‘I am not really a chores person.’
Those were the words of my feisty 4-year-old granddaughter, Quinn, one Saturday when her parents were introducing her to the idea of family chores.
She, like her grandmother, is a girl who is all about the fun.
We love to be together, and it’s often during busy holidays or weekends that we get that opportunity.
But Gigi has stuff to do! So I try to make what I want to get done as fun as possible so she’s happy to join me.
One Christmas holiday, I gave her a small clipboard with my to-dos. She got to be in charge of the list, holding me accountable. She was three and couldn’t read, but she faked it pretty well—a born girl boss. When it was time to make up beds, she agreed that I should be the hotel maid and she’d supervise. She didn’t pitch in, but she did order the housekeeping staff pretend pizza.
Other times, we turn meal prep into “Quinn & Gigi’s Restaurant.” (Notice who got top billing?!) She helps plan the offerings and oversees the dining room. She makes adorable menus and takes the orders. She’s happily occupied while I get breakfast or dinner ready, and she’s also learning restaurant etiquette and customer service. She can really turn on the charm that one.
Quinn’s also keeping up the family tradition of "The 10-Pick-Up Game." When she’s on task, she’s engaged and tenacious. Think the energizer bunny with red hair. The last time we played, she was all about the speed. So it doubled as a workout.
I swear Quinn’s little brother, Cal, came out of the womb ready to rock his chores. As a 1-year-old, he was fascinated with brooms and vacuum cleaners. He preferred that aisle at Target to the toy section. His dad is super tidy, so I think it’s great he sees those as manly tools of the trade.
Cal’s three now, and the last time they visited, he told me about all the various jobs he had to do at home and at Gigi and Pa’s house. Building stuff. Smashing stuff. Hauling stuff. He uses a very husky voice when he’s talking about his work ambitions. It’s adorable and a little unsettling too.
“Little things make big things happen.” —John Wooden
For years, OK, make that decades, I let my clothes fall where they may in the bedroom.
If you thought that sounded sexy, you’d be terribly wrong. So not sexy. More like the dressing rooms at Old Navy on the Saturday before school starts … lots of poor choices, empty hangers and inside-out jeans. We’re talking clothes clutter.
When I’d finally get around to tackling this fabric of my life, it was a serious time suck. That changed when I started playing a morning edition of “The 10-Pick-Up Game.”
How it works
Each morning before I leave the house, I pick up 10 items in the bedroom—clothes or otherwise—and put them where they should be. I don’t overthink it. Every flip-flop, dirty sock and coffee cup counts. It takes just a minute or two, and then I get on with my day. I am also not a morning person, so believe me, I am not always chipper about it. I just do it.
I’ve been playing this a.m. game for a few months, and it’s like I am a real grown-up. I don’t have to ground myself every weekend until I clean my room. Not to be overly dramatic, but how does life-changing sound?!?
And a funny thing has happened. Now that the room tends to stay clean, I am more likely to hang my clothes up at the end of the day. Who is this person? She’s someone who’s happier. Sometimes it truly is the little things.
Finding little ways to make chores more fun. This post is the first in the RYC’s Pebbles category—small steps that can pave the way to success.
The 10-Pick-Up Game
This game started my make-chores-more-fun mission in life. My little sister and I would play this when we had a particularly messy room.
It relies on the power of progress. You see results and build momentum. If you know anything about sports, momentum is something you want on your side.
This is a great collaborative game to play with kids. Not too long ago, I taught "The 10-Pick-Up Game" to my 4-year-old granddaughter. Suddenly, cleaning the playroom went from torturous to triumphant.
Grown-ups can rock this game solo too. It might seem silly at first, but it works. Trust me on that.
How it works
You have a messy room or area to clean. Pick a home base, such as a bed or chair. Pick up and put away items, counting from one to 10. Once you hit 10 items return to home base. If you’re playing with others, wait for them to complete the round.
This is an important part of the game: Look around at your good work. Relish the progress you’ve made. Decide if you need to go for another round. Repeat until you have completed the job.
What I like about this game:
This game has stood the test of time. Let me know if you give it a try. I’ve actually used a variation of it to change a lifelong bad habit. More on that later.
