how long does it take to do basic household tasks? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-03-2005, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Emma started back to preschool today. I want to take this opportunity to get my act together with housekeeping. I find that one of my problems is that I have no idea how long it takes to do a task. For instance, I always figured it took about 20 minutes to unload the dishwasher. I rarely have 20 solid minutes, so I put that off. Come to find out, it takes about 3 minutes. Three minutes I can do!

So, how long does it take to do some basic things? (without kid "help!")

fold and put away a load of laundry

vacuum the house (1500 sq ft)

mop the floors (all wood, 1500 sq ft)

clean the bathroom

clean out refrigerator


eat a bag of M&Ms

what else?
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#2 of 10 Old 08-03-2005, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by OnTheBrink
fold and put away a load of laundry

vacuum the house (1500 sq ft)

mop the floors (all wood, 1500 sq ft)

clean the bathroom

clean out refrigerator


eat a bag of M&Ms

what else?
Laundry - 5 minutes

Vacuum the house - 20 minutes

Mop the floors - 10 minutes

Clean the bathroom - 5 minutes (sink and toilet)

Clean out refrigerator - 5 minutes

Dust - 10 minutes

Eat a bag of M&Ms - one month unless DH helps (not my favorite candy, obviously)

My advice? Get yourself a timer and set it for 5 or 15 minutes, depending on the task, and see how much you can get done.

I vacuum, mop, dust and clean the two bathrooms (sinks and toilets only) in a hour, which includes transitions between tasks.

There's also the theory that a task will take however much time you allow for it. If you want to be very deliberate and thorough, it will take longer. You have to decide how much time you WANT to spend on something. Personally I don't like to clean so I only spend as much time as I need to in order to clean it to the standard I have.

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#3 of 10 Old 08-03-2005, 03:23 PM
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fold and put away a load of laundry - 15 minutes/day

I sort by person into separate laundry baskets so I can be more efficient. It takes me about 5 minutes to fold and sort and another 10 minutes to put away since I have 5 baskets. The older kids put their own things away but I deliver the baskets.

vacuum the house (1500 sq ft) - 5-10 minutes/day

I vacuum one floor per day, approx 750 sq ft each, takes me a whopping 5-10 minutes depending on if I do just the 'middles' per flylady or if I move some furniture.

mop the floors (all wood, 1500 sq ft) - 10 minutes/1-3x week

I mop with a good mop and bucket and that's my main floor 75% wood, 25% vinyl but the same solution. Takes me another 10 minutes after I've vacuumed. I do this 1-3 times a week depending on the weather.

clean the bathroom - 5 minutes/day

For our main bathroom (we have 2) I swish the toilet and clean the rim and seat every morning after I used it. I keep a spray bottle of 'toilet' cleaner (homemade w/some essential oil added). Once a week before bed, I'll put some Borax in the toilet and let it sit overnight and flush in the morning. Every morning I also clean the mirror with a homemade window cleaning solution in another spray bottle kept under the sink. I keep an old dishrag with it... Spray mirror, wipe and wipe the counter and sink. I vacuum the bathroom floor 2-3 times a week with my regular vacuuming to keep the hair in control. And I include the bathroom mopping in my 2x week floor mopping. The tub and shower get cleaned once a week sometimes every other : WHILE I'm taking a shower. I use those exfloliating gloves a little elbow grease to get the tile clean. It may add 2 minutes to my shower time.

SO... I spend 2 minutes 'swishing and swiping' the bathroom per day and I can do that with ds around.

clean out refrigerator - 5-15 minutes/week

I do this about once a week before grocery shopping or at least making my list. This really varies... from 5 minutes to 15 depending on how many leftovers are in the fridge and if ds was playing in there and I have spills to clean.

dust - 10 minutes/week

I do not keep many knick-knacks because I don't like to dust them. Once a week, I'll dust a few rooms well. This means, moving things, dusting with a damp cloth and putting things back. Takes me 10 minutes tops. I rotate the rooms based loosely on the Flylady system. She has 'zones' assigned weekly. I'll also feather dust between major dustings which is about a minute or 2 with my lovely ostrich feather duster I can do the whole house in less than 10 minutes. I'll do the TVs as needed and I keep a micro cloth stashed behind them.

eat a bag of M&Ms - NEVER!

I hardly ever get the whole bag since ds is an M&M FREAK!

I think once you find your routine that works for you, it will really zip by. I started with flylady to get me started on a system and I personalized it for me and my house. I also declutter regularly to keep the whole house cleaning thing easier. Keeping cleaning solutions and rags in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room so I don't have to cart them all over. I recycled the spraybottles and made my own cleaning solutions and relabeled the bottles. I keep a vacuum upstairs for doing just the upstairs. It was a handmedown but serves its purpose well. I use my Miele for the main floor (hardwood/vinyl) and I use the powerhead for the basement carpets which get the most pet hair. I also have a Swiffer mophead thingie but I don't use their disposable clothes. I use rags and a spray bottle of 'floor' cleaner (same general solution for everything) and do quick mops if I don't think the floors need a 'good' mopping. Slip covers on the couches and chairs make for easy to keep clean furniture. I have 2 sets for all the pieces. One is always in the wash...

