Our New Chore System!

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This weeks To Do List Tuesday is to reveal…

Our New Chore System!

I am extremely excited to debut this! I have been working on this project for a few months now. A few months back I knew I wanted to try a new approach to household chores with my girls and so I started looking for other ideas…..you see, what I find, at least with my kids is that what works with them for a season or so doesn’t always continue working so every now and then things need to be shaken up. This theory applies to many areas when it comes to raising kids in my experience, not just chores. We have done a few variations of Chore Systems in the past, maybe I will share some of those in a future blog. We have not typically paid them for chores in the past, this system will be the first time that I will experiment with payment, but I do think this varies depending on the age of the children and your family’s opinions on the matter.

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My girls range in age from 15 to 2 years old and so their skill level and ability varies as much as their ages. Therefore our new chore system has to be easy to understand, fun and appealing to encourage participation out of my youngest three but still mature enough to encourage my oldest daughter to be “motivated” to be the ring leader when it comes to keeping my other girls motivated. This new chore system has 4 components that I have combined to make a system that I feel will work for our family. If you like my new system, here is how you can replicate it for your family!

Component One:

The cork board squares were the beginning of our new chore system right away, before I even had a clear vision for my new system. I had 4 sets of cork squares taking up space from a previous project and I immediately knew I wanted to use those for each of my girls to help them track whatever would become their new chore system! Now I purchased my cork squares years ago and I don’t remember where but I am sure you could find a similar solution at your local craft store. I used Command Strips once they were completely assembled, to hang them on the wall near our cubbies (that I discussed last week in my introductory post for Thirty-One Thursdays).

Component Two:

The half folders were my next peice. In my effort to find a method that would work well across all ages, I stumbled into this mom’s solution she calls Instant Gratification Chore Folders. I tweaked the concept a little so ours aren’t quite instant gratification in the same way because I want to train them up to be prepared for budgeting, tithing, saving & having to wait to “get paid”. I decided to take 4 two pocket folders (again in each of their family colors) and cut the folders down a little less than halfway so that the top of the folder was just 3-4 inches above the pockets inside.

Next I labeled each folder and used spray adhesive to attach them to the cork square. Once the folders were each affixed to the cork squares I took 4 green envelopes (I had a multi colored envelope package & I specifically chose green for this step) and again used spray adhesive to attach them to the front of each folder, labeling the envelope’s with each of my girl’s names & the $ symbol………. this is where they will place their “money” until payday. On the inside of each pocket I labeled six of the 7 days of the week, Mon. – Sat. I consciously decided on not including Sunday because after all, Sunday’s are supposed to be a day of rest.

After the folders were ready, I decided that for each day I would put a single dollar in the pocket, except for Saturday because being a member of the family requires some contribution to our home just because you are a member of our family. I mean no one pays me for all the ways I contribute to our home daily and they need to learn this first hand. They will not be paid for every contribution that they are expected to make, only the contributions they choose to complete that go above and beyond the basic expectations. Back to the single dollar bills, I thought about the payment process quite a bit and decided that since I planned to do “pay days” instead of the instant gratification concept, I didn’t need real dollar bills. One of my girls had some awesome play dollar bills, so I took four of them and after careful placement & a few practice photocopies I had two templates to reuse over to create 4 double side dollar bills. I copied & cut enough to place $5 worth in each of my daughters folders (technically $10 for my oldest daughter as she is responsible for the most detailed & difficult versions of our chores).

Now I began looking for ideas and thinking about a way to assign the chores themselves. As I said previously, I have tried a few methods in the past so I wanted to think of a new approach, not just a recycled one. The hunt was on…….

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……..and then I found……..

Component Three:

These ADORABLE Daily Chore Calendars!

So first, I DID NOT design these and openly I take zero credit for the adorable creations themselves, but when I stumbled into them I knew I had found the right component for this important step to creating our new chore system!

The resource that I found these AMAZING calendars through is this blogger’s virtual classroom over at Bloggerific! It’s an awesome blog that looks to be a place I will stop back to regularly for future resources! She is an online teacher/mentor for K12 and after rowsing through her blog a bit I discovered she has a multitude of resources for students Kindergarten through the 12th grade. She provided the four Daily Chore Charts that I linked to below on her blog about them that she wrote back in September of 2012 and it just so happened that the dates line up with the June 2017 Calendar (with the exception of the 31st of course but we’ll just call that July 1st for our purpose!) so I decided that we would kick off our new chore system starting June 1st!

