Both Dave Ramsey and FlyLady use the term "baby steps" in describing how to make progress in your life. They preach taking small steps towards seemingly overwhelming goals. That concept is a hard one for a perfectionist personality - we want it all done at once, and done perfectly. I find as I fall behind in house cleaning, I can let the house go for weeks, but when I decide to clean it, I get caught up in not just washing sinks and toilets, but reorganizing drawers and wiping down walls. All of those things need to be done, but it becomes overwhelming trying to do it all at once. So I have tried to learn to take baby steps. My household binder is designed to help me break chores up, but I have also found that I need time to build habits just like my kids. This summer, we have chosen a chore/job every three weeks. We started with getting up every morning and making beds. For three weeks the kids (and mommy :) got up and made beds, then marked a sticker on the calendar. At the end of the three weeks, I rewarded them with a small prize. Then we added emptying the trash each morning. We have now established a very nice list of chores that get done every morning without a lot of complaining. I give them the option of earning a small reward for the end of the three weeks of a new chore, or they can earn Chucky E. Cheese tokens on a weekly basis (if you clip the coupons, these end up costing about 10 cents each - far cheaping than an allowance/commission system though it does require me to suffer through that horrible place every so often, unless I can convince the grandparents to take them :) I took most of the chores from this list, which came from this very helpful and practical site. It is sort of a FlyLady streamlined approach.
1: Make Beds Right Away
2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry
3: Empty All Garbage Cans
4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty
5: Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children Do the Same
6: Bathroom Wipe-Down
7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up
We have not established all of these (obviously if we could do number 5 every day there would not be much cleaning up to do!), but many of them are becoming habits, both for me and the kids. I even have my son wiping down his toilet each day! Now, when I look at the house and think about cleaning it for company, it is far less overwhelming.