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Since moving to the High Desert (California, not Oregon, because apparently there’s more than one), it feels like everything in my life is covered in a thin layer of dust. Or sand. Or construction debris. I don’t know what it is, but basically every part of me feels dry.
Between the literal dust of life and Bug’s proclivity for disaster-area messes, keeping up with housework hasn’t gotten much easier (especially since we more than doubled our square footage). I feel like most of my time, at least for these first couple weeks, is spent cleaning, figuring out what new chores I have to make time for, and acquiring cleaning tools & supplies.
On the upside, we’re a lot closer to a Walmart (like, seriously, it’s pretty much the biggest thing around for a good 8 miles, and beyond that is another Walmart. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!), so it’s nearly impossible to run out of our fave household heroes.
I’m more of a top-down cleaner, so countertops generally come first, and Clorox Wipes are super easy to use and store. Also, they won’t destroy granite, and having new granite counters makes me feel freakishly protective of them. Like I just want to keep them perfect, and I may or may not be a little scared of them. Since Clorox Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.9% of household bacteria, I feel a lot more confident about having adequately clean counters AND not wrecking my granite. Added bonus: Clorox also makes lavender scented wipes, which are apparently super popular around here. I’m keeping my eyes out, because if I can clean AND make my house smell awesome, I’M IN.
However, I did luck out with Lavender Pine-Sol which is basically my newest favorite cleaning product – it makes my house smell SO. GOOD. My entire downstairs is tile, so I’m basically mopping every other day, which can get really expensive with other products. I was really impressed with how inexpensive this was for such a large quantity, not to mention that you don’t have to use a lot of it to get a lot of cleaning solution.
Naturally, since Bug is a living, breathing natural disaster, there is always lots to sanitize, so bleach is a 100% must basically all the time.
One of the most helpful things I’ve done is set up a chore chart, just as a reminder of things I have to get done. However, now that Bug is a little older, he gets to do chores, too!
Yeah. It’s angels singing the Hallelujah chorus.
Just kidding, it’s me following after him and making sure things are done properly only to discover he’s created a lego firewalk. We’re working on it, okay?
So we’re working on it with an easy-to-make corkboard chore chart. It helps me track things better and it’s a tangible way to show him what he’s already done and what he still needs to do. And me. It helps me a lot. A LOT.
The materials are pretty basic:
- A Picture Frame (I used a 16″x20″)*
- A Roll of Cork*
- An X-acto Knife or Scissors*
- Binder Clips (not bulldog clips… I’ll explain)
- FREE Chore Tag Printables!
* You can also just skip these items and buy a framed corkboard instead… I just happened to have a roll of cork left over from my jewelry boards
If you are going the totally DIY route, start by taking the backing and glass panel out of your frame. Set aside the backing, but hold onto the glass panel for a minute!
Roll out your cork and lay the glass panel over it, so you can use it as a cutting template. Line the cork & glass up at the corners, and cut the cork to size using your X-acto knife. If you’re not totally comfortable with an X-acto, you can just trace it with a pen or Sharpie and cut it to size with scissors. After you’re done with this, put the glass away somewhere safe. Personally, I’m excited to repurpose the glass as a sweet little greenhouse, but that’s a different project for a different day.
Pull out the frame backing again, and put the inside (the side without any hanging hooks) face-up on your work surface. Apply spray adhesive evenly.
Lay the cork over the backing, lining up the corners and smoothing it out firmly. Take your time on this, because you really want the cork to stick to the adhesive!
Flip the backing over and trim away any excess cork.
Pop the cork & backing into the frame and close the teeth around it.
WABAM. The hardest part is over!
Cut up the chore card printables, but make sure to clamp them well if you decide to cut them all at once – I ended up with some wildly uneven cuts.
I sorted my board by family member columns, then added rows for daily, weekly, and monthly chores. You can binder clip all of them, create mini-envelopes, or thumbtack them to the board. Figure out what works for you!
Be mindful of the sizes of your clips and tacks – I got bulldog clips, which are super cute and strong, but I also got push pins instead of flat topped thumbtacks. Theyyyy don’t work together.
An of course, there has to be a system in place. What I do is flip the cards over as the task is finished and add them to the back of the stack. At the end of the day, week, or month, I can see what still needs to be finished. Once it’s all done, I just flip the binder clip back over and start again.
I like to draw rewards on the back of Bug’s task cards in particular, whether it’s 15 minutes of screen time or a sweet treat of some type. I designed the child-appropriate chore cards with space for little doodles, too, in case your kids, like my Bug, aren’t reading quite yet.
Do you choose sanity or a clean home? If you know how to do maintain both, share your secret in the comments and join the conversation at http://cbi.as/2464c!