Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Getting Organized > The Essence of Family Organizing

The Essence of Family Organizing

Melinda had to formally resign as "maid of the house" in order for her family to start contributing to their share of housework. She explained to them that now that the children were teenagers, she would no longer be doing their laundry, nor would she do all of the cooking and cleaning up after meals. She acknowledged that she had perpetuated her role as "maid" and that it would take some time to reallocate responsibilities. She had given her husband a "heads up" that this was coming and they held a family meeting to decide together what to do next. They adapted a "win-win" system that she had found in Stephen Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families in which the children's clothing allowance was dependent on their pitching in with the laundry. When they did their laundry, they got their clothing allowance. No laundry, no new slacks or dresses.

Helping Children Do Their Share of Household Tasks

Keeping the house clean and organized can be a challenge in homes with children, but it is not impossible. If children learn responsibility for helping out around the house, and are taught basic organizing principles from an early age, they can avoid some of the problems we find ourselves experiencing as disorganized adults. Gary, a highly successful lawyer, says that his three boys tended to be disorganized like him. Part of his incentive for becoming more organized was seeing how his children were modeling themselves after him. It was important to him that his kids learn to pitch in, and he realized that they didn't mind doing work around the house as long as the tasks were split equitably. "They don't like it when we ask them to do more than their brothers have to do. Everybody clears and rinses their own dishes and puts them in the dishwasher. Fred takes out the garbage, Harris sets the table, and Donald brings down the laundry. They all make their own beds. If they think it's fair, they have no problem doing it. I try to help them build good habits now and I tell them that my life would have been a lot easier if I had been more organized."


From It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. Copyright ฉ 2003. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


8 Quick Tips for Curbing Your Family's Screen Time
Setting limits on screen time — and remembering to put down our own devices — is one of the biggest parenting challenges of our time. Use this guide to create healthy screen-time rules for your whole family.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

10 Best Beach-Themed Crafts and Activities
Sand, seashells, and stones can provide hours of family fun. Check out the greatest beach-related activities and crafts for toddlers on up.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks