How to Simplify and Enjoy Housework

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Sarah of Teenage Minimalist.

Cleaning is something we all have to do, but few of us actually enjoy it. Why? It’s usually boring and overwhelming. Like most teenagers, I always dreaded it. Whether it was scrubbing a disgusting pot of leftover mac and cheese, or vacuuming the bedroom floor, I wasn’t a happy camper. I learned pretty quickly never to complain about being bored. Without fail, Momma would answer with, “Oh really? I have a lot you can do!”. We all knew what that meant.

Little did I know, my attitude would completely change a couple of years later. Mostly thanks to a good friend, whose love of cleaning rubbed off on me. I can honestly say that I look forward to it now! Here are a few simple tips that have helped me.

simplify

  • put your dirty clothes directly in the washer instead of collecting it in hampers
  • wash with cold water and stop sorting laundry(clothes don’t bleed and it saves energy)
  • have a place for everything
  • pick up as you go
  • avoid collectibles and knickknacks(they make dusting a nightmare)
  • clean messes right after they happen
  • wash your plate after you eat
  • pare down your dishware
  • eliminate the unnecessary
  • clear surfaces
  • don’t let chores pile up
  • clean in spurts throughout the day
  • store things out of sight

enjoy

  • listen to music while you work
  • create a cleaning playlist
  • dance a little
  • look at things in a new way
  • sing or hum
  • turn it into a game, think like a little kid
  • be mindful and focus on each task
  • use it as thinking time

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas! What are some of the ways you’ve simplified your housework?

Read more from Sarah at her blog, Teenage Minimalist, or subscribe to her feed.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Courtney Carver says

    Sarah, Thank you so much for your helpful post. I am cleaning tomorrow morning and will be implementing many of your suggestions. Cleaning is much easier now that I don’t have a lot of “things” to dust and move around. I love your idea of looking at things in a new way. I am going to challenge myself to have a blast while cleaning!

    xo,
    Courtney

  2. says

    You make good points. I used to hate cleaning too. It was impossible to get things the way i wanted them because we had too much stuff for the available space, so I put off cleaning.. and when I had to finally do it I was always in a lousy mood because I worked hard and I still wasn’t happy with how things were in the end. My husband hated cleaning
    too because he knew it made me angry :)

    When I lived alone before, I didn’t have this problem though, because I was in charge of every single thing and had the power to change it, or get rid of it… I was very minimalist until I moved together with my future husband.

    Things changed for us after we stumbled upon a book about de-cluttering “clear your clutter with feng shui” by Karen Kingston, and my husband read it as well and it made sense to him too (well, we are not into feng shui, but it was really able to change our mindset… So we de-cluttered together and after that it has been easy to keep clean and neat. Things looked pleasing, so I was motivated to keep them that way! No more putting off doing things because it was bad no matter what I did.. Everything really has a place now and I make sure everything gets put into it’s place after use. I’m teaching my three-year old to take her dirty plate to the sink and put her dirty clothes to the hamper and so on. She complies and actually likes having responsibilities :)

    • says

      Wow! That’s awesome that you and your Husband were able to figure it out! Decluttering helps immensely. I also like how you are teaching your daughter at such a young age! The sooner kids learn responsibility the better… helps a lot later in life. :)

  3. says

    One of the major changes I made was reducing the amount of ornaments we had, it’s made dusting so much easier which is a relief because this house seems to need dusting every few days unlike our last house that could go weekly or sometimes biweekly. Now it’s a job that only takes a few minutes rather than a big chore,x

  4. SarahN says

    Great post! I have limited doodads… but I’m oh so over the vacuuming!! My rug is still shedding, and so there’s that (and it’s dark, so every crumb etc is shown). And then the rest of downstairs is concrete, so it gets dusty. But I do get to the rug at least weekly and the whole floor fortnightly or monthly (or when guests come!!) Everything else, I’m sorta OK with. I sort my lights from darks, two hampers. When it’s full, I do a load (live alone). Whilst I wash on cold, I HATE grey’d whites from 8 years at boarding school, so I’m fastidious about lights and darks!!

    • says

      I understand about the light/dark sorting! If I didn’t have 7 people’s laundry to do, I might consider sorting to keep the whites extra nice… not really worth it at this point though.

