How to get a routine in housework

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Effective housework routines are about good habits and realistic timetables for cleaning.

Putting things away instead of putting them down, giving the bathroom a quick wipe after showering, and emptying your car of rubbish at its weekly or monthly carwash, are some examples of how you can fit housework into your everyday life with little effort. Create some simple rules in your daily, weekly and monthly routines that make housework part of day to day living, and you'll be rewarded with a house that's fit for visitors without two days' notice.

Walk around your house with a notebook and list the housework needed to keep each room neat, tidy and clean. Include clothes washing and ironing, and less obvious tasks such as cleaning the inside of the fridge. Some tasks, such as cleaning windows, might only need monthly attention. Divide your list into daily, weekly and monthly tasks.

Decide what housework tasks you can include in your daily life. For example, when wiping kitchen surfaces after dinner you could give the inside of the oven and refrigerator a quick wipe, too. Sweeping the kitchen floor takes only a minute or two longer. Cross these tasks off your list of jobs.

Create a morning and evening housework routine. Instead of waiting until the weekend to do all your washing, for example, put the machine on before leaving for work, and hang the washing up when you get home. Choose a weekly task for each day of the week and add it to your morning or evening routine. Cross these tasks off your list.

Check your list of housework and allocate days and times you can do the remaining tasks. Draw up a timetable and write down what you intend to do and when for one whole month.

Review your progress after one month and address any problems you encountered. Your might have underestimated the time it takes to complete a task, or how much time you have available. Revise your timetable to take account of your experience. Don't forget to reward yourself for all the housework you did manage to do.