Crunching Through the Cracker Crumbs

Published with Permission

Written by Misty West

Once again I crunched through cracker crumbs as I reached for the broom for the third time that morning. Before one mess was conquered, two more were made by my young blessings. I felt that trying to keep my house clean was like chasing after the wind.

Whether my frustrations were the result of expectations that were too great or emotional wires that were crossed, I was completely overwhelmed with caring for two young children, homeschooling, keeping house, and the many things we moms do. To streamline housecleaning, my husband stepped in and created a simple chore list for me. I had daily, weekly, and monthly chores. It looked a little like this:



 Clean kitchen


 Sweep downstairs


 One load laundry


 Take out trash


 Straighten bedrooms









Downstairs bathroom




Upstairs bathrooms


Vacuum upstairs


(Free! – co-op day)




Mop downstairs





 1st Friday

Clean out car

 2nd Friday

Straighten garage

 3rd Friday

Clean patio

 4th Friday

Dust house

At first I was skeptical, thinking that the list oversimplified all that I do. However, with the understanding that the “chore of the day” would be done only on its day, I gave it a try. As I used the list, I found that my mind was freed from guilt about the fact that not everything was clean at the same time. If the bathroom sink looked a bit messy, I could wipe it down quickly if I chose, but I knew that it would be cleaned on Tuesday. I felt like I could begin managing my house instead of it ruling me.

Now, several years and another baby later, I realize that the list has become routine. I’ve tweaked it a bit and I’m a bit more relaxed about the extra little messes that come with discovery learning! While not comprehensive, my chore list gives me a basic template for organization. By the end of the week all of the main chores are done and my house is relatively clean.

A few tricks help me keep our areas straightened as the day progresses. Emptying the dishwasher in the morning allows us to load it throughout the day, keeping the kitchen more manageable. I also throw in a load of laundry first thing in the morning so that I can tend to it, and any others I choose to do, as I am able. Around lunchtime, we take a few minutes to straighten up whatever school supplies have been used that day. Chore time occurs whenever it is convenient on any given day. Around 4 p.m. each day we do a run-through, straightening the main living areas and creating as much order as possible before welcoming Daddy home.

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