Chore Tracking: The Weekend (Days 5-7)

So I kicked chores into hyperdrive, for the weekend, in advance of having out-of-town company next weekend. I started out by doing some car maintenance (not sure if I should count that, but it’s definitely in the realm of chores, so it’s counting for now.) I replaced my pitifully decrepit windshield wipers and refilled the windshield wiper tank (let’s call that 20 minutes) Friday afternoon.

Friday night, after some out and about, I went home and shredded old mail that I had been piling up in my office/guest room since November. I have a tiny shredder that is several years old, so it took me most of an evening to do it (it craps out, then I have to wait for it to recover so that it can keep going. This is part of why the mail was piling up. Might be time to replace the shredder.) I also vacuumed my stairs, which involved unclogging the vacuum cleaner (I had noticed that it wasn’t performing well, but thought it just needed a new bag. I changed the bag the last time (even though it didn’t seem full), but still was unhappy with its performance, so got to the bottom of the issue by checking the various parts. It’s a canister vac, so I checked the hose, which seemed clear, and I checked the extender arm by looking through it. I couldn’t see out it like a telescope, so I tried to drop something through it— I settled on a battery. When the battery didn’t pass, I realized there was a clog of dust and pet hair. I don’t remember how I extracted it— I probably poked it with a broom handle or something.) Let’s say vacuuming and maintenance of the vacuum took me 20 minutes and shredding, off and on, took me 90 minutes. I feel like I’m forgetting things I did from Friday, but let’s say, for now, that I did two or so hours of housework.

Saturday, I was a maniac. Earlier in the day, I washed the car. Let’s say that took 20 minutes, all told. Later, it was carpet cleaning day, so I piled all of the easily movable items (rocking chairs and ottomans and such) onto the less easily movable furniture (bed, etc.) and vacuumed well. Let’s say that took me 40 minutes. Then, I shampooed the carpets. Let’s say that took me 2.5 hours. I know I was at it from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., but I stopped for a late dinner and to walk the dog and here and there for things, so it seems plausible. Earlier in the evening, I also cleaned the carpets at my mom’s place and did some spot carpet-cleaning for a friend, but I’m not counting that time for my chores (it totally counts on another list— karma points or Purgatory reclamation or something). So let’s say 4 hours of my personal chores, on Saturday.

Sunday, I realized that I wasn’t going to let my needs-a-bath dog onto my freshly washed carpets, so I took him for a bath, which I’m going to count as 40 minutes of chores even though it was just dropping off and picking up. While he was gone, I washed his bedding (let’s say another 20 minutes of hands-on work) and vacuumed and shampooed the couch (took like, 45 minutes) before I cleaned and returned the machine (let’s say 15 minutes to clean it and 30 minutes between renting it and returning it and the freak-out extra shampoo I bought in the middle (that I could totally have done without.)) And then I started putting furniture back where it belong, which was maybe another 40 minutes. So let’s say 3 hours on Sunday.

This may fall into the category of TMI, but I also got the bright idea, this weekend, to start keeping my underwear in the master bathroom, because that’s where I get dressed. It works on a few levels, because a few years ago, I started “filing” the clothes in my drawers rather than stacking them, so I can see everything, all at once. I love this system— it keeps me wearing more of my clothes, rather than wearing out the things on top. However, this method of storage has never been ideal for bras, as my lingerie drawers don’t lend themselves to bra storage, no matter whether vertical, horizontal, or somewhere in-between. If storage wasn’t a problem, having underwear in my bedroom instead of the bathroom wouldn’t be a problem if I was always ready to pick out my clothes the night before, but our weather in combination with the demands of my life can be unpredictable, and I’ve got clothes that are underwear-specific (for example, shirts that require light-colored bras or combinations of pants and underwear that have proven unworkable because of cut or color or one fabric makes the other shift more than works for me. I’m not exactly sure why this is— I also have combinations of specific socks and shoes where certain shoes pull certain socks off my feet as I walk. I know this sounds insane, but I swear it’s true.) This weekend, I put things in baskets in my bathroom. It’s too early to be able to tell if it’s going to work, but it will be a gentler method of storing things, and more practical for the way I actually live. And this morning, it went well.

As I learn more about being tidy and efficient with my house, those two things seem like key principles— to keep things where you use them and to store them in a way that doesn’t make them inconvenient. It took me, let’s say, 20 minutes to try different locations in the bathroom (the linen closet, hanging shelves, etc.) and to get things transferred from the dresser to the baskets. It also highlighted the need to go through my linen closet again. I have the closet well-organized, but I haven’t gone through and purged things in a few years, and as you use things, stacks start to get a little sloppy and you start to shove new things in “where they fit,” so when I’ve dealt with the more visible clutter, I can come back and knock this out in 25 minutes or an hour of a Saturday afternoon. (Worth noting— this is another key “learning” for me— for the entirety of my life, noticing something like this would have side-tracked me, and I’d have dug into this project. When my company arrived, the linen closet they’ll never see would be organized to within an inch of its life, but I’d have had to short-cut a more visible problem. Prioritizing what needs doing is a life lesson that is serving me much better than my natural inclinations.)


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