Olive Us: Kitchen Cleanup

Who has dinner clean up duties at your house? When I was growing up, each sister or brother was assigned a night of dish duties. Mine was Thursday nights and I remember frantically trying to finish up so I could watch The Cosby Show with my family. (Someone was always sure to help me so I didn’t get left out.)

Since we moved here, our dinner time has been pushed back and we’ve found we’re all pretty worn out by the time we finish up with our meal. To get through that final leg of the day, and tidy up the kitchen, we turn on something loud (the older kids will pick a playlist from one of their iPods) and we’ll have a clean up dance party.

It usually only takes a few songs and keeps everyone in a happy mood as we head in to our bedtime routines. And as an extra bonus, it keeps me and Ben Blair up on what our kids are listening to these days.

When Tiger in a Jar was here last April, they filmed one of the cleanup parties. It was a one-shot deal! And we loved how they edited it together. We don’t count this as a full Olive Us episode, but we thought you might enjoy a little behind-the-scenes peek at our family life.

P.S. — You may notice a 7th child. That’s my wonderful niece Roxcy who was staying with us at the time.

45 thoughts on “Olive Us: Kitchen Cleanup”

  1. Soooo cute! I think I am going to steal your idea of cleaning up dinner with a dance party. I bet your kids will always have that as a wonderful memory from growing up.

  2. Aww. This made me happy. It also made me wish for a bigger family (we have just two)–all the different combinations of friendships, interactions, help, etc! Love it.

  3. Such a sweet video- probably the kind of thing the kids’ll appreciate much more when they’re older :)

    We took turns growing up- one of us had to set the table for dinner, and two had to clear the table/clean up the kitchen. Setting up was always the preferred task!

  4. Great idea! We always had dish nights growing up, which probably makes sense as kids get older because they have their own plans and reasons for picking certain nights. But once our boys get older this could be a really fun tradition.

  5. How adorable! I love Oscar’s breakdance moves, if I am not mistaken. Playing music during clean up time is such a fantastic idea. That is usually a worst time of a day for me. I may try that tonight, maybe it will motivate the rest of the household.
    My youngest one loved watching this video. :)

  6. What a way to teach your kids to dance and let go. As a trained dancer, it took me a long time to enjoy the improv. Much, much better than being stuck at the sink by yourself! Although I adored sharing dish night with my oldest brother. I must have been 5 and he was 16. Always better to learn to help each other.

  7. Love this! Do you and Ben Blair always sit next to each other at the dinner table? I’ve always seen adults at opposite ends of the table, but I like the idea of sitting next to my husband way better. :)

  8. this was so cute. Gabrielle, you’re younger than me, but will you and Ben adopt me please?

    I would love if you did a post about meal planning, cooking, etc for your large family. I have a hard enough time planning/cooking for my husband and 2 kids (I work full time), so I can’t imagine how you plan out your meals, accounting for differing tastes, being economical, etc!

  9. Okay, now this video almost made me cry. Of course cry of happiness, of inspiration and of understanding one of the secrets of your big family being great : You make everything fun, even chores. You rule guys !!

  10. Our family LOVES all the videos and the kids ask to watch them over and over. We watched this one last night, and the kids were asking if you do this every night, and how each person get their tasks to help in the clean up.

    1. We don’t do it every night, more like 4 times a week. Sometimes we eat out. Other times we’re too worn out for a dance party and we let the dishes wait till the morning.

      As for who does what, we don’t have any official assignments, just a general instruction to keep working until everything is done.

  11. Love this post! My big mormon family always did dance parties cleaning up and now we continue to dance together cleaning the kitchen when we meet up as adults. As one of the youngest, it was great to get private dance lessons from my older siblings who have great moves. When I went to stake dances I felt pretty cool to pull out the dance moves my siblings had taught me at home! Our new tradition is to make our own music videos when we get together on Christmas Eve.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. I just love this! It makes me miss being a kid living with my parents. We used to have dance parties each night and my brother and I would dance our hearts out. Glad to see the tradition went beyond our own kitchen! You are awesome and are making so many special memories your children will cherish! :)

  13. I can’t see the videos. :( Even if I pull up the Olive Us page. What do you use to host your videos? I need to figure out why it isn’t working for me, because I have to see this cleanup party!

  14. Okay, so you totally need to include this as one of your episodes! Of all the clips I’ve seen of your kids, this one is by far my favorite. It really demonstrates how the mundane (and potentially contentious) can be turned into a potential moment of joy . . . Something I definitely need to apply to my own brood.

    I relate beyond what I can express about the difficulty of making late dinner to cleanup to bedtime work without dragging everyone down, and this helps me look at it differently.

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  16. Cute! I love to dance around the kitchen with my kids, but we’ve never done it as a way to get the dishes done. Great idea. I just might be trying it soon:).

    By the way, I loved Oscar’s sweet moves down on the floor. Ha, ha. So fun.

  17. Our daughter is two and I have been trying to think of ways to get her more involved in household tasks. She is clearly interested but I have been at a loss – I think we may just have to try clean up parties! At a minimum, she can put silverware in the dishwasher and dance. Too cute!

    P.s. I adore the way your family interacts!

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  19. This is absolutely charming! One of my favorite parts of being a parent is starting brand-new family traditions. I think we’ll be stealing this idea when our 15 month old is a little older.

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  21. Wow! Looking at this post now after on of your latest post his week. I was following you already then, but now that my kids are older I think I am going to use this idea at home too. Thanks!

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