    • says

      As a laundry nazi, I’ve got to agree – even if washing in cold water you still have to separate your laundry to keep your clothes looking their best :-)

      But then, the whole process of laundry – washing, drying, ironing – is probably the only household cleaning I enjoy, so I like to spend some time over it.

  5. says

    Sarah, First off, you are awesome for being a teen and giving us old timers some guidance on something we complain about! What helps me the most is playing, listening, and dancing to music while I clean. Music, in my opinion, makes everything better.

    I also recently redid the kids chores, so now we all clean at the same time once a week instead of me trying to do it all/spread out over many days. We are a team. They sweep, then I mop. They strip sheets, I start the washer. It’s great, other than the whining!

    • says

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the article! You are absolutely right, music makes everything better.

      That’s an excellent idea. We do something similar at our house… teamwork is a lifesaver! Hopefully your sweet little whiners will get on board in the future. :)

      • Tracy says

        In my sloppier days, I used to do what I called the “five-minute frenzy”. I had a record, “The In Crowd” by Ramsey Lewis, which ran about five minutes. While it played, I had to always keep moving and dealing with things out of place that could easily be dealt with–tossed or put away–no decision-making. It was fun and made a very visible difference in a few minutes. I don’t tend to make that kind of mess anymore–my resistance is more to scrubbing–but I find that loud, obnoxious music gets the shower done with less tedium! :-)

        • says

          Your comment made me laugh. :) I need to try that!! Seems like that would help with our living room especially. Various things have a way of setting themselves on every surface imaginable.

          Ah yes! I have used loud obnoxious music to scrub our shower before too. It definitely helps! Anything moderately fast with a beat works well…

  6. says

    I have to agree with Vappu above. My wife and I are starting down the path to a more simple life and the number one thing we both despise is cleaning. It seems like it never ends. The kitchen table is a magical item that seems to always grow collections of clutter. It doesn’t matter if you clean it on Monday, it will be full of various junk by Tuesday. How have we solved this problem? Get rid of the junk instead of just moving it from place to place. Once we did that…the rooms have a special way of keeping themselves clean now!

    ~Brian

  7. Daniela says

    I’ve changed one of my major household/cleaning task, by adding things I like: now, when I have to iron I watch a dvd which I’m looking forward to and have a glass of whatever I’m in the mood (martini, wine, non alcoholic cocktail) with it. And I have to admit, I’m now looking forward to do it ;-)

  8. Donna says

    Great post. Another thing I do is listen to a book on cd from the library or I take my iPad with me from room to room and listen to a sermon series from Andy stanley or Beth Moore. I did this this week as i tackled cleaning out the fridge and freezer…yuck.
    Especially nice when I have to do bigger cleaning job to do like season changes in closets or weeding through out grown clothes for the kids to send on to goodwill.

  9. Queen Mary says

    The best thing for me and cleaning is the zen concept of being in the moment – what does the water feel like on your hands as you wash, which muscles do you use as you vacuum…. One does not need to get rid of every knick knack if one actually thinks about the item while dusting — and one might actually decide that one does not need a particular knick knack as its meaningfulness has waned. I am in the second half of life and I have learned it is a time of natural de-cluttering, theory has it the first half is a time of acquisition.

      • says

        Great photos Sarah and Jeff! I love the one of Sarah lagiuhng and the close-up of Jeff’s face. The evening one’s of the two of you are so romantic, I love the lighting, it looks like a magazine shoot! CAN’T WAIT for your big party . I mean day!! xo xo xo

    • Jules says

      I, too, am in the second half of life – just! – and find myself so much more willing to part with things, less willing to acquire things and certainly less interested in cleaning and maintaining `stuff’. Interesting theory that it is a natural stage – I am fascinated with this new stage of life and how to live it. I feel like those of us at this stage now are willing and open to create our own ways of doing things rather than follow the example of those before us. This certainly includes rejecting the houseful of clutter, framed photographs and knick-knacks my parents and grandparents treasured!

  10. says

    I think one of the many things I love about your site is how much I learn from everyone else. And a very special thanks to Sarah for such nice, simple ideas that even a former teenager and new minimalist can put into use RIGHT NOW!

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