Whether you are a stay at home mom or work outside of the home, we all have housework. Unless you have a 24/7 cook and house cleaner, you’re going to have daily housework that needs to be done at some point.
The laundry, dishes, and dust bunnies won’t take care of themselves. At times, it may feel like all that you ever do is clean and once you’ve cleaned up one aspect of your life, there is something else that needs your attention.
Taking control of this area of your life will free up mental space, your time, and lessen the amount of housework that you have to do each day. By doing this, you reduce the amount of daily decisions you need to make. This seems minor, but each of these decisions whether to do a chore now or later, adds up to decision fatigue.
What is decision fatigue? Decision fatigue refers to your decreasing ability to make good decisions throughout the day as you are bombarded with decisions. You are making hundreds of decisions each day which simple or not, wear on your decision making ability.
How many times have you looked at a pile of laundry and thought – I should fold that and put it away now, but I don’t have time so when shall I do it? I will do it after dinner, but then dinner comes and goes and now you have dirty dishes looking at you as well. You still haven’t done the laundry but mentally it’s wearing you down.
At the end of each day, do you want to be making decisions related to laundry or how you will spend quality time with your family?
This is why lessening the amount of decisions that you need to make each day is so important. At the end of each day, do you want to be making decisions related to laundry or how you will spend quality time with your family?
Ok so how does this work? How do I free up my time, as no matter what, it takes the same amount of time to do all of these tasks? That’s what I used to think and I had piles of stuff everywhere – piles of paper on the dining room table, piles of laundry that needed to be done or clean laundry in baskets which needed to be put away and random things everywhere.
A jacket here, some shoes there, a bag in the corner, everywhere I looked there was something that needed my attention.
Here are 5 simple things you can implement today so that you will have less housework tomorrow:
1) A place for everything
There should be a place for everything that you bring home each day. When you and your family come home, you’re going to have to set your stuff down somewhere.
Decide once and for all where everyone’s stuff will go. Where will you put your purse? If you don’t use a purse, where will you place your wallet and keys? Items should go in the same spot everyday. When it’s time to leave, you automatically grab it from this spot and don’t need to hunt for it.
Where does everyone put their coat or jacket? Do they hang it in a closet? Their room? Toss it in a basket or does it hit the entryway floor as soon as they enter?
Where do you put your shoes? Is there a shoe rack or cabinet to place them in so it is out of sight? If so, designate a row for each member of the family. This way when it comes time to put their shoes on again, they can find their pair easily.
It may take a few weeks for everyone to get in the habit but once everyone gets in the habit, you won’t have as many things scattered all over your home. Also, once everyone does their part and puts away their own bag, coat, shoes, lunchbox, etc. you won’t feel like the housekeeper that needs to pick up after everyone!
2) Simplify laundry
Don’t combine family member’s laundry. This is an additional step to sort out everyone’s clothes once they’ve been cleaned. Try to have enough basics for each family member so their laundry gets done once a week.
This will minimize the number of times that you run laundry as well as the amount of time sorting out everyone’s clothes. Bonus tip: clean out your closet and drawers every 4 months. Putting laundry away will go a lot faster since you’re not stuffing things into drawers and closets.
An overstuffed closet or drawers makes putting the laundry away a frustrating exercise and adds to the time that it takes to complete this task. If there is ample room for all of your clothes, it’s a quick and easy process to put everything away.
3) Dishes must come to the sink after each meal.
Everyone brings their plate to the kitchen and scrapes anything that they didn’t finish into the trash.
Plates and silverware should be placed into the sink. This makes clean up a lot easier since you don’t have to go back and forth to clear everyone’s plates. The dishes can all be loaded into the dishwasher (if you have one), at one time.
Another thing to lessen your load, is to have each person grab their own cup of water in the morning and they will use that same cup through the rest of the day. Otherwise, you will have multiple cups being used by each family member which adds to the number of dishes to be washed.
4) Schedule it
Decide now when you’re going to do something. You know you’re going to have to do certain things each week such as laundry, changing bedsheets, paying bills, etc.
Sit down with your calendar and look at your family’s weekly schedule. Figure out when is the best day to do each person’s laundry, change their bedsheets, etc.
You won’t have to have wonder each day what needs to be done and if you forgot to do anything. Post this schedule so your family can see what the plan is and highlight the name of who is responsible for doing each task.
5) Assign the chore to someone else
Who said you had to do everything? My brother and I grew up doing a lot of chores around the house. I believe this gave us an appreciation for the house that we grew up in. We understood that we were part of maintaining the house and that everyone had work that needed to get done.
Talk to your spouse and children about which chores they prefer to do. This makes getting things done around the house a lot more fun for everyone.
For instance, I don’t enjoy going to the grocery store but my husband doesn’t mind. I make a list of what we need and he does the shopping each weekend. If I need something during the week, I will get it but I try to get everything on the list for the weekend so he can do the grocery shopping.
To summarize, here are helpful spots where things can go when you walk in the door:
1) Purse/bag: designate a counter, chair or closet.
2) Keys/wallet: a small dish or tray would be the perfect spot to house these items
3) Jackets/coats: the coat closet (imagine actually hanging your coats in there instead of using it as storage for other things). A wall mounted coat rack is great if you have a spot for it in your laundry room or mudroom. Also, a cedar chest can house backpacks and is a place to sit and put your shoes on. Alternatively, a large basket allows even the smaller members of your household to put their stuff away.
To lessen the amount of housework you do, run laundry once a week for each family member. Everyone is responsible for bringing their own dishes to the sink. Schedule out when chores will be done and post it for your family to see. Streamline your household chores so that you have more time for what matters to you.
What do you do to streamline the housework in your life? What would you do with an extra 10 minutes each day? If you like this post, please share it and leave a comment. I love hearing your thoughts.