Habit #7: Do Daily Chores Every Day Even If You Do Not Get to Anything Else
Nearly twenty-five years ago we started the habit of doing the most important chores first thing each day. We might read together; then some will go do devotions while others exercise, but before we “hit the books” for the day, we do the most important daily chores for that day. For us, this means getting something started (or figured out) for the evening meal, doing a load of laundry (and starting another one), unloading and reloading the dishwasher, gathering all of the trash throughout the house and taking it out (and replacing trash bags), being sure the kitchen sink is empty and wiped out, making the beds (okay, well Mom and Dad’s bed anyway—since it is downstairs and doubles as the “den”), putting away anything that is out from the night before, and wiping down the bathrooms/scrubbing toilets.
About twenty years ago, we lived in a home with a full basement, and our schoolroom was downstairs. One morning we went down to do Bible and character reading together, and then I gave everyone assignments to go upstairs and do chores. One of the kids mentioned that it would sure be a lot easier if just did our schoolwork (sessions with Mom) right after Bible then went upstairs and did chores. I almost agreed, but told the kids, “No, we want to come down to do school meetings with a clean upstairs and all of the daily work done.”
Well, when we came upstairs to do our jobs, we smelled something burning–and our attic was on fire. We had just moved into that house, a rental, so we didn’t have smoke detectors up yet, so if we had stayed downstairs, we might not have discovered the fire until it was too late (especially as long as it took me to get through several elementary children’s school meetings every morning!). We called the fire department and got out of the house before any damage was done to anything except the attic. And I was quick to tell the kids that it pays to do chores first thing in the morning!
One thing about important (i.e. no clothes to wear or dishes to eat on if they are skipped!) “daily” chores that has helped me immensely in raising a large family with several children in homeschool at one time is to think of dishes and laundry the same as brushing my teeth. I never brush my teeth fewer than two times a day…and we never do dishes or laundry fewer than two times a day. Saving dishes for later and accumulating large amounts of laundry always depressed me. I cannot function in school, writing, and other household tasks with undone dishes and undone laundry (that I or someone else will have to face when all of our other work for the day is finished).
If daily chores are keeping you from doing the most important things each day, start with this one: a daily chore time for twenty minutes or so each morning in which each person has a list of tasks in order to conquer those “dailies” that keep getting in your way. If you have two, three, (or in our case, six!) people doing daily chores every morning, those ongoing, never-quite-finished tasks will not seem so big. (Note: If both parents work outside the home and the children go to school, I recommend a “cleaning up dinner chore time” in which everybody pitches in for ten to twenty minutes and does different tasks around the house–some clean the meal; some do laundry; etc.)
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