Sunday, 15 November 2015

Parents Guide on How to Survive Housework

Unless you can afford paid help, all parents have the same problem. How to keep the house looking presentable when there just is not enough time in the day. It leads to guilt. If you go out and have fun with the children you feel guilty that the house is a mess, if you stay in to clean you feel guilty that you should be out!

Unfortunately unless you have paid help you will have to do housework.
Remember you have to accept that at some point your house will be messy, people live there. Allow the children to help and accept that it won't be perfect. Perfect is for magazines.

Do housework in 10 minute bursts. Having children is exhausting so don't try to do it all in one go. 

Here are a few tips to make it all less daunting and to help you survive housework.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.                William Morris

1. Declutter

Before you try to organise anything declutter. It is so much easier to keep things tidy if there is not so much of it. Be ruthless, it really makes such a huge difference. 
Start with one room, the living room. Declutter and remove everything that does not belong here. At this point it is OK to collect it up in a box and put it in another room to be sorted later. Coffee table full of junk? Get rid of it, it will always be full of junk. Get this room sorted first even whilst chaos is elsewhere. You will have somewhere to invite friends and somewhere for you to relax.
The children can still play and make a mess but must tidy up at the end of the day.

Second room, your bedroom. Declutter and remove everything that doesn't belong in this room. Now you have somewhere to sit and somewhere to sleep in peace.

Once these are done declutter the rest of the house. Keep this up, when you have finished then start again with the living room.

2. Plan

Have a plan. Assign a task for each day of the week (dusting, vacuuming) and take no longer than 20 minutes on it. Can't do all the task in 20 minutes? Then next week start in a room you didn't get to last week. Dusting once a fortnight is so much better than not dusting at all. 

Get the children to help, little ones love to help dust and tidy, older ones will need a bribe. A bribe could be doing something together once the task is complete.

3. A Place For Everything

Once you have decluttered then make sure everything has a place.

A playroom is a luxury that not everyone has but anyone can have toy boxes. Too many toys for toy boxes? Then put some away. Children get bored with their toys and if they are all always out there's nothing new. Put half away and every now and again swap them.

A place for everything but not for unopened mail. It will just build up. As soon as it is delivered throw out/recycle the junk mail. Open letters and read them, recycle the envelopes. Have a filing system for read and completed mail.

Have storage boxes everywhere. Under the sink, in the bathroom, under the bed, in the bottom of cupboards and wardrobes. It is so much easier to put things into a box than having it loose on a shelf.

4. Equipment

Have the cleaning equipment easily available. Keep basic stuff in the bathroom too. Keep a supply of disposable multi-surface wipes. If you have to come down stairs for a cloth to wipe that mark it won't happen.

Have lots of micro cloths, they are cheap, they can be washed in the machine and dry quickly. Have them in the kitchen and bathroom.

5. Dishes

Get a dishwasher. I would give up any luxury for a dishwasher. It is the number one thing that really does reduce the amount of work. If you can't have a dishwasher then put dirty pans into hot soapy water to soak while you are eating and then wash dishes straight away, don't let it build up. Little and often.

Got a dishwasher but there's always dishes everywhere?

a)  Empty the dishwasher EVERY morning. First thing. Then fill it as the day goes on and put it on after the last meal of the day.

b) Only buy dishwasher proof stuff, anything you already own that has to washed by hand should be put away.

c) Do not wash stuff before you put it in the dishwasher (what's the point of that?) just scrape bits off first.

6. Washing

Have a dirty wash basket where clothes are removed. It won't get used if it's in the wrong place. 

Tell teenagers that you will only wash clothes that are in the basket. If you find them elsewhere just pick them up and put them in their bed. Yes IN their bed. This keeps their room looking tidy and it doesn't take long for them to comply.

Do a load every day. Then you only have a small amount of washing to deal with.

Take clothes straight out of the machine as soon as its finished so it doesn't get more creased. If you have one, put it straight into the tumble dryer and as soon as its dry take it out and fold it. It has to be done anyway and by doing it straight away it saves on ironing.

7. Batch Cook

When cooking make double the quantity of freezable food, Bolognese sauce, chilli, casseroles etc and freeze half. Then you always have a healthy delicious meal available and only one lot of pans to wash.

Use a slow cooker, so much can be cooked in it without too much effort. Put it on low in the morning and a meal will be ready for supper.

8. Eating

Only allow meals where you have a table. Everyone sits at the table to eat. Children are not allowed to eat in the living room. No meals on trays or crisps or biscuits. Snacks get spilt and crushed into the carpet which then needs to be vacuumed. Greasy hands touch walls and the TV which then need cleaning and so on.

Think that's harsh? Try it for a week and see how much better it is.

9. Multitask

Yes everyone can multitask! 

While you are supervising the children in the bath clean the toilet or sink or declutter the bathroom cabinet. After they get out give the bath a spray and then rinse. Bathroom done.

After having a shower rinse the tiles and spray with shower sparkle spray.

While waiting for the kettle to boil wipe the microwave/worksurface.

When checking the fridge for the shopping list throw out old vegetables and food.

Put pans, chopping boards etc into hot soapy water to soak while you eat.

Collect rubbish as you tidy up or clean. Take an empty plastic bag with you, put the rubbish you find in the bag then throw the whole thing away.

Drink wine while watching TV. (Just checking that you're paying attention!)

These are my tips, I'd love to know what you do to survive housework.


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