On a typical Friday night, you know where I'll be: doing little fancy footwork, working up a sweat, wearing an outfit that would make my coworkers’ eyes pop. The music is blasting, I'm dabbing, I’m dropping it low; the floor is kind of dirty, but that’s OK. “What’s that? Is it any good?” you yell to me over the thumping house music, pointing at the bottle filled with a clear electric purple liquid that I'm clutching. “Oh yeah!” I shout back, raising it higher so you can get a better look. “Pine-Sol! Works great on countertops!!!” That’s right, I’m not grinding up on my crush on the club with a hip cocktail in hand. I’m doing something even better: I’m cleaning.
For years, I, like a lot of people who work or go to school Monday through Friday, did my chores on Saturdays and Sundays. A few hours of my weekend — maybe not every weekend (let’s not get carried away here!), but many a weekend — was devoted to scrubbing and wiping and rinsing and tidying and spending time in crowded market or grubby laundromat that was filled with other commoners like myself. It wasn’t ideal, but what other option did I have? I couldn’t imagine having the time or energy to clean on a weeknight after work. Chores were done on Saturdays and Sundays; that's just how things work.
Then a friend offered a hybrid solution: Clean your apartment on Friday nights, she told me. I was mildly scandalized by this — CHORES! On a Friday NIGHT?! — and deeply skeptical. I was just trying to make sweeping my floors and folding my laundry a little less painful; I wasn’t looking to upend the entire social order! But after seeing how well it worked for her, I eventually gave it a try. It turns out she was right: Cleaning on Friday nights is a game changer.
The main benefit of Friday Night Cleaning (FNC) is that you get to actually experience your clean home all weekend. Weekends are special, even when nothing particularly exciting happens during them, and few things enhance that feeling of "OMG I have two days to do...nothing? Everything??" like gleaming countertops and fresh fluffy towels. Waking up in a place with clean floors and a shining sink feels great — you find yourself thinking, Wow, this Airbnb I’m staying in is so cute and nice! as you gaze around your humble abode. But if you wait until Saturday or Sunday to do chores, you don’t get to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor. Yes, waking up in a clean home on Monday morning is nice. But if you clean on Friday night, your place will still be clean enough on Monday, and you’ll get to be there for that extra-special first 24 hours of sparkly clean.
Also, answer this for me: What the h*ck else are you going to do on a Friday night? Oh, you want to “go out”? Have you ever considered the amazing alternative, STAYING HOME? Seriously, I don’t know who is responsible for the idea that Friday nights are for partying (my money’s on an entity whose name rhymes with “B.P.Y. Shmidays”), but it’s a terrible tradition! I don’t care what “cool” people say; Friday nights are for hunkering down. At the end of the work week, I don’t want to have to be funny or clever or — my god — sexy. I don't want to talk to anyone. No — for me, the perfect Friday night involves doing some kind of light solo activity (think: taking the long walk home, getting fro-yo, wandering around Target alone for an hour), followed by zero activity. And cleaning is a great light activity to kick things off.
Before I went all-in with FNC, I could never find a great time of day to do my chores; there was no time on Saturday or Sunday when I didn’t resent sacrificing what felt like prime weekend time. The default morning slot was the worst time for me; it wasn’t that I wanted to sleep in or be lazy — I’m not really into “relaxing” — but mornings are when I feel most creative and motivated. I didn’t want to squander my best energy on shit like mopping (f*ckin’ m*pping!!!), so I reserved that time for creative hobbies and other activities that bring me joy. Sunday afternoons/evenings were the logical alternative, but that cut my weekend short, contributed to the Sunday Scaries, and just made it harder to enjoy my days off.
