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The laziest question ever. (household routine)

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
Ok, so..a recent thread got me thinking. someone asked about household routine and if it was average to spend TWO HOURS cleaning up at night, at a minimum. And shockingly, most people responded that YES, that seemed to be what it took to maintain the household chores.

My reaction was

Seriously? No wonder my house is filthy. That's insane.

My outraged rant is that I simply don't accept that. I do not accept that I am "supposed" to spend THAT much of my life doing something I absolutely despise...cleaning. And my only other option is to live in filth? Or, I suppose, to somehow garner enough wealth to pay someone else to clean for me? i'm really supposed to spend 15% of my waking LIFE cleaning? That's just supposed to be peachy keen with me? NO. I just....seriously?


As a real, practical , I want to ask about household cleaning and routines, and "how low can you go?" by that, I mean, can you organize your house in such a way that you can spend less than 2 hours per day cleaning? HOW? What do you do? how low can you get it? one hour? less? What does that routine look like? How do you arrange or organize stuff to be more efficient?
I'm willing to consider non-green, non-holistic, non-MDC stuff here. Use paper plates to cut down on dishes? sure. I can compromise.

Okay..on a somber, serious note. i really want to have a clean, pretty house, but i also don't want to have to sacrifice so much of my life to achieve it. There must be tricks or shortcuts or something, right? Help?
post #2 of 85
I don't think I spend that much time cleaning up on a daily basis. I'm a minimalist, so that probably helps. It takes about ten minutes to clean up my kids' rooms; we just don't have that many toys.

I generally do something to the laundry in the morning--either start a load which takes about five seconds, or take a load out of the dryer and fold it, which takes about fifteen minutes.

We have a dishwasher and I tend to put things in it as I go about my day, so the only thing that takes time is unloading it. Five minutes every other day?

Cleaning my bathroom takes about twenty minutes, once a week. The day before my mom comes for lunch every week.

The most time-consuming for me is the floors. My kitchen floor should be swept every day but usually isn't because I hate floors. I wash it less often than I should, too. And I don't vacuum as often as I should. I never dust and rarely iron.

So, no, I don't think I'm spending two hours a day cleaning. Maybe an hour, but that's spread out--laundry in the morning, empty dishwasher at the same time I eat a bowl of cereal, clean up kids' room at night, maybe sweep... definitely not two hours. And we're not living in squalor. I hope.
post #3 of 85
I'm interested in hearing what others have to say. I'm a SAHM so I try to do things in snippets during the day.

In the AM, I wipe down the sink and counter in the bathroom and squirt a little soap in the toilet, swish and flush (2 min) . If I'm inthe shower (not every day), I wipe the walls and fixtures with a soapy washcloth. If I have time, I wipe the bathroom floor with vinegar but I only get to this about once a week it seems (but it only takes 5 min).

I try to stay on top of putting away toys (my kids are very little) and books a few times a day but often I just spend 10ish minutes after everyone is in bed doing this.

I sweep the kitchen/dining room floor quickly when I have a minute.

I usually let dishes go until the end of the day. My toddler LOVES to cling to my leg while I'm doing dishes and it drives me batty so I *try* to wait until he's in bed. I set the timer for 15 min and try to race to get the kitchen clean before I sit down. My DH does the laundry - I fold and put away often in the evenings.

This is the only way it works for me. If I had to look forward to 2 hours of cleaning - no way would it ever get done. My house isn't the cleanest or tidiest all the time, but I can generally cope with the state of things and my DH really doesn't care. Try to break things up as much as possible into 10-15 min jobs (or less).
post #4 of 85
It appears you have a partner from your siggy. Does your partner share in the home responsibilities at all? I am able (and happy) to get almost everything done myself during the work week, but I do not clean alone on the weekends! Dishes, folding laundry, tidying toys--shared responsibilities on the weekends.

Also, as your children grow, they should help, too.

That said, the most practical suggestion I have is declutter, declutter, declutter. Surfaces can be wiped quickly if they are clutter-free. Fewer floor coverings mean fewer to clean. Fewer toys mean fewer to clean up. Fewer surfaces mean fewer places for clutter and dust to settle.

Do you have a dishwasher? Empty it first thing in the am. Rinse each dish as it is used, and put it in the dishwasher. Teach your children to do the same. Have your partner do the same.

Take off shoes at the door, to cut down on the frequency of sweeping and vacuuming.
post #5 of 85
I wish I knew! I seem to vacillate between letting it all get out of hand, then getting sick of that and keeping up with it for awhile, then I get tired and I let it go, etc. As to specific amounts of time, so much depends on your house and your family. I think 2 hours a day is probably not unreasonable for me (much as I hate that), but we have a big house, 6 people, 2 dogs, and lots of bad habits (like those darn kids, leaving coffee cups everywhere! ). It was all much less time consuming when I was a single mom of two kids with no pets and a much smaller house!

