Saturday, January 28, 2012



As we look at those chores on the Weekly Rotation, there are some ways to save time and effort – working smarter, not harder.

Tip #1 – Laundry
A friend called mine “The Laundry Dragon” once.  The name stuck!  Start slaying your Laundry Dragon by understanding fabric content and how to handle them.  Read labels.  Follow directions.  Treat acrylics and nylon gently.  Don’t cheat and throw everything in together.  The fabric won’t last as long and you’ll be replacing those great sweaters!

Use good detergent and stain removers.  I like TriZyme or Biz as an additive. They contain organic enzymes that break down food stains and even lipstick.  I seldom have to pre-treat collars or stains.  Everything comes clean.  Once in awhile I use a prewash spray for something stubborn.  Check stains before they go into the dryer and get set in with heat.  I’m proud of my family looking clean and sharp.  And they don’t have to feel self-conscious or embarrassed because of tacky clothes.

Use good tools for stacking and sorting laundry.  I have a divided hamper for dirty laundry.  A full section is a full load of colors, darks or delicates.  For clean laundry I LOVE those stackable bins that are open on the front.  With one for each family member, I toss their clean items in for them to come and get each day.  I mate socks as they come out of the dryer.  Strays go into a small basket on a shelf, and I mate those once in awhile.  (When the kids were younger, one of the kids had the chore of mating 3 pairs every day from this basket.  J)  Recently I found these bins for under $5 each at my local Wal-mart.  Get the size that holds several pairs of jeans and T-shirts.  They are often used for potato bins.

Hang most outer clothing on hangers as soon as the dryer stops.  If you missed the buzzer, put a damp towel in (and a dryer sheet) and run it again for 10 minutes.  I don’t iron many items, and most are ready to wear this way.  If you don’t have enough hangers, pick up a few from the dollar store.  If your laundry room doesn’t have a rod for these items, you can get a hook or arm that hangs over the door.

Set aside things that need to be mended.  Don’t put them back in the closets or drawers unless they are ready to wear.

Tip #2 – Tools
You don’t find carpenters pounding nails with a rock.  Don’t try to do housework with poor tools.  Buy the best vacuum within your budget.    Price is not necessarily a measure of what’s best.  It doesn’t have to double as a food processor or carpet shampooer.  Make sure it is easy to get up and down stairs, that it has a hose for edging and getting under coffee tables, that the bags or canisters empty easily and hold enough for more than a room or two.  Pay attention to how much power it has and how easy it is to retrieve legos and small toys from inside it.

Keep a spray bottle of disinfectant cleaner under each bathroom sink and in the kitchen.  Have plenty of rags (without using your good towels).  Have a toilet bowl brush and cleaner in each bathroom.  These are not expensive, but you’ll find it easier to give it a quick swish if you don’t have to trudge downstairs to the other bathroom to get the tools.

If your dishwasher is doing a crummy job, check to see if it has a filter that needs to be cleaned out.  You shouldn’t have to prewash the dishes for them to come clean.

Stop and think about what is frustrating you or creating an obstacle to doing your weekly chores.  Find a way to make that chore easier, faster, less of a burden.  Work smarter, not harder!

Keep carpet spot cleaner and a rag under the kitchen sink especially if you have children.  We have a lot of company, and it keeps me from being stressed when something gets spilled.  I just jump up and grab the red spray bottle.  (I’m actually more surprised if company comes and goes and we DON’T need it!)

Keep a roll of trash bags that fit the trash can under the bathroom sinks or in the rooms where you will need them.  Leave one or two in the bottom of the trashcan.  Maybe the person who takes the trash out will take time to put the new one in place.  Or maybe not.  Oh well, at least it’s handy.

Tip #3 – The Timer
The Timer is your friend!  Don’t dawdle through chores all day long.  If you find yourself stalled, set a time for one chore, then another.  Turn up the music, and get it done.  Set a limit for total chores then go do something fun or worthwhile.  Charities need volunteers, friends need encouragement.  Don’t be a slave to housework.  J

Tip #4 – Grocery Shopping
Use a divided grocery list that matches the aisles and sections of the grocery store you prefer.  (I like the one that comes with my Covey planner.)  With produce, meat, frozen, and canned goods grouped together, you can get in and get out more quickly. 

Build your grocery list from a menu saves money and time.  Deciding what to make as you are going down the aisle leave you to the mercy of slick marketing.  A little planning ahead will help you eat healthier and avoid the danger of buying too much when you are hungry.  I try really hard to stick to my list and ignore the call of impulse buying.

Next time – Major Projects and Spring Cleaning

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