By Luke Rix-Standing, PA
Death, taxes and mildly boring household chores – the three ubiquitous of modern life. While no one really likes doing chores, there are definitely ways to make them more or less tolerable and maximize the hours of the day you spend doing other things.
Here’s how to do laundry, cleaning and ironing as quickly as humanly possible…
Work from top to bottom
You probably clean the bathroom after you use it, not before, and sometimes chores require a bit of sequencing. Don’t vacuum the floor, for example, then wipe down the surfaces vigorously, because then you’ll probably have to clean the floor again. When in doubt, go for gravity, because dust can’t come up from the floor onto your cupboards.
Cleaning logically takes a lot less time if there are a lot less things to clean. Most homes could benefit from the occasional purge, and it’s remarkable how simpler a emptier home can seem.
do one thing at a time
A life lesson, not just for cleaning, jumping between different tasks is a surefire way to never cross anything off your to-do list. There are people who thrive on multitasking, but they are few and far between.
Since most of us adapt chores to other things (more urgent or more pleasant), strict planning is probably doomed. Expect to do little and often, and prioritize unavoidable tasks like laundry, because you never know when life will get in your way.
Upgrade your gear
Throwing money at a problem doesn’t always make it go away, but if you throw it in the right places it can definitely help. If you’re using a cordless vacuum, make sure it has a decent battery life so you don’t have to stop and charge it halfway, while a handheld vacuum suitable for corners can help. save time with dustpan and brush.
Make sure your washing machine has settings to suit the range of materials in your wardrobe, so you don’t have to spend hours dividing your laundry basket, and a good quality iron can halve the time spent on the plank. Time is money, and a little extra spending could save you hours of housework in the months and years to come.
If something takes less than two minutes, do it
This is a strategy for overcoming procrastination in any area of life, not just household chores, because putting off something that takes very little time is just a bad idea. It could be one minute, two minutes or five minutes – different people have different thresholds – but if that meets your definition of “fast”, then delete it and cross it out.
Do chores in the background
Most chores don’t take up much brain space, so they can be done in tandem with more enjoyable activities, or stuck in otherwise dead time. Hang up the laundry while listening to an audiobook or wash the dishes during a TV commercial break.
Engage your cohabitants
Partners obviously, children if they are old enough to be corralled – anyone using your household should expect to help with its upkeep. Use classic parenting methods to try to motivate children, with clear to-do lists and low-level rewards or praise when they do well.