Scrubbing toilets, vacuuming floors, sorting through the pile of mail, these are all chores.
Sometimes, I don’t mind chores. Most of the time, I hate them and they always seem to be outstanding, never completely done.
I’ve heard about people swapping houses with a friend, in order to clean. Doesn’t that sound weird?
On the surface, it sure does. But let’s stop and think about it.
When I’m doing chores, I’m usually jumping from one thing to another, to another. I’m trying to make dinner at the same time, so I forget that I sprayed Windex on the bathroom mirror, but then the oven timer started going off. I go to check on the oven and then proceed to hand wash a few dishes. By the time I remember to go back to the bathroom, the Windex has completely dried on and I have to do that step over again. This time, making sure to get the dried on Windex spots off the mirror.
If I am doing something for someone else, I am focused and single-minded in purpose. There’s no “oh, I should deal with this piece of paper that’s in the way on the kitchen counter.” I am the exact same way when it comes to writing freelance articles. When I am writing for someone else, I am on the clock, motivated to get it finished, because the faster I can finish it, the higher my hourly rate works out to be. If I’m writing for myself, I tend to take a much more leisurely approach. I get distracted looking at site stats. I check my adsense revenue, I respond to “just one thing” on twitter and end up chatting or reading an interesting article that showed up on my feed.
That’s where swapping houses with someone else, in order to do the cleaning, comes in. If you go to their house, the piece of paper on the counter is just a piece of paper. You move it, you wipe the counter, you move on. You’re not cooking, so the oven timer isn’t your problem, you can focus on the Windex. (Yes, focus on the Windex.) Let’s say you spend 2 hours per week cleaning things in your house. I’m including laundry and stuff in there. Alternatively, let’s say that you always MEAN to spend some time cleaning each week, but it just doesn’t make it to the top of the priorities list.
Find a friend and try out a swap. Commit to 1.5 hours at each other’s houses. Meet up, determine what you want done and what your priority list looks like. Here is what mine would look like:
1 – Ensuite Bathroom
2 – Guest Bathroom
3 – Clean the Kitchen and Entrance Tile Floors
4 – Handwash dishes
5 – Vacuum carpets
6 – Towels and Bedding
7 – Dusting Living Room and Wiping Coffee Tables
After that comes things that only I can do, like putting things away, dealing with the mail and paperwork, plus the occasional things like wiping down the baseboards and cleaning the windows.
Once you understand each other’s priorities, go over where your cleaning supplies are and whatnot, with a tour through each other’s houses. Set a time, and swap. (Alternatively, as pointed out by Kathleen, do it together! Maybe add a glass of wine as a reward when you are done, and use the whole thing as an excuse to catch up on life.,)
I bet you’ll get a lot more done, than if you spent the same hour and a half at your own house. Plus, you’ll get the luxury of coming home to your house and things being done, and you didn’t have to do it.
Would you ever consider swapping cleaning with a friend?