‘Life is better if the home is prepared… that housework is a task that, once done, allows for flexibility and enjoyment in other parts of our daily existence’ – Martha Stewart, Living the Good Long Life p.283
We all have things in life we don’t particularly want to do. Household chores must be one of the most disliked things for many people. I myself don’t mind cleaning and tidying… It gives my world a sense of order that perhaps other aspects don’t have.
If housekeeping isn’t to dominate our day and keep us from doing the things we love, it’s best to get organised. As with all things, forewarned is forearmed. With a bit of forward thinking now, we can save heaps of time.
Consider the following points to help schedule your household chores:
(1) Avoid busier days
The last thing we feel up to is cleaning and tidying our home when we’ve been busy all day. If possible, schedule your housekeeping for less busy days.
Taking special care to avoid working days, evenings you’ll get home late or be going out again, or days you and your significant other are both free to spend quality time together.
(2) Break jobs down
It isn’t always possible to avoid doing chores on busier days. In that case, break chores down into more manageable chunks. This might also come in handy for people with larger properties.
Don’t vow to dust and vacuum every room on every floor on Saturday. Instead, do the bedrooms on Saturday afternoon, the living and dining rooms on Sunday morning, and clean the bathroom on Monday. Plan laundry day for Wednesday evening.
(3) Keep on top of smaller jobs
Linked to point number 2, try to do as you go along. This is particularly relevant for the two most used and most untidy areas: the bathroom and the kitchen.
In the bathroom, rinse and/or wipe down surfaces after showering or applying cosmetics.
In the kitchen, clean or dispose of items as you finish with them. I almost always fill the washing up bowl with warm soapy water before starting to cook or bake nowadays. Easier for washing my hands and for washing dirty pots, and a soaked cloth quickly wipes worktops.
(4) Tools of the trade
Store your most frequently used cleaning products together in containers and close to where you want to clean.
In the cupboard under our kitchen sink, you’ll find a box of surface cleaning spray, cloths, white vinegar and bicarb of soda.
Likewise, when I lived alone, I kept a bucket with bathroom cleaning products, scrubbing brushes, cloths, bicarb and vinegar in a cabinet.
This saves minutes of trekking round the house to gather your tools!
(5) Set time frames
Figure out roughly how long you need to clean each room or area regularly, and stick to that each week. If you say the bathroom will take an hour, choose to lay aside 10:00-11:00 every Saturday morning and, special occasions aside, do it then.
You’ll get a pleasant sense of satisfaction and success on those days when it takes less time than that too!
When we’re faced with tasks we don’t want to do, as always, I say we must do it now. If we break our homes down room by room and chore by chore, and allot days and times to them, we are much less likely to avoid doing it and be faced by a greater task in the future.