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9 Tiny Life Hacks That Will Make Cleaning An Activity You Can Actually Tolerate

For those of us who love having a neat and tidy home but find cleaning extremely boring.

I love having a clean home. Inside a tidy apartment I feel like I can concentrate, relax, play host β€” do anything, really. When my home is sparkling, I feel like my best self.

But if loving a clean home sits at one end of the "things I really enjoy" spectrum, the task of actually cleaning said home sits much closer to the other end. Each weekend my list of chores haunts me, like a pile of homework or laborious phone call I know I need to make, purposely being avoided until it's 7 p.m. on Sunday night.

That said, I'm a goddamn adult so I'm always looking for new ways to Get Shit Done with minimum complaints.

Here are some tips I've heard and tried that really do make cleaning feel like less of a chore:

1. Get some of your most-hated chores out of the way before the weekend begins.

Becky Barnicoat / BuzzFeed

When it comes to cleaning, it's not the physical act of doing it that pains me so, it's how much of my precious weekend time it steals away from me. It may sound ridiculous but it wasn't until hearing about my colleague Rachel's Friday night cleaning routine, that I realized the easiest way to stop my weekend's being stolen from me by chores is to just, well, do them before the weekend arrives.

2. Or when that's not possible, get them done as soon as the weekend starts rather than putting them off until Sunday evening.

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Despite knowing that I should be getting some of my dreaded cleaning tasks out of the way during the week, it doesn't always happen. Dinners, drinks, shows, and lazy nights in front of the TV take precedence a lot of the time and that's fine because, you know, there's more to life than cleaning. But this means I once again run the risk of spending an entire weekend procrastinating. Literally the only way to stop this from happening is to get chores out of the way first thing on Saturday morning β€” or at least get the most dreaded thing done.

3. Wear a pair of well-fitting rubber gloves while you clean.


This is another very excellent and smart tip from Rachel, who discovered that cleaning is way more tolerable when you're hands are safe inside a pair of gloves.

4. Get yourself a cleaning outfit and stop doing chores in your pajamas.

@sweetalleycat / Via

Cleaning in my PJs used to be my thing. I was convinced that if I cleaned before I showered and got dressed for the day, it would feel like those hours never even happened. Instead, my soft pajama sleeves would become damp as I scrubbed my bathtub and cleaning product would splash back on to my coziest outfit, meaning it would have to go straight in the wash. Now, I change into a crappy outfit (normally tights and an old t-shirt) that's comfortable but not too comfortable, so I feel ready for action and don't ruin my best sleeping clothes.

5. If you can afford to, consider outsourcing the tasks that you really hate the most.

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Now, I stress here the if you can afford to aspect of this tip, because for most of the many years I've lived out of home, I haven't been in a position to do this β€” and that's the position a lot of us are in. However, on a recent trip to the laundromat β€” my least favorite place in my neighborhood β€” I did the math and worked out the difference between washing a load of towels and sheets myself, and paying for the drop-off/pick-up service. There was a considerable difference in the cost but it was an amount I reasoned I can afford every two weeks, since washing and drying those items is the chore I hate the most. For others it might be ironing, the big spring clean, or washing your car.

6. Find a podcast or audiobook that you only listen to while you clean.

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I look forward to my morning walk to work because it means I get to pick up my audiobook or podcast where I left off the day before β€” and the same principle applies to cleaning. Podcasts in particular are a great cleaning tool because there are so many great ones out there that it's perfectly reasonable to have one that you only listen to while you clean. At the moment, I'm listening to The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy on Audible.

7. Play to your strengths when dividing up chores within your household.

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If you live with roommates or a partner, it might initially make sense to divide all chores equally and work on rotation. However, over the years, I've realized that this is not the way to get shit done β€” or at least, get shit done well. My boyfriend, for example, cleans the bathroom as much as I do, but when he does it, I always feel the need to re-clean it β€” not because it's still dirty, but because he doesn't clean it the way I clean it. However, he has no problem with doing grocery shops alone, spending two hours at the laundromat, or washing the floors, so we decided to stick to our strengths and divide the housework between us, rather than taking turns doing the same tasks.

8. Work out how much each chore actually takes to do, so you know what you're in for when you begin.

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This is an extremely simple hack but it's one that can save you from feeling like you've unexpectedly spent an entire day cleaning. Basically, you should have a rough idea of how much time each chore takes (washing = 1.5 hours, vacuuming and mopping = 30 minutes etc), so you can first decide how much time you want to spend cleaning, then work out what tasks you can complete within that time frame.

9. And finally, buy cleaning products and tools that you actually like using.

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The idea that you will be more inclined to do the thing if you like the things you use to do the thing can also be applied to everything from taking proper care of your skin to cooking. My coworker Kayla is OBSESSED (I do not use that term lightly) with this hand-held vacuum she owns, so she's excited to use it every day. Meanwhile, I have a vacuum that I'm pretty sure was meant to be a kids' toy and now hate cleaning my floors. Spot the difference?

Dump Week is a series of posts that will help you take out the trash in every aspect of your life, making room for all the good stuff you deserve. See more posts here.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed