How to Clean Your House When you Hate to Clean House

From the simple to the suplime:

"Boring women have immaculate houses."


Truer words were never spoken, written, or texted.

I don't know who first said this, but if I knew I'd buy him or, more probably, her a drink.

I love my home and like to see it well-kept. It's just I'd rather do most anything more than housekeeping. For me, the best part of working full time was the financial resources to hire someone to clean my house for me. For one thing, my husband and children would actually pick up their stuff if they knew the housekeeper was coming the next day. They wouldn't hop-to just because I asked. For some reason they tended to have more faith in the presence of a maid actually on-site than in my potential to manage the upkeep of the house. My request for them to straighten their rooms didn't guarantee a cleaning would necessarily follow. Knowing a paid professional was scheduled for the next day was, in their minds, a surer bet. Unfortunately I'd be the first one to testify to the fact that their thinking was primarily based on past, consistent experience.

Now that I'm a work-from-home writer and my income has reduced drastically, I'm back to being the master of my house's fate. I still love my home, and I still like to see it well-kept. So I've developed some shortcuts to the process for a couple of good reasons. One, I simply would rather spend my time doing other things. And two, I get little pleasure out of doing the same tasks over and over again, knowing they are only going to have to be done again the next day. This situation is not what it used to be when we were attempting to raise three active children complete with pets, soccer teams, hordes of girlfriends, and other locusts that would descend upon our dwelling on a regular basis. Still, dust settles, mud tracks, and cobwebs gather any time the world still turns on its axis.

Now, for the shortcuts.

This first one I developed upon the birth of my first child, and it's proved its value over the subsequent years. When there is more clutter than time available to clean, go room by room and place said clutter in paper bags marked with the name of the room. When finished, place the bag in a closet or corner of the room. This procedure gives each area a quick face-lift without just throwing junk mail, sweaters, lunchboxes and/or anything else you might need within the next twenty-four hours into closets and drawers where they might not be so easy to retrieve quickly. When my husband asked where his checkbook went, I could point to the grocery bag or bags in the corner of the room and with confidence say, "right there."

Two: Just make the bed. OK. The bedroom is cluttered with clean and dirty clothes piles, the remnants of the Sunday newspaper, and stacks of paperbacks on the nightstand both read and to-be-read. The room needs about thirty minutes of steady work done on it, but you don't have thirty minutes. You have five, so use them making the bed. It is amazing how much nicer a bedroom looks with just the bed made.

Three: Do what is the most glaring need, even if that is the only chore you have the time or inclination to do. If I walk by the French doors in the den and am taken aback by the fingerprints and smudges shining in the sunlight, I will stop and get out the window cleaner and tackle the project. It'll take about ten to fifteen minutes. Now, the truth is, probably every window in the house is in the same condition. But I don't have time (or interest) to take on the full-day operation of washing all the windows in the house. I will clean the offending French door. I will at least accomplish that. It's not the entire project, but it is not nothing.

Four: When the bathroom needs a good scrub, grab a bottle of alcohol and wipe down anything that doesn't get up and run away from you. It will not only clean but also put a quick shine on everything it touches.

Five: Don't do routine household chores on the weekend. You just end up feeling like you are following everybody around redoing and redoing the same tasks endlessly. Let your mate or your family enjoy the space then help you do a general pick-up before everybody goes to bed on Sunday night right before bedtime. Everybody made the mess. Everybody can help right the ship at the end of the pleasure cruise.

I'd rather garden, and I have prize-winning iris as evidence of my skill in that area. I'd rather write, and I have two novels, a volume of poetry, a non-fiction work in progress, and more than 100 hubs to my credit. I'd rather foster my relationships with my three grown children, their spouses, my grandchildren, my friends, the hubbers I follow. And I have wonderful relationships with the people in my life, who are disproportionately of the same school of thought as I am when it comes to housekeeping.

There will always be beds to be made. There will always be garbage to be taken out. There will always be furniture to be dusted. There is so much more to life than that.

