How to tackle a never ending mountain of housework on top of your day job.
When you get in from work put your shoes away on their rack/in their box/in the cupboard and either dump your dirty clothes in the laundry basket or hang your suit up. It sounds obvious but stripping down and leaving your clothes and bags strewn all over the place is an invite for a floordrobe and will lose you time scavenging the following morning. For those used to spending the rest of the evening in your workwear – try changing into something more comfortable and hanging your outfit up. This will take some of the creases out or give you more time to clean it for the next day.
If you’re trying to take out some creases in your shirts then throwing them in the dryer on a speed cycle with some ice cubes will release just enough steam to smooth things out. If you’re really short on time then hanging your shirt/dress up in the bathroom whilst you shower will also steam out some creases.
We have got into the habit of washing our clothes midweek. The idea of spending my weekends or a rare free day doing laundry and housework fills my heart with dread. If you live in a well sound-proofed flat then you should take advantage of running a wash cycle overnight and hanging the clothes up first thing in the morning. This means that the wash is working whilst you sleep and it’s not left too long to gather that horrible damp smell. One of the best tips my mother gave me was to wait until the clothes were bone dry before folding them away. Woe betide those who fold away damp clothes. If you don’t have a balcony or garden to hang the clothes out to dry then leave them in a room with the window open to allow the air to circulate and to get rid of any potential dam smell. Make sure the clothes aren’t too near to the kitchen, so that they don’t pick up any cooking smells or musty smoke.
We don’t have a dishwasher and I’m convinced that getting one would solve 90% of the arguments I have with my partner. Alas, we are living in rented accommodation and can’t install one. So, to make do with traditional washing at the sink tasks we have a couple of rules which might work for you too. 1) DO THEM IMMEDIATELY. The below image is tells a sad tale of what happens when you have friends round for dinner + not doing the dishes the morning after + leaving sticky foods like porridge and cereal to bowls. Just get them done as soon as you’ve finished eating. Then you can relax and not have to pick up the chore later (and it really is a chore). When cooking, clean as you go, don’t have any “dead time” where you’re just waiting for the food in the over to be ready, make sure you wash the utensils and pots once you’re done with that section of the meal. If you have friends round, I tend to boil a kettle and pour the hot water into sticky pots and pans to soak, so even if I’m not getting around to cleaning straight away the job is easier when I eventually get there. 2) Use as few pots, plates and utensils as possible. I you can double up cooking veg in the same pot (mixing carrots and peas etc.) then do so. Likewise for serving on plates – think more platter style where you can throw different foods together. This tip will also encourage people to eat a wider variety of foods at your table as it will be mixed in together.
I have to confess that hoovering is probably my favourite household task. It makes such a difference and you get instant, visible results. I would guesstimate that I hoover about 3-4 times a week (which even I find excessive) but we are living in a rented flat and the flooring is just the worst to keep clean. You can still make things easier for you with this task by taking your shoes off at the door – think Japanese living! This stops you dragging muck throughout the home and keeps things tidy – see point above about workwear. Limiting your eating places to one or two areas of the home also helps. This stops crummies being dispersed all over your floors. I know exactly where the messiest places are and where I need to pay close attention to hoovering. The kitchen floor, just under the chopping board and bread bin and the ‘favourite’ corner of the sofa where countless TV snacks and game foods are consumed. These are the only 2 places were we’ve agreed eating and making a mess away from the dining table is ok. Otherwise, we’d spend a lifetime hoovering up all over the place. Also, as an aside, try not to eat in bed – I know it’s really good when you’re hungover or feeling under the weather but there’s nothing worse than biscuit crumbs under the duvet and ketchup stains on your blanket. We also bought a cordless hoover recently = game changer. It’s super fast, got great suction and you’re not hampered by the distance of a cord. I’m not going to recommend any particular brand in this post because there are so many good vacuum cleaners out there for a variety of budgets but make sure you get a really lightweight one which picks up dirt and hair really well.
Do you have any tips for making household task less of a chore? Or are you a weirdo like me and enjoy hoovering?