My house was clean last week
Although I absolutely, positively, 100% adore my job as a homemaker, I will confess that there is one teensy, tiny part of it that I don’t adore so much…

The cleaning!!! (Did I hear an amen, sister?)

In fact, not only do I not love cleaning, but there are a few chores in particular that I just downright dislike. In my world, dislike tends to equal procrastination. Thus, there is a small but significant number of daily or weekly tasks that I just have to really force myself to do.

So, I decided that it was high time I figured out a way to make these chores either more enjoyable or at least learn how to motivate myself to just get them done and over with!

What I realized in the midst of this was that perhaps some of the very chores that I dread doing are actually far faster and easier than I perceive them to be.

Take vacuuming, for instance. Sounds like a monumental task. Lugging the vacuum cleaner upstairs, going through every room of the house to pick stray items up off the floor, then working my way tediously through each room, sometimes removing the hose to run along the edge of a wall or piece of furniture, or to get under something. Sigh… surely a task like that must takes hours, right?

I decided to time myself. I figured that if I knew that in reality this task was not nearly as daunting as I thought, perhaps I would feel more able to just jump right in and get it done, and feel that sense of relief as I checked it off my to-do list (instead of pushing it over on to the next day’s list).

The result? Working at a quick pace it takes 5 minutes to tidy the house, then 16 minutes to vacuum in it’s entirety. Seriously? That’s what I was dreading doing? A 21 minute task?

(To put it in perspective for those of you who fear my house is far more teensy tiny than the list of chores that I loathe, I live in a full sized 3 BR house, with a main floor that is well over 1600 sq. feet and is almost entirely carpet, as well as a large entry staircase, so it’s a fairly decent sized job.)

Feeling more motivated, I decided to time a few of my other least liked chores:

Unloading the dishwasher– less than 3 minutes

Sweep and mop my kitchen and dining room– 13 minutes

Ironing my husband’s work clothes– forever, positively forever, it was not worth timing (thus, we will come back to this one in a minute)

Folding and putting away a load of laundry– approx. 10 minutes or less

The other ones weren’t bad at all, though! Since I realized how little time they truly take, I have been much more willing to just get them over with and move on with the rest of my day.

Since the ironing just cannot be shortened, or so it seems (if you believe otherwise, please let me know your secret!), I decided it needed to become enjoyable at the very least.  Since I love to listen to teaching CD’s and sermons on mp3, I’ve made ironing day my time to listen to things that really encourage and challenge me. It helps the time to pass a little faster, and has actually made me look forward to the monotony of the task, simply because I have something I’m eager to listen to!

And my last tip is for all you moms who don’t mind pushing the laundry through the machine, but just dread folding and putting it away. I haven’t timed exactly how long a load takes us (because every load is a bit different), but this is the game that my daughter and I play to make this task both shorter and a whole lot more fun!

The Run Around Game (inspired by this great idea)

I sit on the floor and fold laundry, putting it into appropriate piles (Caden’s shirts, Abbie’s pj’s, Daddy’s socks). As I do this, Abbie helps me put it all away.

When I have a small pile that goes in the same place, I will hand her that pile, and say “Can you please put these away in your pajama drawer?” She will grab the pile, run down the hallway (or sometimes run the short circuit that goes around our kitchen, dining and family room- hence the name, the run around game) and put the pile away in the correct drawer. While she is doing this, I will count out loud how many seconds it takes her to put it away and come back to where I am sitting. She loves to race against the clock.

Now, developing this game requires a couple of things. First, you need to be willing to teach your child where each drawer is. My daughter is 3 1/2 and this was really easy for her, as she already knew where a couple of things belonged, and I can simply remind her that it is the top or bottom or middle drawer. For closet items, her job is to lay them in a pile in front of the correct closet, and I go and put them away as soon as the folding is finished.

The second thing it requires is a willingness to have drawers that are not perfectly tidy. Personally, this doesn’t bother me as I gave up caring when my daughter was 1 and decided how fun it would be to take her pants out of the drawer and put them back in again, then out again, then in again, every day. Seeing as most children’s clothes are fairly wash and wear and don’t easily wrinkle, I just go with the flow. So now you know, my drawers are messy!

But, I no longer have to spend my time folding everything first, and then putting it all away. The bulk of the putting away is done while I am folding, so I am almost twice as efficient! Seriously, this really, really works for me!

There you have it- a few ways that I make my housework feel just a little bit less like work!

What are your best tips for making housework feel less like work? How do you get your kids involved? And just out of curiousity, does anyone actually like the chores that I mentioned? :)