Simplifying House Chores

Chores outside are fun, and everyone in my house fights over who gets to do them, but indoor chores are not met with the same enthusiasm. Mostly because there aren't any crazy chickens trying to land on your shoulders while you're making the bed.

But a good chore routine is essential to keeping a clean (ish) house. I am the type of person who much prefers a clean home. It's better for my sanity. Unfortunately, I live with other people. I am also the type of person who finds the most efficient way to accomplish something, and will never do it another way (unless I find an even more efficient way to do it). For example, the way I scrub my body. I scrub my body the exact same way every time I shower. Jeremy is the opposite. He scrubs his body a different way, every time. This flabbergasts me.

He also tries to drive a different way every time. Why? There is clearly one path that is the most efficient. Either it's shorter on time, or mileage, and that is the path I take. No meanderings. No wanderings. We go straight to our destination.

Where was I going with all this? I'm flabbergasted now thinking about how my husband does things. (He's worth it, though.) Oh yes, back to chores. With this background, you maybe can understand my need to make our indoor chores as efficient as possible. No one likes doing them, so let's set them up to get done quickly.


First up, beds. I decided I was not going to make my bed when it took 4 minutes every day to make and 2 to unmake. I needed to streamline it. (I didn't really time it, I'm just guessing.) The style nowadays is to dress up our beds with lots of pretty, fancy pillows. It looks lovely... when it's made. But then it isn't being made very often, and where do I put the pillows at night?

My solution: Make a bed that's easy to make. The only pillows now on our bed are what we sleep on. I have two shams that go on top during the day, and at night, I flip them over to put the sleeping pillows on top. No pillows go to the floor, or chair, everything stays on the bed and it only takes a flip to change the bed from day to night. All of the blankets are slept with as well. I just have to pull them up and fold them back in the mornings. Now it takes under 2 minutes to make my bed, and less than 30 seconds to unmake it.

I've made the kids' beds easy to make too. We can all spend a minute or two making our beds in the mornings without being made late.


The second chore that I really want to be done every day is the dishes. And I want my kids to do them. I started by making them empty the dishwasher. To do so, I put all of our dishes, cups, silverware, anything that could go through the dishwasher, in the lower cabinets. This way the kids can actually do the dishes. They can reach everything to put away. They can also reach everything to set the table by themselves. Our food things go in the top cabinets, another good thing to keep them out of the food.

Now that Eowyn is nine, I have her load the dishwasher. Gideon still unloads, but I've shown Eowyn how to rinse the dishes. This chore offers lots of character development for both of them. Gideon tends to put things away haphazardly but then he is responsible for re-organizing the kitchen cabinets. Eowyn dislikes getting her hands dirty (unless it's real dirt), so she's getting lots of practice. She's also learning the best ways to load the dishwasher so that everything gets clean. Because if something doesn't get clean, it's her responsibility to make it right. And there are times when we all work together in the kitchen. Teamwork is much preferred, and much more enjoyable.


For laundry, I take our loads to our bedroom to fold, so that I can put it away as I'm folding it. The kids put away their own laundry, and will sometimes fold it. I've just found it a whole lot easier if I don't have two more piles of laundry to put away. Plus, this has the added benefit of being necessary. In order to go to bed, I really have to fold the laundry.

Kids can separate laundry and get it out of the dryer by the time they are four. If you relax your standards of folded clothes, they can start folding and switching from the washer to the dryer by 7. If my nine-year-old weren't so stubborn, and I'd spend a little more time teaching her, she could start a load by herself.

Making the House Work for You

To simplify your chores, you really need to walk through your house and see how you actually use it. We don't all use our homes in the same way, but before we think about making it pretty, we need to think about it as a tool. It's supposed to make our lives better and easier, not give us another headache or stressor. There are plenty of ways to make it useful and pretty. And of course, periodically you'll have to do another walk through. Sometimes, you'll find a better furniture arrangement, or a better spot to put the laundry basket.

When you walk through, look at things like where you put the keys. Maybe you have a pretty little spot to collect them, but no one ever puts the keys there. Why not? Can you move your pretty spot to be more accessible to catching the keys? Look at everything on your walk through, from keys to diapers, to clothes, to books, to lamps, to pathways, to cabinets, to everything.

Our first home I didn't do this. We lived there a few years before I was antsy to move to a bigger place. I thought if only I had a bigger place I could keep it cleaner. But moving was not in our budget. Remodeling was, though. So I did my first walk through and dreamed big. We remodeled the entire house and got rid of so much stuff. We couldn't go bigger, so we had to quit expanding and start living with what we had.

The house we're in now is a little bigger in square footage, but not in storage. I have lived "temporarily" in this house for the past two and a half years. I love where we are, but the house has bugged me to no end. This past month I finally made it work for us. I want to build my dream house, but seeing as how that's not happening yet, I needed to make some big changes.

There are several things about this house that I can't change, but there are several things I can. For example, the master bathroom has a shower that is only about 3-foot square. It also only has a towel rack that hangs over the toilet that I've had to hang my towels on for the past two and a half years. And every time I hang my towels on it, I freak out a little because they almost brush the toilet. (I'm crazy, I know.) I can't change the size of the shower, or rather I don't want to put that kind of money into this house, but I can hang some towel hooks on the other side of the bathroom. (And when I say "I can" I mean, Jeremy can.)

I had Jeremy hang up a lot of hooks, actually. We hung up hooks behind the front door to hang our jackets and bags on. The kids' bathroom also got some hooks.

I also rearranged our schoolroom and office space. Jeremy built me all these bookshelves to go around our school room, so we'd have enough storage space for all of our books (and now there's room for more books!). I moved our old bookshelf into the dining room for added kitchen storage. And I moved my sewing desk into the office after I moved the blanket closet into our room.

The whole house feels so much better! There is space, and there is storage, and everything has a place. This makes life easier, y'all. I can plan our days, I can plan our meals, I can budget our money, And we can do life, rather than do the cleaning.

Do you have any other tips? Happy organizing!


  1. Wow!! Great Article!

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    We would love to have you share with us!

  2. Hey, everything looks great!! Well done, friend!


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