“You cause at least three-quarters of your own housework,” says Don Aslett, author of How Do I Clean The Moosehead. He goes on to say: “Houses don’t create housework – it’s us, our families, our guests. And our bad habits.”
In his book, Is There Life After Housework?, he goes on to say: “A large percentage of our housecleaning time is spent ‘putting out brush fires’ as it’s called in business. This simply means that if you take three seconds to close the gate behind you, you won’t have to spend three days hunting for your dog. Many a housekeeper fails because all her efforts are spent taking care of problems that a little timely action would have prevented.”
Prevention is similar to “cleaning as you go” except that “cleaning as you go” means cleaning up a spill as soon as it happens while prevention means keeping the spill from happening in the first place.
So what can we do to “prevent” housework? Here are a few ideas:
1. Microwave. There’s really no reason to ever have to do a big clean on your microwave if you use a plate cover. Anytime you cook anything that might splatter, use the plate cover.
2. Oven. You can avoid having to do a heavy duty cleaning of the oven, too, if you don’t let containers overflow. When you cook something that might overflow, like a fruit pie, for example, put a cookie sheet under it the pan. It’s much easier to clean the cookie sheet than the oven.
3. Stove top. The same goes for the stove top. Don’t fill your saucepan too full or have the heat too high. Once those spills get baked on, they’re really hard to get them off. Rather than spend time cleaning off the baked stuff, don’t let it get on there to start with.
4. Pastry Cloth. When you’re making bread, biscuits or pizza dough, use a pastry cloth and your counter will stay clean. It’s a lot easier to shake out the cloth than to wipe flour off the counter.
5. Baseboards. Have you ever tried to clean your base boards and discovered the dust had solidified on it? Once that happens, it’s really hard to get that stuff off. If you dust the baseboards occasionally, like when you’re sweeping, dusting or vacuuming, you’ll never have to try to get that gunk off (or have to sand and re-paint!).
6. Clutter. You know how you always have to go through the house to pick up and put away clutter? Get rid of all the clutter you can and you save yourself a lot of time and effort.
7. Projects. Before you start a project like painting or sanding, put down drop cloths and/or hang plastic over doorways. It’s amazing how much less clean-up there will be if you take those simple steps.
8. Trash. It’s probably never a good idea to set trash outside, even for a short amount of time. If you set the trash outside without putting it in a can, you might end up having a bigger mess to clean up after a dog, cat or raccoon tears into it and spreads it everywhere.
9. Placement. Have you ever set something down and thought to yourself, “I hope I don’t knock that over?” Then you knocked it over and had a huge mess to clean up? Next time the little voice in your head tells you not to do something, DON’T DO IT! Put things in places where they won’t get knocked over or knocked off. Then you won’t have to clean up spills or broken glass.
10. Shower. If you have a shower with a glass door and/or walls, you know they can be a pain to clean. You can prevent a lot of hard work by using a squeegee on it after each shower, drying it after each shower, or spraying it down with a product like Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner.
So there you have it – ten ways you can prevent housework. Now it’s your turn. Think about the tasks you do and see if there’s a way you can prevent having to do them in the first place. Let me know what you come up with.