Keeping mom sane & kids responsible

I just picked a name…really it should be “mom can’t keep track of who did what and needs more organization in her life”. That name is too long. And the pins aren’t all “chores”, so we are going with “responsibility pins” for the sake of naming this project.

My kids all have things they are responsible for each day, but rarely does everyone do what they are supposed to simply because I haven’t done a good job making it easy for them to remember and be responsible. My friend Emily posted a clothespin chart about two years ago. Then when I was visiting my friend Angie, she had done a similar one. Well, now I am taking ideas from those two girls and made my own version.

1. I started with scrap wood from the garage. I cut it down to the longest size possible to fit on a cabinet in my kitchen….to fit as many clothespins as possible!

2. I lightly sanded the board, painted it with chalkboard spray paint, lightly sanded again, and added a final coat of paint.

3. I dipped the ends of the pins in 5 different colors of paint. 5 pins for each kid. The paints are Behr samples from Home Depot. In MacGyver fashion, I clipped them on rulers and paint sticks and taped those to glue bottles to dry.

4. I had my sister write various responsibilities on the pins because her handwriting is much prettier than mine. The kids all have the same things written on their painted pins (room, laundry, exercise, read). The things that rotate between the kids each day (fix dinner, set table, clean dinner, lunch helper, chickens, Poppy, etc.) are on the plain clothes pins.

5. My board was too thin to nail or staple anything on the back, so I hot glued pom pom trim to the back. I added some thick decorative tape (from Raising Up Rubies) just to make it pretty.

The pins start on the bottom of the board each day and then the kids move them to the top as they complete the task. My kids love this! I actually had planned on starting it next week, but as soon as I hung it up the kids were eager to start. It is SO NICE not to ask them if they’ve put up their laundry or cleaned their room. It is also much more peaceful at dinner time not to hear arguing over who gets to help me fix dinner. Everyone knows what their tasks are that day and they take care of getting them done. And life in the Campbell house is a little less crazy…just a little.

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  • Liene - Great post! I am going to do this definitely! Thanks! Have a great weekend.

  • Lindsay P. - What a wonderful idea! I have a 3 1/2 year old and an 18 month old, and I’ve been struggling with how to teach my older one responsibility in a way that makes sense and isn’t drudgery. Love this!

  • katie T - Goodness! This might actually work for my forgetful pre-teens and teenagers!! I was about to resort to a cattle prod, but think I might try this first….

  • Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos - Ashley I love this idea… and it’s so adorable! Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can be motivating for both us and our kids? My twins are only two (AHHHHH!) but you better believe I’ll be implementing something like this as soon as they’re old enough to understand responsibility. Thanks for the idea!

  • Amy - Seriously, I’m going to use this for me & my husband! And then one day when our little one is bigger we’ll include her. You have such a talent for making tge mundane beautiful. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Shannon Phillips - I LOOOOOOOOVE this!!!! Think I might make one with chores for hubby on it too. 😉

  • Cheryl - Our children are recently out of the house. I would have loved this idea back in the day and believe they would have too. Since it’s not a project needed at our house anymore, I’ve become interested in the first letter of everyone’s name on your chore chart. I find names fascinating and now will be “guessing” all weekend long!

  • Lindsay F. - This is such an awesome idea… Especially when you have several to keep track of! Seeing the initials, makes me more curious as to what your kids names are! I have an H and an E too. 🙂

  • Allison Anderson - This is a fabulous idea! Before I read your post…as I do daily:), I was staring at the idea list of individual and family chores I had written down last week for my 4 kids (ages 10 down to 3) and had not a clue on how to organize it! Thanks to you….now I have a plan!
    Also…I’ve tried different ways of doing allowance with the kids (having them start off the week with money, earning money, etc.) Do you have a method you presently like?

  • Janelle Vano - My daughter will be 18 years old in less than a month, but I still think it would be good for her!! I hate asking if somethings done and getting attitude….and really hate how often I ask and things have not been done because she ‘didn’t know’ or ‘forgot’.

