Whether you are a career oriented go-getter working 40 to 50 hours a week, a working mum, a stay at home parent, or a student with a heavy workload, fitting chores into your weekly schedule and staying on top of the housework is likely to be a challenge. It is easy to put off doing everyday jobs in favour of relaxing after a long day’s work, spending a little time with the kids before bed, or pouring over books to meet your next assignment deadline. At the time, almost everything seems more important than washing the dishes or doing the laundry; that is until it has built up for a week or more and you have nothing to wear or eat with! When this happens, you are faced with a mammoth task: a full day’s cleaning just to get back to a reasonable level of housekeeping. If you can work out a way to spend a little time doing housework, you will find that it is much easier to stay on top of the chores and you will never be faced with the daunting and demoralising mountain of work that builds up if you let things slide. Great!... But just exactly how do you do this with a hectic schedule like yours?
Plan ahead and allocate each chore that needs doing a specific time and day, rather than just trying to fit it in when you can. Be sure not to try to do everything on one day, as this will just make that day seem unbearable. By the second week you will have lost your motivation and will likely not even get started. To build a habit, you have to make a small change that has a noticeable positive effect. Start by allocating a few main jobs to different days. Once you have completed these successfully a couple of times and your brains rewards system has been triggered by the noticeable improvement in your homes appearance and the ease f completing the tasks, begin adding more jobs and work your way up to a fully allocated cleaning schedule. Avoid allocating more than 30 minutes of jobs each day; you’ll be surprised how much you can get done in this amount of time. Within a few weeks you’ll be doing the chores at their allocated time on autopilot and it will feel so good!
There are lots of ways to make household chores more enjoyable. Music is a great tool for enhancing your motivation. You might even forget you’re cleaning as you dance around to your favourite songs and do your best Freddie Mercury with the hoover. Turning your chores into a fitness boosting workout is another great way to make them fun. You’ll also save money on a gym membership and feel great after! (For some great ideas on how best to do this, check out this blog). If you are competitive or like a challenge, you can make a game of the housework by setting goals or time limits. This is especially effective if you involve the kids. (We’ve some great ways to do this in this blog.) If you feel less energetic, simply turning on the TV with your favourite show in the background can let you clean without even noticing you’re doing the work.
Keep your mess organised
We all know the saying prevention is better than a cure. This is as true when it comes to housework as it is for health. Keeping things as organised as possible between completing your weekly chores means that you will have less to do as you work your way through your cleaning schedule. This means simply not letting the mess build-up in an out of control manner. There are plenty of ‘mess organising’ tools on the market. One of our favourites is a laundry basket divider that allows you to separate coloureds, darks and whites as you put your clothes in the laundry hamper. The 3 main rules to follow to keep your mess organised are to give everything a place, put things away straight after use, and rinse your pots immediately after eating.
Use hacks and time saving appliances
Hacks are great. They are simple ways in which we change the use of everyday products to make life easier. There are hacks for all aspects of everyday life all over the internet, and cleaning is no exception. From storage to sweeping, everything can be made easier with a little creative thinking. Manufacturers too are always looking for ways to save you time and labour, and there are a range of fantastic products available from swiffers to magic erasers. Look out for anything that can make your chores easier and go ahead and employ it!
Don’t let it stain
Keep stain removal products handy at all times. As soon as something is a spilled – clean it up. Almost everything (apart from chewing gum) is easiest to remove when it is freshly spilt and before it dries, sinks in, or stains. You can buy stain removal products from the supermarket, but commercial products can be expensive, harmful to health, and may have adverse bleaching effects if not properly used. As a rule, simply keep salt, bicarbonate of soda, and white vinegar in your cupboard at all times; these three natural ingredients can be used to effectively clean up a multitude of tough stains and spills.
Remember what matters
Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t get worked up if you miss a chore one week or have to put something off until later. You will only make yourself feel bad, and this in turn will make it less likely that you’ll stick to your schedule the next week. Don’t spend time beating yourself up or worrying about tasks undone, just get back on track as soon as possible. Equally, when you get in the swing of things, ticking off items on your to-do list can feel fab – but it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Why is it that you are trying to be so organised? In most cases, the wish to be better at organising chores stems from a deeper need to have more time enjoying yourself or spending time with your family. If something more important comes up – the laundry can wait. Don’t miss out on the things that matter in life for the sake of getting your chores done.