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There are 4 templates provided, two with pet chore’s and two without. I only used three of the templates for my personal execution, both pet calendars and one of the non pet calendars. Even though I have four daughters, I want to encourage my 7 yr. old to be a buddy with my 2 yr. old for chore’s so they were both given one of the calendars with some pet responsibilities. My 7 yr. old greatly thrives from the opportunity to be in charge of something with clear direction and the ability to be a helper so pairing her with my 2 yr. old was a natural decision. My oldest has a fair amount already on her plate outside of the home with friends graduation parties (Uuuugh! How is that so close for me as a mom?!?), Marching Band & local parade obligations, a few church/youth group related outings, in addition to her hope of working for my cousin’s cleaning company part-time this summer as well. Keeping her household obligations separate is certainly best in this case, though naturally she is my most experienced and enthusiastic helper, giving my 7 yr. old this opportunity will encourage her to remember she is a big sister too (because she often feels stuck in the little sister role as her two older sisters mature at their older pace). You may notice that on these Daily Chore Calendars there are days that say “Free Day”, in an effort to encourage they work towards one paid chore Mon.-Fri. these will not be implemented as actual “Free Day”s, rather they will be Free Choice Chore Day. I plan to get some tounge depressors to label with additional chore ideas that I will store in a decorative jar or cup on hand and on those days they will get to choose a chore of their choice from those ideas. These chores will also be available for additional chores, you know, just in case my girls wind up so motivated they blow me away!

Now that the chore assignment method is handled, I have 31 days to design a calendar of my own to use moving forward, but thanks to her beautiful work I have a jumping off point to begin implementing as soon as possible. My children started their summer break the Friday before Memorial Day this year so by the time we celebrated the start of summer, my youngest’s 2nd birthday & Memorial Day, I knew that Tuesday would be the first day that was really just a normal summer day in our house this year. Knowing that I was kicking off our Mindset Mondays this week as well, (1 hr. daily with brain work each day during the week around a certain theme) I wanted to be sure not to completely overwhelm them so starting the new Chore System on Thursday gave them time to get familiar with the weekly theme summer learning for a few days before I shook up their chores.

Component Four:

The last step was not entirely a neccesary component but I found it and thought it was too cute not to use somhow for my daughters. I found this Princess Chore Tracker which I printed a little larger than a business card with the plan to also laminate these so that I can use removable stickers to mark off each day they will be getting paid for so they have a visual reminder to look at on their Chore Boards without pulling the dollar bills out of their envelope a dozen times a week! This is knid of like their time card. they will turn these in to me on payday since I ill be the one regulating the stickers upon completion of the chores.

I decided to print the calendars, these Royal Duties Chore Trackers & prepare the Chore Boards and hang them Monday evening after they had all gone to bed. This way they would see them Tuesday and start to get a little curious about them, and if I was lucky maybe they would even get excited (I could hope)! I also printed out our new

BONUS 

Daily Task List’s

I was introducing these as a more organized approach to our Daily Task List in addition to the Chore Boards. Every day there are basic tasks obviously that must be done:

  • getting dressed for the day & properly handling their pajamas
  • making their bed in a very loose sense, no hospital corners here!
  • teeth brushing
  • breakfast & breakfast clean-up
  • devotions time in their bible
  • caring for our pets (1 dog & a tankful of fish)

I struggle daily reminding my children to do these things, I feel like the nag of all nags EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am constantly asking them if these things were done, or reminding them to complete them, so I finally realized a list they can visualize & check off may be just the trick to ending the nagging. In addition to these daily be dones, I added a few additional items especially for summer to ensure they eliminate the excess of electronics this summer and find healthier alternatives whenever possible, requiring some reading time & creative play time. I put together a Daily Chart that I call the Checklist for Electronics Summer Template. I printed it up Monday evening as well and had them sitting on our dining room table Tuesday morning at their place with their bible & journal.  I did not let them write on them though, after they saw them and I had explained them I took them up to get laminated so they can use dry erase markers to track weekly. (To my glee, the girls were all very receptive to the Chore Boards as well as these New Checklists to earn their electronics use daily when they discovered them Tuesday morning. So excited in fact that I did have to print a new copy for my second oldest daughter because she had starting completing things & checking them off on her paper before I even had time to explain them!)