I can do my whole house routine in a hour once a week if necessary. But I prefer to just do 15 minutes a day, every day or every other day.

Rhianna momma to ds #1 - 13 & ds #2 - 4.5 & dd #3 almost 3!
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#4 of 10 Old 08-04-2005, 12:40 AM
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My house is about the same as yours without it being wood floors though .

fold and put away a load of laundry - I choose two times a week to do laundry. I'd say it only takes me about 5 minutes to fold and put up?

vacuum the house (1500 sq ft) - See this is why I didn't do well you..I kept thinking I needed to be perfect and drag out the heavy vacuum and move everything to say I vacuumed. I look back and think how stupid that was now haha. I have a big thorough vacuum that I drag out once every few months and that is when I actually move things around. But twice weekly, I have a stick broom that is good and I just maneuver around the main pathways, not moving a bunch of things. This takes me about 10 mins. Think cordless, it helped me get more motivated too. As long as you aren't doing a huge job with the cordless, it will work well for you probably.

mop the floors (all wood, 1500 sq ft) - The thought of dragging out a mop and having to fill a bucket frankly wasn't working for me to do it on a regular basis. Finally I broke down and got a swiffer jet. now my floors are usually clean instead of maybe twice a year.yes I know gross..but now they get swiffered once a week. I do a thorough cleaning job once every month and a half. So it takes me 5 to 10 mins I'd say to do the floors.

clean the bathroom - Every morning I swish the toilet when I go. Once a month I thoroughly clean it. Every 3 days or so, I keep some anti bacterial lemon wipes and I wipe down the toilet, sink, and anything else that looks like it's gross or gettin there. So maintenance wise, less than a minute.

clean out refrigerator - I do this whenever I go shopping. Before I put my new groceries in, I start pitching anything bad out. As for scrubbing, I wipe it down here and there if I see it needs to be done. Once in awhile I may put it on my list of things to do when I have extra time but atleast the main gunk is done so it's not gross. Less than 5 mins.

dust - I dust twice a week. Less than 10 mins.

I stopped trying to tell myself that I needed to do a total thorough scrub job on anything I tackled because I just kept putting it off because I could never get motivated for something to take a long time. Once I got into the maintenance mode thinking and got tools that helped me do things quick, my house now is presentable and if someone calls me and asks to come over, I no longer say..oh how about tomorrow and then work like mad to clean, my house typically is clean enough to have someone come right over and I used to be a slob! Now, no way am I gonna sign up for better homes and gardens but you get the point .

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#5 of 10 Old 08-05-2005, 05:21 AM
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I don't spend a lot of time doing things thouroughly - I figure that things are going to get just as dusty, dirty if I've done a full job than if it's a quick once over. I maybe do a proper clean every few months. Most tasks would take me 10mins max, whereas my DH is a lot more thorough and can spend at least twice as long doing things.

It's a Delight-Filled Life.

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#6 of 10 Old 11-02-2005, 04:39 AM
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I guess I am no help. How long it takes with one or more toddlers helping, and how long it would take if I was alone, are two different things! LOL.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#7 of 10 Old 11-07-2005, 12:08 AM
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wow, when it's put out like that it doesn't seem as daunting.
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#8 of 10 Old 11-09-2005, 02:14 PM
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It seems like ALL of the tasks take me way longer---I'll have to set a timer & time it---it sounds really do-able to clean the bathrooms each day if it IS just 5 min.
I think I get sidetracked---start w/ bathroom then move to laudry then to reading a magazine I find ....etc.
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#9 of 10 Old 11-10-2005, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rgarlough
I use rags and a spray bottle of 'floor' cleaner (same general solution for everything)
First, that is some good advice.

Second, What is this general solution you make? I would love to make some not so toxic all purpose cleaner. I was thinking of the vinegar/water combonation. But I like the idea of essential oil. You mentioned adding a drop of oil in your post. yum...lavender. If you add a drop of oil can you still clean the mirror? Tell me more!!!

Pageta - I totally agree with you. A task will take as long as you allow it to. Right now I clean my bathroom once a week. I do the sink, toilet, mirror, bathtub, and floor. I never let it take me more than 15 minutes. Sometimes I skip cleaning the tub because I want to spend <10 min cleaning the bathroom. I look at the clock and then start cleaning fast. I do it when ds is sleeping and there is SO much else I would rather be doing. That's precious time!
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#10 of 10 Old 11-10-2005, 06:28 PM
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I'm trying to get in the habit, and I find that if I just don't stop for about 45 minutes, everything that really needs to be done gets done. But, actually DOING it for 45 min... That's another story!!

It's hard. Being a clean person is hard enough without throwing kids and spouses into the mix. Just do all you can, and relax while she's at school.
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