Use these shortcuts and go outside and plant an iris.






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Comments 56 comments

billd01603 profile image

billd01603 4 years ago from Worcester

Great Hub, voted up, interesting and funny. I mentioned this Hub to my wife. She agrees with you, She has much better things to do with her time!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh, billd01603, you are a brave man if you showed this hub to your wife! You must either have nerves of steel or you share the chores! Thanks - it was nice to wake up this morning to a comment on a new hub. Welcome to my world.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Good ideas, Kathleen. I am going to use the alcohol tip. I hate having that dull shine on my fixtures. And, yes, if possible - leave the weekends free to enjoy, the cleaning can wait.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

teaches12345: Thanks for your faithful reading and commenting on my work. Grab the alcohol and enjoy your weekends!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Wonderful, practical, adoptable suggestions and solutions to minimizing the hours devoured by housework and yet still having a decent and comfortable home. Isn't it amazing the difference itmakes, if the bed is just made? :) Sharing.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

phdast7: You've caught up with me - I just posted this one! My Mom taught me this - of course, she didn't give me a choice. Thanks Mom!


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

Excellent ideas!!!! I do the bed making one (well, have taught the kids how to do their own beds anyway LOL) and will have to try the paper bag idea! Thanks!!!! Voted up and shared :)


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

That was quite an interesting and a bit witty. I think all of us need a break. Thanks for your suggestions. Nice and interesting.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

ChitrangadaSharan: Thanks for your kind remarks. Welcome to my hubs and I hope you enjoy more of them.

CassyLu1981: It wasn't until my daughter married that she tapped into the making the bed thing. And I think she found it in a book on her own. Mom's advice? Not so much. Thanks for commenting.


Your Cousins profile image

Your Cousins 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I used to be the type that would wash the dishes before dinner was done, but once I loosened up a bit, I found that home life was a lot more fun. Voted up and funny. Gotta go make the bed now!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

Excellent hub, Kathleen, and I share your philosophy about housekeeping.

The endless repetition of household chores guarantees boredom for all but the most dedicated people (the ones who must have neatness, or else). I am a practitioner of the "good enough" approach. If I get the bed made and clean the bathrooms and kitchen every day, I feel virtuous. I tackle the bigger jobs as needed. (The actual need may exist before I notice, but that's one advantage of growing older--my vision is not sharp, and smaller dust bunnies may go unremarked.)

Jaye


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

If I got done every day what you get done, I'd certainly feel virtuous! I love the "good enough" approach. Another benefit of being older, I've learned only to entertained folks who know me and love me enough not to care how shiny the house is. Thanks for commenting.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Your cousins: If you have something better to do, skip making the bed today. It'll need to be made tomorrow too! Welcome to my hubs and thanks for commenting.


dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

I like the cleaning tips in here, it is a real put off to enter bedroom only to find the bed is cluttered, some of these chores actually takes less time that we take to decide if to do them or not.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

-some of these chores actually takes less time that we take to decide if to do them or not.

Too true. I make the bed as soon as I get out of it. Why walk by it five times before doing it? Thanks for commenting, dwachira, and welcome to my hubs!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

Kathleen, i love reading your hub...the tips and ideas.. bravo!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

unknown spy: Hope it helps simplify your life. Thanks for the read.


Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 4 years ago from Minnesota

Great advice. I absolutely hate cleaning, there's so much more i'd rather do with my free time!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Nicole S: Me too! Other than writing (obviously) what do you like to do?