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As one final little EXTRA treat for the moms, I found this helpful Calendar that offers a weekly, monthly & yearly solution to a full coverage clean of your home! FB_IMG_1452031241732

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not follow this to any degree, I have actually had my cousin’s cleaning company out twice in the last month and a half to help me maintain and rebound from our horrific first quarter of the year. I did however find this buried in the files on my laptop while I was file sorting & organizing a few weeks back. I found it and thought it was a good resource for those of you gifted in the cleaning department. I can only find true peace & tranquility in a clean space so I prefer a tidy home. This is a direct reflection of how good a housekeeper my mother was when I was a child and still is to this day. I picked up a good portion of her cleanliness habits but with four kids running around there are just not enough hours in the day to keep up with it all. I have many gifts that God has blessed me with, what I am not blessed to be able to do easily is maintain a regular cleaning schedule. It get’s done, but not weekly when it should, not monthly in some cases and all together, never. I can’t get one room cleaned well and thoroughly and move onto another room without progress either being halted or redirected, thus meaning I never manage to get my entire house clean at once to enjoy it at all……………………unless I have

The Cleaning Ladies

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out to help keep me in line and save me valuable time to make memories with my kiddo’s while! The incredibly reasonable price I pay to have them out to clean are far better than the tortured task of feeling like I never get it all done and honestly when paired with just a little bit of maintenance chore effort through this chore system I am left with time to redirect my energy to another money-saving task, money-raising project or memory making fun! Just once or twice a month and  your whole life could be changed! Take it from me, implement a Chore System that works for your kids and give The Cleaning Ladies a call! Let Laurel know you want your house to Dazzle like mine!  Now head out to get your kids moving, because a little bit of structure can change your world this summer!!!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

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Airing my dirty laundry…..quite literally 

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So I start this post with a disclaimer

**I HAVE 4 DAUGHTERS…..AND DAUGHTERS CHANGE OUTFITS LIKE THE WIND BLOWS……FAST & FLUSTERED! NO JUDGEMENT PLEASE!

(This line of laundry bags took us about 2 weeks to accumulate with very minimal clothes washing happening during those 2 weeks)

Now this may or may not seem like much to you, but this photo is failing to show another load in my dryer…. just sitting and another load at least scattered throughout my homes main floor hidden under furniture, behind toys or just plainly laying in the middle of my living room floor. HA! NOW THAT’S A LOT OF  DIRTY LAUNDRY MY FRIENDS!

Ok so I confess, laundry is not the chore I love the most if you couldn’t tell. It really isn’t the chore I hate the most either, that would be dishes, but I digress…

Nonetheless laundry is a chore that when ignored, multiplies like rabbits (interestingly enough my husband & I have been teased about the same thing)! Now I would love to tell you that this wasn’t always my pattern. That before I had 4 daughters I was always right on top of laundry, promptly washing & drying it, neatly folding, ironing or hanging it and making sure it got returned to the right closet, shelf or drawer……I would like to say that, but it would be a lie.

I have never been especially prompt in attending to my laundry. Call it 1st world problems, but an over abundance of clothing options readily available most of my life and my inability to let go of cute clothes has given me a selection that rivals a department store. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my blessings, I nearly never resell and we do purge an unbelievable amount that we take to a variety of donation centers every season, or pass on directly to families we know that could use them once we are through with them.

We have not only purchased new and been gifted to build our closets [or as I should say, build our family closet, but that’s for another post]. We have been given many garbage bags full of gently used clothing and most of my girls favorite peices have come from those bags through the years.

Needless to say, myself and my girls have plenty of choices thus stretching our demand for clothing out. When clothing demand is low it allows a certain level of procrastination on my behalf but it also leaves some room for life to take 1st priority…..

Early on as a mom, wife and homemaker I learned to leave the laundry in the dryer sometimes too long instead of folding and to let the dirty stuff pile up every now & then to make time for memories …

I may have some bad habits in the clothing & dirty laundry department of my homemaking but I can promise you my children are not short on memories. The playing, creating, sharing, learning, dreaming and celebrating that goes on in our home and in our family is priceless and abundant .

God has blessed my family with an abundance of clothing as well and we will pass it forward (*when it survives us intact*) but while it is in our home it will sometimes get dirty, filthy really at times, because life is happening in our home. It will sometimes come clean and look new and fancy, but more often than not it will carry with it a stain or blemish, but those stains are traces of the memories we were too busy creating for me to properly & promptly tend to it.

The paint or glue or marker from our endless crafting set in deep to the fabric before it hits the wash. The grass or mud stains often times accompanied by a small tear or hole from their outdoor adventures & physical play. Then not to be forgotten, the never ending food stains from our trail & error in the kitchen and our sometimes too sloppy enjoyment of our culinary labors!

All in all I say the memories we make & enjoyment we have making them far out weigh the annoyance & stress that I create for myself in my laundry procrastination. I don’t  really consider it miserable anymore to do a laundry marathon. I have figured out my best & most efficient method to attacking a laundry marathon and I am proud to say I have it down to a science, for me at least, so the stress isn’t bad, it is not intimidating but rather, almost like a mini escape….

