Category: Cleaning & Organizing

DIY Trash Can for Your Car

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I promise you my aunt is cooler than yours.

When she was going through cosmetology school she liked to experiment on me sometimes. Remember the infamous 90’s knots? Or Scary Spice Horns? I’m pretty sure we tried that one time. 

But actually, of all the people on the planet, if I could fly her out here from Reno every time I needed a haircut/color, I totally would. She’s that good.

Apart from being incredibly talented in making you look like a million bucks, she’s also got a knack for decorating and crafting. In fact, she told me about this little craft project of hers and I knew I had to share it. 

She watches her two grandkids which are roughly the same ages as my kids. Apparently, I’m not the only woman in the world who struggles with keeping her car not looking like a trash bin. She said she got fed up with it one day and this little idea came to her.

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It’s genius. My kids love it. And just like she prophesied, they fight over who gets to use it. I just leave it on the back seat in the middle, between their carseats.

Another plus is that you can use it for wet and dry garbage. It’s easy to rinse out and I love that it has a little lid which fits perfectly. Since I hate the smell of fast food wrappers or half eaten hamburgers when we’re traveling, the lid helps minimize those odors. Score! If you have to change a dirty diaper and there’s no trash bin in sight, no problem. Stick it in here with the lid on (possibly put it in the trunk )

It’s a cinch to make. Lilliana and I made it in like 15 minutes. She passed me the washi tape while I stuck it on. Super simple!

Here’s what you need:

Step 1: Open

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Get your clean, metal can. We get these from our local food storage place with things like flour, sugar, beans, oats, rice, etc. Any big metal can would do.

Then you open it with a smooth edge can opener. This makes for a perfectly fit lid for your trash can. These can openers cut from the side instead of through the top. They are great to avoid sharp edges and allows you to take the top of the can off without contaminating anything inside. They’re a great little tool to have.

Step 2: Decorate

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Now you get to decorate. Use whatever kind of tape you like. My aunt used some really cute duct tape and different kinds of washi tape. She said it was easier for her to start at the bottom and the top and work your way in towards the middle. Since my washi tapes were all the same width I started at the top and went down. Either way, just try not to overlap the tape. It tends to lift if you do. And don’t wrap any tape around the opening of your can or the edge of your lid. You want the metal to touch metal when you put the lid on in order for it to be a secure fit. If your tape drapes over the sides, just trim it with some scissors.

Step 3: Handle

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You can rough up the tape a little in the middle of the lid and hot glue your drawer pull on to use as a handle. Roughing up the tape helps it stick. Mine still keeps falling off every time I drop the lid so I’m thinking about drilling a small hole and using the screw that went with the drawer pull to secure it on there. 

Guys, that’s it. No more steps. You’re done. 

Isn’t it fun?! And believe me, your car will stay cleaner. I just empty the little thing every couple of days and it’s awesome not to have to take armfuls of garbage to the trash bin. 

Big thanks to my aunt for sharing her artistic and creative abilities with us. Love you Aunt Artie!

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What is your biggest struggle when it comes to keeping your car clean?

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8 Tips to Keeping Your Home Smelling Fresh

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I live in a really tiny house. We call it the “circle house” because you can literally walk in a circle and go through every room; they are all connected. The problem this poses for me is the fact that bad smells travel quickly. For a girl like me with a hyper-sensitive nose, it drives me berserk!

I love to cook and I especially like to try new things. My husband calls them “inventions” or “experiments” as if I’m some mad scientist or something. I try to explain that I’m rarely coming up with something out of the blue, it’s usually a new recipe I’m following. Like the Chicken Pad Thai Catastrophe of 2011.

After a month of painstakingly searching the entire state for all the ingredients, including fish sauce, I was incredibly disappointed when it turned out to be a revolting disaster. I kept thinking the smell of the fish sauce would subside and meld with all the other flavors in the dish. A couple from church stopped by to say hello as we were gagging while dumping the entire pan of slimy noddles and stinky fish sauce into the trash can. I’m sure they regretted that visit but I am also sure they were warned the second they opened their car door.

