I heard on the radio recently that the average american woman spends 19 hours a week on housework. Honestly, I'll never be able to do that if that is really what it takes, never. It makes me just want to give up now. I know the solution is to D,O, & S. Please tell me how much time you were cleaning before you spent D,O, & S and how much you spend now. And if you think you can continue to be more time efficient in your house cleaning and your house becomes more steam lined. Thanks!
Large house with several kids could take that if you're going for a "house beautiful" look.
Couple (old or young) no kids and a small house much easier to keep clean.
I have a large house but lots of unused space and 2 kids. About 5hrs week doing the basic - dust, sweep, bathroom, pick up. Laundry never ends and toys get picked up most nights.
There is no freaking way I spend 19 hours a week on housework. Our home is ~1400sf (but compares best to ~1200 sf, due to layout); no garage, no attic, no basement. Most days, our house is what I call "guest-ready", which means I would welcome just about anyone I know into our home if they just knocked on the door. (We live in a friendly neighborhood and people DO stop by frequently. I love it!) It does NOT mean I am ready for houseguests at any time!!!! LOL
As a family of 3, we spend about an hour once a week cleaning our home; and we each spend about 15 minutes a day putting away whatever we've pulled out -- a minute here and a minute there.
I have no idea how to calculate the time spent doing dishes and laundry, though. Dishes are washed by the dishwasher and by hand (by me). We load the dishwasher multiple times a day, but only run it once it is full (2-3 times a week). I wash dishes once a day, generally, after dinner...can be as quick as 5 minutes (one pot meal) or as long as an hour (party). How do you count laundry? The machines or the sun do most of the work. We fold and put away each load, for the most part. (We sort the clothes as they come off our bodies into a 3-bin sorter...takes less than a minute.)
Something to keep in mind is I am what is sometimes referred to as "born organized". Organization comes easily to me. My brain just works like that. My only challenges with keeping our home clean and "guest ready" have been: transitioning from working outside the home full-time without children to becoming a full-time mom and part-time employee; BIG home improvement projects (about every other year, on average, in 12 years); illnesses. My method is to spend a few minutes every single day maintaining the home and then spend an hour once a week actually cleaning it.
In the midst of one of my personal three challenges, our house feels overwhelming and chaotic and unwelcoming. In order to get it back under control, I usually have to push through some big time chunks of focusing on just decluttering, organizing, and cleaning....stealing time from other activities, doing without something else. On the other side, it's back to minimal maintenance. Until reading on all these topics, I never classified our home as simplified or decluttered, but it certainly is compared to many homes I have been in over the years. Our home is NOT minimalist. We have art on the walls; we have some knick-knacks; we have plants and DVDs and clothes and other things....just not everywhere. Each item has a place and when the space is full, then something has to go or I reorganize so all "like items" are together in a space that fits them.
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa
I don't think those numbers are outrageous. I think I do about that, and I work outside the house full-time..
~ 1.5 hours every weekday morning - clearing away clean supper dishes, filtering & boiling water, making breakfast & preparing lunches & doing the breakfast dishes. I get up at about 6am and walk out the door to work at 8am and I took out 1/2 an hour of my own eating, drinking coffee and glancing at the newspaper.
~1.5 hours in the weekday evening (avg.) - preparing supper (which includes a lot of "clean-as-you-go), participating in folding laundry & tidying things away & reminding the kids to do *their* housework. Doing the trash and recycling when it's "my" night.
= ~15 hours a week right there.
DH mostly takes care of hanging the laundry and the kids usually take it down. We all fold and DH does the ironing.
Saturday & Sunday - I do a couple of hours of sorting, dusting, vacuuming, planning menus for the week, etc. & reminding the kids to do their chores. - So call it 4 hours.
On the weekend, the kids do the bathrooms & DH usually washes the floors.
I suspect they're counting things that you don't think of because they happen in the normal flow of the day and not as separate housekeeping activities--making 3 meals a day, dishes into the dishwasher, laundry in, laundry folded and put away, table set (3x/day), table cleared (3x), prep school bags, etc. Also, they're probably including everything from people who do little housework to people with giant families and spotless houses who do a ton of housework all the time. The real questions are how much is in the normal flow of the day like meal making, table setting, table clearing; and how much are separate time working on housekeeping specifically; and... how much does the typical household do, not the "average," which is easily skewed, but typical.
If I were guessing, I'd say 30 min to make, set, and clear easy lunches and breakfasts; probably more like 45 for dinners. So 1.25h x 7 days is 8.75 hours right there. A quick nightly pick up and bag prep is probably another couple of hours. And making beds daily another couple. So it might not be so very far off actually... but I still think it's a bit high.
Book loving, editor mom to 2
I wonder if I go over 19 hours? I think I might. I stay home with the kids, homeschool, cook meals and do the majority of the cleaning. I would guess that I spend most of my waking hours at home puttering about doing something house related and if I am not busy tidying, cooking, clearing, folding, etc, I am with one of the kids doing school work.
But to call my lifestyle average is ridiculous. I know most of my friends do much less at home and many of them have housekeepers to do the real cleaning. 19 hours a week seems outrageous especially if a family includes 2 working parents and kids at traditional school. And if 19 hours a week is 'average' who is doing more than average? And what are they doing?
Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves
I guess it really depends on what they mean by "housekeeping." If they mean just cleaning, I can't see it. What could you clean for 19 hrs/week? If they mean laundry, dishes, cooking, tidying up and other small jobs I can see it. 19 hours/week is about 2:45 a day. That seems maybe a little high, but not unrealistic if you include everything you do.
Really the bottom line is that you need to clean enough so you and your family are comfortable, whether that is 5 hours a week or 20. I have friends whose homes always seem spotless and friends whose homes are so messy I can't understand how they function (not filthy but cluttered and dusty). In fact a good friend of mine used to vacuum every time she left the house! I fall somewhere in between and I have come to terms with that-DH doesn't really seem to care.
Find what works for your family and stick to that-I wouldn't worry to much about what others are doing.
Pam Cliff Malachi 5/08 Judah 5/10 Eden 8/12 Asher 8/12
You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~CS Lewis
I wonder who they polled. I spend maybe 8-9 if you count folding laundry and meal prep though it would be closer to 19 if you count from the time the first load goes in until the time the last comes out and the time the food spends in the oven or crockpot.
Are they including post-meal dishes? Because all in all (despite the dishwasher), I probably spend an hour a day, at LEAST doing dishes. So that's 7 hrs right there. Throw in about 7 loads of laundry and that'd be another 5 or so (depends on the load). Then add in the number of times I clean pee off the floor and whatever and it adds up fast over the course of a week. That said, my house is reasonably neat, and I vacuum when it becomes obvious it needs it (once or twice a week), I generally clean the toilet around once a week, and wipe out the sink in the bathroom. Wipe down the kitchen counters daily (I guess I count that in with the dishes)... I mean, it seems like a LOT, but with three kids home all day it does really add up over the course of a week. If we were spending most of the day out of the house (i.e. I worked, they went to school/daycare) it would be much less... just breakfast and dinner clean-up and laundry and squeezing in what I could on the weekends, I think. I doubt I'd make 19 hrs a week that way.
Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise (1/06), Oliver Matthew (7/07) and Avery Michael (3/10)
Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.
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