Monday, 27 October 2008
Although I’m no domestic goddess and have never been what my mum describes as ‘house proud’, I do like the place to be reasonably clean and tidy. A few dust bunnies in the corner I can live with but dirty work surfaces that your fingers stick to... no way!
Because of my condition, I’ve had to look for ways to keep the house in a acceptable state without having to keep getting up or standing for too long at a time; unless I utilise the time spent on my legs as efficiently as possible things just won’t get done.
Here are some ideas that I use and that would help anybody who’d rather spend time doing something other than housework.
1. While I’m waiting for a pan to boil, the microwave to ping, or the sink to fill, I wipe down work surfaces and/or unit doors, put the dish-wash away (or even just part of it if that’s all I’ve time for), purge a few out of date items from the fridge, wipe the outside of the fridge, the light switches or another little job that only takes a minute or two but helps keep the place neat and clean.
2. If I have to go upstairs for any reason, I look for some item or another that can go up with me. I generally place things to go up on the lower steps and pick a few up every time I pass. The same goes for stuff that needs to be brought down (I really must get a couple of those stair baskets). If there’s nothing there, I’ll have a quick look round to make sure there’s nothing else, like a pile of folded laundry on the armchair (yes, if I dry inside using the clothes horse, that’s where they get stacked).
3. I plan my jobs in each room so that I use the minimum number of steps and time spent on my feet. This can be as simple as ‘take handful of votive candles out of drawer and replace used ones as I move around, open window as I pass it, collect living room litter bin and take to kitchen for emptying’. Three little jobs done in one sweep of the room.
4. I keep a micro fibre cloth in a drawer next to the sofa. That way I can start dusting as soon as I see that it needs doing and without having to go to the kitchen first. Again, I work my way around the room systematically. The used cloth goes out with me next time I head for the kitchen and a new one comes back in.
5. I keep a complete set of cleaning tools upstairs. That way I can clean anything that needs it without having to go downstairs to collect the appropriate bits and pieces first.
6. I try to make sure I do the tasks that make me feel the house looks cleaner and tidier before tackling anything else. For me that means a tidy coffee table and clean floors in the lounge and, in the kitchen, clean and tidy work surfaces and clean appliances (although everything doesn't always get done!).
7. I tackle the jobs that take more time and effort the longer I leave them before those that will be just the same later, regardless of whether ‘later’ is in an hour, tomorrow or next week. Washing up takes longer if it’s left to sit and grow as does the laundry (I’m sure dirty dishes and clothes reproduce) whereas dusting takes the same amount of time regardless.
8. I open my post by my ‘pending’ shelf so there‘s no need to move after sorting. One pile is for filing, the other is for shredding. I then file and shred on a weekly basis. Any junk mail is either added to the shredding pile or put straight in the bin.
9. If I’m going to be standing to prepare food anyway, I might as well make two portions (at least) and freeze the rest.
No doubt you have your own ways of cutting down the time you spend on household chores and if you do, please let me know. I'm all for saving time and energy :)