The 4 O’Clock Clean-Up

Many years ago my mom struggled with keeping the house clean. We would pick up before meals, after meals, mornings, afternoons, evenings. We kids felt like we were always picking up and our mom felt like she was always nagging (which she was J). To solve this problem, we instituted “4 O’Clock Clean-Up“.

The 4 O'Clock Cleanup
The 4 O’Clock Clean-Up


How does it work?

Each child is assigned a room in the house that they would be responsible for picking up at 4 O’Clock. This time provided an opportunity for the entire house to be picked up and the dishes to be cleaned. My mom was able to de-stress knowing that everything would be clean at 4 PM and we kids only had to worry about one time of the day when we would do a giant cleanup.


What do the kids do?

Make sure you provide age appropriate tasks for each child. If you want a younger kid to learn to rinse the dishes, pair them with an older child washing the dishes. We also recently created the position of an inspector which goes around making sure everyone else does their job correctly. To ensure that the inspector does their job, my mom instituted a rule. If the inspector has checked off a cleanup and my mom finds something wrong, the inspector must complete that room or job by themselves. This way, the inspector does not slack off as well.


Some Practicalities

Even though only one person is responsible for a given room that does not mean that everyone is allowed to “trash” the rooms that they do not pick up. On the contrary, everyone is still responsible for picking up their own things. The person in charge of the room is instead meant to take care of general tidiness such as papers on the table, sweeping or vacuuming, misplaced objects, etc.


Helpful Tip

Remember to change up everyone’s rooms every so often to keep the kids interested and trying their best.


Share your clean up tactics in the comments section!


  1. I like the idea of everyone cleaning up at the same time. I sometimes do that on a Saturday, but never thought about it on our school day. Good blog! ??


  2. We just started using a program (free) called Chore Monster : This has been a great tool for me and the kids are highly motivated. I still feel this 4 O’clock pick up might work as well for us. Especially when dad’s coming home, he would like to feel like he can breath, so this might work. Thanks for the idea.


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