Year's still fresh, good time to establish order

The new year is still fresh. This is a good time to set new goals and priorities and re-establish order in our homes after a busy holiday season.

Traditionally many house cleaning tasks have fallen on Mom's shoulders. With a little creativity and ingenuity, each family can find ways for every member to pitch in, help bring order and create a spirit of harmony in the home. Here are a few suggestions:1. Talk it over. During a family home evening, have everyone create in their minds a mental picture of what type of atmosphere they would like to see in the home. Write down everyone's ideas, then discuss those that could realistically be implemented.

Help family members start the creative thinking process by giving examples of ways that lack of organization can cause stressful moments, such as someone running around the house looking for a pair of shoes just minutes before it's time to leave for Church. Then discuss what can be done to greatly minimize those times.

Work together. Children can be taught by parents or older brothers and sisters how to safely use a washing machine, sort clothes, vacuum, and operate other household appliances. Children who are taught how to do these things will help to reduce the overall workload in the home, and in the future these tasks will not seem foreign when they go on missions or have a home of their own.

Use variety. This helps give family members an appreciation of what is required in accomplishing each task in the home. It also cuts down on the feeling that work is boring.

You might try a "trade-a-room day" where the children clean the parents' room and the parents do likewise with the children's rooms.

Add an element of fun. Linda McMillian of the Alpharetta Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake, suggests that games and songs are other ways to keep younger children interested and cooperative while cleaning. Simple verses like, "Clean Up, Clean Up, Now It's Time To Clean Up" seem to stimulate children to action. Games that are played similar to "Name That Tune" could be changed to say, "I can do my side of the bookshelf faster and neater than you can do your side."

Establish good habits. When her children were young, Diane Mueller of the Chattahoochee Ward instituted a plan of using index cards with jobs written on them. Each Saturday morning the children choose cards with assignments on them and they know that the jobs must be completed between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Straighten often. Assign someone each day of the week to get up 30 minutes before other family members to be sure the house is in order before the day begins. Either the same family member or another could be assigned to do the same thing at the end of the day.

Linda uses the slogan "clean as you go." Teach family members to be aware of their surroundings and leave each room better than they found it.

Clean deeply. By implementing a few of the above ideas or coming up with others of our own, we should be able to reduce the time involved in deep cleaning. Of course, deep cleaning needs to be done too. Perhaps setting a timer will help so those items can be accomplished in a relatively short period so we can have more time for other activities.

Recently, the Young Men and Young Women from the Chattahoochee Ward visited the "People Who Help Themselves" homeless shelter just two blocks from the meetinghouse. Those who attended were impressed at the cleanliness and order found in that home. Everything was in it's place, beds were neatly made. Thelma Randall, the shelter's director, stated that in order to come to the shelter the clients must be willing to keep their minds, bodies and surroundings clean. Cleanliness helps put order back into their lives.

Whether we are single, married, or have a family, we can all accomplish the goals of establishing or re-establishing order in our homes. It is important to be consistent in teaching our families about cleanliness and order in the home. However, we are not to be too concerned about perfection in our physical surroundings. Our goal is not to have a picture-perfect home that will pass a white-glove inspection at any hour of any day. We want the Spirit to dwell there.

Candy Haynes is a member of the Chattahoochee Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed