If you feel like you’re spending way too much time on household chores, you’re not alone. According to a new survey, the average American spends up to 690 hours a year on housework. We feel like even Marie Kondo would object to spending that much time making a home sparkle!
The study by Yelp also found that of the numerous tasks we perform to keep our homes spick-and-span, there are certain chores that are more irksome than others. Think you’re the only one who can’t stand doing the dishes? Think again.
In fact, some people are willing to go to extremes to avoid doing chores altogether. The survey, on “Modern Love and Household Responsibilities,” questioned 2,000 Americans who live with a partner, split evenly between men and women.
Over a third of respondents said they would give up drinking alcohol forever, if it meant they would never have to do housework again. A fifth said the same about sex. Respondents also said they would be willing to add an hour to their commute each day, spend a week in jail, give up their smartphone, and shave their head.
“Chore-doing Americans are getting out of doing this work by faking illnesses, and even inventing work tasks to get their partner to do the chores,” says Yelp’s trend expert, Tara Lewis. “In fact, two-thirds of survey respondents even admitted that they and/or their partner have done a poor job at housework in the hope of getting out of doing it again.”
But the sad reality is that chores are not going away. Dust, clutter, dishes, and clothes will never stop accumulating, so the best way to deal with this is to tackle it head-on. So, what are the most hated chores? And more importantly, how can you make them less tedious?
Americans love going out to eat—and loathe doing the dishes. That’s why this task tops the list of most hated chores, according to the study.
But to make dish duty less of a slog—and to prevent those bowls and plates from stacking up—get in the swing of this simple but effective routine, courtesy of Darla DeMorrow, a certified professional organizer and owner of HeartWork Organizing in Philadelphia.
Fill and run your dishwasher every night and put the clean dishes away every morning, she says. It seems obvious, but once it becomes habit, doing the dishes will be far less painful.
Hand-washing is one of the more painstaking kitchen chores, but to handle that stubborn baked-on food, soak your pots, pans, and dishes in hot, soapy water.
Unsurprisingly, doing laundry landed near the top of the list of most hated chores. It’s a time-consuming task that seems to never end!
To make the process go a little bit quicker, Laura Goodman, senior scientist for P&G Fabric Care, recommends using the quick and cold cycles on your washer to save time and energy.
To save time on drying heavy items like towels and linens, add a dry bath towel to a load of damp towels in the dryer.
“The extra moisture will be absorbed by the dry towel and reduce the drying time,” says Marty Basher, a home organization expert at ModularClosets.com.
And few things are more frustrating than losing items during the laundry process.
“To combat this, leave a small mesh bag in each of your hampers just for socks,” says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority. “You can then just toss the bag in the washer and dryer, leaving no room for them to escape.”
Cleaning the bathroom
The bathroom is the place everyone wants to avoid when it needs to be cleaned. However, Stapf says good ol’ white vinegar can make cleaning easier. Mix a half-cup vinegar with a half-gallon warm water, and use the solution to clean any tile surface and mop the floors.
“You can also wipe your shower doors with distilled white vinegar to prevent soap scum and buildup,” Stapf says. “And for a clogged shower head, pour some vinegar into a plastic bag, use a tie to secure it, and leave the bag overnight.”
Keep drains clog-free by pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar down them once every two weeks. Allow it to sit for a half-hour, and then run cold water to flush it out.
To ease the hassle of vacuuming, upgrade your vacuum cleaner and use a three-stage, high-efficiency particulate air filter.
“HEPA filters trap 99.7% of airborne allergens, unlike traditional vacuums, which expel dust and allergens back into the room as you clean,” says Jotham Hatch, a cleaning expert at Chem-Dry, a carpet and upholstery cleaning service.
And did you know that your vacuum can be used on other things besides the floor? Throw away that feather duster, and use your vacuum to clean your window treatments, including Roman shades, draperies, cellular shades, and shutters.
“Use the brush attachment on your vacuum, and run it lightly over the window treatments to remove dust and particles,” says Rachel Hyslop at Graber Blinds. You can also vacuum horizontal blinds, fabric and vinyl vertical blinds, and wood blinds.
Pet owners, we know you’re very familiar with your vacuum cleaner, but if it isn’t picking up your pet’s hair, try using rubber gloves.
“Just slide them on and rub down any areas that need extra cleaning,” Stapf says.
Static electricity will cause the remaining pet hair and dust to stick to the gloves, and you can then rinse them off under running water.
And perhaps the most passive way to get dust and debris off the floor? Get a robot vacuum.
“Set it once everyone goes to bed, and you’ll wake up to floors free of dirt, dust, and debris—it’s life-changing,” says Naeemah Ford Goldson, a certified professional organizer and owner of Restore Order Professional Organizing, in Atlanta.