Job jar

Lately my sanity has been tested. Do you ever feel as though your mess footprint is the smallest in the house, yet you spend the most time cleaning up? Maybe it’s because I work from home, so the clutter bothers me more, or maybe it’s because my kids are older and have more toys, shoes, and school papers floating around.

The point is, I’ve found myself screeching gently suggesting that the messes get cleaned up more than I’d care to. I felt a constant low-level buzz of stress looking at the little piles of clutter everywhere. It was time something was done.

Enter, the job jar.

I wrote down about 10 different age-appropriate tasks on slips of paper, then folded them up and dropped them in a glass jar.

I chose tasks that are above and beyond what we already expect from them (making their beds, picking up dirty clothes, clearing their dishes from the table, feeding the dog), but directly contribute to our shared household. Jobs that they are perfectly capable of doing, but don’t automatically do. Jobs that I was tired of telling them to do.

My idea is that each day, once in the morning before school, and once after school, each child will pick one job out of the jar. That’s four chores done per day. That should really lighten my load!

Oh, and because I’m not Cinderella’s evil stepmother, I included this

We’ve tried chore charts and reward systems before, and I’ll be honest here, we’ve had a hard time with the follow-through. Tacking up smiley magnets and tally marks just turns into one more thing I have to get done, and it often falls by the wayside. Not very consistent when trying to teach consistency. That’s why I like the idea of a job jar. Easy to remind the boys to pick a job, and then be done with it. As for a reward? A big thank you and some recognition for contributing to the family.

Now, I just have to figure out how to get Mike to choose jobs! Maybe some public shaming will do the trick?

Here is a pile of backpacking stuff (and some random shoes) that have been sitting here since Sunday. It’s in the dinning room, in case you are wondering.

Here is a shot of his closet (thank God we don’t share), from the best angle. If I showed you the side with the shelving, you might never recover.

Thankfully, I can just shut the door on that one.

So, how about you guys? Does a messy house lead to more stress or do you not even notice? Do you feel like you spend too much of your time cleaning up and nagging? Like maybe if you didn’t have so much housework, you could get to the gym more often? Make a job jar! Put your kids to work! Expect more! I’ll let you know how it works.

Btw, in the interest of full disclosure here, I should tell you that I certainly have my blind spots when it comes to cleaning. My closet can get cluttered, my magazines tend to migrate all over the house, and my side of the bathroom can get a little foul. Just last night, Mike told me he was disgusted by what looked like urine on the tile around my sink. Umm, no people. It’s just my face wash, which is organic brown sugar or something. But, I do have to admit, it looks pretty gross.

Off to clean my bathroom.


5 thoughts on “Job jar

  1. Amity says:

    Trish- We’ve been trying to be better about taming our clutter too. I’ve tried to adopt the touch it once philosophy to some success. I’m trying to teach the kids, and myself, that once we finish with something we clean up. “Later” it’s always a bigger and much more unruly project. I’m only 3 weeks in and so far so good. We’ll see in another month or so . . .

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