Maybe look at this book? I've got it around here somewhere (probably a gift from my mother, who HATES that I don't keep a totally clean house all the time!). Maybe I'll take a look and see if there are any great ideas.
post #6 of 85
Wait. As in, after the kids are asleep clean for 2 hours straight? Or as in, count every time I take 2 MINUTES to throw laundry in or pick up a few things to put away?

'Cause if it's the first, I'm just...........either or.
There's no way, and while my house may be cluttered I don't think its anywhere near nasty. I do clean as I go, maybe if I left all the messes until the end of the day it would take hours to dig out. Or maybe my standards are lower than average?
post #7 of 85
OP, it would take me a lot less than 2 hours if
  • my dh picked up after himself
  • my children could do some tidying with encouragement from me
  • we had no clutter
  • I didn't do a lot of "from scratch cooking"
  • we didn't spend a fair amount of time at home (we are homeschoolers)

All of the above contribute to the cleaning effort that I have to put in daily if I want to keep on top of things.

I don't think you are "supposed" to clean for 2 hours. I guess it comes down to what you and your family need. Unfortunately, I have noticed that everyone in my family, including me, gets quite stressed when our home reaches a certain level of dirty and disordered. That doesn't take long and we have a small home that can become dysfuntional in a hurry. I have given up a lot of my computer time in order to maintain a higher standard of order in my home so that we can all enjoy living and working here more. It's not perfect and it's often downright messy/dirty, but it's getting better.

Honestly, the trick is to do a little bit here and there so it doesn't feel like a solid block of cleaning. People who have tidy homes who say they don't spend much time probably don't even realize how it all adds up...and they probably save some time by doing proactive stuff like making sure that the dishwasher is emptied of clean dishes right away so that dirty ones can be put in rather than cluttering countertops.
post #8 of 85
My house is clean, neat and visitor ready pretty much every day. Two words - Cleaning. Schedule.

We all have a room or area each day to clean. I am a SAHM so I take the laundry as well. With my two older dd's and myself, I'd say we spend 30 minutes a day cleaning. My hubby is also great at doing a Sunday afternoon 'Let's get the hosue clean for a new week' blitz with the kids. EAch evening, either before or after dinner, we all pick up, put things away, vacuum, light candles and make things pretty for the evening. The girls might color or play with dolls but it's something small and they know they have to put it away.

We don't clean the bathrooms every day. We don't dust every day. But to a person walking into my house unannounced it looks pretty good and I'm rarely embarrassed if a friend stops by. I can give you more details of our scheudle if you're interested.
post #9 of 85
I think it's 2 hours over the course of the day, so 2 minutes switching laundry to the dryer counts, tossing stuff into recycling as you open a can counts, etc. I also think it depends on the type of house, the standards of clean, the age of the children, and the lifestyle. IMO-Smaller houses are easier to clean, but harder to declutter. Houses with pets and kids too young to participate in cleaning up are harder to clean. Families that eat elaborate dinners dirty more dishes than one-pot casserole-loving families. And so forth.

When the place is properly decluttered and cleaned, I think it probably would take 2 hours here, and we're in an apartment so we have no mowing, garage wrangling, etc. I try to arrange stuff though, so that dh and I each have 30 min or less to do a day, and then bigger scrub the tub/mop the floor stuff (swiffer mop in between, not so green, but faster) on the weekend. I do decluttering during off weeks in the homeschool.
post #10 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksenia View Post
People who have tidy homes who say they don't spend much time probably don't even realize how it all adds up...and they probably save some time by doing proactive stuff like making sure that the dishwasher is emptied of clean dishes right away so that dirty ones can be put in rather than cluttering countertops.
That's a good point. I never read the other thread but I remember thinking "2 HOURS???". BUT, I am a SAHM, I don't sleep much, I enjoy cleaning and my house is very clean. I wonder how much time I actually do spend cleaning. I should time it for a week.

Anyway, to the OP - decluttering is a great start. Putting things away, right away, is huge too. Multi-tasking is a big help - if you're walking to a different room, take something with you and then take something else with you when you leave that room ... fold laundry while you watch t.v. or spend time chatting with family or on the phone ... touch the mail once ... clean as you go (while making meals especially). Enlisting help from partner and/or children and/or anyone else that lives in the house. Listening to music makes me work faster I've noticed.
post #11 of 85
Yeah, I need to know the specifics as well.

