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Wednesday 16 September 2009

What are your housework cheats?

If my kitchen is messy, I move to my living room and work from there. When my living room gets messy, I take that as a sign that I really should tidy up. Call me a 'domestic goddess' if you must, but honestly, I'm not in the slightest. I'm messy. I buy pretty things to try and hide my messiness. Unfortunately, all those nice storage boxes, and the pretty magazines racks don't ever seem to get much use.

As we've said before, the Domestic Sluts would much rather be shagging than doing the dishes. Or frankly, doing anything other than housework.

But, it must be done (boo! hiss!) - but you must be able to cheat a bit, right? My favourite cheat? Hanging dresses up in the bathroom while I'm in the shower - takes those creases right out without even having to pick up an iron. I think I've ironed once in the last two years. I hate ironing. It's the most boring thing you can do with you time. Even with this lovely ironing board cover.

So come on Domestic Sluts, share your cheaty housework tips with us in the comments! Make housework easy and fun for the rest of us! So then we can go out and play instead.

Flickr image from Eggybird's photostream.


  1. My housework cheats? I get Mr. Cay to do it! I can just about cope with washing the dishes, or making our bed every day...and I may even do the occasional spot of hoovering and bathroom cleaning. But that is where the buck stops.

    I cannot iron to save my life. I have tried to learn many times, and have failed many times (much to the dismay of my poor Mother). I do all the cooking though - surely that must count for something?!

  2. Get a cleaner. However much it costs, it's worth it. Life is too short for cleaning the toilet, especially when your housemates are all boys...

  3. Ahem I have been known to sleep in the spare room if the clothes mountain in the bedroom just gets too much.

  4. Phew! I'm glad to know it's not just me.

    My tip would have to be babywipes, for almost everything. Dusting, moping up spills, wiping down the kitchen work surface.

  5. I'm a bit of a clean freak, so I have a few tips to pass on...

    My favourite is: SAVED LADDERED TIGHTS. You know how many pair of tights you go through, and you always think it's a dreadful waste to just chuck them, but can't think of anything to do with them?

    They make excellent:
    Scrubbing cloths (their texture gives them a nice abrasive (but not scratchy like wire wool) surface!)

    Hoover cover: you can dust small but intricate objects with ease, without the hoover inhaling them! Simply cut a piece of tights and elastic band over the hoover noozle. Hey presto. Similar tool as used by museum curators/artefact cleaners everywhere :) (also great if you drop a contact lens, bead or needle on the floor but can spot it)

  6. OK. This sounds crazy, but my sister *swears* by it...

    Drink a few glasses of water just before doing the housework, and don't allow yourself a toilet break until it's done.

    You'll end up either wetting yourself or having an immaculate bedroom. Bit of a Russian roulette, that one...

  7. @Pontecarlo - I love it - I've been known to sleep at someone else's house when mine's too messy.

    My favourite cheat is cleaning the shower while I'm in it. I'm also rather partial to cooking using reams of tin foil to avoid having to scrub a baking tray (recycle it afterwards, of course!)

  8. My dinner is currently in the oven on foil... doing the dishes was too much effort.

    Doesn't everyone do that?

  9. Child labour! I get The Daughter to help as much as possible. She quite likes things to be tidy and orderly anyway so putting things away is fun for her (if I wasn't there when she was born, I wouldn't be convinced she was mine!) Of course, she's four so it's all fun at the moment but I;m not above bribing her when she gets older!

    Also, if I can't be bothered to wash up straight away then I at least rinse everything first and pile it in as small a space as possible. Doesn't seem as much work then.

  10. I'm definitely with Maggie Bob on using babywipes for everything.

    And it's slobby but (I'm a bit embarassed to admit to this one, actually, but in the name of sluttery sisterhood....), if I'm expecting company and can't be bothered to dust, I have been known to blast ornaments/shelves with the hairdryer to move the dust (and at least hopefully shift it to the floor when it can be hoovered up without too much faffing).

    Also, it might sound whack, but a bit of toothpaste on a damp cloth is a godsend for getting scuffs off walls/around lightswitches and all those other weird grubby bits that can make your otherwise immaculate boudoir/lounge/kitchen look grimy.

