10 tips for tackling housework
By Leslie A. Panfil
My house is far from the Mecca of fine housekeeping, but I manage. What I am is a busy working mom with a few tricks up her sleeve. Best of all, I’m willing to share my top 10 tips for tackling housework.
1. Break it up. The thought of spending an entire day housekeeping not only depresses me but, simply is not realistic. So, I break my house cleaning up into manageable bite sizes pieces.
2. Schedule it. Here is my weekly cleaning schedule. Monday is kitchen surface cleaning (counter tops, sink, table top and door handles.) Tuesday is pantry day (organize and take inventory of the cupboards.) Wednesday is refrigerator clean out day (toss leftovers, organize and take inventory.) Thursday is dusting and floors and shopping day. You have just spent the last two days checking the pantry and frig. You should have a pretty good handle on what you need. Friday is clean out the car day. Saturday is sheet changing day. Sunday is bathrooms. If you keep to a routine, you will never again have to ask yourself “when did I change the sheets?”
3. Trash day. There is a reason Wednesday is frig day – it is the day before the garbage goes out. By cleaning the refrigerator out the day before garbage day, I know rotting food won’t stink up the garage or worse – my frig. While ideally I would clean the frig out on the day OF garbage take out, but our pick up time varies as does my own schedule.
4. Project day. I also look at my week and schedule a day for projects. A project is anything from organizing a drawer to heavy duty spring cleaning. You do not have to do the entire project in one day (see #1) But, I do suggest you start with that one thing around the house that you keep promising yourself you will get around to. That project has the greatest ability to boost your feeling of accomplishment.
5. Know thy self. Mondays are crazy so I choose to clean the kitchen because it can be done while making dinner or quizzing my daughter on social study facts. Monday is also my deadline for the local paper I write for so I need to keep my commitments as minimal as possible so I’m free to write. Also choose a time of day works best for you. Avoid a time of day where your energy is so low you know you will never be able to motivate yourself.
6. Clock it. Some things take more time than you think and some take less. But, you will never have a true picture of how long something takes until you clock it. Knowing how long something takes will help you keep to your schedule because you will know where you can fit a chore in.
7. Buckets. Stash a bucket of cleaning supplies in each bathroom for a quick touch-up throughout the week. Here is the tough part – train your family to use the bucket when they have made a mess. Stock up on supplies when you have coupons or there are in store sales on cleaning supplies. Before you know it you will have what you need for every bathroom.
8. Jot it down. Keep a dry erase board on the frig and when you clean out the frig and pantry jot down things you need to buy. Spouses and children can help you keep tabs too. No more telling you that they need toothpaste when you are in the middle of something. Tell them – “write it on the board.”
9. Ritualize your dailies. Making the bed, sorting the mail, laundry and running the dishwasher fall under things you may want or need to do daily. By throwing a load of laundry in before you leave, running the dishwasher before you go to bed or sorting the mail right when you walk through the door, you don’t have to think. These daily chores become routine. Most importantly they get done.
10. Magic fairy syndrome. Sometimes my schedule is such that I have to spend at least a portion of my daylight hours on housekeeping. But, sometimes I wait until my spouse is home lest he think magic fairies come and clean the house. It is also important for your kids to see you work at keeping the house nice and do their part.
Remember that whatever system you come up with to stay on top of your mounting household chores, your systems should work for you.
Templet for your schedule
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