Friday, July 18, 2014

Ktichen Jobs and the wheels that make them happen!

Many years back, I was having a conundrum about how to solve the unending issue of kitchen jobs. There are certain jobs that are just never finished no matter what. Some chores will say "done" for at least a few days, but then there are other chores that don't even seem to last a few minutes. And those jobs are right in the middle of where you live. For instance, I would assign a child to do the dishes, but then, a minute after they finished their job, there were more dishes to be done. 

So, I looked at the jobs that ALWAYS needed to be done; those jobs that almost NEVER stayed done. I decided to focus on those jobs that were surrounding where we spent all our time: the kitchen and family room. I didn't include laundry, because that is far away and I can't see the laundry room from where we spend most of our time (which means, I'm OK with the laundry room being messy because it doesn't affect my sanity as much as a messy kitchen--you have to choose your battles). 

The other a-ha moment I had was that each of these chores needed to be a weekly assignment. The deal with these assignments is that any time dishes need to be done, I can turn to the assigned child and say "Please do your job." They are the one responsible for keeping the sink "dish free" and the dishwasher running whenever it's needed. If they let the dishes pile up one day, then they were responsible for getting them all done the next day. They have ownership of that assignment for the entire week. If it's time to eat and the kitchen table is piled with stuff, I call the "kitchen table" person and have them clean off and set the table. If the table is strewn with another person's stuff, then that person can ask the owner to clean up their own things. These assignments don't clean the entire house, but they get the core of the house and when these chores are taken care of, I feel like I can, at least, function and think clearly.

This system has worked quite well for us. We've used it for over 10 years. It's been a lot harder as kids have left for college. In fact this past year, with only 2 teenagers home, I actually had to step in and do some of these tasks (another reason to have lots of kids). I'm so grateful that I have 2 college kids home for the summer and that we have 4 kitchen jobbers. When September comes along, I'll have to figure out how to divide the work. I don't like doing the menial task of filling the dishwasher (I somehow feel like I'm overqualified for it--haha). So, I'm hurriedly training the next batch of kids to take over (so that I don't have to).

The kitchen job wheel hangs on the fridge so that everyone can always see who is assigned to what task each week. We spin it Sunday evening after everyone has finished their jobs and the new job starts Monday morning. I absolutely LOVE our kitchen job fact, everyone loves it because it divides the chores fairly and evenly and it has worked well all these years. We recently retired our old, yellowed, dirty wheel and replaced it with a new one for this summer. Part of me didn't want to throw it away, because it's served us for so many, many years. So, in order to honor the old chore wheel, I took a picture of it and blogged it. Now, I can toss it. 

Our old (and yellowed) kitchen job wheel that we used for 10+ years.
Our new chart, jobs divided by 4 instead of 5.

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