Eventually just about everybody comes to the realization that housework is never ending and involves drudgery, tedium, and getting your hands dirty. It’s a fact of life that if we want to live like civilized people in clean houses there will always be chores that need to be done… and it certainly makes life easier if these chores are shared.
Develop a work routine, based on YOUR house, YOUR family, and YOUR lifestyle… and then fine-tune that routine until you can accomplish what needs to be done… efficiently, quickly, and with as little stress as possible. Some people prefer to spend one day each week deep-cleaning the whole house… others prefer to clean or organize small areas each day. Once you find the time and the routine that works for YOU and the other people in your household, everything suddenly becomes a little easier.
What works best for me is to try to keep my house (and my life) as orderly and organized as I can ALL the time. I have learned to tackle big… or dreaded… jobs in the early hours of the day because I am a morning person and that is when I can accomplish the most. Your most productive time may be at the other end of the day, but when you’re not already exhausted, amazing amounts of work can be done even in short spurts of time.
Since my back injury, I have also learned to expect… and accept… help. That is sometimes painfully difficult to do.
My email tells me that keeping the house clean, laundry, and doing dishes are the three most hated chores. Here are a few ideas that work for me:
- I have learned that when I take care of little things as soon as they happen, it prevents them from becoming big (problems, messes, whatever). It is always so much easier to take care of one thing than it is to tackle a long to-do list.
- Every morning I make the beds right away, then I look around the rooms and do a quick “pick up and put away.” I hang up clean clothes and put any dirty clothes in the hamper. If any family members who are old enough do this too, their rooms can stay relatively neat and clean all the time.
- I have learned what a valuable habit it is to put things back where they belong when I am finished with them. This one simple habit (and it IS a habit) can make an amazing difference in how your house looks. Kids can be taught to pick up their own toys before nap or bed time… this is a great behavior for kids to learn that will serve them well all their lives.
- I never let dishes accumulate. I have a dishwasher, but almost always I find it’s so much easier to wash the dishes by hand… as I’m cooking or baking before food has a chance to become dried on. I soak the dishes in hot soapy water and they almost wash themselves. When the dishes are clean, I put them away… the entire dish washing process is taken care of quickly and with very little effort and the kitchen stays clean.
- I take wet clothes out of the washer as soon as the cycle stops. When I’m drying clothes on the lines outside, I shake each item hard before I hang it on the line… it’s amazing how many wrinkles a good shake will eliminate. When I’m using the dryer, I take the clothes out of the dryer a few at a time (keeping the dryer running) and fold or hang all the clothes while they are still warm… resulting in almost wrinkle-free laundry… which is a good thing because I absolutely hate ironing!
- Then I put the clothes in the closets or in drawers where they are supposed to be! Immediately.
- And finally, every time someone takes a bath or a shower, they are expected to give the shower walls and tub a quick wipe down. This takes only a few seconds, but it goes a long way in helping the tub and shower stay clean and shiny.
All relatively easy and simple to do… but see what a difference they can make!