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Mom’s Hostage Box

27 August 2012 6,671 views 3 Comments


The other day I was walking around Walmart when I saw a big, pink storage bin.  I just HAD to have it, much to my boys’ chagrin.  I had BIG plans.

I got the idea for Mom’s Hostage Box from this blog post that had been pinned on Pinterest about a year ago.  I downloaded her list of chores and it has been sitting on my desktop forever.  Apparently, I read “Hostage Box” when she wrote Ransom Box.  Whatever.  My title works, too!

SO, I bought the big, pink bin and went to work designing the white vinyl label for the front.  It took me all of 10 minutes, I promise.  I used a Damask cutting file from the Silhouette store (#1849), then I cut the middle out and finished it off by adding lines to give the center some definition.  I used the free Pottery Barn font in two sizes and typed out “Mom’s Hostage Box – pick up your stuff or pick a chore”.  I cut it out of white vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo and applied the design to my pink bin!  Perfecto.

I reworked the list of chores and added a TON more, because I know my kiddos will be doing a ton of chores.  Hee, hee!

My favorite “chore” is the 60 second blitz, which is a spin on something I had to do as a kid growing up.  A “blitz” is cleaning up super fast.  So, when we hear the garage door open (which means Dad is driving down the street on the way home) I yell “blitz!” and the boys are supposed to start cleaning up super fast.  Supposed to.

When Grant was a little guy (maybe 3), he would get SO frustrated at the huge mess that I was asking him to clean up that he would just give up.  I started using the 60-second blitz (or 30- or 90- ).  I would count down backwards from 60 and we would clean as much as we could as fast as we could.  Then, we would STOP.  We were done.  I didn’t ask him to do more.  He trusted that I wasn’t going to ask him to do more, so he was willing to do the blitz with me, and actually gave it some effort!

We continued using the 60-second blitz, and it is awesome!

So, of course, I had to add a 60-second blitz to the chore list for each of the rooms in the house, including “60-second blitz in your brother’s room”.  I’m a genius.  And a little evil.

Click here to see my list of Ransom Chores, however you must realize that they truly are individual for your family.  For example, I typed out “clean up the Wii remote drawer – top drawer of the entertainment stand”.  Obviously, you might not have a Wii, and you might not have a drawer.  So, anyway, download the list and change it up to suit your family!

I printed the list out, cut the chores into individual strips and put them in the “Ransom Jar” which I keep in the box.

The deal is, if I’ve asked the boys to pick up their stuff from the public places (family room, living room, etc.) and they don’t do it, their item goes into the box.  They can earn it back by doing a chore, which they choose randomly out of the ransom jar.  My plan is to require that the box be emptied before bed every Sunday.  If it isn’t empty, the items go into a large trash bag to be donated or tossed.  Please pray that I follow through with this!!  I really, really want to enforce these rules, because my kids NEED to learn to pick up their stuff!  It’s driving me crazy!

Okay, so I tried the Hostage Box/Ranson Chores for the first time today, and I must say, it is AWESOME.  I feel like a total genius.

I’m gettin’ real here:

I explained the whole process to the boys. I told them that if they didn’t empty out the box by Sunday, I’m taking their stuff to Goodwill.  My 9 year old FREAKED OUT on me.  Seriously.  It was embarrassing.  I sent him to his room and told him to get it together and then join us on the couch in 5 minutes.  He came out and sat down and we got started with our 6 year old.  I said, “Cole, choose the item you want to earn back.”  He chose a dude (plastic figure from McDonalds).    “Cole, choose a chore.”  He chose “Do 25 jumping jacks while singing This Little Light of Mine.”  Grant (the grump) instantly perked up!  The boys laughed through the first chore, and then it was Grant’s turn to choose his first item out of the box.  Grant chose “Empty the Laundry Room Trash”.  No biggie!  Grant was totally willing.

We kept this up for TWO WHOLE HOURS.  I’m not even kidding you.  It was actually a lot of fun.  Tiny chores + willing kids = clean house & a happy mommy!  This morning they were bickering and driving me nuts.  By the time they were done, they were smiling and happy and hugging one another.  Grant had to tell his brother 3 things that he loves about him.  Cole volunteered to help Grant blitz his room!  My bedroom was vacuumed, my silverware drawer was cleaned, the trash was taken out, the fireplaces dusted, my shoes organized, my head rubbed, dishes put away, refrigerator shelf wiped down, weeds pulled, porch swept and on and on!!  AND, this evening, my family room is already picked up!

I’m telling you:  This is life changing!

I’m really, really hoping we keep this up!

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