The Small Things In Housework

First of all, let's get this idea out of our heads that housework is a dirty word. I know many of us think of it that way.... I can already hear the groans.

All of us come with slightly different reactions to the idea of housework, but I've found these to be some of the most common:

  • It’s too much effort to keep up with

  • It’s too closely related to gender roles, so it must be bad

  • It’s practically holy - every good person embraces housework (yet you’re still annoyed, because you don’t like doing it)

  • It’s superficial - I can’t be bothered! It’s slowing me down!

  • Housework? What’s that? *Pretends not to know.... *

Let’s get one thing straight: housework is just plain normal! You don’t have to love it. You don’t have to hate it. You certainly don’t have to be scared of it!

I like to think of it like brushing your teeth. It’s not exactly a fun thing to do, but it’s important for a healthy, decently clean, and happy life (nobody is happy when you never brush your teeth…. nobody). So we do it over and over again and don’t think too much of it, because it’s normal.

Housework is like that! An organization-lover or not, feminist or not, busy or not busy.... Housework is still there, and it’s still just a normal part of life.

I say this to be encouraging! You see, when housework is normal it’s less of a big deal!

You don’t need to feel like a particular type of person in order to keep up with it (in other words, it doesn't matter if you're not naturally tidy or organized).

You can relax and stop trying to “finish” the housework, getting frustrated when everything gets messy again.

My feminist friends don’t need to worry about conforming to gender roles, because it’s literally just a thing people do.

My more traditional women friends don’t need to feel guilty about not liking to mop.

So… now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how can we apply this idea of “small things making big impact” to housework?

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this post here - it explains everything in just a couple of minutes, and you’ll have an idea of what to expect the next several weeks here!)

No matter what your general attitude is toward housework, we can all agree that we are busy, and housework isn’t usually our favorite item on the list. We would love to cut back on the amount of work we need to do, without succumbing to complete disaster, am I right?!

So what are some small little changes we can make to create a huge impact in regards to our housework? I have some ideas for you!

1. Switch Your Tools!

I used to use a scrub brush for my dishes, and it really didn’t work well and it was hard to keep clean. I switched to a new tool (I use these) and dishes are so much easier now! Tiny thing, made a huge difference!

Does your mop take 10 minutes to assemble (including filling that giant bucket of water?) Get a different mop!

Are you using a vacuum hose to dust? Is it frustratingly laborious? Then stop it! Use a microfiber dust cloth instead!

2. Throw Away Trash

You'd be amazed how tidy your house will seem if you simply toss that paper towel in the trash when you notice it sitting on the counter!

Empty boxes still piled over in the corner? Throw them out! (Yes, that's a personal example. I'm not very good at this one, but I'm working on it!)

This takes some practice to implement when you're used to letting those things slide. That's okay! Just keep throwing away trash every time you notice, and make sure you allow yourself to feel proud for doing it!

3. Move Things Out of the Way

I try to tidy up all the toys strewn across my living room when I put the girls down for a nap each day, so that I can do my work in peace. Sometimes, however, I just don't feel like it. Even 5-10 minutes of cleanup feels like 5-10 hours in my head. So I skip it occasionally!

BUT..... I have found that scooping everything into one area of the living room tricks my brain into thinking my house is cleaner than it actually is!

Just making things look more pleasing to the eye and clearing a little space can work wonders! If you have stacks of things you can't put away yet, yet you're tripping over them or they make everything look disastrous, move them. Stack them in a corner, or move them to another room.

You can partially deal with them without completely dealing with them. (Of course, you already know this... that's why they're still on your dining room table.)

4. Clear Spaces

A clear space can be very pleasing to the eye, and creates an atmosphere of peace and clarity. Who doesn't need more of that in their home?

Even when you can't keep your house perfectly clean, you can clear some spaces!

Move everything off of your dining room table. (Employ the last principle here and simply move it if you need to!) Instantly more peace!

Pick up those books off the floor and put them on the shelf. Cleared space!

5. Find the One Big Thing

Let's remember - all it takes to make your house more tidy is to put away one thing. That's it!

Sure, it's possible to put away something so tiny and out of the way that you don't notice a difference at all. Which is why I recommend finding the big thing.

There is almost always at least one large-ticket item that can be done in mere seconds, and makes a noticeable difference. Find that thing!

My most common offenders are throw blankets, children's books, and toys. Yours could be dishes on the coffee table, an unmade bed, or the vacuum left in the middle of the floor.

Put your precious few seconds of work to good use and take care of the big things first!

Hopefully you're starting to get some ideas of how you can implement these principles into your own home. I'm a huge believer in their effectiveness, because I've been practicing them for years!

I hate having a messy house, but I'm surprisingly lazy in my methods of tackling it! I am always looking to learn better ways to do things, but this "lazy" style is how I'm able to have a reasonably tidy home!

Thank you for reading along with the rest of us! Please remember to leave a comment and let me know if anything I am saying is helpful to you! I'm here for you, and your comments help me see if I'm on the right track!