I have joined the Marie Kondo wave of tidying up just like everyone else and spent the beginning of 2019 bingeing her new Netflix show. There is beauty in the houses that are magically made over in the course of a 40 minute show (while in reality the families being featured are toiling away for weeks to purge, fold and organize drawers). I’ve never loved small boxes more and my family all has bets on how long my drawers will stay looking neat and tidy.
Besides the purging and beautiful folding Marie teaches, one thing that struck me on her Netflix show is how involved the young kids are in the tidying process. Take or leave Marie’s joyful de-cluttering, this is something I loved seeing. She emphasizes the importance of each family taking ownership of the housework (and their own purging).
As far as chores go, I’m a huge fan. I know this practice is easier said than done, and nagging a grumpy teen about unloading the dishwasher after basketball practice is way up on my list of favorite things to do (yeah right!). Especially as kids get older, it’s even more important they learn basic skills around the house. It might sound ridiculous to your 40 something aged self, but learning how to do laundry and not turn white shirts pink, or load the dishwasher, sweep floors or prep dinner are all skills our teens need to learn.
As one of my favorite authors, Julie Lythcott Haims, says, “By making [kids] do chores— taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry—they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I’m part of an ecosystem. I’m part of a family. I’m part of a workplace.” Bonus: Your kid won’t be that 20-year-old in college, who stares blankly at dishwasher, wondering what all those buttons are for.
Unlike Marie Kondo’s show our houses or rooms don’t magically tidy themselves in a 40 minute episode; getting kids to do chores and pitch in is the best way (IMHO) to convey this important lesson.