11 April 2011

The 5 Most Important Household Tasks

Dear Lissy,
At one time or another in life you're going to find yourself with too much to do and not enough time.  If housework needs to go on the back burner, here's five things you should never neglect.  If you can't personally do them, beg a friend or hire someone.  This list is also my first priority when I'm in a normal schedule.

  1. Comforting nutritious meals  Food affects our moods as well as our health. You may need to switch to semi-homemade rather than making everything from scratch, but don't cut corners with your family's physical or emotional health during a time of stress. It's important to clean up after each meal, too.  Use paper plates if you need to, but leave the kitchen tidy.
  2. Clean Clothing & bedding  Laundry very quickly gets out of hand and is difficult to catch up.  For most families just a load or two a day takes care of everything, including linens.  Consider having your kids wear pants and skirts twice and only laundering shirts and undergarments if you have a super-busy week.  Your dad has always called me the "bed Nazi" because I have such a thing for clean, made beds, but when you're spending a third of your life there, it's pretty important!  If you have toddlers in twin-sized beds, spin the bottom sheet so they're sleeping on the clean half rather than laundering every week.
  3. Cloroxed bathrooms I know, "Cloroxed" isn't a word.  The point is that you need to keep your bathroom sanitary even if it isn't perfect.  Clorox wipes or a homemade equivalent can make quick work of a washroom.  Don't fret about the spots on the mirror or shower doors.  Focus your time on the sink, commode, and tub.  You should be able to wipe down a bathroom in 5 minutes or less.
  4. Clutter-free living areas  You may not have time to keep every room in the house picked up, but make an effort to keep the yard, entry-ways, and family areas clutter free.  Clutter isn't a health or safety issue (within reason) but it creates a lot of emotional "noise" and tension, especially for husbands.  Dusting and vacuuming can wait if they need to, but a quick pick up should be done daily and only takes about 10 minutes total.  If you have little kids, you may have to carry a damp rag with you to hit sticky doorknobs and switches as you tidy.
  5. Current household finances  Don't let your bills fall behind when you're busy.  Schedule 15 minutes a week to pay bills and check your accounts.  I put every bill I can on auto-pay so I only have to check that it has cleared.
Whether you're adjusting to a new baby, enjoying a  "staycation", or working on a large project, it's nice to have a fall back plan for the busy seasons of life.

I love you,


  1. Wow! Thank you for this! I am truly the worlds worse housewife and need inspiration like this. I'm 36 and have only just found the beauty of a clean kitchen before bed so that you don't feel like a slug when you walk into it in the morning.

  2. This is great. And I love that your blog is written to your little one; how precious!

  3. I really enjoyed your post and tweeted it. (I am currently a twitter adict LOL!)
    I found your blog from the Raising Homemakers link up .

    Thank-you for a great reminder of what's most important in a household.

  4. This is good; I am heading off to do items #2, 3 and 4 right now! (Although I am more enthusiastic about those jobs after reading your post--it's so nice to be encouraged!)

  5. What a great list - I wish I had always had this wisdom!

  6. Perfect list! I'm going to copy it and put it on a document to print and put in an area that I'll see it often. I'm not terrible about housecleaning - but FAR from good! :-) Thank you so much for sharing this! I love that you are writing this and saving it for your little one - how precious!

    I found you through the Raising Homemakers link up!