    And my only other one which probably just makes me sound like a sado-masochist, is if you've got something which always ends up a mess, then make a feature of it, and you'll be forced to keep it nice. Like my jewellery collection always used to be a hideous tangled mess kept in a hidden-away box. Now, I have a massive corkboard with ribbons pinned on it that all my necklaces and other bits can hang from. Might seems a bit geeky but I love it, and at least I can see what I have. And because it's on full display, I have to make myself put things back once I've worn them!

  11. Actually, I think you've hit on something there, Jane. There's something to be said for glamming up less pretty parts of your home. Getting rid of clutter, and clever storage is a really good way to make cleaning easier. Better storage = less cleaning = more time for playing.


  12. Argh - you've all taken my cheats. I live by the shower ironing motto much to the annoyance of Mr Sharon. I also swear by overuse of tin foil when using the oven. I'd much rather scoop a filthy piece of foil into the bin rather than spend half an hour scouring an oven tray! Pretty 'storage solutions' aka hatboxes, storage boxes, etc tend to fill the corners of our flat, full of things I'd rather hide away. Fortnum and Masons do lovely hat boxes which are a fab way to 'declutter'!

  13. Housework cheat? I have one, very large cupboard...

  14. Yup, my jewellery "mass" is very prettily piled onto a Poundland mug tree! I still can't get anything off without untangling the lot, but at least it *looks* like a feature piece now!

    If you have a stainless steel kettle or draining board, a dab of oil (olive, rapeseed, baby...) on a piece of kitchen towel gets rid of watermarks and brings it up shiny!

    Wash up before bed, leave to drain overnight, then put away while the kettle's boiling for that all important first-thing caffeine fix.

    And my best tip? Live in a teeny tiny flat! 1) I can't actually leave it messy too long or I frankly cannot move/eat/sleep and 2) If I plug my hoover in in the bedroom I can hoover the ENTIRE flat without changing plugs or even using the full lead! This makes it VERY easy to do the housework!

  15. @Abi - I used to have a spare room that is now a very large cupboard!

  16. Wow - what a well timed article. I was just thinking this morning as I left my (very small) flat that I needed a good tidy up. Now I have lots of cheaty ways to do it! Hoorah - should only take me 10 mins.

  17. Mine are:
    - hide all clutter in a cupboard. As long as the door shuts, it's tidy!
    - get a cleaner - best money I ever spent. I never have to clean the loo and at least the washing up gets done once a week.
    - nag my husband so he feels guilty (he somehow never notices that I do none he he).
    - baby wipes, as already mentioned, are amazing all purpose things that every home should own. You can use them to clean and take your make-up off.

  18. Buy clothes that just stretch on, then you don't need to iron them.

  19. Not really a cheat but a good tip.. if you spill oil on your clothes, even silk - put Swarfega on it, then rinse off. It works everytime. I even used it on the carpet when the boy decided to wipe his greasy bike chain on it.

  20. Thanks Clippy, but what's Swarfega? I've never heard of it before...

  21. My personal cleaning tips are as follows:

    Firstly, lower your own personal standards by an enormous amount. This will render a large percentage of cleaning tasks unnecessary as they will no longer bother you.

    Secondly, regularly watch "How Clean Is Your House?", and the bits of "Life Of Grime" where they clear out the former homes of crack addicts or elderly kleptomaniacs. Most of the time, their place will be considerably worse than yours, thus providing you with moral superiority and justification for carrying on your regime of doing as little cleaning and tidying as humanly possible.

    Once this is no longer the case however, my third top tip will get have your house free of dust and clutter in a matter of hours - arson.

  22. I love this article! I too like to watch 'life of Grime' in order to feel superior (but only just in some cases!).

    As a stay at home mum to a very clingy 15 month old, my top tip is to do any washing up that won't go in the dishwasher while little one is in the high chair, but sing and dance while doing it. Cheers me up and seems to entertain her anyway!

  23. "- nag my husband so he feels guilty (he somehow never notices that I do none he he)"


  24. Hoover EVERYTHING! I hoover food off the kitchen tops, dust off shelves, hairs out of the bathtub... It's fast and keeps your hands clean!
    I do wish I had a hubby who was so easily fooled. Sadly mine does the cooking and therefore notices when all the pots in the house are dirty. He pointedly served me toast in a bowl yesterday.

  25. Just realised I said, 'sadly, mine does the cooking'- ha! As if that's sad! I'd be living on toast and things eaten directly out of tins if it wasn't for him!


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