A freelance writer for many years, I like to explore and question everything.
I Really, Really Hate Housework
I've never been any good at housework. You'd think I would be ace after all the years I've had to practice, but no, I'm still rubbish. If I am ever good at housework its because I'm using it to avoid doing something else. Like a writing task or accounts work. Or my dear-un-husband (DuH) has really, really p***ed me off. I get lots done then.
So this page is about all the detestable tasks we grown-ups have to deal with... and, let's face it, it's usually the gurlies who are lumbered. Having said that, my clever sister has married a man who cleans - yep. He cleans, she cooks. I'm waiting for them to get divorced so I can make a claim on him. Just kidding, Wend.
Flylady to the Rescue
Flylady is a website where you sign up for email reminders of your daily tasks. I thought the little purple goddess was my savior. And she was... for a while but I could only keep it up for so long before flagging weariness set in.
Start with a shiny sink, she says. Well that's out for a start. Mine's a disgusting brown 1980s thing. Can't shine. Won't shine. So forget that one.
Flylady tells you to get up in the morning and get dressed to lace-up shoes. Fancy being told what shoes to wear by your computer... I'd throw a lace-up shoe right at it and carry on slopping around in my usual flip-flops.
Swish and swipe the bathroom as soon as you are up and dressed. Somewhere between having your morning wee and cleaning your teeth. I mean, who wants to clean the bathroom BEFORE the coffee??
Feed the critters first - ha ha. Nope. Coffee first before anything.
The feather dusters are great and mine are displayed in a large vase where they sit gathering... um.. dust.
The emails were a bit too much and very dictatorial. You'll be just sitting down with a nice cuppa ready to catch up with your Twitters when along comes an email telling you to rush off and put out some fires. 'Fires' being accumulating piles of junk. I'd delete a few emails, including that one and consider the job well done.
The other problem with the emails is that they weren't on UK time so, dear Flylady would be telling me to go to bed somewhere around 3am. Actually, come to think of it, that suits me fine.
"You can do anything in 15 minutes". This is my favourite one and I use it to this day. I can read my email, check my bank account and sob over my HubPages stats all within 15 minutes.
The Bagless Vacuum Cleaner Scam
What a fast one they pulled on us!
I was very excited to get my first bagless vacuum cleaner. I'd had three upright Hoovers in a row, the same model just different colours and frankly I was bored with them. Nothing to stir the imagination at all. But the new Vax, well that was something else. I forgave the fact that I had to put the thing together myself from a set of flatpack-like instructions. I ignored the way everyone in the house jumped a mile when I switched it on. And I almost, but not quite, enjoyed the way it sucked up the doormat from about 15 feet away, and I really loved seeing the dirt flying around inside. So for the first week I was quite pleased.
Then came the first emptying. This was how I did it.
- Turn the big plastic jug thing, quickly grab a plastic grocery bag... no, no, do it outside.
- Take it outside and immediately become engulfed in disgusting cloud of dust and skin sheddings (well don't they say that's what most household dirt is?).
- Shake the clump into the plastic bag. Then realise that somewhere in there is a pony... no, not really, but the blimmin' filter *is* in there. Gingerly feel until I can grab hold of it.
- Shake filter gently while trying not to breathe.
- Get filter out.
- Dispose of grocery bag.
- See that filter is choked up with stuff. Start banging it on the wall and realise the ensuing dust cloud is heading straight up to the open bathroom window. Nooooo! Eventually discover the best place is about a quarter mile outside our garden.
- Bash filter until red in face. When reasonably sure most dust has floated off, put vacuum cleaner back together.
- Forget to replace filter.
- Undo jug container thing and put it all back together. Again.
- Have very long shower.
Ironing - Ha!
For years and years I have ironed the family laundry. With memories of my granny and her washing drying in a steamy, coal-fired range-heated kitchen on a rainy summer's day. She used to run a B&B and she would have all the linen boiled, put through a wringer, dried and ironed by mid afternoon. So moaning about a bit of ironing made me feel a tad guilty.
A couple more kids arrived and the ironing pile began to get bigger and bigger. Pretty soon, I was ironing what we needed when we needed it and it was getting a bit silly. A friend of mine flicked a switch when she mentioned that she never did any ironing. Unfortunately my light was set to dim and it didn't register.
One day I noticed that when I took the baby's clothes straight out of the dryer, rather than off the washing line, they were soft and looked good enough to put away without needing an appointment with the dreaded ironing-board. Understanding dawned. The ironing pile was quickly reduced by a whirl in the tumble dryer and put onto hangers or folded. I had so many clothes; so much choice. It was amazing. I have only ever used an iron in a dire emergency ever since.
Yes, yes, I realise that drying on the line is much more eco-friendly than the dryer and I still dry sheets and towels this way. However, I console myself with the fact that the iron used a lot of electricity too... so nah nah to that.
Update: With the increasing cost of power in the UK, I have reverted to line drying. Folding the clothes properly as I take them from the line, ensures that they don't require ironing. And to be honest, I've got to the stage where I don't really give a flying fart about the odd creased t-shirt. It's clean, right?
Crisis Cleaning Instructions
"When guests are imminent do the '15 minutes of housework' dance."
You know how that goes. Otherwise, if you have a bit more time, follow the instructions below carefully.
'Crisis cleaning' is another one from Flylady's bag of tricks. Note: you will need a good bottle of wine nearby. I recommend Pinot Grigio for housework - it's an energy drink. Red will put you to sleep.
Relatives are coming to stay, but you put off house cleaning until the very last opportunity because, duh, you'll only have to do it all again before they arrive. The day before, you are gazing around your home, totally overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of getting even the first layer dealt with. Never fear. We can do this thing.
