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How to get your house under control when you have no time

by respaced on November 11, 2009

Getting and keeping your house under control can be a challenge for most of us. Each room requires us to complete multiple tasks on a regular basis to keep it neat and tidy. To make matters worse, these tasks are usually quite boring, time-consuming and dirty. The trick is to determine your priorities and tackle those first.

My mother-in-law taught me a valuable lesson about determining your household priorities. “So long as you have dishes to eat off of and clothes to wear, your house will feel under control. Everything else can be done at a later time.” I would add “mail sorted and dealt with” to that short list of essential household tasks. I can say from first-hand experience that she’s absolutely right.

So now that we know what the essential tasks are, we have to find time to do them. Rarely will we have time to do the dishes, then the laundry and finally the mail sort from start to finish. My advice is to sneak in these activities in short bursts of energy.

For example, while you’re browning the meat or waiting for the water to boil while making dinner, unload the dishwasher.

While you’re returning a phone call, rinse the dishes and reload the dishwasher.

While you’re microwaving something, sort through the mail.

While you’re chatting to your kids about their school day or quizzing them on their spelling, fold laundry.

While you’re watching TV, start a new load of laundry in the washing machine during the commercial breaks. (This is pretty much the only way I get my laundry done — Thursday nights during commercial breaks of The Office and 30 Rock.)

And of course, fold all that laundry when the TV show comes back on.

Get your entire family to pitch in (because I KNOW they watch TV and talk on the phone as well). You’ll feel more in control of your house, get more free time and get rid of the dirty-house guilt.

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