I don't spend any time cleaning when my kids are in bed. That is MY time, finally, hard-earned at the end of the day. I don't spend it cleaning.

My first response is no way I spend two hours a day just cleaning. But then I thought, well, if you count all the time I spend and add it all up, it could be about 2 hours. Rotating laundry and putting it away, dishes (we wash by hand - it's a better system for us than the DW we have), and I vacuum and wash floors about twice a week - usually one of those times is a weekend where I get help from DH.

I use a cleaning schedule for maintaining. I liked the idea of the home management binder but it wasn't quite right for me - so I took those daily lists and printed them smaller, laminated them, and now they stay on my fridge where I can mark on them with a dry-erase marker
post #12 of 85
There is a book which is pretty old but still useful, called Make Your House Do the Housework by Don Aslett. Obviously decluttering is the top thing that is supposed to cut down on those two minutes here and there, but the book also touches on things like what kind of furniture and wall paint are the fastest to clean.

Also, you can clean while doing some other things. So you aren't necessarily spending those two hours JUST cleaning; you can be listening to an audiobook or to music, watching TV, having a conversation with your spouse or child, etc.
post #13 of 85
This came up between some friends and I online recently. This is what I told them...

- Set a schedule.
Don't overwhelm yourself. Only do a few things a day. I have a Daily Three Load of Dishes, Load of Laundry, Load of Diapers I try to get those three things done each and every day (well, sometimes I can only do diapers every 2 days..but you get the idea) If nothing else, I get THAT done! and I try to clean the kitchen every day (because it's the most used room in the house)

- Pick a Daily Task.
This is the one I'm trying to get used to...My week looks like this:
Monday
Master Bath

Tuesday
Kitchen Appliances

Wednesday
Master Bedroom
Kid Bath

Thursday
Guest Bath/Room

Friday
Living/Dining Room

Saturday
Sweep/Vacuum House
Shopping
Kid Bath

Sunday
Light Cleaning

If I don't get that goal done for the day (like, I didn't clean the bathroom) I just move on and do it when/if I have time. OR I wait until it rolls around again.

-Don't do it all at once
I do it in chunks. I set timers, give myself goals, or just work as long as the kid will play on the floor. Put on 15-30mins worth of your favorite music and get started. Just pick a point (maids will tell you work top to bottom, left to right but do whatever works for you) and go! Or, set a goal like: I will clean off the dining table, or gather all the laundry/dishes, or clean X corner of the room. When you're done be DONE for a while. If you look at your house and go "It must all be done TODAY" you'll get overwhelmed and talk yourself out of it.

-Assign chores if you can.
Split things up with your husband if you both work. I'm a stay at home wife/mother so I believe that taking care of the house IS my job. If you both work then assign chores. Example: If your daily chores are dishes and laundry split it up. Person A unloads the dishwasher and gathers laundry and handles transferring it to the dryer. Person B loads dishwasher and folds laundry. (My husband and I split up the laundry. He hates folding, so the deal is he puts stuff on hangers and I fold everything else. Cuts it in half for both of us) DH's family has a rule: The person that cooks doesn't do dishes. Maybe that can apply in your house too?

Hope I helped.
post #14 of 85
My house is NOT spotless but after decluttering and overall spending more energy on the house over a couple of years it's to the point where 2 hours of work would make the house company-ready (before, it would be a good day!).

But yeah... I think 2 hours a day to keep the house company-ready. But that's not so much when I consider that, for one thing, my husband is doing half of that. So that leaves only 1 hour a day for me. And it counts all the chores, laundry, dishes, pickup, vacuum/sweep if we do that (we don't do it daily), even clearing the table after dinner, etc. So I might work for 20 minutes at a stretch 3 times a day.

The only times we just buckle down and do a "marathon" is when company comes, or if we just let it go too long and get inspired to catch up on the weekend. I don't think 2 hours a day is all that much, really.
post #15 of 85
I'd go crazy if I spent that much time cleaning every single day.

I do clean really well every weekend. Then I maintain during the week so it stays clean. Sweep the kitchen whenever it needs it, laundry when the baskets are full, wipe down the bathroom while I'm bathing a kid, trash emptied as it needs it, dishes done every night. We also run the dishwasher as needed and pick up as we go along.

