We all have housework to do, but how often do you find yourself with the time and energy to clean regularly? Yet house cleaning is something you can’t neglect – a messy house can harm your physical and mental health. Here are some tips to help manage the load so you can start taking action.
Have a maintenance schedule
To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, chores are cowards; they don’t come at you one at a time, but attack in packs. Cleaning the house can often feel that way, but tasks tend to pile up only if you don’t adhere to a schedule. You won’t have to panic and figure out what’s wrong with your HVAC if you’ve had scheduled maintenance done ahead of the inversion season in Salt Lake City. And your cleaning will be as efficient as advertised if you’ve had the necessary vacuum repair done on your trusty old Dyson. Keep maintenance under control, and you won’t be at the mercy of piled-up chores.
Organize the place
When kids leave their toys or school supplies lying around the room, you can’t proceed directly to cleaning – you have to pick things up and keep them in the right places first. Organization is a separate task from actual cleaning and should be treated as such. Designate areas for storage to keep the floor clear of clutter so that when it’s time for cleaning, you can immediately set about your work.
Do something small each day
If you let days go by without doing anything to tidy up the house, the workload will reach intimidating levels. For instance, if you take “spring cleaning” at face value, that could mean at least a couple of months’ worth of effort here in Utah. Instead, try to take one small action each day in the winter that will help manage the load. It could only require five minutes to gather some old items, such as clothes you no longer wear, and put them in a bag, so that you can give them away in the spring.
When you share a house with your family or friends, in theory, the additional headcount should help lighten the load, but does it work that way in practice? Your supervisor at work knows that appropriately delegating tasks will distribute the load and improve collective performance, and you can apply the same principle here. Don’t allow a single individual to take on the burden and wind up exhausted or upset; give everyone a clear responsibility and hold them accountable for getting their part done promptly.
Work on a timer
Speaking of time, you should always do your cleaning (and chores in general) on a timer. What makes cleaning seem burdensome at times isn’t just the effort, but the time you anticipate being wasted on each task. Instead of complaining or dragging your feet, approach the work with the mindset of getting it done in a set time, such as ten minutes to clear a kitchen sink full of dishes, or half an hour to tidy up and clean a messy room. This way, tasks will be out of your way before you know it.
The job of cleaning up your house can be a real challenge, but if you use these methods to break it down and distribute the load across the household and over time, even a mountain of housework will become more manageable.