I want to share some of my experiences balancing work and life and keeping our house organized. From the book “The life-changing magic of tidying up”, I learned a few things. Throwing away things I don’t use any more is the most important way to declutter, so only keep things that give me joy. A rule to decide whether to throw something away is to ask, “if I were to buy this thing at its current state, would I pay for it?” If not, then throw it away. For everything I keep, it needs to have a designated place in the house.
Recently, we started a cleanup routine in the kitchen. At the end of dinner, family members throw dice to determine who to perform which clean up tasks: clean up the table, take out the clean dishes from the dishwasher, put the dirty dishes in the dish washer, wash the pans, vacuum the floor, take out the trash, get and sort the mail. Kids throw first and select the first two tasks, and my husband and I will handle the rest. My kids used to always complain whatever task we assigned them was the hardest, but now we everyone gets different tasks by chance so no complains. Also, kids learned to do all the house chores.
From the book “How to manage your home without losing your mind”, I learned to use “the 10min pick up” rule for the family to work together to keep the house clean. Except myself, the rest of my family used to only clean up once in a while. As a result, they often don’t get the house organize and clean enough, even after spending significant time and efforts. So cleaning up the house has been a big burden for me and the rest of the family. The “10 min pick up” rule suggests that every family members should spend just 10 min each day to do some organizing and clean up, and leave the rest to the next day. Usually, each family member will work at their own pace to put jackets, backpacks, books, loose change, pens, nail clipper, medicine, scratch papers, candy wrappers, toys, dirty clothes in their proper place, or move one step further in the laundry washing, drying, and folding process. I still help kids a lot in their pick up process, but having 4 people each pick up 10min means 40 min of cleaning daily, which is sufficient to keep the house in order! Also, since family members appreciate each other for making the house a little bit cleaner and more organized even if it is not perfect, this task is now a pleasant experience for everyone!
So every evening after dinner, our family work together on 10 min cleaning in the kitchen and “10 min pick up” around the house. Then we do something fun, such as playing cards, board games (e.g. connect 4), ping pong, or foosball together. Even though the kids might still have unfinished homework and we always have even more unfinished work, we make sure to spend this family quality time together. Unfinished work can wait until after the quality time. Shouldn’t we always spare 15-30 min daily for the family? Even though my husband and I both have crazy work schedules, this evening routine has helped keep the house in order and maintain the happy family bond.