May 28, 2012

7 Ways to Keep Housework Under Control

Maybe you just had a baby. Or perhaps one of your kids has been ill, or there was a death in the family, or your schedule is just that overwhelming - and now your house is a total mess. Oh boy, have I been there (too many times to count!). But it doesn't have to be that way.

Think about what tasks need doing the most. (Ideally, you'll consider this before you get overwhelmed.) Then find a way to do that bare minimum. Here are my suggestions:

1. Do at least one load of laundry every day except the Sabbath. Pop a load in the washer in the morning, and toss it in the dryer before bedtime. Make sure you also put away the last dried load, enlisting your family's help whenever possible. (Even toddlers can help! Don't worry about drawers being messy.) Also, don't bother to sort clothes before washing unless you have some very dirty or delicate items.

2. Make sure the sink is free of dishes every night. Many times I've left that last load of dishes for the morning. But mornings are busy, and it's depressing to start the day off doing the previous days chores. And remember, it only takes 5 minutes or so to pop dishes into a dishwasher. Ideally, put away clean dishes before the sink fills up. One of the joys of a dishwasher is that you can fill it as you dirty dishes, making for a cleaner kitchen.

3. If there are clean dishes in the dishwasher, remove dishes from it instead of pulling them out of the cupboard. It's a waste of time to put all the clean dishes away only to pull them out of the cupboard a few minutes later.

4. If something is out of place, take a couple of seconds to put it away - right then. Putting it off steals more time and energy.

5. If there is a mess (spilled milk, chocolate hand prints on the wall, etc.) clean it now, rather than later. Such messes are easier to clean while they are fresh.

6. Store toys in your kids rooms. If toys migrate to other rooms, there will be less of them, making pick up easier. Your children's rooms probably won't stay as tidy, but at least you won't be stepping on Legos all day.

7. Vacuum the floor, even if you can't mop it. (Truly, vacuuming is easier than sweeping.)

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