Magic Minimum: Cleaning Secret of Organized Families

minimum maintenance

Is it time to clean? Not for today's busy families!

Between work, children's activities, and vacation plans, even the most leisurely days don't seem long enough to get everything done at home.

There's a solution for busy times! Just as your body needs a "minimum daily allowance" of vitamins and minerals, an organized home needs a minimum of maintenance and attention to keep running smoothly.

Think of this as a Magic Minimum: a short list of essential household tasks. It's a bottom-line list of chores and activities necessary to keep things running at a basic level.

With a working Magic Minimum plan, the household stays afloat, even when time is short.

What's on the list? Every family has slightly different needs, but most Magic Minimum checklists provide for these functions:

  • basic accounting chores: bank deposits and bill-paying
  • meals and menus: clean dishes, grocery shopping
  • laundry: necessary clean clothing
  • home management: once-a-day pick-up, weekly cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen

To make your own Magic Minimum plan, list the rock-bottom essential maintenance chores necessary to keep the household clean, fed and on time.

A sample checklist might look like this:

Every day: 

  • Load and run dishwasher 
  • Tidy kitchen 
  • Run one load of laundry, fold and put away 
  • Family pick-up time 

Every week: 

  • Review checkbook and pay bills 
  • Shop for groceries 
  • Vacuum living areas
  • Clean bathrooms

Next step: delegate! Assign one or more minimum chores to each family member. Every family member has a stake in keeping the household functioning, so everyone should be expected to help with the chores. Working together, everyone will be free for family fun in record time.

Finally, post your Magic Minimum list in a public place.

Families using a household notebook will include their list under the "home management" divider.

Other families will post their list to the family command center, while another time-honored choice is the refrigerator door, but use whatever area is central to your family.

The written list aids accountability, because everyone knows what must be done before anyone can leave for a trip to the water park.

Give your household a Magic Minimum to maximize your family's opportunities for good times!