Quote:
I don't think 2 hours a day is all that much, really.
Really? Let's see, I leave the house at 6:45 every morning (and the most I ever do in the morning is stick something in the dishwasher), get home around 4, spend 1/2 hour cooking dinner, cleaning that up, another 1/2 bathing kids, homework time, reading time. After the kids are bed, I hang out with dh until bedtime. If I spent 2 hours cleaning in between that, I'd give my kids no attention whatsoever. I really cannot imagine spending 2 hours every day on cleaning.
post #16 of 85
I know I spend at LEAST two hours a day cleaning because I do it in 15-minute intervals. We have a large house, four kids who are here (homeschooling) most of the time, lots of STUFF. Too much stuff, I'm working on that but I'm the only one who cares so it's slow going. We're in and out of the house so often during the day that it feels like we're here long enough to make a mess but not long enough to clean it up. The two hours I spend cleaning is really mostly on the basics: laundry, dishes, cooking (pretty much everything from scratch), tidying up toys & homeschooling materials, wiping down bathrooms, etc. I would LOVE to find a way to spend less time on it.
post #17 of 85
I'm sure if I added up the 5 minutes here and there (swishing the toilet out while the kidlets are in the tub, rinsing dishes and putting int he dishwasher after lunch, wiping counters down while the soup's heating on the stove, flipping laundry, etc) that it would equal 2 hours. But it's definitely NOT 2 hours straigh of dedicated cleaning - I think probably the longest chunk of dedicated time is about 20 minutes, and that when I'm scrubbing the tub, or changing all the sheets or something else like that. I follow my Brain Files for my daily/weekly cleaning routine, and it keeps the house in visitor-ready shape, without taking a LOT of time. (I know it looks like a lot when you see it all laid out like that, but it's really not once you actually integrate it into your day)
post #18 of 85
Quote:
I don't think 2 hours a day is all that much, really.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
Really? Let's see, I leave the house at 6:45 every morning (and the most I ever do in the morning is stick something in the dishwasher), get home around 4, spend 1/2 hour cooking dinner, cleaning that up, another 1/2 bathing kids, homework time, reading time. After the kids are bed, I hang out with dh until bedtime. If I spent 2 hours cleaning in between that, I'd give my kids no attention whatsoever. I really cannot imagine spending 2 hours every day on cleaning.
I see your point. If people are away all day probably less housework is required - no lunch to make and clean up (and maybe no breakfast), no activities (toys, sewing, reading, whatever) from the day to clean up, etc. There's still work to do of course. I was coming from the viewpoint (which I didn't realize or challenge) of having the family home all day, which both gives more time to clean up but also more time to mess up. All our meals are eaten here, all our activities are done here.

I do think my family spends on average 2 hours a day on housework if we're keeping up (which we don't always... sometimes we might only do 30-60 minutes but then it really falls apart). And we would SO fail the white glove test, I don't do that kind of scrubbing (like windows or door frames) at all, maybe once every other year at most. But on the other hand, that amount is enough for me to not feel ashamed at all if someone comes over.

ETA: But you already did include cleaning time in your schedule above, so you definitely wouldn't spend an ADDITIONAL 2 hours of cleaning on top of that. And does your DH not do anything around the house?
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by seashells View Post
I see your point. If people are away all day probably less housework is required - no lunch to make and clean up (and maybe no breakfast), no activities (toys, sewing, reading, whatever) from the day to clean up, etc. There's still work to do of course. I was coming from the viewpoint (which I didn't realize or challenge) of having the family home all day, which both gives more time to clean up but also more time to mess up. All our meals are eaten here, all our activities are done here.

I do think my family spends on average 2 hours a day on housework if we're keeping up (which we don't always... sometimes we might only do 30-60 minutes but then it really falls apart). And we would SO fail the white glove test, I don't do that kind of scrubbing (like windows or door frames) at all, maybe once every other year at most. But on the other hand, that amount is enough for me to not feel ashamed at all if someone comes over.

ETA: But you already did include cleaning time in your schedule above, so you definitely wouldn't spend an ADDITIONAL 2 hours of cleaning on top of that. And does your DH not do anything around the house?
I don't spend 2 hours total cleaning a day. And yes, thank you, my dh does do something around the house.

And not to stir up the whole sahm/wohm debate, but yes there are people home at my house every day, most of the day. All meals are made at home, every day. Lots of crafts and activities are done at home, so we do need to pick up after those. Just because I work full time does not mean that my house is empty for 8 hours a day every day and when we are home, we're not just sitting there to keep the house clean. My kids know how to pick up after themselves and do a great job. My house is cleaner than most people's homes that I've seen and I don't spend every spare second cleaning it.
post #20 of 85
I clean a lot. especially right before bed. my husband and I like to go to bed with everything clean and in order, no dishes, garbages changed, etc. So, we spend probably about two hours cleaning up in the evening. My question to the op is, why do you despise cleaning so much? Don't you want to live in a clean orgainized environment? I mean, if you don't, then thats fine but why do so many people despise cleaning so much or view it as a waste of time? I see it as taking pride and care in my surroundings.
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