If you live in a big household, then you will have firsthand experience of just how messy things can get. More people equals more dishes, more laundry, more dirt, more messes—and a lot more chores to do. While having a bigger household may mean having more people to do chores, that may not make the everyday responsibilities any less stressful.
That said, we’ve come up with a few simple ways you can better manage chores in a big household (households with more than five residents) and keep your sanity intact while doing it.
As we’ve mentioned, more people in the house means more people doing chores. However, more people also means more chores. So, how do you manage?
The key is to delegate tasks to every household member, tasks that they can realistically accomplish, and, as much as possible, tasks that they actually enjoy (although chores may only be enjoyable to a certain extent). If you have children, give them age-appropriate tasks to do on a daily or weekly basis. For example, your teen can help out with the yard work or the laundry, while your ten-year-old can help with the dishes and the tidying up. Even toddlers can contribute with simple tasks like putting away their toys and putting their dishes in the sink.
2. Hire a cleaning service
Sometimes, it’s better to throw in the towel and hire a cleaning service than drown in household chores without any real progress. If you’ve been too busy to clean, have no one else to help, or simply cannot do it even with the entire family involved, it may be time to call in the professionals.
3. Stop messes at their root
One of the best ways to keep your house clean is to avoid the things that dirty it in the first place. Here are some tips on how to keep messes at bay by preventing them from happening from the get-go:
Take off shoes at the door. Shoes track in all sorts of dirt and grime into the house, which results in more things that you have to clean off the floors. Adopt a no-shoes rule in the house to keep outside shoes from tracking dirt into the house when people walk in.
Change the air filters. If your air filters are dirty, chances are, the dirt and dust are circulating in the air. Change or clean your air filters at least once every two to three months to keep the dust at bay and, at the same time, improve your indoor air quality.
Ban drinking and eating over carpets. Food and beverage stains are difficult to remove from carpets. Avoid this problem by employing a ‘no food and drink’ rule over carpeted floors.
Limit toys. If you have many children that still play with toys, the messes don’t seem to go away. Limiting your children’s toys can help solve this problem. Get rid of toys they no longer play with, encourage sharing, and ask loved ones for anything other than toys during special occasions.
4. Use the CLAYGO rule
The Clean As You Go or CLAYGO rule is an effective method in reducing messes in the house, especially one with many family members. Adopting this rule is also a great way to teach children responsibility, which they can carry throughout their life and make them better members of society.
With the CLAYGO rule, everyone has to clean up their own mess. Whether it’s spilled toothpaste on the sink or a used dish, everyone in the household has to clean it up. It may take a lot of time for every family member—especially children—to warm up to this rule, but they will get the hang of it sooner or later, especially if they see you practicing this rule yourself.
5. Don’t let chores pile up
One of the most common reasons why chores become so stressful is that we let them pile up all too often. Skip the dishes today, forgo the laundry tomorrow, and you will end up with a long list of chores to do over the weekend. Do yourself a favor and accomplish what you can now instead of putting them off for later.
Maintaining a big household can often feel like a full-time job—scratch that, it can feel like a double-shift most days. Nevertheless, there are a lot of ways you can make household chores easier on you and everybody else, starting with the tips we’ve mentioned in this article.