  • Janelle Vano - My daughter will be 18 years old in less than a month, but I still think this would be good for her!! I hate asking if somethings done and getting attitude….and really hate how often I ask and things have not been done because she ‘didn’t know’ or ‘forgot’.

  • Carrie - Seen different versions of this, but yours is so simple, pretty and looks like it gets the intended results. Imitation is the best form of flatter as they say! 🙂 In other words, I am so copying you!

  • Molly - very cute and functional. i am going to give this a try. we have done other systems that worked….but have kind of faded out. i like this a lot. and my girls are very motivated by these types of things. they love to see their progress. thanks for sharing:)

  • Sarah - Hi Ashley,

    This is a somewhat random question, but I noticed in one of the photos above that you a wooden mug holder under your cabinet. Would you mind sharing with me what it is or where you found it? I’ve been looking all over for a way to hang some of my mugs, but we have under cabinet lighting so it’s been difficult. I like that yours appears to mount to the wall, not the cabinet itself.

    Thanks so much! LOVE your blog and photos by the way! 🙂


  • Marissa - Ashley, I don’t comment a lot, because I know you get many, but you have been so very inspiring and encouraging to me. My mother just finished your phone snap shop class and is as inspired as I have been by you! Thank you for your transparency and sharing your God given creative talents with us! This project is beautiful, such an easy and fun idea! I’m always trying to find chores that are appropriate for my 2 and 3 year old, but these are general enough that they could do them too! I echo Cheryl above, I’m going to be wondering about the kids initials all week too. I’m a namaholic, so feel free to email me a hint! 😉 God be with you!

  • Roganne - This is AWESOME!! If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of responsibilities do you have assigned for Little One? I would love to start something like this for my 2 year-old daughter so that it’s always a part of our lives (before more kids arrive and things get SUPER crazy!) 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • heather - i think you are a genius and just saved my sanity with this project.
    i am making one today!

  • Stacy - So cute! I use the back side of small muffin pans for each of my kids and put their chores on magnets. They do love to complete their chores and remove the tags! It’s funny looking at your chart – I guess I forgot that your kids have “real” names and not just Firecracker, Little One, etc!

  • Nicole C - Have you tested this on your husband yet? I could use one for my guy at home, maybe he wouldn’t ‘forget’ to wash the dishes. Hmmm. I really do love this idea for the kids though, plus it looks awesome! Double score!

  • Martina - This is so beautiful and I’m glad your kids are excited about it! I’d love a follow up post on what kinds of chores you have your kids do at different ages. My only (currently…we foster) is 2 so I’ve just started having her do different chores like feeding the dog, putting away her shoes and laundry, cleaning up her toys, etc. I’m looking for more ideas.

  • Chrisin - Love it! So simple but yet so effective! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah - This is a great idea. : )


  • Shelby - I hope you don’t mind my saying but this post has made me SO curious about your kids names. I remember your post about your decision to withhold their names from your blog and I don’t at all mean to disrespect that but I am having fun guessing. E for Ethan? Could Firecracker be a Bethany? That aside, I love your style!

  • JIll - Now we will spend all weekend trying to guess your children’s names!

  • Jeni - I totally agree with Shelby, ^^^. I”m staring at the initials thinking about children’s names. I guess that is the exact level of creepiness you were trying to avoid by not posting their names. 😉 Time to move on!

    Seriously though, chalkboard, color blocking, clothes pins, pompoms…it doesn’t get any better than this for me!

  • Emily - So cute!! I’m with some that this is totally peaked my interest in LO’s name. You have some awesome ones so I’m sure it’s adorable and meaningful!

  • Gina - Love this, need this, gonna make this!! Thanks!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Random…
    So, I’ve come up with the only word I can find with their initials – beech.

    How ironic is that? Under the Sycamore (wood), responsibility chart (wood), the family tree you are making with your beautiful children (wood), His cross (wood)

    Your family has a lot of wood references 🙂 OH my goodness, I need a nap… LOL.

