Is YOUR definition of Clean a Mystery?

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?
Son: No.
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!


Law Wife said...

This is such a simple yet great idea! I like the part about "Dad's Rogaine and Mom's Nair." LOL. :)

Rachel said...

Lol...loved the nair and rogaine. What a great idea. Most of mine still can't read but they'll learn and then the lists will already be in place.Thanks for sharing.

~Tami said...

This is exactly what I've been wanting to do!

fonstren said...

We've had lists like that for years in our house. There's just one problem--getting the kids to look at them!!

Runner Mom said...

Your dialog with your son sounds just like our house!!! Bless their hearts!!!

Love the ideas! Would love your input at my blog if you get a chance!! All suggestions welcome!


Jody said...

You make me laugh......and that idea is awesome!

Erin said...

Like the other poster pointed out, sometimes getting the kids to look at the list can be challenging. It occurred to me that the children really didn't see what I was talking about, so I whipped out my digital camera and took pictures of their "cleaned" rooms and put them up on the monitor. Suddenly, they could see all the things I was talking about. Then we went and did the rooms again, took new pictures and they saw the difference. Visuals, visuals, visuals! I posted about it here: http://nagle5.blogspot.com/2009/01/digital-camera-for-cleaning-and.html

Sims Family said...

Great ideas! Thanks!!! I am always looking for ways to make the cleaning experience a better one.

Since you live relatively close to me, I thought I would share...Party City coupons in the mail yesterday had a 99 cent thing on Toille plates, napkins and cups. ;)

duchess said...

I really need this list - my kids have no clue.

LovingPrettyThings said...

ohmygosh - reading through the conversation between mom and son instantly brought me back to my youth - and now, I do the exact same thing as I swore I was never going to be like 'my mom'.....and here I am. I can't wait for my daughter to be old enough to read (1 more year!) - until then, I'm going to make a picture check-list (laminated - love that!) and will post for her to see. I'll even get a cute dry-erase marker for her to 'check off', too! THANK YOU!

Renata said...

What a great idea! Thanks for your idea - I'll have to put it to use when the kids are old enough to clean those kind of things.

Momof3 said...

Great idea. I'm going to combine it with after pictures since not all of my children can read yet.

Jenna said...

I have used clip art or pictures for kids who are too small to read.

True confessions - I have cleaners that come in every few weeks. It's a long story but they are a great blessing in my life. I do realize that I am doing my children a disservice by not making them scrub - however, there's nothing written that they can't clean everything on the off-weeks, right? Thanks for the lists - fabulous idea.

Kelly said...

Hi! I've been a follower of your blog for a couple of months. I really like it. I just wanted you to know that the picture of the bathroom you posted at the beginning of this post, IS MINE! Ha! I know you got it from RMS. Thank you for using it. Obviously, you like it. I just wanted to surprise you and let you know I've been a reader of your blog. What a coincidence. I'm a stay at home mom of 2 boys so I like the tips you give.

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Sorry but that bath is not mine. Oh how I wish it was but thank you~ Wonder where that picture came from?

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