Chores. Nobody really cares for them, but everyone has to do them. Indeed, chores are ongoing responsibilities that can pile up very quickly if we’re not careful, and often leave us in inconvenient situations when not completed. Because we don’t look forward to doing chores anyway, the tension mounts and procrastination only gets worse as we start to compile a laundry list (which almost always includes the laundry) of things to do around the house. Here are some chores that when done right away can actually help make your life easier.
1. Fold and put away laundry.
It makes the top of the list because it’s probably the one chore I put off the most. I hate doing the laundry, but sorting and throwing my clothes into the machines isn’t such a huge deal. However, once all loads are through drying, I’ve been known to let them sit in the basket for days, even weeks. This becomes an organizational nightmare as well as gives way for a potential, avoidable chore: ironing. Truthfully, hunkering down and folding your t-shirts, towels, and bed sheets right away doesn’t take very long. Make the time spent more enjoyable by tuning into your favorite show or Netflix a movie to watch. It’s much more fun to be able to find your clean underwear placed nicely in a drawer rather than to have to go hunting for them in a leftover basket of laundry as you’re pressed for time to get out the door.
2. Wash dishes.
Like our clothing, pots, pans, and dishes get dirty from everyday use, and the sooner you wash those items, the better off you’ll be. In case you haven’t heard, cooking at home is the best way to keep your diet in check as well as stretch your budget. It’s pretty difficult to sauté your chicken breast if the pan is dirty, and you can’t mix up your green smoothies if the blender is out of commission. Bite the bullet and knock the dishes out right after you’re finished cooking. Too hungry? Gobble down your meal first. Just be careful how much time you let pass between meal completion and kitchen maintenance, as the chances of you getting to it become exponentially diminished the longer you wait. Side note: leaving food in pots or on dishes in the sink is usually a magnet for pests. Eww.
3. Empty the trash.
Do you or someone you know like to play the garbage smash game? You know, the game where you try to fit your piece of garbage into a receptacle already filled to capacity by mashing and smashing the garbage down enough just to get the lid closed. Seriously, just take it out. Garbage is supposed to be taken out. It can also be smelly after a while.
4. Clean your bathroom(s).
Toilets should go without saying, but given their purpose, it’s a good idea to make sure you clean them on a regular basis. How regular that basis is will depend on frequency of use. As for the rest of the bathroom, be sure to keep hair off the floor, counter, and out of the sink (no clogged drains), and scrub the shower to prevent scum and mildew. Ignoring these chores results in a messy bathroom and increased exposure to bacteria, which is gross. Nobody likes a slippery, scummy shower. If a guest drops in and needs to use the restroom, you can put your mind at ease knowing you’ve kept the area presentable. If you decide to treat yourself to a tub bath by candlelight after a long day, you won’t be adding to your stress by first having to tidy up a neglected bathroom.
5. Vacuum/Sweep and Mop.
Rounding out the list is another of my least favorite chores: floor maintenance. I despise sweeping. Vacuuming isn’t my favorite either. However, I also hate a dirty floor. You know that tub bath by candlelight I was talking about earlier? Imagine stepping out of the bath and onto a floor with dust bunnies, crumbs, and dirt peppered all over it. Is your skin crawling yet? And speaking of crawling, if your babies do, then a dirty floor is a hidden playground of unclean things. Try to make sure you’re hitting the floors at least once a week if you can. Some tools to make the job easier are the Bissell Hard Floor Vacuum (superior to any broom and dustpan) and the Hurricane Mop (it wrings and cleans the mop without you having to put your hands in the water. winning!). If your budget allows, go ahead and get a Dyson for your carpets. Just read the reviews and select a model that suits your needs.
It can be hard to make time for all of this household upkeep when your schedule is packed and you have little ones demanding your attention. Try to keep the chores in your household a collaborative effort, allowing children who are old enough to help out when appropriate and sharing the load evenly with your partner. A chore list and schedule may suit you well, too.