  • Not (much) crazy woman - I was thinking for a while if I would write this or not, but then I decide to do it. I’m not a crazy woman obsessed with you or something similar (oh, I think I’m not fixing it…) only a normal blog reader.
    There it goes: Yesterday I dream with you. Apparently you were visiting Spain, where I live, and decided to organize a meeting with your fans… people who reads you, better, not fanatics. One of them offered her family house while in holidays, and we see you there, but it became overcrowded with extrange people (just like those films about american teenagers making a party at home. Nobody seemed to know who you are, but they were using the whole house (a cinema included, with its popcorn stands and 3D glasses and all O.o). Then I manage to find you, but I got surprised. Your eyes were chocolate brown, and you confess you were using contact lenses because that way you look more american because… you were spanish! From Andalucía, and you speak spanish with that accent. Then you got up and said you leave, I asked about all that people in the house and you said you didn’t know them, and then went away.

    Sorry about all the cliches, and your browned eyes but my subconcious decided for me.
    I tought it would be funny to tell you. I hope so… 🙂

  • Not (much) crazy woman again - By the way, I love this, and am thinking about making it ASAP. 🙂

  • Staci - Love this idea! When my little guys get a little older, I will be coming back to this post – and putting it in action. Thanks for sharing!

  • Catherine - Now I am imagining all sorts of names for your kids based on their initials! ha ha. Oh, I just read some other comments and saw others doing that too. I thought the B was for Bethany as well! I know a Bethany who is so much like Firecracker. For the rest I was guessing Charlie, Henry, Elliot and Evelyn. Ok, moving on from stalker mode now….. 🙂

    I love this idea. We have had a few different versions of chore charts and so on (including electronic -thought they would love that for sure!) but I love this one so I think I will give it a go. Can’t hurt and at least it will look pretty. I am totally making a bunch of paint dipped pegs for myself too. Love them!

  • Bethany - This is super cute, but I want a report in about two months on how it’s working. I feel like my littles would either break or lose most the pins and I’d give up (again) on chores. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy dreaming about your kiddos names– which I always do when I see initials. Today (in my mind) they are Charlie, Henry, Edmund, Beatrice, and Edie. 😀

  • Awbree Caton - HI Ashley! Would you mind telling the colors of pint? I am HORRIBLE at picking out colors, and your crib project encouraged me to try and I went and got a couple of pots but I always get too bright colors. Feeling frustrated, but want to try more painting!!! Thanks!


  • Stacy - Totally need to create a responsibility chart in my house. School starts Tuesday, so I better get crack-a-lackin’. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Gwen, The Makerista - This is so smart! I can imagine these things being hard to keep track of with 5 kids! What a great visual and motivator!

  • DawnTalks - Woooooowwwww I badly need something like this!!! I usually have colorful planners where I write my To’Do’s but it’s getting a little bit boring that doing what’s on the list can sometimes be hard. This will excite me to do and will help me alot especially now I am in law school. So many things to be done and to be read. Thanks for sharing ashley!!! So helpful 🙂 BTW, is FireCracker included in your board? I mean, can she read already? 🙂

  • Kimberly Dial - Great idea! I wonder if the hubs would go for it? 😉

  • Renee - brilliant – efficient, productive, peace producing & cute! The former elementary school in me has an extra appreciation for this project. I have one 8 month old… do you think it’s too soon to start? haha 🙂

  • Tana Cox - Hello, I came across your blog a few months ago and have been reading it often. Your photography and blog are inspirations for me! My friend and I have a blog, I was just perusing Prairie Hive and was so excited to see in a post about Tulsa based bloggers that you are local! I will be adding your blog link to our blog list.

  • shayna - genius! all of it! thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Izzy - What a great idea and it looks really great too! The pegs look so sweet in their different colours and chalkboard is always a winner.

  • jennifer - So cute and simple! Do you offer incentives or rewards for completing their responsibilities? I’ve debated offering an allowance/rewards. We have in the past and it does work, but then I feel like the focus is on the pay off instead of the joy of work and duty. What are your thoughts?

