A sure fire way to conjure up tears when I was young was to ask me to clean the bathroom. Actually, it wasn't the act of cleaning itself that threw me into an emotional state of self pity- I thought I was Cinderella (we've already established that I'm a hopeless romantic and lean toward the dramatic side of things right?- my poor mother)... I freaked out at the inspection. After I completed my cleaning jobs, my mom would always come and inspect, and invariably, without exception... I did not pass... thence flowed the tears.
For years cleaning the bathroom right was a mystery to me. Though she walked me through the steps, showed me how to scrub a toilet and even the walls next to it... she never concretely defined what clean meant to her... "OH.. you want me to take out the dirty trash too?... I didn't know you wanted me to throw away the empty shampoo bottles!... I'm supposed to gather all the dirty towels for the laundry?!?!?"
Fast forward a couple of decades:
Mom: Are your jobs done?
Son: Yep, bathrooms ALL cleaned.
Mom: Is it ready for inspection?
Son: Uhh, I think so.
Mom: Why is the toothpaste still stuck on the faucet?
Son: I couldn't get it off.
Mom: This toilet seat still has pee on it.
Son: I cleaned it.
Mom: There's pee on it. It's not cleaned. HOW did you clean it?
Son: I put that blue stuff in the bowl and used that scrubber thing.
Mom: Did you ever spray the toilet seat and wipe it with a rag?
Mom: Did you notice that yellow crusty smelly stuff down there where the toilet bolts to the floor?
Son: Eww what is that?
Mom: Really, do I need to say this?... "Pee son. Dried pee. That's why this room smells."
Son: Why is it down there? I didn't do that. I'm not cleaning that.
Mom: Oh well, then you're welcome to stay in this bathroom until it cleans itself or until it disappears... you decide. I'm getting a bowl of ice-cream. Glad my jobs are done!"
You get the idea.
Why do we do this moms? Let's just say what we mean once and be done!
Here's the remedy- and it's painless... well almost.. you still need to use a computer and printer... might even have to adjust margins and size it... ugg! Well, maybe you can get hubby to do that stuff!
Make a short list of what you expect to see when a room is cleaned. Laminate the sucker and tape it behind the door or under the light switch or on the video game remotes... wherever your kiddos will see it.
Make the list easy to read with bullet items. Make one for every room in your house... you can even make one for your car. This way anyone can check your cleaning criteria and pass inspection.
There are 2 versions of this list: 1 version for general pick up (this one should be on your walls), the other version for cleaning -laminated and ring clipped with lists for other rooms and stored in your cleaning caddy. Now the job is defined and not such a mystery!
Example: Clean Bathroom (cleaning checklist)
- Mirrors cleaned
- Sink clean without toothpaste
- Faucet shiny
- Counter tops cleared and wiped down.
- Toothbrushes, combs, hairdryer put away.
- Toilet lid, handle, seat, bowl and base cleaned.
- Tub toys put away.
- Tub cleaned.
- Shampoo, conditioner, Dad's Rogaine and Mom's Nair neatly put away.
- Towels hung
- Floors swept
- Rug straight.
Example: Straighten Bathroom
- Toothbrushes, combs, and hair supplies put away.
- Counters clear
- Toilet seat down
- Towels hanging on hooks or folded... NOT ON FLOOR.
- Tub toys put away
- Trash can emptied
- Hand towels straightened
- Toilet paper on roll.
Walla! This idea works in every room in the house. NOW- assign your kiddo a room and DARE him to ask what you mean! Go ahead and delegate those duties and have yourself a nice chocolate truffle binge and be satisfied knowing you'll only have to inspect once!