Or there was the regrettable “fat-rendering in the crockpot” idea. It hadn’t occurred to me that putting a paper towel under the lid to absorb the condensation would cause the beef lard to burn. When I pulled up in my driveway after being gone for almost 10 hours, I thought my house was burning down! I’m lucky it didn’t.

I had to open all the windows and doors, take the smoking crockpot outside, which I’m sure my neighbors really appreciated, and leave for a couple of hours. I had to wash every blanket, pillow, and swatch of fabric in my entire house. 

For brevity’s sake let’s just conclude that I have some experience trying to get bad smells out of my house. These are two extreme examples but there is the everyday problem that every meal I cook seems to permeate the entire house. Without a ventilation system in my kitchen or even a range hood, the smell of bacon or any kind of frying oil is destined to lurk about my house and offend my nostrils until the next meal takes over.

I have tried every way imaginable to minimize odors or try to eliminate them after the fact. Let me share with you what have turned out to be my best practices to keep your home smelling fresh and inviting.

Keep the kitchen clean

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Prevention is key in keeping bad smells from taking over. Here are a few ideas to keep on top of it.

1. Food

The longer an odor is allowed to sit and steep, the more it is able to permeate. Common sense tells you to get that crap out immediately! I have started using a little bucket as my “garbage bowl” when I cook. When I cut up strong-smelling foods like onions, garlic, or fish I throw the scraps into my garbage bucket and set it outside until I’m finished cooking and I can take it to the outside garbage.

Getting rid of (aka taking outside, not throwing in your trash can) frying oil or grease as soon as you finish cooking will slow the spread of that wretched smell significantly. I empty the grease into a mason jar and take it outside.

It is also wise to make sure you put the leftovers in a container and in the fridge as soon as possible. It keeps your house from stinking up and it keeps you from getting salmonella the next day. So, win/win.

I suppose it also goes without saying that we should empty our garbages often.

2. Dishes

We like to have a big breakfast on Sundays with bacon, eggs, and sometimes pancakes before we go to church. Usually what happens though is I’m in a big hurry to get breakfast cooked and eaten so I can get ready, which causes me to leave the clean up until we get back. I love the smell of bacon when it’s cooking but the after smell of bacon…gag 

Washing your dishes as you go not only helps the cleanup process go much quicker but it also helps to get rid of those food smells before they unpack their bags and decide to stay a while. 

3. Surfaces/Appliances

Quickly wiping up spills and messes on your stove, table, and countertops keeps bacteria from growing and disturbing your fresh smelling kitchen.

However, if you’re not washing those rags and towels daily, you’re just spreading nasty bacteria all over your surfaces. Please, for the love of all that is holy, change out your dish rags daily

If you are regularly cleaning out your fridge, oven, and microwave you won’t have to deal with those mystery smells that are difficult to get rid of. Keep an opened box of baking soda in your fridge to absorb strong smells and change it out monthly. To quickly clean your microwave, put a small bowl of equal parts water and vinegar with lemon wedges in and turn it on for 2 minutes. Then let it sit for 2 more minutes. When you open it to clean it out, the walls will be full of condensation and will have soaked the stuck on junk to make it easier to wipe out. 

Cleaning your garbage disposal regularly is an easy thing to do and will prevent bacteria from building up down there. Just throw in some ice cubes and lemon wedges weekly to break up stuck on food and kill the nasty stuff. Rinse, with the water and disposal turned on for a couple of minutes to make sure all the junk clears the pipes.

