1. DISH DUTY.
I don’t think I know one person who LOVES washing dishes. There was a time when all I wanted was disposable utensils, plates, cups…Now, in attempt to save the planet (or at least significantly reduce our carbon footprint), nothing is disposable. Each meal has at least 14 plates, 14 forks or spoons, and any pots, pans or giant casserole dishes that were used in the creation of the delicious feast. Instead of everyone having to do dishes everyday, each munchkin over the age of 8 has a dish duty day.
2. WATER BOTTLES.
I can’t stand plastic cups. I hate to see them sitting around on the counter with whatever liquid is left behind. They spill. They multiply when you’re not looking. The fun games called “THAT IS MYYYYYYYY CUP” and “THAT’S NOT MY CUP” were being played hourly. Enough! Enter personalized plastic water bottles. Each munchkin has a water bottle with a top and a straw that must be kept filled with water in the door of the refrigerator. If your water bottle is left out, there is a natural consequence of having to drink luke warm water (I CAN’T EVEN), but also, loss of a small privilege.
3. BATHROOM DUTY.
As you can imagine with 12 children…8 of them boys, the kids’ bathroom was atrocious. Poop, pee, toothpaste, spit wads, dirty clothes, hidden pull-ups, hair, makeup, small trinkets collected from God knows where and I am pretty sure most of them were booby traps set by a few mischievous munchkins. Thus the creation of our bathroom duty system. Bigs are partnered up with a Little so that they can learn the ropes from each other. The “team” is responsible for cleaning the bathroom on their assigned day. Some teams are more thorough than others but at the very least, it eliminated the truck stop stench.
Note: George has real plans to get even with a few select kiddos and pull the same poo smearing antics when they are adults and have their own place.
4. NO TOYS IN THE BEDROOM.
With the exception of stuffed animals, toys stay in the playroom/loft. Part of this is because we want to be able to see the kids while they play (yep, we have two cameras in the playroom) but it also makes clean up a lot easier. Bonus: I can easily get rid of clutter/junk without “stealing” it from their rooms.
When George moved out, he didn’t know how to do a load of laundry. I was shocked. Each of our munchkins learn to empty the dryer, sort laundry (by size) into their appropriate basket, and switch loads from washer to dryer and press start. A select few know how to start a load in the washer. When the baskets are full, we spread out and they fold and put away their own laundry. For motivation, anything found in the dryer (money, trinkets…) belongs to whomever volunteered to empty the dryer. We typically play fun, loud music to keep everyone moving and even throw in a little healthy competition to who can finish first. A few weeks ago, I gathered all of the kids and dumped one basket in the center of the family room. I started a stopwatch and timed them with each basket. They loved the idea of shaving seconds…even minutes off of each round of chaotic laundry folding. Hey! It worked and they finished folding and putting away everyone’s laundry (about a week’s worth) in a combined total of 21 minutes. It was totally one of those team building exercises where everyone works together and cheers each other on.
We run a tight ship over here but we have to in order to not live in a complete disaster of a home. Just don’t get me started on the moving/rearranging of couch pillows…I literally can’t even.