Delegating Chores

I have learned to delegate because it is a necessity. Sometimes things just need to be done and I simply can’t do them all. Boy, do my kids fill in the gap! This has been wonderful for all of us.

Delegation by Necessity

I’m going to work on organizing what I delegate — so we have a plan. But for now, I am content to reflect on all the things the kids can now do because they’ve had to. :)

C. and B. cook dinner on the barbeque. And might I add, they do a fantastic job. C. makes the best steaks ever. I love that I can hand over the hamburgers or steaks and anything else we’re grilling (like a foil packet of veggies) — and they just take care of it.

The kids vacuum, dust, do their own laundry, clean bathrooms, do dishes, take care of animals, declutter and tidy for company…. the list goes on.

A. has a special gift for being orderly and she quite often straightens the house or my desk or the kitchen … just because she wants to. I think she feels happier when things are orderly. I do as well, so I appreciate dearly her efforts with this.

B. takes great, great care of all her animals. She has a snake, rats and fish. She keeps up with cleaning their cages and feeding them. She never forgets to care for them. This was never my job; but I am touched and proud of her for taking responsibility for this herself.

The kids and Jeff took over selecting movies and filling the Netflix queue. Not only is this a big help time-wise, but I’m surprised at how relieved I am not to have the burden of picking movies for the family! Funny how much that task stressed me out. ;) I much prefer sitting down to watch what they’ve all picked.

What’s Next? Planned Delegation

When I first married, I had a regular routine for when things got done. I would clean our whole apartment/duplex/house on one day. Another day I would wash all the laundry and the bedding. Oh, those were the days! :) Back then, all I did was snuggle babies and keep the house clean. I didn’t cook very much, I didn’t garden, I didn’t blog and I didn’t run a business.

Fifteen years later, life is a little different. I am thinking about and searching for the right way to delegate the chores and work of our household.

We have alot of understood chores. Like the kids know whose turn it is to vacuum. They’ve settled among themselves the barn chores — who feeds the chickens, who fills water tubs, who carries out hay to the goats or the cow. They know who’s up to open and close the gate when we go out. Most of these things they’ve decided because they have a natural desire for structure — and sometimes because they’re far too concerned with fairness. :)  Other things they’ve settled out of necessity. In any case, it has all helped.

In the meantime and until I figure out how to organize the chores for this stage in our life, we are using a dry erase board magneted to the fridge. It has a space for each day of the week. I’ve found it helpful to write what’s going on for the week out, just simple words like “church”, “errands”, “gardening”, etc. Then the rest of each space fills up with those extra chores that aren’t understood, such as vacuuming, dusting, carrying out garbage, sweeping, etc. This is working for now, but it is still not scheduled far out.

When the kids were younger, we used these chore cards. They worked really well and it was fun for them. Now? Not so fun. ;)

The tool I’m most likely going to use for chore scheduling is my digital calendar. I use iCal (Mac). I’m thinking of adding a chore sub-calendar to it (which syncs with my Google calendar). The details are still fuzzy. Mostly I need to sit down and work on it. I think though that when I get everything input, I’ll be able to print it by the week and tape it up on the fridge, where we’ll all refer to it.

I have questions for you. :) How do you plan your household chores? What tool(s) do you use? What’s working for you? What’s not?

I shared this in Simple Lives Thursday.

Read all posts in the Project: Live Organized series.


  1. My tools: small (assignment book size) spiral notebook and a pen that just fits down the spiral and hooks on it.
    What works for me: jotting down in my spiral notebook all the things I need to remember such as groceries, who does what on what day, the directions for the knitted napkins I’m making, blah blah blah. Oh yes! And jotting down my favorite lipstick number. Musn’t forget that!
    Not too inspiring.
    Any suggestions out there?

    • Jamie — Musn’t forget the lipstick! (By the way — did I ever tell you? I got those pink-on-the-inside glasses and I love them!)

      A notebook is a very good idea! Do you leave it out for everyone to consult or do you consult it with in order to give instructions to your children?

  2. I was brushing my teeth this morning and seriously wondered which glass frames you ended up choosing! We are on the same wave length.
    The notebook is my own resource. The children already know which chores they do on which day and housekeeping is done Saturdays with touch ups as needed through the week. Otherwise, we’d always be fiddling with the housekeeping.

  3. Sounds like you are doing very well delegating, Wardee. I haven’t met a kid that isn’t overly concerned about fairness. :) When it comes to chores, they want to make sure everyone else gets their share. But when it comes to the good things, they want to make sure they get their share. LOL

  4. I use the Cozi Family Calendar. It is color coded and I can print a single person’s calendar. I can also create recurring to do lists and assign those to people as needed.

  5. I have assigned laundry and dish chores to my 11 and 9 year old girls. They help with other things as I ask them, but those two chores are constant. In order to be fair, they get one chore for one week — then they switch. I write it on my calendar on Sunday, so I just need to glance at the calendar to know who is on what. Obviously not a complicated system :D

    Now that I have a toddler and crawler, my household chores are increasing and I can’t keep up. I’m looking for ways to delegate more to the older girls fairly. Please let us know what you finally work out.

  6. Hi Wardee,
    Not exactly an answer to your question but…I recently had a thumb operation and needed a cast for 6weeks and now a brace for a further 4 weeks. This means I can’t wash dishes, feed animals, make beds, hang out or fold washing, you get the picture…not really a burden from my point of view!! It has been interesting to see how the other members of the household have organised themselves. They are teens so reasonably able to do this. It has made me realise how much I’ve slipped into the habit of doing things they are perfectly well able to do so I have news for them after my recovery is complete! 8-)

  7. I love the notebook idea, and have been using it, somewhat, for some things, but I think I just might need to use it for EVERYTHING – what I like best is that I don’t have to worry about “where is that piece of paper I wrote that list on”!

    I feel pretty unorganized, I just use spiral calendar from WalMart & jot notes for the week & such (“to do this week”,which doesn’t always get done!). I’m not too high-tech (yet), and have no help, well, some neighbor kids that come help me clean sometimes. But I have no one to delegate to, so things get done as I get to them. That is so awesome how your family all pitches in & works like that, Wardee – I just really love it!

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