As a wife and mother I am by no means the best housekeeper. One thing I have tried to instill in my daughters despite my otherwise lacking domestic skills is that they need to try and clean up after themselves. Now this isn't because I don't want to do it. I would much rather just let them do their thing and allow me to pick everything up and put it away. The problem with doing things this way is that they learn nothing. All they have in mind is that they can do whatever they want and someone will come behind them and clean up their messes. This attitude unfortunately translates into other areas of life as well. That is the last thing I want for my girls.
Teaching kids to pick up their trash, put away their toys, pick their clothes up off the floor and take their cups and plates to the kitchen when they are done using them is key to bringing up well adjusted, mannerly adults. Take for instance what happens when you are invited to someone else's house for a meal. They work very hard to clean them home, prepare and meal and entertain you for an evening. The least you can do to reciprocate and show appreciation is by offering to help set and then clean the table, wash the dishes and if they refuse to allow you to participate in the cleanup afterwards at least to take your own plates, dishes and garbage to their respective places.
Too often I come across children that are raised like little animals. Their parents feed and "water" them but teach them nothing about cooperation with each other and with the family as a whole. How are they going to handle cooperating with others at school and the workplace if it's not something taught at home when they are young?
My girls are young, but they are still capable of helping around the house. Cookie offers to sweep (though I usually have to go back over where she just swept when she's not around). Cookie and BonBon help to unload the dishwasher; they put away cups, bowls, containers, and silverware that they can reach. Sometimes Cookie will even unload the whole thing and stack the dishes on the counter for me to put away later. She is a very sweet and conscientious girl. By her example she encourages little BonBon to want to do the same. BonBon is my little bathroom police. She makes sure to tell Mommy when we are running low on toilet paper and when the toilets need a scrub.
Overall what I am trying to teach them is an awareness of other's personal space, needs and feelings. We all like things to be clean and nice and ready to use, but so does everyone else and they have a right to that. We should not thoughtlessly act in a manner that will deprive them of those rights