WHY do I love chores? OK, I don’t. Not really. But hear me out….
I LOVE having someone else clean my house. But, for the most part, I prefer to clean it myself for various financial and Zen reasons. I’ve often thought of housework and exercise as the cheapest forms of therapy.
Whenever I feel resentful about chores I remind myself WHY I do them. And then I feel better. It helps me to remember that it’s a CHOICE I’m making; that I’m living my life by design, not by default.
I’ll share my WHYs and maybe it will help you remember your WHYs. “I have to” doesn’t count, but by all means, if you really hate a particular chore, delegate it to someone else, hire it out, or figure out a way to simplify or eliminate it! There are also a number of ways to make chores more fun!
When I start resenting a particular chore, I ask myself what will happen if I don’t do it, and reframe it in positive terms.
Here are some examples:
WHY do I do the dishes?
Well….if I don’t, my kitchen counter (which is large, and open to my dining room and home office, and visible from the front door and living room) will be cluttered and there won’t be any room to do projects, which are no fun to do next to dirty dishes anyway. And the kitchen will smell bad and attract bugs. And eventually I won’t be able to find clean dishes to eat from. So… I choose to do the dishes in order to maintain an attractive, clean kitchen where I can find what I need and enjoy using the counter space for projects!
WHY do I vacuum and dust?
Well…if I don’t, the cat hair will pile up, and the dust mites, and other allergens that affect my sinuses. And he longer dust builds up on things, the dirtier and grimier and more difficult to clean they get. And I find myself not wanting to get down on the floor for any sort of floor exercise if it’s not clean. So… I choose to vacuum and dust so I can breathe clean air and enjoy a clean house!
WHY do I do the laundry?
Well…if I don’t, I will run out of clean clothes to wear. Or, there will be few enough of them that it will become more and more difficult to put together an outfit. And they will overflow my laundry basket and make my bedroom closet look messy. So… I choose to do laundry to maintain a tidy bedroom closet and make getting dressed easier!
WHY do I pay bills?
Well…if I don’t, the payments will be late, and I will incur late fees and fines. Which can add up. And I won’t really know how much money I have left to spend or to save toward a goal. And I believe that a bottleneck when it comes to a responsible amount of money flowing out of my account also disrupts the flow of money into my account. So… I choose to pay bills on Money Mondays and not worry about it the whole rest of the week!
WHY do I maintain my yard?
Well….if I don’t mow, and prune, and pull weeds, everything will grow out of control and become even harder to deal with. And I won’t be able to relax outside in the shade with a book, or invite anyone over to enjoy it with me. And if I don’t fill the bird feeders they will go elsewhere for their food. And I won’t have a nice view out of my home office window. So… I choose to maintain a nice yard so that I can enjoy looking at it and relaxing in it!
WHY do I put things back where they belong after I use them?
Well….if I don’t, the clutter will pile up until it’s a big overwhelming mess. And I will pray that nobody drops by unexpectedly. And I won’t be able to relax and enjoy my space. And I won’t be able to find things I need in the mystery pile. And I’ll start re-buying things I know I have just because I can’t find them. So… I choose to declutter a bit everyday, because it’s easier, and cheaper, and puts me closer to being company-ready than if I don’t!
WHY do I check my schedule every evening?
Well… if I don’t, there might be something I need to do first thing in the morning that is out of my normal routine and I either won’t be on time, or I won’t be prepared for it. Even if I do have time to prepare for it in the morning, doing so at the last minute is stressful. And I sleep better when I feel prepared. So…I choose to check my schedule every evening to reduce morning stress and feel ready for the day!
WHY do I make (and keep) regular dentist, doctor, vet and auto maintenance appointments?
Well…If I don’t, there might be an easily-detected problem I’m unaware of that could become an even bigger problem. And if I am aware of a problem, there might be consequences to ignoring it that I don’t even realize. So… I choose to maintain my health (and that of my pets and auto), thus preventing some problems and taking care of others while they are still small!
What chores do YOU hate? WHY do you do them? Can they be hired out or delegated? Can they be reframed in a positive way?
Please share with us in the comments below!
Do you have the Six Organizing Systems Everybody Needs in place at your house to help make chores easier?
If you need help, you know where to find me!