Get rid of lingering smells
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4. Vinegar

Vinegar is our magical tool when it comes to getting rid of really bad smells. I had read that putting out a bowl of vinegar in your kitchen and letting it sit overnight got rid of bad smells but I thought it was pretty far-fetched. So I decided to try it. I went a step further and laid out several bowls, one on my stove, one on my table, and one near my sink. It smelled like vinegar for the next 15 minutes or so but then magically, that smell disappeared and the bad smell started to fade. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Vinegar is like the all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer and is a whole lot safer than bleach. I am pretty stocked up on vinegar right now as he has become my new BFF when it comes to cleaning.

If the smell still doesn’t go away you could try heating up the vinegar mixed with equal parts water and some citrus peels on the stove for a couple of hours.

5. Febreeze

I always keep a couple of cans of febreeze air effects in my cleaning arsenal. It is a quick and easy way to spray around your house and although it doesn’t work like magic, it certainly helps the situation. If I walk in and my house smells like the Malt Shop where I used to work, I take several trips around this little circle house, continuously spraying my febreeze and usually notice it keeps the odor monster at bay. Then I can get down to business and see what, of the above steps, I haven’t implemented. 

Keeping it smelling fresh

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6. Ventilate

My little house gets so stuffy in the winter and just starts to smell stale. I have started opening a window in every room in the mornings, no matter how cold, to let the air move around a little. 

Also, when I cook, I open the kitchen windows and turn on the ceiling fan. Getting some air flowing through the house keeps those unpleasant odors from sticking around and keeps a constant flow of fresh air moving around.

7. Plants

My husband can testify I’m not very good at this one. I love the idea of having lots of live plants in my house because hello, they’re constantly breathing fresh oxygen into your space. However, I tend to kill anything green that sets leaf in my house. He has finally, after almost 7 years of marriage, resorted to buying me regular flowers that will die anyway instead of potted plants.

I am going to try it again, starting with a small herb garden. Basil, rosemary, mint, oh my! Can you imagine how delicious it’s going to smell? 

8. Smellies

I have an entire drawer in my kitchen, I’m not exaggerating, dedicated to keeping all my little scented wax packages. I have a wax warmer in 3 of the 5 separate spaces in my house. Basically, you can’t walk more than 20 steps in my house without coming across a wax warmer. 

I have also used wall plugins, candles, and an essential oil diffuser. All these things can help transform your home into a delightfully smelling haven. I can’t express the feeling I have when I walk into my house and it smells fresh and clean. It busts my anxiety like nothing else. 

Don’t underestimate the power of the sense of smell and the effect it can have on the overall feeling of your home. Making a few small changes when it comes to your cooking and cleaning habits will have your home smelling superb in no time.

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10 Minute Homemade Laundry Soap

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If I told you that you could wash all your laundry in a month for only a quarter and about 10 minutes of your time, would it be worth it to you? A batch of this stuff takes roughly 10 minutes to make and will last anywhere from 3-8 months depending on how much you use per load and how many loads you do. An entire batch (448 oz.) costs about $1.83. I assure you, it is worth your time.

Before I start in on this amazing stuff (of which you will find I am SUPER passionate about) let me address the upfront concerns that I, and probably you, have had about laundry soap you make yourself.

1. Do your clothes smell good?

I have a slight obsession with pleasant smells. I always want my house, my linens, and my clothes to smell good and I have gone to great lengths to accomplish this. For my laundry, I used to spend inordinate amounts of money on not only detergent but add on top of that every single product on the shelves to make my clothes smell like my Nammie’s (grandma’s) used to. It was totally possible for me to spend over $50 a month on laundry products. Yikes! To answer this question, my clothes smell no different to me. My husband trains horses so you can only imagine how not-pleasant-smelling his work clothes are. However, even when I wash them with my own laundry soap, they don’t smell any worse or any better to me than with Tide or Gain or any other brand name laundry soap. Now, I do use fabric softener (although vinegar works just fine too) and I sometimes use the Downy Beads to give it a boost but I would have done that with regular laundry soap anyway. The difference now is that I can buy those kinds of products with zero guilt since I’m saving a truckload on the soap itself. As far as my Nammie’s laundry smell? Hanging my clothes outside has proven to be the answer. Totally free, totally easy, and smells glorious in my book!

