An Easy Way to Cut Down Your Shabbat Cleaning

An Easy Way to Cut Down Your Shabbat Cleaning

Cleaning the house before Shabbat. Cleaning the house after Shabbat. Not to mention, setting up before and cleaning up after 3 Shabbat meals. So much work to do! And by default, it falls on guess who…

Here’s a simple way to reduce cleaning time in a significant way: make a chart to break down cleaning responsibilities among your family members. I started doing this a few months ago, and it’s reduced the time I spend on cleaning before, during, and after Shabbat in a big way.

Here’s what I did:
STEP 1: I made a chart of all the cleaning that needs to get done for Shabbat. My chart, for example, looks like this:

1. Clean kitchen
2. Clear off and set table
3. Clean living room and front hall
4. Clean bathrooms

1. Set up before Shabbat dinner
2. Clean up after Shabbat dinner
3. Set up before Shabbat lunch
4. Clean up after Shabbat lunch
5. Set up before 3rd Meal

1. Clean kitchen
2. Clean living room (includes clearing what’s left from 3rd meal) and front hall
3. Wild card job (child will do whatever needed–good job for little kids.)

If you have younger children who cannot do big cleaning tasks, make a list of jobs even a small child can do: for example,pick up the toys from the living room, wipe off the stairs, help you set the table.

STEP 2: Family members choose their tasks
Then I went around and asked my family members to sign up for the cleaning tasks they prefer. Choosing goes from oldest to youngest family member. Depending on the amount of mess and the number of people in your family, you can assign more than one person to tasks. For example, before Shabbat I have two daughters clean up the kitchen. After Shabbat, three of us work on the kitchen and two kids on the living room.

Step 3: Tape the lists up on your fridge.

Step 4: Have treats/prizes on hand to reward younger participants for helping out

Step 5: Relax, rest, and enjoy Shabbat more than ever before!

One comment

  1. Beth Berman

    We had a similar system when my kids were younger (B”H most are married/out of the house now). Everyone had to do half an hour of pre-Shabbos clean up, no excuses. I like the label “wild card.” Even now, with so much that can be done ahead of time, I find myself desperately needing a second pair of hands in the kitchen for the final half-hour/fifteen minutes. This “gopher/go-fer” job is the one I appreciate the most!

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