Not that a laundry marathon is ever my plan, because I do very much appreciate the sight of a neat laundry room with minimal (or zero) laundry waiting to cycle. In the event though that I do find myself in this situation due to memory making, sickness, sadness, meetings, appointments, traveling or even grieving a loss among dozens of other reasons we may fall behind on laundry, I just reach a point where I just know I can’t ignore anymore. I look at my calendar and find the next solid chunk of hours and attack it then, like that day or the next, NO MORE PROCRASTINATING!

Here are my steps:

STEP ONE: I pull up a Netflix series that I am currently binging or have hopes of binging….. or most popularly for me, I turn on Bravo or recorded repeats that I have on my dvr of just about ANY season of the Real Housewives of_______.

< I LOVE these ladies! Love to love some, love to dislike others, love to people watch like a fly on their very expensive door frames, and most of all, I Love to be motivated by them…..also a topic for another post> Once I have my viewing choice made I que up the first episode and PAUSE IT! This step is crucial or I will never begin the laundry. I am queuing up my entertainment for the monotonous task of hanging & folding but I MUST pause it or there won’t be anything clean to fold…

STEP TWO: I begin to sort the clothes, preparing them by load type & color using many of my favorite laundry assistants that I have acquired from Thirty-One as pictured, containing my laundry in the pictures above…

…OK so here is where I tell you that I am an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One! I love it and I use it everywhere in my home. ***I WILL NOT USE THIS BLOG TO SHAMELESSLY PUSH THIRTY-ONE DOWN YOUR THROATS***  I will however share pictures that will feature the products regularly because I do love them, my girls love them, even my husband loves the ones that don’t have ridiculously loud patterns, and therefore we use them everyday in every part of our life……..including but not limited to LAUNDRY. Also I will use this page to share some product ideas & promotions from time to time.

STEP THREE: I start my first load even before I complete the sorting. The 1st full size load sorted goes straight in the washer so the cycles can begin. Once that is started you finish sorting.

By the time I finish sorting & pre-treating the clothes the first load into the washer is almost done allowing a second load in sooner. Now this may seem like common sense but for MANY YEARS I would sort everything before I started any loads and all that did was delay the beginning of the actual washing. Once I realized that it gave me a more fluid process with more overlapping in tasks and less waiting on the washer or dryer I realized there would be less getting sidetracked too.

STEP FOUR: I gather all of my empty  hangers and check the drawer & shelf space quickly in our family closet to be sure it is ready to receive clean cloths in bulk .

This step should be pretty swift because if you have a ton of clothing missing from these spaces because they are worn & dirty then there should be mostly vacant space where they are to be returned. It’s always wise to gather all the empty hangers before you need to start filling them. By this time you should be ready for the first washer/dryer swap.

STEP FIVE: I complete the first  washer/dryer swap. Making sure to check any pre-treated clothing to see if they need treated again and also taking care to pull out anything that must hang to dry. Once the washer is empty start the next load.

Ok so this step will be relatively quick and other than starting the dryer I am done. There will be a small gap between this step & the next but it will likely be my last non multi-tasking moment until my marathon ends. [At this gap in tasks I recommend you take a pit stop in the kitchen to get a beverage & a snack or lunch/dinner prepared quickly and take it back to where you queued up your show(s). You want to be sure you fuel up because from here on out it becomes a typically well timed & well oiled machine.] I give myself this lunch break while I wait for the dryer to finish and when that happens I must be disciplined to PAUSE IT AGAIN.

STEP SIX: (this step repeats until my marathon is complete) I Promptly empty the dryer and put contents of washer in basically completing step five again & then I bring the basket of dry clothing in by my television where I unpause and fold, hang & binge watch my Housewives until step 5 & 6 are ready to be repeated again and my laundry is nearly gone or gone.

I do like to use the Comercial breaks, or in the case of Netflix, the next episode countdown as the places that I discipline myself to pause again to put the clothing away once hung or folded. Being in front of the TV in my basement living room has great proximity to the laundry & is also home to a large black leather sectional perfect for folding & sorting clean clothes on.

 Repeat STEPS FIVE & SIX UNTIL YOUR LAUNDRY IS complete!


I hope you can use some of these tips or methods to help you dig out of the laundry mountain the next time you let your laundry pile up while you allow life to take priority & memories be made! This product below is my favorite GO TO laundry tool!

Also if you are curious you are welcome to check out Thirty-One ‘s new Spring/Summer catalog here on my website www.mythirtyone.com/81194/ to see what products we have this season to help you give your laundry routine a face-lift! My favorite helper is the Large Utility Tote! (Pictured above) Each family member has one of their own specifically for their laundry needs. If you want recommendations on other products or solutions just ask in the comments!