2. Do your clothes get clean?

I have a somewhat messy 4-year-old and a ridiculously messy 2-year-old and I can tell you that stains are completely commonplace at our house. I use a regular stain remover like Spray and Wash or sometimes Clorox 2 but as far as the laundry soap goes, not any different than any other I have tried. Our clothes are clean but stains are still the bain of my existence. I have found that getting stains out has more to do with how soon you wash the clothes than what kinds of products you use.

3. Is it safe on HE machines?

I have an HE machine and so does my mother who also uses this recipe. We have been making our own laundry soap for at least 3 years and have had no problems to date. If you google “homemade laundry soap he machine” you will find mostly positive comments and just about every homemade laundry soap I have seen uses almost the exact same ingredients with very similar measurements. The HE machines can’t handle a lot of suds but this is supposed to be a low-suds detergent. I have also heard that liquid laundry soap is almost always better than powdered forms on HE machines. If you’re really concerned check your owners manual or call the manufacturer.

4. Are the ingredients safe?

If you were to research the ingredients in homemade laundry soap as opposed to store-bought laundry soap, you would probably find that homemade is almost always safer than store-bought. Not that I would drink this stuff, but I feel totally comfortable with the mostly natural ingredients. I have very sensitive skin and I haven’t seen any problems in that regard with this laundry detergent. But as always, do your own research if you’re still concerned.

5. How long does it take to make?

Ok are you ready to have your mind blown? This was another big hangup of mine and why it took me so long to catch onto the DIY laundry soap train. I watched my sister make laundry soap one time, grating the soap by hand and trying to pour this globby mess out of a bottle into her machine. I have experimented a little with this recipe and have found some serious shortcuts and tricks to make this as painless as possible. Most days that I make this (which I only make it about once every few months) it takes me all of 10 active minutes, if that. It takes a while to let it cool but since that doesn’t require my attention, I don’t count it. You may need once a year an extra 15 minutes or so to grate the soap and measure it out into baggies, which is what I do, but it saves you loads of time down the road. Also, a food processor and immersion blender make this job super easy and incredibly quick. You can make it without these but in my book, it wouldn’t be worth the time investment. I bought both my food processor and immersion blender at different yard sales for about the price of a month of store-bought detergent.

Let’s Get Started

Are you ready to get started?! You will need the following ingredients:
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  1. Fels Naptha Soap Bar
  2. Borax
  3. Super Washing Soda

All of which can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store, probably on the bottom shelf. I have included links to both Amazon and Walmart (I used the link where I found it the cheapest) but quite frankly, I was amazed at how expensive these are online. I can buy each ingredient for under $5 (and the fels naptha for less than $2) at my local grocery store.

For tools you will need:

  1. Large pot
  2. 4 or 5 gallon bucket
  3. Food processor or hand grater
  4. Immersion blender or large whisk
  5. 4 one gallon containers (I use old laundry soap containers)
  6. Kitchen scale (optional)
  7. Small plastic baggies

Step One:

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I do this step once every year or two usually. I buy 4 bars of fels naptha soap and grate them all in a food processor. Use the finest grate you have and if there are any large chunks, mince them up with a knife. The chunks will not dissolve unless they are finely grated or minced. Then I use a kitchen scale to measure out 2/3 of a bar. I have already done the math for you so don’t let it be more complicated than it is. One fels naptha bar weighs about 5.7 oz. so 2/3 of that is about 3.8 oz. I separate each batch of grated fels naptha bar by weighing out 3.8 oz and putting it in a small baggie. Four bars will yield 6 batches, which is enough for at least a year or more. Doing this ahead of time will save you the largest chunk of work and time.

Step Two:

When you’re ready to make your laundry soap, heat up 8 cups of water (not to boiling but obviously hot) and pour in one bag (2/3 of a bar) of grated fels naptha soap. Stir or mix with an immersion blender until dissolved.