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I hate cleaning. When it’s not very dirty, it feels like a waste of time. But if I wait until it really needs it, it’s a huge unpleasant job. So I hired a regular cleaning service a few years ago and I love it. And instead of spending time doing the same cleaning jobs over and over, I can get to other chores that just wouldn’t get done, like cleaning out closets and drawers.
Good planning, Janet! Better to use your energy doing things only you can really do.
I love this! I don’t like cleaning either but if I don’t do it, the dust agrevates my allergies and I can’t breathe. So I do it to take care of myself and my home. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for chiming in, Sabrina!
I really don’t mind menial tasks. The only one I dread is changing sheets, because lifting mattress corners and tucking in next to a wall are tough. But, I always try and put on some good music and just go for it because I love a freshly made bed!
Yes. I think this blog post needs a Part 2: Ways to make chores more enjoyable (besides convincing yourself that doing them is preferable to not doing them). Music always helps!
Did you write Part 2, Hazel? I would love to read it and hear your ideas.
Nope. But I still can! Putting it on the list…
Here it is! http://www.org4life.com/make-chores-fun/
I’d much rather organize than clean, but I have a 3-year-old who *helps* me and makes it fun. I’m hoping he can start to take over some of them as he grows! Washing the kitchen floor is my least favorite task.
I have to laugh at the thought of a 3-year-old being helpful….but I do think you’re smart to start training him now for future actual helping!
I hate cleaning too, and one way I deal with my hatred is…not to clean that much, LOL. But I also followed your advice to eliminate some really hated tasks. I can’t stand ironing, for instance. So I just don’t. I make sure that I don’t buy clothes that need it. I know that doesn’t work for a lot of chores, but eliminating that particular task has made my life a lot better!
Hi Nancy, I think that’s an excellent example of downsizing/eliminating a chore! I don’t iron either! (Well, maybe twice a year under special circumstances.)
I don’t iron either. In fact, when my father-in-law asked us to buy him an iron and ironing board for Christmas, I told him he could have ours – so now I couldn’t iron if I wanted to!
I actually love chores, although sometimes it takes me a while to get into that Zen state that makes them lovable. Studies postulate that there is a connection between the brain and the hands that enables physical work, no matter how ‘menial’ or ‘dreary’ to alleviate depression. In my case, chores like putting away the laundry, doing the dishes, wiping down the counters, light cooking, etc., make me more focused and thus better when I do return to the keyboard (where I spend a lot of time.) Chores provide a mental break while at the same time enabling me to knock a few things off the old To Do list. Finally, doing chores ensures that I take the time to make my environment as orderly as I try to make my clients’ environments. And of course there is that sense of control from getting things done that we organizers all love.
Lisa, those are exactly some of the Zen reasons I was referring to (but didn’t say so) in the beginning of the post! Before I was a professional organizer I used to refer to “Housework as Therapy”. Today I often listen to an audio book while doing chores (which occupies my mind) but when I don’t, my mind can free-associate and solve problems or come up with new ideas, similar to taking a shower or driving on the open road.
I love how you add the gratitude and appreciation factor into your chores. It makes such a difference. As you said, it’s a choice not just of action, but also of attitude. Like Lisa, I enjoy doing chores. I don’t even think of them as chores, which has a negative connotation to me. What I appreciate most about them is the distinct beginning and end along with a BIG payoff: Satisfaction and sense of calm and restored order. I especially enjoy any chore that’s water-related like doing dishes. The two chores that get delegated are the yard work and having the windows washed.
I don’t hate chores. I enjoy cleaning and living in a home I cleaned, but I cannot help but feel resentful when the person who shares my home doesn’t help and I cannot get the house and yard clean on my own or have time to do other things. When after a day of work, I am spending whatever time I have trying to make the home and yard clean and safe for the younger members of the family, and the other adult spends the same time taking photos for their narcissistic social media profile, shootimg from angles that do not show how messy and dirty their lifestyle really is, I cannot help feeling that I am being exploited and missing out on life while doing all the cleaning. I do appreciate this article putting a positive spin on chores. I do clean to try to achieve something I want for myself and my family. I just wish the work was more manageable and that I wasn’t saddled with a lazy family member.
You don’t say what your relationship is with this person, but perhaps this other blog post will help you: Clutter Counseling: Are You an Odd Couple?