July 28, 2007
There are some things we just have to do every day to keep our homes looking their best, but another benefit to doing daily chores is that they make those weekly and seasonal chores much easier to handle.
Daily Kitchen Chores
The kitchen is one of the most important places to keep clean in your home. Food poisoning (which can range from "my stomach is upset" to death) is always a possibility in a dirty kitchen. It is especially important to have a clean kitchen if you have children, elderly individuals, or anyone with a weakened immune system in your home. Plus, think about it, would you want to eat food from a restaurant if you knew it was prepared in a dirty kitchen? Probably not, then why should you subject your family members and guests to such eating conditions?
Food left on dishes is an excellent breeding ground for germs. If you have a dishwasher, run it at night, and empty it in the morning; then fill it up with dirty dishes throughout the day rather than piling them in the sink or counter. You'll barely even notice that there were dishes to do. If you have to run several loads every day, you'll need to do this several times a day, but always make sure you empty it as soon as the washing is done, so you'll have a place to put in all those dirty dishes. If you don't have a dishwasher, try to wash dishes after every meal because it will seem less overwhelming than a huge pile that has built up throughout the day. Make this a family habit and add unloading the dishwasher or washing dishes by hand it to your kids' chore lists.
Disinfect cutting boards
Get some cheap wood or plastic cutting boards that you
can throw in the dishwasher (the wood boards will eventually
fall apart, but if they're cheap, don't worry about it, and
just recycle the wood by turning it into mulch, making a
piece of art from it, or burning it in your fireplace).
Expensive wood or bamboo boards cannot go in the dishwasher
(it will destroy them), nor can any board that is fixed to
your counter, so spray those down with a disinfectant spray
(if you use bleach, alcohol, or a commercial disinfectant,
make sure to rinse it off before putting food on it).
Wipe down counters Having clean counters makes your kitchen look clean, even when the floor is dirty and the sink is full of dishes. Plus, clean counters keep pests from being attracted to crumbs and germs from spreading. I recommend using washcloths and towels instead of sponges because sponges are breeding grounds for germs, even if you wash them every day. Washcloths can be thrown into the laundry pile or washed immediately after use and hung up to dry (they air dry much faster than sponges). Just wipe them down quickly after every time you use the kitchen (make this a family habit). It only takes 30 seconds.
Wipe down sink
Everything else in your kitchen could be spotless, but if your sink is dirty, your entire kitchen looks unsanitary. If you haven't used your sink for dishes (if you have a dishwasher) it should be pretty clean, assuming that you haven't let scraped off food sit in there all day, but it still should get a good wipe down once a day. If you wash your dishes by hand, you can just clean your sink while you wash the dishes.
Sweep kitchen floor
If you don't do it, your kitchen will become a buffet for ants, roaches, mice, and other pests. Sweep things up as soon as they land on the floor if you have a pest problem or like to keep things looking clean all the time, or do it at the end of the day if you are a bit on the lazy side or put it on your kids' chore lists.
Take out kitchen trash
If it needs to be done, do it. If you have kids, put it on their chore lists.
Daily Bathroom Chores
Wipe down counters
Wipe down counters This only needs to be done if there's hair, toothpaste, water puddles, and such making the place look unsightly. The quickest way to do this is to have a washcloth designated for cleaning hanging near your counter. Just wipe it down quickly whenever you make a mess. It should take no more than 10 seconds. Make this a family habit.
Wipe down sinks
You'll be surprised how easy it is to do your weekly bathroom cleaning if you just wipe down the sink every day. Plus, you won't have to gross out your guests by having built up gunk in the sink when they drop by unexpectedly. Just wipe it down whenever you make a mess. If you do it while you wipe down your counters, you won't even notice it taking any extra time. Make this a family habit.
Rinse out showers / tubs
This really cuts down on your weekly cleaning labor by not letting hard water, soap scum, hair, and oils build up in the first place. Just have your family members do it at the end of every bath / shower.
Daily Vacuuming and Floor Cleaning Chores
Vacuum or sweep up any crumbs or obvious messesGet to it before somebody walks through it and tracks it all over the house, or before pests find it (if it's food). Handheld vacuums are great for this, but you have to make sure you get one with power; cheap ones don't pick up anything. Kids really like sucking things up with those handheld vacuums, so don't hesitate to have them do the dirty work.
Daily Bedroom Chores
Make the bed
No matter what else you do in your bedroom, make your bed. I know it seems stupid to make your bed when you're just going to tear it all apart again, but it really does give the room a lift and makes it more relaxing at bedtime (really it does). It's also an excellent chore for kids to learn to take pride in their room.
Daily Laundry Chores
Wash and fold at least one load of laundry
If you have your own washer and dryer, do a load of laundry every day, and you'll never have to waste your whole day off doing laundry. Throw it in the washer during the morning. If you do it as soon as you get up (assuming you get up an hour or two before you have to leave the house), it will be ready for the dryer before you leave. If you throw it in the washer immediately before you leave, throw it in the dryer during your lunch or as soon as you get home. Then iron it and fold or put it on hangers while you watch your favorite evening television show, and put it all away when your show is over. You can also have your kids do it (but make sure that they don't do any ironing without you around to make sure they don't burn themselves).
Daily Paperwork Chores
Pick up and sort mail
I highly suggest handling your mail as soon as you get it. Don't just sort it into piles to be dealt with later. Deal with it now. Throw the junk mail into the recycling bin (shredding anything that looks like it could be used for ID theft, like credit card offers). Pass out items to individual family members. Open your bills and any correspondence from business you deal with, throw out the ads and they always seem to have inside and quickly scan through any inserts; then prepare them for bill paying and whatever you need to do to respond to them, and put them in your to-do box. Read letters, brochures, and catalogs, or put them in a place where you can read them when you have time (like your bag, so you can read them during lunch or in a waiting room, or in a basket near your favorite chair, so you can read them during commercials while you watch your favorite show. File anything that needs to be filed ASAP, or place it in your "to be filed" box for your weekly paperwork chores.
Daily Grocery and Cooking Chores
Cook at least one healthy, homemade meal
You don't have to be a 50's TV mom to make a healthy meal, but having at
least one homemade, healthy meal every day will ensure that you and your
family members aren't living off of fast food and processed,
pre-packaged foods that can be terrible for your health. It's also a
good way to teach your children to cook (as every parent should do to
prepare them for life in the real world where parents don't always cook
Add needed items to the shopping list
Keep your list on the refrigerator along with a pen or pencil (there are some magnetic mounts for pens / pencils, so you can just stick it on your refrigerator next to your list). Every time you notice that you need to buy something, write it down immediately. Make sure everyone gets into this habit.
Daily Misc. Chores
Pick up misplaced items around the house and return them to their proper place
Pick up misplaced items around the house and return them to their proper place Everyone needs to pitch in on this. If people put things back where they belong immediately after use, you won't have much to clean up. Tell all family members that they must put things away (or at least put things that belong to them in their bedrooms) before they go to bed.
Straighten up any area that may be seen by guests
Straighten up any area that may be seen by guests If your front door opens up into your living room, try to keep your living room tidy, so guests will never suspect how sloppy the rest of the house looks. Keep the doors to messy rooms closed.
Clean up any mess immediately after you make or find it
It doesn't matter where it happened or who did it; it needs to be picked up. If you know who made it, try to get them to clean it up. If they simply can't clean it for whatever reason (too young, sick, and such), quit whining and do it yourself. If somebody who is perfectly able to clean it up creates the mess and leaves (goes to work, school, friends house, and such) without cleaning it; make sure they have other obligations they will need to fulfill to make up for it (such as, doing one or more of your chores for you).