Because here’s the thing: When you don’t get your chores out of the way early on, they just lurk in the background all weekend like some sort of Martha Stewart/Slenderman mashup. You know how it goes: You’re laying on the couch, toggling between Instagram stories, a Facebook flame war, an interesting article, and something on Netflix; you’re cupping your boob or fidget spinning, feeling good AF. But each time you get up to get yourself some more cheese, and you pass the pile of laundry that needs to be done or see the garbage that really needs to be taken out — and you’re viewing everything in its full grimy HD glory thanks to the natural light shining in — you are reminded that this perfectly carefree time must soon come to an end. It’s nearly impossible to avoid your own filth for more than a few hours — I regret to inform you that you’re never not going to want more cheese — and each interaction you have with it breaks the spell of your otherwise dreamy day. But FNC lets you keep that magic alive!
Now, you may be thinking, “But I don’t want to do chores on a Friday night!” Which: right — you never really want to do chores. That’s sort of the whole thing about chores. But you can make them more bearable, and doing them on Friday nights has made me dislike them significantly less. And although a clean home is a reward in itself, I also sweeten the deal and give myself a little carrot each week. And you can too! When you’re done with FNC, go ahead and order takeout, take a long shower or bath, put on a sheet mask, watch your favorite TV show, paint your nails with a new Essie polish — after all, it’s Friday night, you’ve got nowhere else to be, you’re not spending that money on watered-down drinks in some grimy club, and you’ve earned it!
I’ve also found that time flies during FNC in a way that it doesn’t when I’m cleaning on weekends, or even other weeknights. It’s like the universe is rewarding me for not procrastinating. One minute, I’m pulling out the bleach and tying on my apron, annoyed that I have to do this at all when I’d much rather be on the couch...and the next thing I know, I’m consuming yummy takeout and mindless entertainment on my (now dog hair free!!!!) couch, marveling at how early it is and how painless that was.
You may feel that you have too much cleaning to do to finish everything on Friday nights, which I get. In that case, you could still tackle your most loathsome chore on Friday so it’s out of the way. I often do laundry on Friday nights, both because I hate it, and because the washateria is never busy then. This actually leads me to another major benefit of FNC: It makes all of your errands considerably easier than they would be on Saturday or Sunday. The rest of the world may have bought into the lie peddled by the industrial going-out complex! you’ll think as you speed through the deserted grocery store at 8 p.m. on Friday night. But not me!
If you’re really, really committed to going out on Friday nights, then I’d suggest giving Thursday Night Cleaning a try. TNC has nearly all of the benefits of FNC; which night is preferable really comes down to how you feel about/on Thursdays and Fridays. I tend to feel energetic and social on Thursdays, so if I must go out, I’d rather do it then. (Note: I never go out.) In any case, both days share an important quality: They are not Saturdays or Sundays.
“But Rachel,” I hear you saying. “I really need a drink after the week I just had.” In that case, you could stop by happy hour for a bit after work and then go home and clean...or you could just pour yourself a drink at home, before you start FNC! You mix a little bourbon with the right playlist and it’s almost like you’re in the club...except that when you back that thang up (“that thang” = a vacuum here), you don’t have to worry about a horny stranger taking it as an invitation. And! Should you decide to go out and back that thang up on Saturday night (“that thang” = your ass now), you’ll feel good knowing that any horny strangers you extend an invitation to won’t have to bear witness to the crusty pots in your sink or the sunny side–up underwear on your bathroom floor. You're free to disagree, but in my experience, both one-night stands and hangovers are best experienced in a clean home.
Cleaning on Friday nights may feel weird at first, but it just makes so much sense. After a long week of doing things like wearing a bra and sitting in traffic and debating whether to end a work email with a period or an exclamation point, the last thing I want to do is put on heels or mascara or a smile. But I can put on soft pants, a Beyoncé playlist, and my favorite cleaning gloves, and give my future self the gift of a clean, cozy apartment and a weekend that is free of chores and full of possibilities.
vote votesI'm intrigued and considering trying it!
vote votesHellzzzzzz no! I'll be in the clurb!
vote votesI've already been cleaning on Friday nights and I love it!