If you are like me, a feeling
of dread sweeps over you when you contemplate the idea of doing household
chores. Not that I am all that intimidated by a toilet with a hard water
ring around the water line, but I hate the “drudgery” associated with the same
old chores, over and over again.
So, I have been trying to collect some hacks for some of my most hated
household chores. As I shared a few of them with some dads I know, they
suggested that I put them in an article to help other dads find some easy
fixes. I hope that some of these ideas will be helpful to you as you move
through your own list of hated household chores.
Decluttering. When your house is loaded with kids, the
clutter seems to grow without limits. Our secret to decluttering, when we
have done it well, was to have a few nesting laundry baskets, each one labeled
with the name of a family member. We would get the laundry baskets out
when we started to clean up and then just throw whatever we found belonging to
a family member into the appropriate basket. Then we took the full
basket to each person’s room and dumped the contents on his or her bed.
It was a pretty easy way to save a lot of steps and still get things
where they belonged.
Hard water stains on windows. Whenever your outside
irrigation system gets water on windows, it can be havoc trying to get them
clean. I usually start by getting the dirt and grime off with a good
window cleaning solution and then using a towel soaked with vinegar to attack
the hard water stains. In most cases, the vinegar wash and applying a
straight razor blade will do the trick. If that fails, use a toilet bowl
cleaner sprayed onto a clean rag to apply it to the window glass. Let it
sit 5-10 minutes and then wash it off with water. Make sure and use
gloves – both the vinegar and the toilet cleaner can be murder on your hands.
Cleaning sink drains. Slow running drains in tubs or sinks
can make you crazy and often they seem to defy all of our efforts to make the
work better. I usually start with a little tool called a Zip-It drain clearer. It is a little plastic
gizmo about 2 feet long that you run down the drain and then pull back
out, bringing hair and gunk with it. If that doesn’t quite get it there,
you can use the baking soda and vinegar thing. Start by pouring a couple
of quarts of boiling water into the drain, then put a ½ cup of baking soda in
there. Mix one cup of vinegar with a cup of very hot water and then pour
the mixture into the drain on top of the baking soda. Then cover the
drain opening with a towel or a plug and let it work. After ten minutes,
flush the drain with another 2 quarts of boiling water.
Getting soap scum out of
showers and tubs. One of my favorite cleaning chemicals is called Kaboom, and it works wonders as a
regular weekly cleaning strategy. Just spray in on the shower or tub
surface, let it sit five minutes and then use a scrub brush and water to peel
off the soap scum. But Kaboom alone won’t do it if you have neglected the
cleaning for several weeks. If you have let the soap scum build up, my
favorite cleaning solution is 1 cup of Borax cleaner mixed with 2 tablespoons
of dishwashing soap and 2 cups of water. It will make a batter about the
consistency of waffle batter. Dip your soft bristle brush in it, spread
it all over the surface of the tub or shower, let it sit for 15 minutes and
then scrub until the soap scum is gone.
Cleaning the microwave. I don’t know about your kitchen, but
sometimes the toughest cleaning job (besides a non-self-cleaning oven) is
getting all of those splatters off the surfaces of the microwave. Other
than getting the kids to cover that bowl of leftover spaghetti sauce, the
easiest thing I have found is to microwave a bowl of hot water for about 3
minutes. The steam generated from the heating water will tend to loosen
the splatters and food that have gunked up the walls and top of the microwave,
making cleaning up a whole lot easier.
Getting it all done. It can be a
challenge just to keep up with the cleaning and management of a home.
Years ago, we bought a little binder that fits pre-punched 3 x
5 index cards and then color-coded the cards for daily, weekly and monthly
cleaning chores. Then we bought 7 dividers – one for each day of the
week. Then we used the index cards to allocate the daily, weekly and
monthly chores to the weekdays. So, on Monday we did all the daily
chores, 1/7 of the weekly chores and 1/28 of the monthly chores. Dividing
it up can make a big difference in getting it all done.