How To Cut Down On Housework And Live Your Actual Life

Relationships > To-do lists

14/04/2016 8:00 PM AEST | Updated 14/04/2016 8:00 PM AEST

When it comes to housework, most of us are severely overworked. 

The typical American spends an average 14 hours per week on household chores and tasks, but only four hours relaxing at home, according to a recent survey from online marketplace TaskRabbit. And many of us spend twice as long on chores as we do with family and friends

Woof. Clearly, it's time to give our schedules a spring cleaning instead of our homes.

Having a clean, safe space to dwell is important. But so is the balance between work, play and quality time with the people you love. Herewith, seven ways to master those chores and find that balance like the lifestyle PRO that you are. 

1. Trash what you don't need. 

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Marie Kondo, the reigning queen of organization, lives by the idea that you should only keep possessions that truly bring you joy. Everything else should go in the trash, right NOW. Less stuff lying around means less for you to dust, pick up and launder.

2. Get roommates in gear. 

Ever feel like you're "the only housemate who cleans"? Then never, ever underestimate the power of a cleaning schedule for keeping your roommates (or significant other, or children!) in check. Assign one household member to "cleaning duty" each weekend, and establish a quick list of chores -- sweeping the floor, cleaning the stove, etc. -- to be done during that time. You'll all feel better knowing time is equally spent on keeping your home clean. 

3. Work while you wait. 

Keep a container of all-purpose wipes in your bathroom, and use them to clean the mirror and sink while brushing your teeth. Do the same for the kitchen counter while waiting for dinner to heat in the microwave. BOOM. 

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4. Do the Two-Minute Rule. 

Peace of mind comes instantly from The Two-Minute Rule: If a task takes less then two minutes to complete, then do it now. Your to-do list will be shorter, your mind will be clearer, and your house will be cleaner right away.

5. Work clockwise. 

When you do decide to do a weekly clean, make it efficient. Organization expert Emma Gordon from Clutter.com suggests this routine: "Grab an empty laundry basket with paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, and a small garbage bag. Work clockwise through the room, wiping down surfaces as you go, and using the laundry basket to hold items that don't belong in that room." When you enter the next room, deliver items that belong there. 

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Madeline Chang, a master housekeeper at Hawaii's Aston Waikiki Sunset hotel, agrees with a clockwise fashion. Starting in the corner of a room and working your way around ensures you don't miss a thing or re-clean something you've already passed over, she says. 

6. Know when to outsource. 

Do a cost-benefit analysis, and you may find that some chores are worth paying someone else to do. For example, washing clothes at the laundromat may cost two hours of your time and $8, while hiring a laundry service may cost zero time and $16. Is that worth it for you? If so, make the swap, and rest easy knowing you made the right trade. 

7. Draw boundaries. 

If you often lament the time you spend on chores, then it's time for a brief life analysis. Take a few minutes to estimate the amount of time you spend on chores each week, and how much you'd like to spend in a perfect world. Use the creative solutions above to whittle down your chore time, and don't worry about what's left undone. A little dust won't hurt... and your mental health is so worth it. 

Happy cleaning!

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