TL and I spend very little time doing housework. So, how do we get away with that?
1. We have LITTLE HOUSES–less house means less to clean. I can whip around this sucker in half and hour and have it sparkle.
2. We don’t buy stuff–less stuff means less stuff to clean. The vast majority of time spent on a home is UPKEEP. If you don’t own five TV’s you don’t have to clean them, fix them, or police the peanut butter fingers. If you don’t have 127 ceramic pigs, you don’t have to dust them, adjust them, or guard them from toddlers. If your kids only have enough toys to fit in a couple of baskets, then you don’t spend all your time picking up (or forcing them to pick up) 4 billion toys. And if we already have too much stuff, we donate, donate, donate!
3. We use our OLD stuff. Think about the difference in attention and upkeep between a new BMW and a ten year old Camry. Or a new flat screen TV versus TL’s hundred year old TV that uses q-tip sticks instead of buttons. New things require more attention “to keep them looking like new.” Old things require enough upkeep to keep them functioning. Big difference.
4. We have lower expectations. Our houses aren’t museums. The kitchen and bathrooms get some special regular attention, but everything else is on a ‘squeaky wheel’ schedule. We never “clean the clean.”
5. We take short cuts. When my broom needs cleaning, I go scrub the shower with it. Between mops, we shuffle around a smudgy kitchen floor on a damp towel. A dustbuster long ago replaced the dust pan for after sweeping clean-up. But I have to share my FAVORITE short cut: A few years ago, my mom made each of my kids a sleeping bag (Lighting McQueen, Thomas, and Strawberry Shortcake). My kids insist on sleeping in the EVERY NIGHT–right on top of their perfectly made beds. HA! If they migrate around the house at night, the sleeping bag goes with them. If they come in our room, they sleep on the floor in it. If they end up on the couch, same thing. No blankets strewn everywhere, stripped beds, or sheets to change…ever. One thing to wash, beds always neat. Isn’t that a SCREAM?
6. We share the load. The same number of hours have passed for both parents, so when hubby gets home, we work together. “I’ll give you a million dollars to put the kids to bed.” “Only if you help me fold and put away the laundry.” “Done.” Also, I’m in a babysitting co-op and a meal swap. Some of my other friends are in a house-cleaning swap. When I had postpartum depression, we canceled the cable and hired a lady to come scrub bathrooms and floors twice a month. And TL and I both have family around that willingly help out. And we let them, whether we think they mean it personally or not.
Reduce the load, then share it!