Okay, this is the way to do it:
- Get dressed in old but comfortable clothes.
- Put on a pair of shoes (yep, proper shoes).
- Gather a few cleaning materials - cloths, sponges, buckets, vacuum, whatever you think you are going to need.
- Make a list of the rooms you have to do and then next to them write the major tasks that need to be done in those rooms. Prioritise and don't get fiddly; no-one is going to notice the tops of the doors and if they do, well they ain't no friend of yours. Oh, and make sure your Pinot Grigio is chilled and you have one crystal glass ready to hand.
- Go to the first room... maybe the kitchen. Put on some loud music and set a timer for 15 minutes. Tidy up like crazy. Do as much as you can but stop as soon as the timer goes off.
- Move on to the next . room. More music, timer on for 15 minutes.Tidy as much as you can.
- Repeat in next room. That's 45 minutes of hard and fast clearing up.
- Now stop. Take a 15 minute break. Have a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio, check emails and tweets, remember to set the timer.
- Okay, either go to the next room and follow the instructions above or go back to the first room and start the 2nd layer. In the kitchen this means wiping down worktops, then quickly the front of the cabinets, appliances, etc. In the living room or bedroom, wipe down surfaces, clean mirrors, etcetera. Stop when the timer goes off.
- Move on. Again, after 3 rooms, stop and have a glass of wine while you take a 15 minute break.
- The final 'layer' in each room is vacuuming followed by dusting last (the vacuum cleaner always chucks out dust, however good you think it is). Use your feather duster and shake it outside every now and then.
- In this manner you can get the whole house reasonably clean and presentable in about half a day. Looking at it another way, you have probably finished off a bottle of wine by the end of it and couldn't give a bugger what the house looks like anyway!
House Cleaning - The Essentials
Or what you can't get away with...
1. Wash the dishes. Just do them, it will make you feel better.
2. Make the bed. You never know who might visit and take a peep.
3. Quick clean of bathroom/s. Ditto above, minus the final 'p'.
House Cleaning: The Non-essentials
All the things you *can* get away with - yay!
1 Drying the dishes. They're clean; what more d'you want?
2. Dusting. Open the windows if there's a nice breeze. Spray some lavender polish into the air. That'll do.
3. Laundry. Wait until there is nothing left to wear (check your husband's wardrobe if there's nothing in yours, failing that, then you'll have to start wearing the kids' clothes) then make an effort and do all the laundry in one go.
4. Fridge. Explain to anyone who'll listen that there's a biology experiment happening in the fridge and it's best if they don't open it at all.
5. Kids' rooms. Don't touch 'em. Shut the doors.
© 2017 Bev G
Do you like cleaning? Have you even got time for it?
Val on September 16, 2018:
Paul Levy from United Kingdom on January 10, 2018:
I think you perfectly capture that mood of cleaning that we all get every now and then... As we grow we learn that this is something we have to learn to find ways to do it, alas some things never change :')
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on August 07, 2017:
Nesquick! There's a reminder from my childhood! Thanks for reading, katleigh :)
Dani Merrier from Georgia, United States on August 07, 2017:
This is a funny, helpful article. I agree on doing the essentials - I'm pretty bad about making the bed and giving the room a good spray and calling it a day. Maybe I'm losing my touch way too early, I'm just a sophomore in college. Forget the wine though, pass me the Nesquick!
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 21, 2017:
Ha ha, they are vile things really. The bags were bad enough. I have a cordless Dyson nowadays and I still have to lean over the dustbin, digging the 'stuff' out with a screwdriver. Ugh. Ironing... oh the memories :D
Beth Eaglescliffe on July 21, 2017:
Brilliant article Bev. You've brightened my day.
I was seduced by the idea of a bag-less vacuum cleaner too. Your description of emptying the dust and trying to hold your breath at the same time is so true. And ironing? Haven't done any for years ...
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on April 24, 2017:
:) Coffeequeen: What I liked best about Flylady was that 'you can do anything in 15 minutes', making bed immediately, and swish & swipe the bathroom. Those habits have stuck with me for years. I'm still ironing-free, though I do have a swanky one for my sewing stuff.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 24, 2017:
Ha. I don't like housework either! And I hate ironing! I've never heard of Flylady before. Don't think it would work for me though!
Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on March 18, 2017:
I see! :D Haha! Yeah, I will there on your door step. :p
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 17, 2017:
:D :D :D Wrote it a long time ago. It's been languishing on another account. I enjoyed writing it. See you tomorrow then?
Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on March 17, 2017:
Oh my God! Your hub was awesome and hilarious at points. Enjoyed reading it and I would love to quote from your poll question:
"I love housework so much, I'd come and clean your home, Bev, for free." LOL! :)
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 14, 2017:
Ha ha, Vladimir, my two are now teenagers and I think it's worse! Add six dogs into the mix and you can imagine how it goes here. Thanks for reading.
Val Karas from Canada on March 13, 2017:
Theraggededge---Welcome to the club of the rest of us getting pissed of at mess that just refuses to disappear by itself. Being a man I took upon myself to do vacuum-cleaning while my wife does the rest---which makes me tired even as I think of it.
Indeed, it's one of those necessary evils, and the problem is that there is no one to blame, no petition to sign, so I just allow the noise from the vacuum cleaner to swallow those words that I am saying while removing the furniture to reach that damn invisible dust for which I know is there even if I don't see it, like those germs, you know.
One look at the turned-off TV screen gives me all evidence I need. Well, we live at a busy intersection, and dust is coming from all that traffic.
Luckily, kids are grownup and they left, so we are the only left contributors to the mess except for the traffic.
In any case---I do empathize with you, so let's hate the damn cleaning together, maybe the mess gets scared and disappears.