Love Our Home Challenge

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Every year my family spends most of January cleaning, decluttering, purging and packing away holiday decorations. The holidays ending, a new year beginning and the typical cold temperatures and snow that January represents sets a fire under my you know what and I get motivated. Motivated to clean, motivated to organize, and motivated to motivate my family to adapt better habits for the new year. By the end of January I am typically quite pleased with the state of my home, for a short while at least……..that is until we fall back into a regular pattern of school, work and extra curricular activities and then I lose focus on who is doing what, who is supposed to be doing what, and what is actually getting accomplished. After long enough I typically get discouraged and begin to carry the load again myself by the end of February…….

Now this is a problem for more than one reason…

  1. My family has likely picked up on this pattern and thus they time their decent into bad habits again accordingly…
  2. By the middle of February my discouraged nature can make me less than pleasant to be around, inconveniently for my husband, rather close to Valentine’s day .
  3. My 3rd daughter AND my husband have March Birthdays followed by a busy April filled typically with Easter festivities and an “Annual Guys Trip” my husband coordinates followed by an even busier May (2 more daughter’s birthdays, my Mother’s birthday and Mother’s Day). This makes for an all together crazy spring in my little Dazzling World.

Because of this routine we have managed to get into I decided to be PRO ACTIVE this year! When my motivation struck this January I decided to set out on a plan to change this pattern. Now as normal, I cleaned, purged, organized my house & packed away every last sign of the holidays, but  I also began working on a “Show Our House Love” Chore Countdown for the first half of February, to begin implementation today, February 1st.

On this Chore Countdown I introduced a “Daily Chore”, two “Weekly Chores” and two “Monthly Chores” for each member of the family to be personally responsible for. Each day between now & Valentine’s Day each person has been assigned their tasks for the day. I chose area’s of my home that each of my girls need to be more disciplined in maintaining to be where their weekly and monthly chores are centered around in hopes that they will learn the error of their ways. Their daily chore is something more attainable but also quickly capable of “snowballing” into more work if not daily maintained. This will allow it to be abundantly clear not just to me, but also to them when they are failing to accomplish the daily chores. My youngest daughter is only 21 months so her responsibilities will require a bit of assistance but it’s never too early to start developing good habits so even she is in on this fun!

I am implementing this as an introduction to our newest chore routine and though I do plan to take Valentine’s Day off (for the most part) this year to relax, my family will still be expected to maintain their “Daily Chore” for the day and they will be enlightened with the knowledge that this schedule will become the normal expectations going forward. After our two week warm up period though I intend to begin some sort of payment method as a reward system. We don’t give our children allowance, rather we do a little extra every now and then just because. As they all start to get older & more demanding I have begun considering some form of allowance as payment for timely completion of chores (not a fortune or anything, maybe $1 per daily, $5 for weekly & $10 for the monthly’s). This method gets to be intimidating when you have as many kids as I do though, so maybe this idea is more of a tip for those of you with just 1 or 2 children.

I have also considered rewarding with “Electronics Marbles” which would be valued at 10 minutes of electronics time each. This idea is motivated by the fact that balancing & monitoring “screen time” has become increasingly challenging in our home since December. My oldest has her own laptop & smart phone, my middle two were gifted tablets this year from a family friend and also will soon be getting a desktop hand me down computer for schoolwork & their computer games and even my youngest has her own Leap Pad Tablet. My idea here is to reward them with marbles based on their chores, 3 marbles for  timely completing their daily chore, up to 4 marbles for each of their weekly chores, and up to 6 marbles for each of their monthly chores. In theory each marble represents 10 minutes of “screen time” totaling 140 minutes (2 hours & 20 minutes) of “screen time” up for grabs for each of them each week and an additional 120 minutes (2 hours) to be added if they complete their monthly chore satisfactorily & timely.

Either way there will be no reward system in place for the 1st two weeks because I want this practice to develop the habit of completing these chores without reward, rather simply because they are members of our family. Once the habit is developing and we successfully complete this trail run of sorts, THEN I will introduce the reward system as an incentive only for prompt completion. This means if I have to nag them or remind them they will not get paid. Feel free to try this idea in your own home and also feel free to comment your chore routines for your kids, tricks that have worked well for you or even your opinion of my reward system ideas. Either way check back for updates & progress reports from me about how well my family adapts to this new idea I have implemented. Today was day one, and so far we are on track! Let’s see if we can say the same thing still after day two!!!