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

You're a genius. I always felt like something must be wrong with me that I HATE cleaning, but I do it...endlessly. Well, I make it sound like I do it all the time. Now that I work at home, I spend about 20 minutes a day trying to do upkeep. It helps, but I love your tips. I'm so glad I stopped by. I'm bookmarking this for future reference. Voted up and tweeted.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Well cclitgirl, welcome to my hubs. Glad this was a help. I'm with you - there's a whole lot more I'd like to do other than cleaning!


healthylife2 profile image

healthylife2 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

I loved this so much and worship the author of the opening quote. Cleaning has always been part of my job but my least favorite part as a stay home parent. I don't find it fulfilling at all! The list of shortcuts made me laugh and I have to admit I have used several. I will have to try the one about putting everything in a grocery bag for each room. Voted up!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

healthylife: Welcome and so glad you got a laugh about this one. Stay at home parenting is tough because nothing you finally find the time to do - doesn't stay done for long. Not fulfilling at all!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

whew! that's amazing Kath. your tips are amazing. you're a genius!! thank you! sharing this


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

My goodness. All these accolades - and for a cleaning piece! Should have done this hub long ago! Thanks and glad it was a help.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 4 years ago from United States

With all the power cleaning gadgets which offer convenience and ease, many of them still find it hard to clean the house. I usually take pride in cleaning my house (it gives me exercise too) when I have time. But I'll try these tips whenever I have little time but still want my house looking spiffy. Thanks for sharing.. :)


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

vibesites: Welcome to my hubs. Glad you found this one useful. I also take pride in my home, which is the struggle because there are so many other ways I'd like to spend my time. Would love to hear some of your tried and true methods for keeping up with it.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

These are useful tips but my quick answer to your title question is hire a maid to come in once a week! Voting this Up and Interesting.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You said it! Wish I could still afford "Help" but I'm afraid those days ended with retirement. I like the way you think, though.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.


izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

Voted useful. I live on a fixed income and because I have severe arthritis I had to put in the budget a cleaning person. My friend's teen daughter.

Now you should write a political hub to help the welfare recipients/Romney's 47%; How to get a job when you hate to get a job.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

izetti: Glad you found this one helpful.

Interesting idea for a hub. If I knew the secret to solving joblessness I'd certainly share it. Afraid I'm not that smart. I have two college graduate sons who are right now trying to solve that puzzle.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 4 years ago from United States

Your hub made me smile, and your take on cleaning makes me think of a book on writing called Bird by Bird, I think. The author claimed that cleaning house was a delusional attempt to deny the passage of time and the natural decay of all things. I don't remember much else about the book, but I remember that: it gave me a philosophical excuse for prioritizing some things over cleaning. And now you've given me some really good shortcuts, too. Thanks!


jeanine 4 years ago

I absolutely love this hub... I laughed and laughed... but it was so helpful...lol...lol..


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

The Dirt Farmer: Welcome to my hubs. Glad this one caught your eye. Sounds like my kind of book - will have to look for it. Hope this hub leaves you with more time to write!

Jeanine: Nice to bring a smile to a face! If you find some helpful info too - more the better. I was recently told anyone can provide information. A few laughs along with the info is worth providing too. Agree?


AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 4 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

Funny and too true; I especially like the one about putting a bag of clutter in each room (for me it would have to be a *big* bag). Thanks for an article that is both practical and entertaining. Voted up and shared.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

AMFredenburg: Thanks and welcome to my hubs. Glad you found humor and some ideas to make your own.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

And the "I Would Rather" winner is...

How to Clean Your House When You Hate to Clean House!

I'll be linking this in my next hub. :)


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I love Irises too, and I don't much care for housework either. I missed this earlier, but am paying close attention now. When my wife and I were both working, we too had outside help to come in and do the major stuff. After I was "retired" last January, it fell to me to do the bulk of the cleaning, laundry, some cooking too. That was fine with me really, but my procrastiantion and cluttery habits with books, newspapers and magazines, poems in progress, etc, exasperate even me. But I do tend to do it all at once. I will give some of these great ideas a try for sure.

Up all the way on this one Kathleen!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

xstatic and RTalloni: I looked around my house after the hullaballoo of the holiday and thought it was a good time to recycle this one! Glad y'all picked it up this go-round.

Now I hate clutter as much as anybody xstatic, but books don't count. That's shabby chic! Shows you got culture you ain't used up yet.

r: Do you trim back your iris in the fall or leave them alone. I've had trouble the last two years with mine not blooming well so I'm trying every thing I read.