Step Three:

Pour in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of super washing soda. Stir or mix with an immersion blender until dissolved.

*Note: Try not to allow your water to boil or it will start to suds up with the soap in it. It just needs to be hot enough to allow the mixture to dissolve.

Step Four:

Fill your 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons (48 cups) of hot water from the tap. I actually drew a line with a permanent marker on my bucket so I wouldn’t have to measure 3 gallons every time. Empty the contents of your pot into the bucket. Mix with an immersion blender or large whisk until mixture seems properly diluted in the water. Let sit until mixture comes to room temperature, preferably overnight.

Step Five:

This is what the soap will look like after cooling to room temperature. There are several inches of congealed soap sitting on top. You can use your hands to break it up or just start mixing again with the immersion blender.
CongealedThis is what it looks like after a couple minutes of mixing.
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Mix, mix, mix! The more often you mix the detergent while in the 5 gallon bucket, the less you’ll need to shake it in the container to keep it from congealing. I usually mix it with the immersion blender once after adding the mixture to the bucket, again after it starts congealing and before I go to bed, and once in the morning before I start to empty the mixture into my detergent containers. That seems to be the trick and I rarely need to shake my container afterwards.

Step Six:

Fill your laundry detergent containers with the soap. I use old Gain containers and fill them with a ladle and a funnel. Each container should only be about 3/4 full. This allows for room in the container should you need to shake the detergent a little in case it congeals.

I made you a little label that you can print out on waterproof sticker paper and stick on your containers. These labels look like they would work but I actually ordered and used these ones. It helps to have the recipe on the back so you don’t have to look it up every time you go to make it. 

Download (PDF, 847KB)

And there you have it…the easiest laundry soap and $30 of savings per month. That’s almost $400 a year! What could you do with that extra money? I hope you do something fun with it…tell your husband that you worked hard to make it and so that’s your extra money

 

10 Minute Homemade Laundry Detergent
Super easy and quick DIY laundry detergent to help you save loads of money.
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Ingredients
  1. Water
  2. 2/3 Fels Naptha Bar (3.8 oz) grated
  3. 1 cup Borax
  4. 1 cup Super Washing Soda
Instructions
  1. Heat (just under boiling) 8 cups water in stockpot and add grated fels naptha bar. Stir until soap dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and add borax and super washing soda. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Fill 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons of hot water. Add soap mixture and blend with immersion blender until completely dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  4. Allow detergent to cool to room temperature or overnight. Blend with immersion blender two more times, allowing to sit for several hours in between to avoid congealing.
  5. Empty detergent into containers.
  6. Use 1/4-1/2 cup per load of laundry.
Adapted from Life at Cobble Hill Farm Blog
Count the Happies http://countthehappies.com/

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Let me know if you try this and any questions or concerns you have. I’ll do my best to answer them! Happy Laundry Day 🙂

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Spring Cleaning Checklist

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Spring fever, for me, is usually accompanied by this insane desire to declutter, demuck, and deep clean everything in my house. It is akin to the nesting instinct I always get in the last couple months of pregnancy. It’s like, I don’t care what is on my schedule, I’m getting to every item on this list of “Crap to Clean.”

I thought I’d share my list with you in case you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of spring cleaning. I’ve organized each item by action.

Declutter

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This means to go through everything and throw out what you don’t use and can’t donate.

  • Clothes/accessories
  • Food
  • Toiletries/makeup
  • Medicine
  • Dishes
  • Cleaning supplies

  • Tools
  • Linens
  • Toys/books
  • Craft/art supplies
  • Papers
  • Electronics/wires

Deep Clean

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These are some things you can deep clean, meaning wiping down every nook and cranny.

  • Fridge/freezer
  • Stove/oven
  • Microwave
  • Toilet

  • Sinks
  • Tub/shower
  • Washer/dryer
  • All floors

Wash

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Here is a list of things you should wash that you probably don’t get around to very often. 

