Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One-Off Wednesdays

According to a study by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, in 2005 married women with no children did an average of 17 hours of housework each week.  Housework here is defined as chores like "washing dishes, laundry, vacuuming floors, and dusting," otherwise described as work "people generally do not enjoy doing."  I'd quibble with that; I really love to do those chores; they give me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment I don't get from anything else.

However, with a full time job (and with other important chores, like gardening, not included in this list because they are considered to be more pleasant by the researchers), it is a struggle to get my 17 hours to do my housework.  And, honestly, even though I love the routine stuff, I will admit that it does have a tendency to never be done -- doing laundry today doesn't mean there won't be more laundry tomorrow.

That's why my favorite day is "One-Off Wednesdays."  For the rest of the week, I try to follow a schedule of laundry, fluffing and folding, baking, cleaning bathrooms, changing sheets, and running the vacuum, but on Wednesday I get to pick a periodic chore that rarely gets the attention it deserves, and really dive in.

Today, the chore was cleaning the bedroom floor with diluted oil soap.  (You can see my spray bottle there; I just buy the concentrated Murphy's Oil Soap in bulk, then dilute it and keep a bottle handy.  It helps reduce the temptation to buy pre-mixed cleaners.)  After vacuuming the rug, I got down with a rag and my soap, and I really did a good job of cleaning the hardwood, including the corners, the woodwork, and the furniture legs.  My floor looks so shiny, and the bedroom smells amazingly clean!

Other chores for One-Off Wednesday?

  • Polish the brass on the fireplace and clean the ashes out into the ash bucket (the ashes will go by cups-full into the compost bucket).
  • Clean all the doorknobs.
  • Use glass cleaner on everything glass in the house -- mirrors, glass table tops, glass TV screens.
  • Beat the throw rugs with my rug beater; in the winter, snow wash them first.
  • Dust the chandeliers and the corners where the walls meet the ceilings.
You get the idea.  These are the fiddly little things you wish you had time to do more of, and Wednesday is my day to indulge.

What is your best housework tip?

The Analysis

Fast:  By devoting one cleaning session a week to these kinds of chores, I really get them done faster than if I waited until I had a whole day to clean the entire bedroom, for example.

Cheap:  Arguably, this is cheaper because I tend to play a game with myself on Wednesday, seeing how much I can clean with a certain amount of cleaner or before my rag gets too dirty to use.  When I used to have a part-time job outside the home that started in the morning, I would do my dusting this way before I left -- I got an incredible amount of the house dusted before my cloth was too nasty to pick up more dirt!

Good:  Obviously, One-Off Wednesdays are my favorite chore day!

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