Clutter bug house

by Genevieve Lee
(Lakewood, WA)

I have a family of five (mom, dad and three kids 2 girls, ages 12 & 9, one boy age 7). I am a full time college student and work part time on the weekends. My husband works retail full time.

We can never seem to agree on getting things tidied up around the house. So in turn the kids rebel not wanting to do the "dirty" work. My mother in law said it right when the kids see that mom and dad don't keep a straight house why should they! My initial thought was she should have also trained her son better in not being a slob, I gave up when I noticed he didn't care!!!

So, we have school papers, misc. toys in the living room, laundry in the hall and all over our rooms. The only time it gets renovated is when one of us is fumed about how things look, then we bite each others heads off. I feel like I'm the only one pushing to make things happen, it's frustrating. I've done everything chore list, allowance, alternating duties. NOTHING WORKS!!! Last resort is to light fire under feet....

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Feb 23, 2011
Comments for A Clutter Bug's Home
by: Samantha

Hi Genevieve, I've thought a lot about your dilemma and I'm answering from a traditional point of view, which may differ from others regarding marital division of household duties, but I've found it to work for most.

Someone is going to have to take control. In every marriage each spouse should have their own 'realm' without the other disrupting. I'm not saying each can't have input, but as w/anything one leader works better. And, regarding parenting and kids chores, there needs to be a united parental front.

Here's how it works in my house. Taking care of the house includes bills, kids, homework, house work, etc. falls on me. My husband is responsible for making the majority of the income with some outside chores. I control the home & he controls his career.

I used to get frustrated like you, but a friend of mine who's been happily married for many years told me it's best for each spouse to have their own realm without interference of the other. So, think about your strengths, think about your husband's and divide duties based on that.

Kids absolutely should have chores. Right now forget about chore charts, you're too busy w/school & work. You're in survival mode and tracking chore charts can put even more work on us. Kids need to learn to be contributing members to the family. Take away stuff... I mean take their doors off their rooms if necessary, get tough, not just losing video games, etc. Let them know you mean business. Tell them they will only get paid for chores if they do them to your standards - get creative and get them to do their part. Get ready, they will test you, so stay strong at first then it gets better.

Last it sounds like everyone needs a routine and the kids need to learn to pick up after themselves too. Try to be consistent in a routine. For instance, laundry is done on certain days and put away at night. Dirty clothes are put in the clothes bin every night. Make a rule that there will be no dinner until things are picked up. Husband needs to pick up after himself too, but if yours is like mine, it's not going to happen real fast, so keep the house under your realm, create systems of organization that work for your family and concentrate on what truly 'works' to keep you sane and organized and concentrate on getting the kids to pitch in and you'll all get it done.

Don't get overwhelmed. Nothing is constant except change. Life will change once school is done and the kids are older. Always feel free to contact me under the 'Contact Us' link at the bottom left of the screen. Good Luck!

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