I’m a big believer in the idea that it’s easier to keep up than to catch up. Just three daily tasks done faithfully will go a long way toward keeping housework under control.
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Three Daily Tasks
There is a lot involved in keeping a clean and tidy home. Dusting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, changing sheets, laundry, tidying up, etc. One could easily spend hours and hours every day just doing housework. Some may actually enjoy that and have time for it. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that those homemakers are like unicorns – rare, if not mythical.
For the rest of us mere mortals, it’s worth giving serious thought to how we can keep up without spending our lives pushing a vacuum or wielding a cleaning rag.
Here is a bit of truth for you: Most cleaning isn’t even noticed by most people.
I don’t mean that you can avoid cleaning the toilet for weeks and no one can tell. But a sink full of dirty dishes will be noticed long before dusty baseboards.
A bit of time spent each day on just three tasks can make a huge difference in our homes. Do these three things every day and your house will be more livable on a day-to-day basis.
1. Make beds: It takes mere minutes to make a bed and the whole room will look so much better. Besides, there is nothing better than crawling into a neatly made bed at the end of a long day. You deserve it.
2. Wash dishes: This is one of those tasks that gets harder the longer you wait. Literally. Food left on dishes, pots and pans can harden to the point that you almost need a chisel to get it off. Save yourself oodles of time by washing dishes promptly after meals. Or at least rinse well, stack neatly in the sink and wash them all once a day.
If you have a dishwasher, there’s no reason to not just go ahead and put them in there. Although that does mean putting away the clean dishes in a timely manner. If you have kids, this is a great job for them. If you don’t have anyone else to do this chore, here is a little trick I use. Put fresh water in your tea kettle and see if you can have the dishwasher emptied before it boils. You’ll be surprised how often you can win this race. When it comes to a boil, put a tea bag in a cup and set a timer for it to steep (3-5 minutes according to type of tea and your preference). Now race to see how many dirty dishes you can get in the dishwasher. Stop when the timer goes off and enjoy a nice cup of tea. If you drink as much tea as I do your dishes will always be done.
3. Load of laundry: I know some people prefer to do all their laundry on one day. Some use a laundromat so this definitely makes sense for them. But unless you have a laundry system that is working flawlessly for you, I strongly suggest trying the load-a-day method. In a perfect world that load-a-day includes washing, drying, folding AND putting away. But even on a terrible day doing at least one or two parts of this cycle will help keep things moving along and go a long way towards avoiding a mountain of laundry to deal with on the weekend.
These three tasks done every day, along with each person in the household picking up after themselves (yeah, good luck with that!) will help keep your head above water, especially during challenging circumstances. A new baby, chronic illness, a crazy busy week, or any number of situations can lead to utter chaos in the home. However, with just a little bit of daily attention we can maintain some semblance of order.
The Daily Three for Kids
This “Three Daily Tasks” idea also works well with messy kids. When mine were teens and we were homeschooling, I made the decision that relationship was more important than tidy bedrooms. I had helped them keep their rooms clean as younger children but teenagers want…and deserve…their privacy.
Each day they were required to do these three things in their rooms:
1. Dishes: Collect any dirty dishes or drinking glasses and put in the dishwasher.
2. Dirty clothes: Put dirty clothes in laundry room.
3. Trash: Gather up all trash and empty wastebasket.
These are the three things that can cause a room to stink and I can’t stand bad smells. I also had them change their sheets each week and clean before company. Otherwise I just asked that they keep their doors closed. They did have other chores around the house but I didn’t require spotless bedrooms.
Obviously there is so much more to keeping house but if things are out of control or you are going through a difficult time, the “Three Daily Tasks” concept will make a huge difference. Give it a try!
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