These are the Chores I Hate (and This is How I Make Myself Hate Them Less)

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How I Made Myself Hate These Daily Chores Less

If you’ve been a blog reader for any length of time, you should know that being tidy + doing household chores like dishes and vacuuming are NOT strengths of mine (and, as I told my (shocked) mother, I legitimately prioritize reading over cleaning, so…there’s that). But, in my quest to become a better homemaker (especially now that I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my daughter full-time and so therefore have more time to take on the bulk of the household duties), I’ve devised some strategies for tricking helping myself to do the most-hated tasks.

So, in order of most-hated to least-hated, here are some of my latest tricks for keeping myself on track:

  • Cleaning the bathroom

    • Guys, I LOATHE cleaning the bathroom. I’m sure it’s most people’s most-hated spot, but as it’s the one my husband is least likely to do for me, I end up having to do it over and over again. At first, I simply tried to put it on my to-do list whenever it started to get bad, hoping that would be enough. Nope. In fact, the only strategy that worked at ALL for the first several years of our marriage (esp. when I was working full-time) was to invite people over for games or dinner and who therefore might need to use the bathroom. That seemed to do the trick. (And let’s be honest—the only time the shower got cleaned was when we had OVERNIGHT guests.)
    • Now, the trick for me seems to be to just put ONE chore on my to-do list for the week, like “Clean the toilet” or “Wipe down the counters.” Honestly, I usually do MORE than just the one, but the starting is what seems to be the hardest for me, so once I’m in there, I’m usually good just to do the whole scrub-down. So, in conclusion: Think small. Even if you end up stopping at just that one thing (using a wad of toilet paper to wipe down the area by the sink, for example), it still is better than NOTHING.
    • Also, something that helped me ENORMOUSLY with cleaning the bathroom was my mom purchasing these Norwex cloths for me one Christmas. I talked more about these cloths at length in this post, but in short, these cloths are inherently antimicrobial and with just two of them, you can clean every surface in your bathroom (including the mirror) without needing to get out any heavy-duty cleaner (though I admit, I still use toilet bowl cleaner and a toilet brush to clean the toilets because it grosses me out to use anything that will touch anything else).

  • Washing dishes by hand

    • It used to be that “washing dishes in general” would have made the list, but I have come up with a fabulous system for ensuring that I don’t totally HATE the whole process, and it is this: Clean out the dishwasher first thing in the morning and run the dishwasher once each day. Sounds so stupidly simple, but it means that our kitchen *often* stays semi under control, and it also makes me feel like I’m not drowning in unwashed dishes at any given moment. (It also helps that Raven is now old enough to legitimately help me with unloading and loading the dishwasher, so that speeds up the process a bit, too. She’s also pretty good at reminding me to do it right after breakfast, if I don’t start on my own.)
    • However, the “washing dishes by hand” still remains my Public Enemy #2, and I’ve only really found a couple ways to trick myself into doing them regularly. My first strategy is to, ahem, wait for my husband to do them (as he’s usually pretty good to do at least a few every morning and/or night). My second strategy, especially if I’ve had a pileup of a few days, is to lure myself into it with a good podcast or some upbeat music and just try to convince myself that the whole thing is supremely relaxing and enjoyable. (At the very least, I tell myself I’ll treat myself to some chocolate after.)
    • The ideal scenario is obviously to just wash big dishes as soon as they come up so that it never seems overwhelming, and when I’ve been able to do this, I swear I’ll never stop. But for the rest of the time, I just stick with my other two strategies.
  • Cleaning out the fridge

    • Ugh, I am SO bad at this one. And while I am STILL bad, I have *kinda* found two things that at least HELP the situation:
      • 1) Go longer in between grocery trips so that I use up more of the food we have on hand, waste less, and so we can therefore actually SEE everything that’s in the fridge at any given time. This is probably the best way to keep our fridge looking not-scary.
      • 2) When it HAS gotten scary, go on a REALLY big grocery trip, which FORCES me to start taking stuff out and dumping it/rearranging it in order to fit all the new stuff in. (Hey, I didn’t say these hacks were brilliant—just what I actually do!)

