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You read that right, this post is all about lolly sticks! Honestly, this is a complete gamechanger when it comes to not only maintaining a clean and tidy home, but also ensuring that there is fair division of labour in your household. This system is super simple to set up and follow, but will make a huge difference to your day-to-day life, I promise!
To help you get set up, I’ve made this cheat sheet which does all of the thinking for you.
A Word About Standards
Before we dive in, let’s just agree on what a clean and tidy home really looks like. I am not one to promote show-home style tidiness and cleanliness – “good enough” is a more realistic expectation that balances all of the pressures of our busy lives with the need and desire to enjoy our homes. Setting the bar too high only adds to your mental load, causing stress when you inevitably fail to meet those expectations. Of course everyone’s definition of “good enough” will vary but I strongly encourage you to think about your own standards here and question whether the bar is set at the right height. Could you lower your expectations in favour of managing your mental load and being kind to yourself?
Why the Lolly Stick System Works
1) Helps Ensure Fair Division of Labour
This system is really easy for you and your other half/housemates/older kids to join in meaning not only are the chores shared out evenly – it’s a simple system and a visual system so you can easily see who is slacking!
2) Avoids Having to Think About What Needs Doing
The lolly stick system essentially acts as your to do list – you no longer have to think about what actually needs doing around the house. Importantly, you don’t need to instruct other household members either which is huge for managing your mental load! Often others don’t appreciate the toll of managing the to do list for the house – having to point out what needs doing and ask others to do it (or doing it yourself) is a big part of the problem.
3) Avoids Cleaning/Tidying Overwhelm
This system lends itself well to a “little and often” approach which is not only easier to fit into daily life, but also means it is easier to stay on top of. You won’t wait until you can’t open the bedroom door before giving it a tidy which means there will be less to tidy in the first place and it will be much easier to tackle.
4) Is Realistic
You can tailor the system to suit your needs and expectations (see above!). What needs to be done to be “good enough”? You can review the system and tweak it if it’s not quite working with your needs.
5) Flexes to Your Mood and Availability
Only have 5 mins today? No problem! In the mood for a 1 hour blitz? We’ve got you!
6) Helps You Remember the Every-so-Often Tasks
Tasks like cleaning the dishwasher filters or tackling the limescale can easily be forgotten, but not with this system!
How it works:
Don’t forget to check out this cheat sheet which includes my own lolly sticks so you can simply copy those to start you off.
Write a List
List out all of the tidying/cleaning tasks you need to do and note down how often you want to do them (see freebie for a starting point). It’s a good idea to get other household members involved in this part of the process so that they are on board with the plan.
Grab Some Lolly Sticks
I use these natural lolly sticks and these coloured lolly sticks. You’ll need enough for all of the tasks on your list. You can use coloured sticks to differentiate between tasks that need doing weekly/fortnightly/monthly
Grab Some Pots
Now you need to set up some pots to put the lolly sticks in. You’ll need one for the “yet to be done” lolly sticks, and one for each member of the household who will be contributing. Anything will do – glasses, spare mugs, or I use repurposed toothbrush holders. Label your pots so you know which one is which.
Write Your Lolly Sticks
Use different colours for the different frequencies that you want to get the tasks done. For example I use plain sticks for monthly tasks, then I have 2 other colours. Blue sticks need to be done one week and orange sticks need to be done the next week, then I go back to blue the following week and so on.
Get Others on Board
Time to explain the new system to the rest of the household. Make sure they understand WHY you are implementing it as well as how it works – they are more likely to get on board if they can empathise with the challenges you are facing.
Agree a Kick-off Date
I find it easiest to manage monthly tasks according to a calendar month. So on the 1st of the month we will start working our way through the natural lolly sticks, knowing that they all need to be completed by the end of that month. Likewise for weekly tasks, we start afresh each Monday and aim to complete all of the coloured sticks by the following Sunday.
All each person needs to do is pull out a lolly stick at random from the “tasks to be done” pot, complete the task, then pop it into their pot. You can go at your own pace – if you’ve only got a few minutes then just do one, or if you’ve got an hour, blitz through a load of them!
Once you’ve been using the new system for a while, see if you need to change anything. For example, you may want to reduce the frequency of some of the tasks if you find they either don’t need doing so frequently or you just aren’t able to get to everything in time. Check in with others in your household to see if they want to tweak anything too. And don’t forget to keep the conversation about ‘fair share’ going – is everyone pulling their weight or is one person doing the lion’s share?
The Lolly Stick System for keeping your home clean and tidy (ish) is an absolute gamechanger! Really simple to set up, it will keep you on top of household chores with minimal brainpower and maximum division of labour. Don’t forget to click here for your copy of the cheat sheet to help you get set up. As always, let me know how you get on!