I Now Charge For Cleaning

February 2, 2012 by Michelle

Yes, I’m technically a stay at home mom. I do the all the laundry, the vast majority of cleaning, just about all the cooking, the daily chores, and what sometimes feels like everything. I’m sure most of you do, too. That said, I don’t feel like this means that others in the household can simply ignore the little things that should be part of a family working in harmony. I don’t get a paycheck for being the maid, but sometimes I feel like I should.

The wee ones (my husband, too, but especially the wee ones) tend to leave books and toys and clothes and other detritus scattered throughout the house. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tripped over a shoe left in the middle of a random floor. They are great about helping with chores when I tell them they need to do so – they’ll empty the dishwasher, put away laundry, clean the playroom, and the like. Remembering to hang up their coats when they walk in the door without a reminder each and every time? Not so much. Putting books back on the bookshelf once they’ve finished reading them? Ditto.

The last straw for me came when I walked into the bathroom this morning. I’m used to seeing hangars on the floor. I’m used to random pajamas or socks or yesterday’s clothing on the floor – and they must pick up those items. This though? It’s a whole new level.

Why yes, yes that is a book on the bathroom floor. And apparently a dinosaur had to come read it, too. I’m not sure what was going in here, but I’m pretty sure it was responsible for the delay in getting ready for school this morning. The daily admonitions and reminders to pick up clothing are not sinking in. It’s time to hit the wee ones where it hurts.

We’re implementing a new fine system as of today. For each room where clothing is left lying on the floor – whether clean or dirty – I will be collecting $0.25 from a piggy bank. While the wee ones don’t truly have a good concept of money, they hate giving it up. And $0.25 isn’t too much money, I don’t think. I did something similar when I wasn’t able to open the garage door the vast majority of the time because of coats dumped in front of the door, and I only collected $0.75 before the wee ones changed their habits and now hang up their coats where they belong.

So maybe I really am a housekeeper. After all, I’m collecting a salary for it now, a quarter at a time….

    Comments

  • Tara R.


    I like it! I may have to establish a fine system too. I hope it works for you, but if not, you'll have some fun money.

  • Frosted Fingers


    Sounds good to me! I need to start doing that, too.

  • Sandra


    Do you have a system for earning those quarters that go in the piggy banks? I don't have any system going on here =)

  • Heather E


    This is an EXCELLENT idea and one that I will keep in mind for when I have Wee ones too!

  • anymommy


    Brilliant. I want to hear an update in a few weeks!

  • Tami


    Going to try this with my teenagers. They weren't so bad a wee ones, but then their hormones took over and now they think it's OK to be a slob. NOT! I will be collecting dollar bills, not quarters!

  • Michelle


    Tara – It's working so far… Mister Man found DADDY violations yesterday and couldn't wait for him to come home to report that he owed me $0.50.

    Paula – It's surprising how motivating it is to them, and now they're so proud when they're cleaning up *on their own.*

    Sandra – We don't actually. They have so much money that they've been given for birthdays and other occasions that they couldn't spend it, so we're holding off for right now since they're already struggling with really understanding the value of money, and I think that would actually make it worse.

    Heather – Start mentally packing those ideas away for later use. It's amazing how many ideas I pull from friends who have older kids.

    Stacey – I will definitely provide an update. So far… it's been awesome. Mister Man is actually doing a sweep to find clothes, including the school uniform I put on the stepps after tkd, his tkd jacket that he put on the dining room table before homework, etc. It's awesome. I was so proud.

    Tami – Yep, you definitely have to alter it based on where you and they are in life. Here's hoping it works for you!

  • tiarastantrums


    M- I LOVE this idea! My kids messes have overtaken my house – I literally spend at least 1-2 hours at night “picking” up crap. Totally stealing this “fine” idea!

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