  • Baseboards
  • Door frames
  • Ceilings/walls
  • Light fixtures/fans
  • Windows/sills
  • Window coverings

  • Blinds
  • Pillows
  • Blankets/quilts
  • Mattresses (and flip)
  • Rugs
  • Furniture with fabric

Dust/Polish

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In order to keep the wood in your home shiny and healthy, it should be polished at least once a year. Here are also a few other things that could benefit from a once a year dusting and polishing.

  • Furniture
  • Silver
  • Cabinets

  • Wood trim
  • Items of decoration

I made a fun little printable for you if you’d like to stick it on your fridge and check things off as you go. Come on, I know you love to check stuff off a list. It’s weird how psychologically it makes us feel more accomplished.

If you would like this cute printable to get you started, go ahead and click on it to print or download. It’s free. You’re welcome ?

Download (PDF, 631KB)

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Have you started your spring cleaning yet? What is the worst part for you?

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Quit Your Job as the Maid: 4 Step Training Process

***This is the fourth post in a series called Quit Your Job as the Maid. Post 1Post 2, Post 3

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My 4-year-old son has this…we’ll call it an issue…where he wants to change his clothes a thousand times a day. You can bet that doesn’t go over well with this Laundry Slave. The other day he wanted to wear one shirt to school and then bring a different one to change into after school. I gave him a flat “no” and he continued to insist. I finally said, “When you’re ready to do the laundry, you can change your clothes as often as you want…” He cut me off and said, “Ok, I’m ready for you to teach me.” ? I hadn’t realized I had offered an invitation.

Here’s a 4 step training process to help you follow through once you’ve invited your kids to learn something new.

1. Acknowledge

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While studying to be a teacher I learned about all kinds of ways to motivate children. There are sticker charts, verbal praise, silent praise (such as a high-five), rewards in the form of treats, toys, and privileges. There are all sorts of extrinsic (or external) motivators. But what really struck a chord with me is what Vicki talks about and comes from the psychologist Rudolf Dreikurs, which is intrinsic (or internal) motivation. That is, doing something because you know it’s right and it makes you feel good on the inside. It is very unlikely our young children will develop this if we continue to reward them with praise or treats every time they do something right.

From the time my son was very young I would say, after cleaning up a mess, “Awww. I love it when our house is clean. It feels so good! Don’t you think?” I would try to draw attention to the internal feeling that we get when everything is put away and cleaned up. I would point out, “It’s so nice to be able to find our things because they’re put away where they should be.”

Before I knew it, he started pointing out the same things and feelings. He actually appreciates the feeling of a clean house. That doesn’t mean he’s always clean, but neither am I. When it’s time to clean up though, he’s all about putting things away and making everything look nice. He genuinely likes the feeling he gets afterward.

In order to fuel their intrinsic motivation we can’t keep giving an empty, “good job” every time they do something right. We don’t want to teach them to do things only to please us, although it may start out that way. It is far more effective to show them that we noticed what they did, point out the benefits, and let them know we appreciate it.

Not only does this teach self-motivation but it also helps instill a sense of gratitude in our children. If we not only acknowledge their effort but then express gratitude for it, in a specific way, it will help them to feel that sense of contributing to the family. It helps them to feel like they matter and are important and depended upon. They are also likely to mirror that gratitude and be more appreciative of others’ efforts.

We can do this by:

  • Acknowledging their accomplishments: by saying something like, “I see that you picked up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper this morning.”
  • Bringing attention to their abilities: such as, “man, making toast can be hard sometimes but I see you did it all by yourself.”
  • Asking them to talk about how they did it: by using questions such as, “How did you know how to do that? What did you do first? What was the hardest part? What did you do to solve it?”
  • Once they master a task, moving on: there is no need to keep discussing it once they’ve mastered it. Bring the attention to the new task at hand.

