How To Reduce Your Housework

The article argues that there are much more important ways to spend yourtime than doing housework. It suggests that you rethink your standards andreduce unnecessary time spent in menial cleaning tasks. It also looks atways of delegating household tasks, and suggests that hiring someone toclean your apartment could be the best decision you ever make.

Are you a slave to dust and dirt? If you resent spending so much time on tedious and repetitive housecleaning, try some of these tips for reclaiming your life. Wouldn't it be nice to spend most of the weekend relaxing rather than mopping the floor?

Reality check your standards

Take a hard look at the weekly tasks you do around the house. Are they all really necesary? If you work long hours during the week, and your weekend entertaining is more or less restricted to the living room or kitchen, why

not consider letting the rest of the house slide for a week or two? After all, you're not at home during the day, and your friends are hardly about to embark on a thorough, top-to-bottom inspection of your apartment. You may be pushing yourself to clean every corner and crevice, when nobody

really notices if the floor in the study gets vaccuumed every second - or even thrid - week, rather than on the stroke of 10am every Saturday.

How else could you be spending your time?

Take a minute to imagine in detail what your fantasy weekend would look like. How would you spend it? Sleeping in, doing some leisurely shopping on Saturday afternoon, maybe catching a movie or having friends around for an afternoon tea which turns into jugs of cocktails, and ordering in some Chinese? In this kind of relaxed atmosphere, no-one will be thinking of donning white gloves and running their finger along the mantelpiece

checking for dust, or getting down on the floor to inspect the tiles for traces of dirt. Well, the state of the floor may get checked at close range if one of your friends topples off a kitchen chair after her fourth margherita. But this will be an accident, and won't count as a real


Once you have a clear picture of what your Saturday or Sunday afternoon COULD be like, it will be very, very hard to justify getting out that vaccuum cleaner or rolling up your sleeves to clean out the fridge. Remind yourself of your priorities - when it comes right down to it, would you

rather catch up with an old firend you haven't seen in months, or have a scrubbed and sparkling toilet?

Can you enlist any help?

Who says the housework has to be all your problem anyway? If you've reduced your cleaning tasks to the bare minimum and you're STILL feeling frazzled and resentful, it's time to call in some help.

If you share your place with anyone, there's simply no reason that you should be doing all the menial tasks. Call a house meeting right now, and delegate some of the household jobs. Even if you find it hard to give up

control of this area, just try it for two weeks. Sure, there may be a few dustballs remaining under the table, and the kitchen sink may not be shining brightly enough to see your reflection in it, but these are minor issues if they end up giving you two or three hours of your weekend back.

If you can't share the workload, there's one more option available: pay someone else to deal with the mess. Before you dismiss the idea as too expensive or embarassingly middle-class, think for a moment. How much can

it really cost to get someone in once a fortnight? In between visits from your cleaner, you can still straighten up and run a cloth around exposed surfaces if you feel you really should. And let's face it: there's always

dishes to do if you're feeling uncomfortably idle.

Give this plan a chance, and and you'll notice there are plenty of positives to be found. You've just created a job for someone who needs the work. You may even be able to offer the cleaning gig to a teenage neice or nephew who looking for a first job, but can't get a break. That way, you get a clean apartment and contribute to developing a young person's work ethic and understanding of the possibilities of financial freedom. Everybody wins.

So, solve the cleaning problem, and get ready to deal with having whole chunks of time to devote to the important things in your life. Now, what are you going to do first?

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