Top Ten Ways to Cheat on Your Housework

Okay, okay, so you purists out there may not agree with me, especially the ones who vacuum on a daily basis and actually do wash your windows twice yearly inside and out. But some of us just need that extra little kick in the pants to get going. Or maybe we need some help with the housework that sees that is building up around us. Well, I can not help you do the housework, but perhaps I can help you give the impression as if you have done it.

Contain it.

Most of you know this by now, but just in case you need to hear it again, clutter takes up the majority of your housework, usually about 80%. Cut out the clutter, and you cut out the workload. But, if you must have it then at least contain it. Get containers to put things in, and make sure they have solid walls. If someone can see all of that junk through the clear container, then what's the point? Even kid clutter can be housed in solid containers as long as they are properly labeled, typed labels for older kids and picture labels for the preschool set.

Hide it.

If we must, we must. Sometimes when we are counting the minutes until the in-laws show up then we just need to resort to hiding the clutter. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Try to keep things out of eyesight. For example, hide the laundry basket on the side of the bed that is opposite the entrance or get the dirty dishes off of the counter and into the sink. And if you need to, well, go ahead and kick those toys under the bed (just make sure it's temporary).

Scent it.

One of the best disguises is a good smell. Our olfactoryory sense has a way of completely changing our perception. One of my friends pours pine cleaner in her sink, swishes it around a bit, and then straightens up the house. After she straightens it up, she empties the sink and the entire house smells as if she has been scrubbing all day long. Light some candles, spray some cleaner here and there, plug in a few air fresheners, and you're good to go.

Force it.

One of the best ways to cheat on your housework is not to cheat at all, but just force yourself to do it. Set a date to have some friends over for coffee or be willing to host the next book club meeting. Your house will shine from top to bottom by the time the day arrives. Why? Because you have to!

Stash it.

When you are straightening up the house, looks are everything. I have a reputation of stashing junk here and there just to clear up the surface area. My boys can often find legos and action figures stashed in their pajama drawers simply because it was resting on their dressers when I was cleaning up. Too bad for them! If it is sitting out and I am straightening up, then it's going to get stuck somewhere out of the way, whether it belongs there or not.

Top it.

When you've just got to give off the impression of a clean house, then make sure that you wipe off all of the surface areas. Clear off all tables, desk tops, and counters and wipe them off. No one will notice the filthy oven as long as the stove top is gleaming.

Modify it.

I know if you get out that vacuum then you should vacuum everything. But here's an idea – only clean up what's dirty. If there's only popcorn on the floor of the living room, then just vacuum that room and leave the rest of the house. If it's only the kids' bathroom that stinks to high heaven, then just clean that one and leave the powder room alone. Do what you must and leave the rest. I do hereby give you permission to do all of your chores imperfectly.

Multi-task it.

When time is an issue, then use everything you've got. Move things out of the way with your right hand and wipe off with your left. Or clean the toilet with your hands while you're wiping the floor with a rag under your foot. Talk on the phone while you are straightening up the play room. It may seem impossible at first, but practice makes perfect.

Simplify it.

Get rid of the stuff in your house that makes your housework difficult. If you have to move along the clutter every time you vacuum, then maybe it's time to make a trip to your local charity or have a yard sale. If it's a chore to clean, then maybe you would be better off without it.

Yummify it.

When you've done everything you can do, then it's time to resort to the best camouflage of all – appealing to the taste buds. No one will mind if there are some dust bunnies here and there as long as you've got some warm brownies on a plate or a delicious stew cooking in the slow cooker. A happy tummy could not care less about the race cars that were kicked under the sofa.