Essayist and novelist Annie Dilliard don’t mince words when it comes to, well, anything. She has this to say chores around the house:

“Ordinary chores consume whole lives, and since few people can believe this, couples spend their whole lives fighting about the massive amounts of housework living entails, each blaming the other for not doing a fair share.”

Household duties may be a reluctant necessity, but they don’t have to consume your life. Far from it! Here are some ways you can cut your house chores down and bump your free time up.

1. The Bathroom

No one wants to spend a Saturday scrubbing the bathrooms. If put off, though, the bathroom becomes an unpleasant place. Here are some ways to get the job down without spending too much time and energy on the tasks.

The Toilet

Add your toilet cleaner to the toilet to soak while you clean the rest of the bathroom to loosen dirt and break up stains. By the time you take a brush to it, it should only take a few swipes around the bowl.

For tough stains, pour any brand of cola in the toilet bowl. Let it sit, then scrub and flush. Believe it or not, the acid in the cola leaves your bowl clean and sparkling.

To maintain the clean, use a drop-in toilet cleaner dispenser to reduce cleaning frequency. A continuous-release gel also works.

The Shower Head

After a while, hard water deposits and other sediments leaves your shower head looking grungy. An easy way to deep clean it without undue effort is to fill a sandwich bag with vinegar and baking soda.

Tie it around the showerhead with an elastic band and leave it to soak overnight. The next day, remove the bag and scrub debris off with an old toothbrush. The vinegar and soda mixture will have loosened the gunk for easy removal. You can also try dual shower head if you want your partner and you take shower together and it will make your relational life amazing.

2. The Kitchen

Even if you clean as you go, the kitchen is bound to get dirty and need some extra attention. Adding some simple tasks now can cut down on the kitchen chores later.

The Kitchen Trash Can

Inevitably, the kitchen trash can collects odors, even when you change the bag every day. Even an empty trash bin can keep a lingering smell. To quell this, dust some baking soda or drop some vinegar to the bottom of the can.

Lay down some newspaper to absorb any excess moisture and cut down the odor.

The Refrigerator

Remove any old leftovers or spoiled food each day. That in itself will prevent extra work later on. When it’s time to clean the fridge, wipe the interior with baking soda.

Baking soda scrubs and eliminates odors at the same time without damaging any of your kitchen surfaces.

If your fridge gets heavy traction, consider covering the shelves in cling film. When an accident happens, you can peel off the sticky film and replace. No cleaning needed!

The Oven

Cleaning the oven can be a laborious task, which makes it one of our least favorite house chores. But it doesn’t have to be. Pick a night when you’re not using the oven.

Spray the inside with oven cleaner and leave it overnight. The next day, wipe it down. Dirt and gunk should wipe off easily.

Here’s a neat trick. Place a mug with several teaspoons of vanilla extract in the oven and bake for about an hour. Your home will smell warm an inviting for hours.

The Microwave

The inside of your microwave can resemble the aftermath of a nuclear reactor meltdown. Leave one plate of leftovers in there too long, and you have an instant mess.

The remedy: Boil a cup of water in the microwave to create steam. Remove the cup and wipe the walls with a cloth. For tougher, stuck on messes, add two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water and microwave for 5 minutes.

You can even add a drop or two of essential oil for a pleasant scent.

The Dishes

The best method to avoid dish build-up is to wash as you go. If you can’t do that, then fill the sink or a pot with hot, sudsy water. As you finish with a dish or contain, drop it in to soak.

That way the food bits won’t dry and harden on the surfaces. Clean up is a lot quicker and conserves water as well.

The Kitchen Sink

Stainless steel isn’t literally stainless. Stains and water deposits can build up on stainless steel sinks, drains, and faucets. To clean them up, scrub with a half of a lemon. The citric acid eats away the stains.

It also leaves a pleasant scent in your kitchen.

Plastic Storage Containers

Quality plastic containers last a long time, but they become stained easily. To get the food stains out, fill the containers with dish soap, water, and bleach. Microwave until they boil, remove them until they cool off, then rinse them.

3. Cut the Clutter

Sometimes organizing clutter is a frustrating process when you don’t cut the clutter as you go. Start small and organize one room at a time. Make piles for donation and trash and put away the remaining items.

If they have no place, then designate one. Label a bin if needed and let other family members know so they can put things away as well.

The same principle applies to paperwork that builds up. You can sort papers as you watch TV. Be sure to have a pile for shredding so you can keep paper clutter to a minimum.

4. The Laundry

The laundry is one of those household duties that you can delegate. In the laundry room, post some basic instructions.

Make each family member responsible for their clothing, from washing to putting away. That will decrease the burden on you or whoever is in charge of laundry in your home.

Another little life hack is to fold and stack your clothes vertically rather than horizontally, like file folders. That way, you can flip through and find the item you want quickly. It also means less ironing.

You can also store your matching sheet sets inside their pillow cases to keep them all together. This eliminates the having to hunt for the separate pieces when you need them.

5. Dusting

Dusting is pretty straightforward. Though, some ways to complete the task faster are to use a lint roller for dusting cloth lampshades. It’s much faster than breaking out the vacuum and hunting for the upholstery attachment.

For hard surfaces, an old sock will do if you don’t have a dusting cloth. For horizontal surfaces, dust from top to bottom to avoid dust settling in places you have already wiped.

6. Windows and Mirrors

Use old newspapers and vinegar to clean windows and mirrors. Newspapers leave no streaks on the surface and are recyclable cleaning tools. Vinegar is inexpensive, de-greases, and leaves no streaks on the glass.

7. The Kid’s Rooms

If your children’s bedrooms look like CSI crime scenes, some organization is on order. Use the same method for decluttering, sort, declutter, and organize. If your children are old enough, you can make a game of putting items away.

8. Toys and Stuffed Animals

If plastic toys and stuffed animals need cleaning, you can wash them in large loads. Run stuffed animals (as long as they are not battery-operated) through the gentle cycle in your washer. Let air dry.

Invite your children to have a Stuffy Spa day to fluff up their animals once they are dry.

For non-mechanical plastic toys, load them in your dishwasher to clean several at once. That’s a fast way to clean and sanitize at the same time.

For Tougher Chores Around the House

Sometimes, it’s best to follow Annie Dilliard’s advice and not let chores around the house overwhelm you.

For some of the specialized jobs not covered here, consider calling in a professional. View here for more information on cleaning professionals.

30 Minutes a Day

Tackling chores around the house doesn’t have to take up your whole day. Begin with 30 minutes a day using these tips and be on your way to a cleaner, tidier home.

If you have any questions about cleaning tips, please contact us.

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