Thanks to the marvels of technology, some of my recent online articles included a comments facility and some people very kindly used this space to volunteer their own housework-success secrets.
These included some real gems and I thought it would be helpful to put together a summary of these words of wisdom. So, here follows a collection of top tips from the online community, on how to cope in the domestic trenches. (Thanks, readers!)
Some of these are familiar to me (at least in theory) but I haven’t yet tried them all, so can’t vouch for their success. But in the spirit of desperate times calling for desperate measures, I’ll give virtually anything a go if it promises to ease the burden of housework.
(If you’re curious about what has worked for me so far, Housework Blues is a compilation of my tried and tested techniques.) My personal contribution to this post comes by way of the picture above, which was taken in my kitchen and displays my mantra for staying sane.
Also, since we all work and think differently, some of the following tips contradict others. So, I don’t suggest that any of these ideas are definitively right or wrong. But then one of the (few) perks of being Head Slave is that you get to decide the way things are run – so feel free to cherry-pick your favourites.
Here you go!
Readers’ top tips:
- Aim for hygienic and homely rather than pristine and perfect.
- Have cleaning supplies on every floor.
- Clean one room at a time. Be very focussed.
- Divide up the work. For example, don’t clean the whole bathroom at once – do the floor one day, the sink the next, etc….
- Declutter wardrobes, drawers, cupboards & shelves at least once a year.
- Invest in good storage.
- Ensure everything has a home.
- Tidy as you go.
- Think of the calories you’re burning as you clean/vac/tidy etc…
- Clean once a week for 2-3 hours (or employ a cleaner).
- Bin junk mail immediately.
- Be ruthless with clutter – don’t let piles gather.
- Remember that it’s much easier to keep on top of tidy house than get on top of messy house.
- Teach children to tidy their own toys and make sure they have somewhere to put them.
- Treat housework as you would a proper job – each morning, do each that day’s essentials.
- Be organised.
- Get up early.
- View doing housework as blessing your family.
- Keep your cleaning supplies handy.
- Set a routine. Schedule jobs for certain days, then you can happily ignore jobs until it’s ‘their day’.
- Have one ‘housework-free’ day, every week.
- Stop fighting essential work, just accept that it needs doing.
Some wars can’t be won.
- Compensate for a messy spouse with shopping therapy.
- Give yourself rewards when you’ve completed certain tasks.
- If the place is a mess, get family members to each pick up 5 things. Do same again an hour later until the house is tidy.
- Give children jobs they enjoy, eg polishing, mopping.
- Set a timer, then set yourself a challenge of doing a job before the bell goes.
- Spray polish around before anyone comes – they’ll think you been hard at it all day!
- When something new comes into the house, something old must leave.
- Blitz one room for 10/15 minutes, then stop.
- Encourage children to take responsibility for their own rooms.
- Get shopping delivered weekly.
- Make the most of appliances; dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, robot vacuums & mops.
- Link pocket money to household chores – it encourages a good work ethic.
- Do the stuff that annoys you first.
- Clean the shower or bath when you’re in it.
- Laminate floors are easier to keep clean than carpets.
- Try not to think too much about it.
- Have a schedule you can stick too.
- Regular tea breaks!
- Put the dishwasher on at bedtime and then empty it in the morning.
- Limit toys to one room.
- Hang washing out straightaway to save ironing.
- Co-ordinate a favourite radio or TV show to a regular chore, eg washing up, ironing.
- Play upbeat music.
- Hire a cleaner.
- Visit flylady.net
- Do dishes regularly rather than letting them pile up.And finally, my personal favourite:
- Little and often will keep you sane!
Here are a few books that were also recommended:
Again, a big thank you to all the readers who sent in their helpful hints.
I hope you find these useful and if you have any top tips of your own
you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!