  • Savi - I sooo love your style and crafts. It has definitely inspired me more than a little with my own room decorating ventures.

    Also, like many others, I am even more curious about your kiddos’ names! I am a definite name fanatic and seeing their initials just makes the curiosity bug itch.

  • monday: best of last week | The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly - […] keeping mom sane and kids responsible. what a great idea! […]

  • AshleyAnn - Jennifer – I don’t. These are just things they are expected to do. I don’t let them have any technology time if they haven’t ‘moved all their pins’, but they don’t get tech time everyday – even if they do their stuff. Sometimes they’ll do extra jobs to earn money or some kind of incentive…but not on these. It is what works for us right now…

  • Jenny B. - This is SO cute! I’ve been using an iPhone app called iAllowance, and I am really liking it. They get rewarded for doing their chores with either money or video game time (but you can set it up to do whatever you want). The best part is that it’s always with me, so when we are out and about, I can threaten my youngest with a frowny face in his chart if he disobeys (which takes away five minutes of game time). Bwahaha! (evil laugh). 😉 Anyway… That’s great that it’s working for you!! And of course, I’m looking at their initials and imaging what their actual first names are. 🙂

  • DIY: Homemade is the best! | Dawntalks - […] and a really nice photographer. Her creativity inspires me so much that I tried to recreate her Responsibility Pins but mine is a lot simpler than hers so don’t compare, okay? […]

  • Paige - Happy Anniversary! Me and the hubs will be 12 years in December. Hey, I did my own version of the clothes pin chart and blogged about it. I linked up to your blog. Hope that was cool. I wanted to give you a heads up. Thanks so much for the idea! As long as I don’t make it too complicated I think it will work very well for my boys! Hope you are having a good week!

  • karen - your totally teasing us with the names!! i know the B…what is little ones name? i would love to know 🙂 names are so special when the fit just right.

  • Charity G. - I love this idea, especially the name. I have to say, when I first saw yours I was confused by the letters for each of the kids names. I think I was expecting an F for Firecracker and so on. It took me a minute to realize that wouldn’t be what you’d be using. Made me laugh at myself and my thinking.

  • Un sistema… da bambini! | La scuola di zio Gustavo - […] ecco a voi il link al blog di Ashley Ann e alle immagini fotografiche che spiegano, senza bisogno di così tante […]

  • Vintage Eclectic Chore Chart - […] got this idea originally from Ashley Ann over at Under The Sycamore. I have followed Ashley’s blog for a very long time, and have always loved her eclectic […]

  • what i’m making this week | on the doorposts - […] also did a copycat project.  ashleyann at underthesycamore has amazing style.  i want to be like her when i grow up!  she made a great “responsibility […]

  • jennifer - i copied you, and since “imitation is the highest form of flattery” i figured i’d let you know. mine isn’t nearly as cute as yours, but i can handle that.

  • Adonna - This idea is fantastic! I have been looking at different chore charts for a few weeks but nothing has seemed like a good fit. I have an 11 and 8 year old and at our house it’s getting the kids to be more responsible for their daily routine that I need the most help with. This couldn’t be a better fit! Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  • DIY Daily Routine Chart for Kids | listening in the litany - […] paper strips and glue along top edge of each 3″ square. Paint tips of clothespins (I loved these…) Hot glue the saw-tooth hooks onto back of 4 x 24 basswood sheets. Allow to harden well […]

  • Kid Friendly Chore Chart | Saving 4 Six - […] got this idea from Under the Sycamore.  Check out her clothespin chart, it’s really cute […]

  • 11 Creative Chore Charts Kids Will Love - […] Customize clothespins for each child with washi tape or by dipping the ends in paint. Put chores you want them to do on top of the board and they clip them on the bottom once the mission is complete. See at a glance what still needs to be done. […]

  • Jackie Marie - My first time I’m visiting your page and I love this idea! Sounds like you have a house full of children like I do and this looks PERFECT for organizing and handing out chores!