Almost everyone dreams of being a homeowner, but not all of them enjoy doing the chores required to keep their homes tidy. In most cases, making your home sparkle requires hours of scrubbing away on your hands and knees, something not everyone has the strength (and patience) for. And be honest, who wants to spend their weekend cleaning when you can take this time to just relax from the grueling work week you just endured?
If you’re one of those people who feel tired even before picking up a broom, follow these rules to keep your house spic and span with little effort.
Follow the 15-minute rule
Sometimes, just the thought that you might have to spend an entire day cleaning the house is enough to render you powerless, so try this: every day, take 15 minutes to pick up, scrub, put away, or sweep what you can. To give the task a bit of urgency, set a timer; if you’re a competitive person, you’ll find yourself in a cleaning frenzy just to beat the clock. If you live with family, friends, or roommates, get them involved so you can get more things done. If you think this is still too much, start with five minutes, then work your way up to 15.
Use commercial breaks to tidy up
You ever notice how many commercial breaks your favorite TV show takes? Instead of spending those minutes on the couch munching on chips and waiting for your show to come back, why not get up and straighten things up? It can be as simple as putting things back where they belong, taking out the trash, or putting the dirty dishes in the sink (and washing them later). Imagine how much work you can get done instead of spending hours in front of the TV. And you’re not just putting a dent in your cleaning task; you’re also keeping off the pounds you’d probably gain just sitting around and doing nothing.
Do one room at a time…
Choose just one room in the house you want to take care of and focus on getting it clean. In most cases, that’ll be the living room or the kitchen, both of which get high traffic and are visible to unexpected guests. Once you’ve organized the first room, you’ll feel less stressed moving on to the next just because you know you’re able to get one out of the way.
… or one task at a time
For someone who hates cleaning, you probably find it stressful doing various tidying jobs at the same time, so why not choose just one chore and do that all over the house? For instance, take a rag and wipe every surface in the house, from the bedrooms to the dining room. Then, pick up a broom and hustle out those dust bunnies hiding under the beds and at the corners of the kitchen. Sticking to one task won’t let you lose your momentum and concentration so you can finish faster.
Keep stash boxes
If you or the people you’re living with can’t be bothered to put things back where they belong right away, toss these items into a stash box in the meantime. Make sure you have one in every room and that it’s kept out of sight, like under the bed or on top of a cabinet. You can sort through the stuff in it later on, or when you realize you’re missing something and you can’t find it in your room.
Love what you hate
This trick has more of a psychological effect, but it does work. Is there a task you just hate doing that you keep putting it off? Do that one first, no matter how annoying it is. When you’re done, you’ll find that the next item in your to-do list is much easier and faster to tackle.
Make it a fun activity
Crank up the radio while you’re mopping up the living room, or fold the laundry while watching TV. You can also incentivize yourself. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll watch the new Marvel movie once you’ve finished straightening up your bedroom. If you incorporate something fun into whatever you’re doing, you’ll feel less bored.
Get rid of your extra stuff
Have you ever cleaned under a coffee table or behind a bookcase and wondered, “why do I still have this?” Just think, if these things weren’t in the way, you wouldn’t be wasting time cleaning them. Take note of everything in the house you don’t want or need anymore and give them to family or friends, sell them, or donate them. The fewer things you have at home collecting dust, the fewer items you need to keep clean.