  • Going through piles of clutter

    • As much as I love the IDEA of decluttering, it’s not always something I’ll automatically make time for when there are more enjoyable things I could be doing (like reading). Before, giving myself a weekly area to tackle as part of my 50 Weeks to Organized project seemed to really help cut down on the clutter in the house so that it firstly got RID of most of the existing clutter and secondly, it helped me to KEEP the clutter out because I’d cleaned off surfaces and organized spaces completely (so that it was weird to put anything on them because I didn’t want to ruin the bare/organized aesthetic). So, ideally, I recommend 1) getting rid of a ton of your stuff through an organized months-long project, and 2) keeping your surfaces totally empty of even knicknacks and decorations because empty surfaces are much less tempting to put stuff on than a surface with even a few things on it.
    • Lately, what I’ve had to do to routinely stay on top of the constant flow of STUFF (especially from the toddler in the house) is set aside one morning a week to be my “unclutter and purge” time. Lately, I’ve cracked down hardcore on screen time for Raven (and for me, too), which has meant that often the ONLY time she gets to watch anything is during that one designated morning cleaning time (often on Wednesday). So, on Wednesday (or whatever weekday) morning, I’ll have my daughter help me clean out the dishwasher and load it again, then I’ll put on a movie for her and tackle my most cluttered or most-in-need-of-a-purge spot until the movie is over. Then, once it’s over, we’re both done and can move onto other things. This definitely means that at any given time, there will almost always be clutter in various corners of our house, but it also means that I’m regularly making progress SOMEWHERE, so there’s that.
    • I also must note that when I’m talking about “clutter” here, I mean the piles that have been staying in one spot for more than just a day or two. With my daughter’s toys and things, we try to pick them up on a daily basis (ideally picking up one thing before she gets out another).
    • Random note: I know that I personally am heavily influenced by what I read, so if I’ve been lacking in the motivation department, it seems like all I need to do to get an extra boost is do some reading about decluttering, perhaps from my favorite book on household organization and decluttering in general–How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind–(which got its own post here) or a blog or other book from some of my favorite sources on living simply, minimalism, and staying organized.
  • Doing the “unusual” chores, like cleaning off light fixtures, fans, etc.

    • Let’s be real, folks–unless someone either tells me about these random, once-in-a-blue-moon chores or unless I’m moving out or moving in someplace, I’m not going to notice these. So, to compensate for this clear blind spot, I have been signing up for Apartment Therapy‘s free yearly January Cure and Spring Cleaning checklists. (I looked for the URL to sign up for these now, but the closest I could find was the sign-up found here, which should at least alert you to when these two things come up and that includes weekend projects throughout the year of little improvements you can make in your home). Although in the two years I’ve been doing them, I haven’t done EVERYTHING that’s been suggested in the daily emails, I have done about half, which has made a decent difference, especially since without it, I wouldn’t have done those chores at all (like cleaning out my showerhead by tying a plastic baggie of vinegar around it with a rubber band and letting it soak…who knew?!).

  • Vacuuming, Sweeping, Mopping, Dusting

    • I used to be pretty terrible at all of these until a totally surprising motivator came up—a Christmas gift we bought for Raven last year. Since Raven is always wanting to “help” me every time I do chores, I thought that a perfect gift for her would be this darling set from the brand Melissa & Doug of mop, broom, and duster, all of which hang on their very own little stand. I probably should be motivated like a normal adult to do these chores on a regular basis on my own, but since I’m not, it actually has really helped to have her pull out her broom and say she’s going to “sweep the floor” because then it makes me want to get my bum into gear and ACTUALLY SWEEP THE FLOOR (which she “helps” with, of course, using her own little broom and dustpan). It’s amazing how motivating I’ve found it to do my own chores because I know in the process, I’m teaching my daughter how to do them. Because of this, we actually do these things at least one or two times a week now, instead of just sporadically (like when it’s gotten embarrassing, or when we’re about to have people over).
  • Doing the laundry

    • Out of all the chores, laundry has always been the one I’ve minded the least, but that didn’t necessarily mean I was any good at doing it regularly. After I read the book How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, I started having a designated “Laundry Day” once a week where I washed ALL the laundry in the house AND folded it all in the same day. For us, Laundry Day is Friday, and it typically consists of three loads, which I complete–all the way through folding–about 80% of the time on the same day. There’s just something about having a set day for doing all the laundry that makes me not worry about it anymore, and that helps ensure that it actually gets done.
    • Also, now that my daughter can match up socks, folding is more fun for me, too since she just gets so excited to do it. (Are you sensing a theme here? How much I need my child to motivate me to do all this stuff?!)

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And, as a last note, I’ll leave you with something I read from this blogger a long time ago (I wish I could remember the specific post, but I can’t!)–basically, she said she remembered her grandmother talking about a realization she had as a young wife and mother. She was tired of the never-ending chore list and always having to do the same chores repeatedly day after day, but then she realized: “I’m going to have to do the dishes thousands of more times in my life. I can either complain about it every single time, or I can just decide now that I’m never going to complain again.”

Honestly, that hit me HARD, and it’s totally changed how I view these daily chores. Sure, I still may not ENJOY them, but at least now, I’m (pretty) good at not COMPLAINING about doing them. Progress!

Some other posts you might be interested in:

 

Now it’s YOUR turn—what chores do YOU hate the most? And how do you make yourself do them anyway?