Clever Tricks From Organisation Experts To Make Life's Chores Way Less Painful

20/04/2016 6:24 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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Sink filled with dirty dishes

Hands up who enjoys doing chores?

Yeah, we hear you. Tragically, though, ignoring the dust accumulating on top of every surface and the dishes piling up in the sink doesn't make them go away. We know because we have tried.

Turns out we all loathe doing the same stuff, too.

"The most common complaints are to do with paperwork and bill management, out of control wardrobes, kitchens and garages, and kids' toys," Narelle Todd, professional organiser at Successful Living, told The Huffingon Post Australia.

Both Todd and Karen Koedding, the first Certified Professional Organizer in Australia (!) agree that chores are best tackled in small stints daily as opposed to one huge chunk on the weekend that you'll grow to fear as it creeps closer.

"Run your errands on your breaks and before and after work near your workplace," said Koedding.

That may mean zipping to the Post Office on Tuesday's lunch break, then dropping off the dry cleaning on Thursday before work. Come Saturday you're a few chores closer to freedom.

"You actually save time when you block like items together, so look to group similar activities together. Break your chores up into bite size chunks and do some of them during the week. For example, do a load of washing each night. Even if you leave the folding until the weekend, at least it’s a smaller job and one you can do whilst watching the TV," said Todd.

Todd and Koedding also both suggest prepping and cooking meals in advance, which often takes up a large chunk of family time each evening.

"Shop for food online and have your groceries delivered. Then, spend some time per month or week prepping meals. Split the meals into serving sizes and freeze them. Or, pair up with a friend so that each of you makes certain meals and swap some servings," Koedding said.


Never underestimate the power of outsourcing, either.

"Project manage the outsourcing yourself. Hire a cleaner for your home, hire a professional organiser to help you set up systems, use a laundry company that picks up your laundry who will bring it back for you. You can also have your home cleaner do the laundry and ironing. If you have a nanny, they can do the drop off and pickup of dry cleaning. Hire a mobile mechanic to come to your workplace or to service on your car," Koedding said.

As for 'the chair', (or couch, table, bench) -- the spot where you mindlessly dump everything when you get home, the good news is that you don't need to fight it. We all have a dumping spot and it can actually be a good thing.

"The dumping ground gets a bad reputation but it actually is a goldmine. It tells you where you and your family like to place things. Instead of fighting against it, make it work for you," Todd said.

"If you dump your mail there, open and sort through your mail there. Take the mail tray out of the study -- where you never plan to take your mail anyway -- and place it in your dumping ground. This way you keep all your mail together and you use your mail tray. Being organised is about making your space work for you, so worry less about where things ‘should’ go and go with the flow of how things work in your home."

Making a ritual of having kids unpack as soon as they get home will help in the long run, too.

"Kids need to empty their backpacks and sports bags the second they come home, putting lunch items in the kitchen and smelly clothes in the laundry basket. There needs to be a dedicated spot for keys, clothing, bags, mail, and this can all be in the dumping spot," Koedding said.

If it all seems overwhelming (and tends to pile up sooner than you can get through it), a big purge is the best way to get sorted, and then aim to stay that way.

"The more you have, the more time and energy it requires from you to clean it, store it and maintain it. If you cannot store what you have then you have too much. If you cannot do what you want because you are too busy cleaning up after yourself, then you have too much," Todd said.

Firstly, stop stuff coming into your home. Don’t bring in the junk mail flyers. Say no to other people’s stuff when they give it away. Take a serious look at what is already in your home and downsize. Put things away when you are finished with them. Have a place for everything and keep 'like things' together."

Lastly, Koedding believes it's all about the follow through.

"It's just like brushing your teeth. Chores will always need repeating, it’s not a one time thing. That’s why it’s easier the less items you own," Koedding said.

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