Today's Rock it Wednesday is about slowing your roll.
Once my mom retired, I could count on one answer when I called and asked what she’d been up to. “Oh, just puttering around the house,” she’d say.
Neither of us knew then that her puttering days would soon be limited—by two disgruntled knees that were just plain puttered out.
I know Sally missed puttering. Getting stuff done, at her own pace, on her own terms.
You've heard me say, “Rock your chores!” But I also see the beauty in just letting the day unfold. No agenda. No expectations. No rocks.
Here’s how I think of it ...
Word nerd alert. Synonyms for puttering are a pretty delightful list: moseying, fiddling, dawdling, idling, fiddling and dilly-dallying. Sounds like a good day to me. I know Sally would agree.
Rock Around the House
Just to be clear, I never said I was good at chores. That's why I need these mind-altering games. They work for me, and my hope is they help others too.
You could call this one "Musical Chores." To me, it's always been 'Rock Around the House." Clearly, I have a thing for rocks.
So, let's set the stage: I look around my home and think, “What a freakin’ mess.” Disorder has been having a house party. But where to even start?
For painful moments like these, I take it one song at a time. I grab my phone where I have an upbeat playlist at the ready.
How it works
Pick a room to start in, say the kitchen. Hit shuffle play on your playlist or favorite album. For the length of the first song, put away items and clean up as quickly as you can. When the song ends, stop what you’re doing and move quickly to the next closest room.
Keep going room to room for as many rounds as needed. It’s actually pretty amazing what you can get done during a 3 to 4 minute song. On additional rounds, you can skip by rooms where you feel your work is done.
What I like about this game:
Rock-it tips: If you have a particularly ambitious Rock Your Chores list, this is a great warm-up activity. Got kids? Pick music they love and take them along as you rock around the house. Productivity + family fun = best parent in the world.
Move on. It's going to be OK. I'm guessing my type-A friends may have trouble leaving a half-scrubbed toilet when a song ends. That's the game. Keep moving even if it's out of your comfort zone. You'll make your way back soon enough. Or ... on second thought, make up your own rules. Stay and finish the job if that's what works for you. Your home. Your rules.
HIT IT! Check out the Rock Your Chores Playlist. You'll be on your feet. You'll be having a good time. When did chores get so freakin' fun?!
Welcome to Rock it Wednesday!
There’s something about tying on an apron that says, “Things are about to get done around here.”
You're dressed for chores success. Hey, there's hard evidence on this. How we dress affects how powerful we feel and how we perform.
This is how it works for me ... one minute, I am dragging in from work, and the next I am aproned-upped and ready to go. Bring on those veggies that need chopping. Let’s do this!
It’s hard to feel lazy in an apron.
I shared this tip with a friend, and she suggested her own twist, "Wear just an apron!" I told her this wasn't that kind of blog. But, hey, that could get productive too.
So, embrace the apron. Feel its power.
P.S. Who thinks Rock Your Chores aprons would be a good idea?? Anyone? Let me know in the comments.
Rock Your Chores
I work fulltime, so I often feel overwhelmed when I have a long list of household tasks that I want to get done on the weekend. What to do first? My indecision adds to my stress about my daunting list. That’s why I invented this little game.
How it works
Use a permanent marker to number decorative or river rocks, from 1 to 6. Put a heart on the 7th rock. That's your lucky No. 7 rock.
On notepaper, list the tasks you want to complete. Give each chore a number, such as:
Put the numbered rocks into a small bowl. I use a yellow ramekin that matches my kitchen.
Draw a rock—that’s your chore. Ready, go! When you’re done come back and draw another rock. Even better: Take a minute to celebrate your completed task. Fist pump yourself. Do a little happy dance. Take a bow.
When and if you draw the No. 7 rock, take 15 to 30 minutes to do something you love. Read. Take a quick nap. Have a dance party for one. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold beer.
What I like about this game:
When your mom gives you rocks for Christmas
One holiday, I used spray paint to make golden rocks and put them in tiny jars. I gave them as gifts to my adult children and their spouses—to introduce them to “Rock Your Chores.” They are all amazingly productive people. So clearly these rocks work wonders.
I am Margie Reece. I am here to help you rock your chores and have some fun doing it.