Help me become houseproud!(11 Posts)
Hi, I'm really needing some help please! It's nearly a year since me and dh bought our home. Prior to this I have always lived with parents and have never really done any housework, chores etc. I thought that over time I would learn to be some kind of domestic goddess but it's just never happened! I cook tea, but other than that I'm a bit useless!!! Luckily dh is fab and does pretty much everything but I feel guilty about it, I'm a SAHM and know he shouldn't be working all day then chores all weekend, but I just don't know where to start!
So, please help me! We live in a 2 bed flat so hardly any room to store things, I'm getting better at cleaning but it takes forever eg half a day to do the bathroom, and I just seem incapable of actually tidying a room! How do I get better at this? Share your tips and secrets with me!!!
First of all make a list of what needs doing regularly and as a one off and work out how often these jobs need to be done.
Then get a diary or wall calendar and schedule them. Once it becomes a habit it's easier.
I've struggled with this too - I grew up in a very messy house so have had to learn the hard way.
Something that really helps is to make sure that before you start cooking dinner each night, you have emptied the dishwasher (if you have one), or done all of the washing up first, so that you can either load the dishwasher as you go along, or fill the sink with hot soapy water and do the same. Then, after you've eaten there should only be a few dishes to wash up or put in the dishwasher. It takes 5 mins to give the surfaces a wipe and sweep the floor.
It's good to work out how often you think things need to be cleaned - eg. I do the bathroom once a week, proper deep clean of the kitchen once a week. I set the oven timer for 20 mins and try and 'beat the clock' which makes me whizz round quickly and not get distracted. This way, I can do the kitchen, bathroom and living room in an hour. You can then just do '5 minute pick-ups' of clutter every day or so. I also live in a small flat, and this is the only time I'm glad of not having a big house!
each morning make the bed, and pick up and put away any clothing etc
as there are only 2 of you choose what time of the day to do a full days washing up, morning or early evening
each morning fill a bucket with soapy water and wipe down kitchen surfaces,
if you have hard floors sweep - daily
carpets hoover twice a week
damp dust once a week
keep a box in the corner of each room and at the end of the day put all the crap in it and the next day put it where it belongs - bin/cupbards etc
see - this will only take about an hour each day - or less when you get used to it
I am in no means a domestic godess, but I have got better over the years.
Firstly I have found that if you have adequate storage it helps keep things tidier. If you know you have a place for everything you can put things away in their place at the end of the day.
Like Molly - I find a box handy - I can put all sorts of little bits in there ready to deal with another time (paperwork to be filed/ bills to be paid etc) as well as a little place to put keys/ wallets etc.
I just try to do things little and often, my bathroom is only small but every now and again I give it a wipe down with an anti bac spray and it only takes a few minutes.
I try to fit in hoovering when I can - say if DH is bathing DD, I will be downstairs hoovering.
Try and do a wash cycle once a day - I find this helps. Try and put away clothes as quickly as possible. These days I try to minimise ironing and just fold or hang things in the wardrobe as soon as I can. If something really needs ironing I can do it when we want to wear it. Although I guess this depends on your lifestyle.
When DD goes to bed, I put all her toys away (ready to be pulled out again the next day!!).
My house is still a tip sometimes, but I am learning to get better at it all.
Oh and laundry bags hanging on doors are quite handy.
I've had to learn in pretty much the same circumstances, straight from home (where I did nothing) to living away from home, then a baby not that long after. It's a shock to the system, and you don't get the slow build up of say learning to keep one room clean, then a small flat, then a larger house, it's just nothing to family house in one go. I'm still struggling (mainly because I don't keep all these things up!) but these are things which have helped:
1. Are you being too perfectionist? It shouldn't take half a day to clean the bathroom, I'm extremely slow and it doesn't take me this long. Can you list what you are doing which is taking this long?
2. Tidying is impossible if you don't have a place for things. Get a couple of big boxes, buy some plastic ones from argos or somewhere, or the cardboard ones from the supermarket. When you tidy up, say "Okay I'm going to pick up all the rubbish and put it in the bin" then "I'm going to pick up all the clothes and put them in a laundry basket" then "I'm going to pick up all the toys and put them in the toybox" then books/DVDs onto a shelf, etc etc. If something doesn't have a home, then put it in one of the boxes. Then you can either shove the box in a cupboard, or sort through everything in it and give it all a place.
3. - sort of related. Have a constant home for stray things in each room. If you come across toys in the kitchen it's tempting to put them on the table or the counter and think "I'll put those away later" and then forget. So have a small toybox in the kitchen which will get full quickly, then when it's full, or at the end of the day, go and put them in the right room. Same with laundry baskets, and small wastepaper type bins - have several of these in each room, in places where you tend to sit or work. I save the plastic containers from veg like mushrooms or strawberries to hold the rubbish from cooking, then when I've finished chopping, I can put it into the bin (or food caddy thing if you have one)
4. Buy shortcut products if a job feels overwhelming. Seriously. Don't feel you need to be a domestic goddess and clean the whole house with a single lemon. I use floor wipes to keep the kitchen floor clean without having to properly mop it so often. You can get flash wipes for the bathroom and kitchen surfaces, although I find the actual cleaning of bathroom/kitchen is easy because you have a sink right there.
5. How old are your children? Try and involve them in jobs. It makes the jobs more fun and you're teaching them to help when they are older too.
Marking place. I am bloody hopeless. DH is brilliant at it, which is lucky, but I do feel guilty that he does most of the housework ...
Thanks everyone, I'm definitely going to try the egg timer tip - I think it takes me so long because I get distracted so easily! Silly question I'm sure, but how well do you need to wash off things like domestos? I'm terrified of leaving any trace of it on anything, especially kitchen worktops, so I tend to rinse it about 5 times in case I manage to poison us!!
Why don't you look for a spray that is meant for worktops and baby highchairs etc to use on your worktop (i.e food safe), then it doesn't matter if there is a trace left over.
something like this dettol spray
Find a home for everything. Most housework can be done very quickly but not if you have to move everything first.
Tidying can be done in 5 minute bursts. Put like with like. Books together, toys together, pens together, every task can be broken down into miniature, like, just jump up now and find all the magazines and newspapers in the house. That's a job done. Get an outbox and put it near your front door, you can put any excess clutter in there and then whenever it's full, take it out with you and drop it off at a charity shop. Magazines to the hospital or doctor's.
You don't need lots of products. Soap, hot water, bleach, some good e-cloths and Milton's is fine. Most jobs can be done in the general course of your day - you don't need to be all, right! It's time for The Housework! GONG! The only thing that needs specific time set aside is mopping the floors. I do that either on my way out or last thing at night as I go up to bed.
In the morning while the kettle is boiling, load your dishwasher (if you have one) and wipe down your surfaces. Put a wash on. When you step out of the shower give it a quick spray and wipe down - it's quicker to get it clean when it's steamed up. If you have a smooth surface in your bathroom, get a shower spray and a mini-squeegee. Wipe the sink when you've brushed your teeth, the toilet after you've been o etc etc.
Also, entre nous, if you're after a bit of performativity in the domestic goddess arena, get Mary Berry's Fast Cakes and a ridiculously twee teapot. Never fails.
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