2. Build

By looking at the information you collected during the observation period you will notice the things your child can do but doesn’t always do on a regular basis without reminding. You can bring up this list and invite your child to pick one thing from that column to work on next. Brainstorm ways to help her remember to do it or make it easier to accomplish. This step of the learning process is much easier if you start with something the child already knows how to do but doesn’t do it regularly. It is less stressful and instills confidence in the child to be able to accomplish more difficult tasks in the future.

3. Teach

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This process is very similar to the teaching model I learned while studying elementary education. It is “I do, we do, you do.” This gradual approach to handing over the reins helps children develop confidence in their ability and excitement to try new things on their own.

First, we model how to do something. Then we invite the child to do it with us. Eventually, we allow them to try it on their own. You may consider ways to accommodate her if a step is too difficult. For example, I had to move the hooks lower for my son to be able to hang his coat up by himself.

It is also helpful, if it is a task they already know how to do, to do kind of a pretest. Ask the child to show you how she does it. You may notice that she knows most of it but is missing a couple of steps. Acknowledge what she does right and then model the parts she needs to work on. Break it down into small, manageable steps. Allow time for her to practice and master the skill. Make sure you’re consistent and have faith that she’ll develop the habit.

Habits 

It is especially helpful, when developing a new habit, to have what experts call an anchor. It is something that happens right before the habit that will serve as a built-in reminder. For example, we brush our teeth after we eat. The act of eating is a reminder that we need to brush our teeth. We put our dirty clothes in the hamper after we take them off. Anytime you can point out an anchor and associate it with that new habit they’re working on, they will be that much more likely to remember.

Systems

My first job was at a burger joint called The Malt Shop. I was only 14 and felt a little overwhelmed during the training process because I felt like there were so many things to remember. It was reassuring to know they had systems in place, especially when it came to starting and ending a shift. There were certain steps to take and it was all written down. If I was ending my shift and was in charge of cleaning the shake area, I had a written list of all the things I had to make sure were stocked and cleaned before I could leave. For the first few shifts I had to look at the list constantly. Over time, I got into the habit of doing everything on the list without having to look at it.

I believe we can easily implement these systems in our homes and it will make the training process so much easier for both us and our kids. If our kids can read, make a simple checklist for them as they learn certain skills. If their job is the bathroom, keep a little checklist under the sink that shows all the parts of cleaning the bathroom: put everything away, scrub the tub, scrub the toilet bowl, wipe down the counter and sink, wipe down the toilet, wash the mirror, vacuum and mop the floor. If your kids are too young to read, make a list with simple pictures of each step. My 4-year-old son has a list of things he needs to do every day before we leave the house. They are 3 simple clipart pictures I printed and taped to his door. They are a boy making his bed, a girl putting her dirty clothes in the hamper, and two little kids putting away their toys. 

4. Maintain

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This step is one of the hardest because it requires ongoing commitment and consistency. We tend to want to step in for a couple of different reasons:

1. When we’re in a hurry.

Keep it in perspective and do your best to patiently stay put and watch as your child continues to master these skills. Get in the habit of allowing extra time so you don’t feel pressured to jump in and help.

2. When we realize they do a lot more than their peers.

Our children are running their own race and there is absolutely no reason why we should ever look at our kids’ friends and wonder if we’re expecting too much. Remember, this isn’t just to help us out, it helps our kids develop their own sense of worth and confidence. They’re fine, I promise.

And there it is folks, the last step to quitting your job as the maid. Just think about how much your kids are going to benefit from learning to do all these things and the freedom you will have once they master it all!

Know that this training process is an investment you must make in the beginning. It takes time to teach our kids new skills. However, once they’re taught, we don’t have to worry about it anymore. If we help them develop these habits when they’re young, we can look forward to many years of enjoying more time with them and being more emotionally available in order to develop a close relationship. 

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Where are you starting with your kids? What part of this process do you think will be the most difficult to implement? How will you overcome that?

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