Cathy Gore 3 years ago

And yes, I am one of those people in you life who is " disproportionately of the same school of thought as I am when it comes to housekeeping." Your house is immaculate compared to mine! :)


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

There are plenty of people I don't want to be compared to - let's don't start! Thanks for the read, friend, and for the comment. Don't think I've seen you on HubPages before.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great ideas, and I do agree, cleaning daily can become a monotonous issue your tips are most helpful and simple.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

DDE: Hope this hub gives you more time to do the fun things in life. Thanks for the read and the comments.


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 3 years ago from New Jersey

I already use the alcohol idea...and each of my kids have a shoebag in their rooms to throw in "little things" when we need to clean quick for company...it looks oranganized, a 6 and 7 year old effectively clean that way and when my daughter is then looking for a wayward Barbie shoe, I can say:

"Did you look in the shoe bag?"

Thanks for this funny piece!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Theater girl: Sounds like you are in the midst of those years when these tricks really come in handy! Thanks for your comments.


Vista15 profile image

Vista15 3 years ago from Columbus, OH

I was one. For about 2 1/2 years I cleaned 2 restaurants in Nashville, TN. Then I had a near-death. When I got well, I started cleaning a beautiful old house for a woman who's husband was in Texas... Reserves, I think... with an 18 year old son who insisted.. 'Don't clean my room today! It's a mess!'

'I'm the cleaning lady, Ian...'

'No, I'll do it!'

Anyway, I think I invented all those tips you use. Ha!


carter06 profile image

carter06 9 months ago from Cronulla NSW

Just found it, had to read it, enough said..great tips btw

Cheers


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 9 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Carter: I just have so many other things I'd rather do than clean house, but I had a mother who taught me: You take care of what you are blessed with. So this is my compromise!


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 9 months ago

Your hub makes me smile, thanks.

I would like to see my house clean and I try to maintain it that way. We have a dog and picking up his toys is tiring. I sometimes let it be there for a couple of hours or even over night. Then after that here he comes again playing with all his toys.

I can't wait for spring and plant . :-)


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 9 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

ignugent17: I'd definitely rather garden than clean house! I have a friend who says, if the iris bed is clean you can be sure the house isn't!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 6 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Kathleen.....Any tip whatsoever that cuts down on "housecleaning" is one I will appreciate and use! I've developed a few tricks myself. I'm with you all the way~~there's too much living to do, people to see and fun to have.

Sure, I love my home & environment and especially like it to be clean & organized. So like you I take a look and make my choices per room. Have to stick to a time limit OF COURSE! LOL

I pat myself on the back for what gets done and forgive myself for what doesn't. Life is short. I'd rather die laughing than mopping!!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 6 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

"I pat myself on the back for what gets done and forgive myself for what doesn't." Amen


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 months ago from Texas

How well you know me. You must have written this just for me. LOL! I hate spending a lot of time cleaning. I'm always thinking about everything else I need or want to do. So I try to do the essential things first and then deep clean when I have more time. Shortcuts are good!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

shanmarie: I did write this for you! So many of us are in the same boat. Especially writers who work from home and could easily never get anything but housework done. I could have an immaculate house at all times or I could write six books? My choice? Those books that will outlive me.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 months ago from Chicago Area

I'm so glad this hub resurfaced! Like you, housework just bores me to tears. Such a waste of life. I do not want a memorial of my work to be "she had a clean house."

I agree with the making the bed thing. Once I get that done and the dogs walked, I'm ready to move on to what's important.

However, I do stupid housework junk on the weekend. I don't want to waste my precious weekday "work hours" as "housework hours." So I have a specific routine and get it out of the way.

Glad to see I'm not the only one in the housework-hating nation. May your weekend be relaxing and filled with enjoyment!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks Heidi! I use my weekends to do some housework because I can't write when my husband is home. Also, it shows him I DO do housework sometimes! And he usually pitches in to help! A big plus. Thanks for commenting.

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    Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran532 Followers
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    Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.



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