share great things with her subscribers and am happy this might be helpful to some of you.

I've decided to make Saturday cleaning day. Of course Saturday is always cleaning day. It's the day my husband is home from work and it's the day I'm off work (the work of getting my daughter educated). I enjoy having an official day for straightening up the house.

The point is that I want to make it easy for the kids to participate. My almost 11 year old, Hanover, is just about old enough to clean her room by herself, if only she could remember what she has to do. The 8 year old, Flurpee, is not ready to work completely on her own, but if she feels ready to try, I do not want to be the one holding her back.

Part of my previous career in mechanical engineering involved a lot of training of technicians to run machines. That type of training involves a lot of fairly innocuous, repetitive work--like housekeeping only using million-dollar equipment and supplies and which could cost you your livelihood if things went poorly. Along with the training came the quality control part of my job; how to make sure people did what they were supposed to do.

Once someone is mostly trained and before they hit full mastery, I would often encounter a period of time where I would just stand there and remind them what came next. After a few of those sessions where the person no longer had large issues and could remember what to do for each step, the only thing needed was a little prodding and quite a bit of practice.

Once the person hit this stage, the training meshed well with the quality control aspect. How did we ensure quality control where I worked? The dreaded check list. It required a lot of paperwork to be generated and hours spent getting sign offs and then stopping the work until the check list was approved, and how many times did the check list just become the next mindless task that was flubbed? But it was the most appropriate technique we were appropriately geared up to use.
I am still drawn to check lists in my home life. Especially for something far easier to do, like housework. The chore I want the kids to do the most is keeping up their rooms. This is especially important to Hanover who has a dust allergy. I would also appreciate some help in cleaning the bathrooms. I felt this would be more likely to happen if they had some direction to follow in case I am busy elsewhere (which I usually am when the cleaning bug hits me).

This past weekend I sat down and actually put down what I thought the process was for room cleaning. This is similar to a post a did a long time ago consisting of morning and evening routines. That list relied more on clip art since I had a pre-reader at the time. This list includes a lot more detail.

Clicking on the image will get you the original Word 2007 document. It should be able to be edited in Word or Open Office. There is no special formatting. The clip art is simply in-line with the text. I included the "gold standard" for me. Which is why I have the native document linked. If you decide to give something similar a try, you can adapt it to suit your own needs. I got all of my clip art free from Microsoft.

Once I printed the list for each room, I placed it in a paper protector and taped it on the back of the door to the room. I could also imagine it being kept with the master cleaning supplies or taped to the inside vanity door. I have used it once and Hanover was quite excited. Her cleaning was not what I would have preferred but it was better than the usual cleaning--none!

Both lists follow the same pattern.

  • Put stuff away
  • Empty trash
  • Dust
  • Polish
  • Vacuum
  • Linens

It also generally moves from ceiling to floor. If I ever regularly clean any room in the house that thoroughly, I would be amazed. If I get the kids to take a bit more ownership and pride in their own rooms, then even better.


christinemm said...

Great post Kim.

I know you are not into natural things but I urge you to consider natural home cleansers for at least the ones your young kids will be using. These are not without danger, who wants vinegar and water in their eye (by accident) when cleaning glass. But anyhow the old vinegar and water works just as fine as the chemical based grocery store brand that I read as a toxin in the doctor's reference book that cautioned should never be breathed in. I used to breathe it in with every spray for goodness sake!

Mixes for glass with vinegar and water can be found free on the internet. YOu can use it on the toilet and sinks too. If that's not good enough for sinks and toilet and counters mix up some other simple thing from a free recipe on the Internet. Bon Ami powder is all natural, for the toilet bowl.

I love Citra Solv orange all natural concentrate mixed with water---directions on the label. One mix is for counters, another for floors (wood, ceramic, tile). This works in the shower and tub too.

IMO some of the cleansers are overkill, maybe need for really bad spots but overkill for routine cleaning.

Bleach has its issues and the bleach spray I'd never let my kids use.

Please consider it.

Karen said...

Great idea! I think it is funny that my kids need a list every single time they clean. Whatever works!