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Housework Schedule: How Much Time Should I Devote To It?

How much time do you devote to completing your housework schedule? How much time should you devote?


If you've read much of this site you'll know that I am a big fan of making, and using, a cleaning schedule.

Following Schedules For Housework Keep Our Lives More Hassle Free

I'm afraid that sometimes these discussions of schedules for cleaning your home can make people feel like I'm advocating that you clean with all your free time, before I come with a white glove to your home and see how well you live up to some very high standards.

On the contrary, however, I only think a housework schedule is a good idea so we make sure we get important things done, and don't let them fall through the cracks which can make our lives less enjoyable.

For instance, slipping on doing laundry for your family can actually make life less fun, because eventually you run out of clean clothes, generally at a most inopportune moment.

Let's face it -- certain things just have to get done in your home, like laundry, basic cleaning, meal prep, cooking, bill paying, and a plethora of other tasks. This is especially true once you have kids, which seems to vastly increase the amount of housework needed.

Therefore, I think of schedules as a tool to make life more comfortable, not as a means unto themselves, and certainly not so we can suck up all our free time with mundane tasks like cleaning grout lines in the bathroom.

How Much Time Do We Spend, On Average, Doing Our Housework Schedule Each Week?

Obviously, we need to spend enough time doing housework to get the needed stuff done, but not more. But, how much time should that take?

I began thinking about this recently, since I'm about half way through reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam. The book is about how everyone has 168 hours each week, and how to make the most of that time.

In the book Vanderkam cited several time use survey studies which I thought had interesting statistics, which I'll share here:

  • In 1965 married mothers spend 34.5 hours on household tasks
  • In 2008 mothers of minor children spend 16-17 hours weekly on housework (this is for both working and stay and home moms, combined)

Further, there is a difference these days between the amount of time mothers who work outside the home and those that do not spend on housework. Stay at home moms spend 26 hours/week on housework (not including grocery shopping, but including cooking) and mothers in the workforce spend a little over 14 hours on housework.

Vanderkam has some interesting (and controversial) ideas about what those statistics show us about how we can and should spend our time as it relates to housework. However, I'll save my critiques and thoughts about her book for another post.

Instead, however, these statistics got me thinking that the amount of hours various people spend on their housework schedule are vastly different, but what is ideal?


Results Matter More Than Time Spent On Your Housework Schedule

After trying to figure out an ideal amount of time to strive for, using these statistics as a guide, I realized something. The amount of time spent doesn't matter at all, but instead the results do.

As I said previously, your schedule is a means to an end -- a comfortable, relatively clean home that you can relax in, and enjoy. You don't need to have your home obssessively clean, and you don't need to spend more time doing it than is really necessary.

Therefore, you should relax your cleaning standards, but only to the point where things continue to work well in your home. For instance, you don't need to scrub your kitchen floor everyday on your hands and knees. On the other hand, if your floor is so full of crumbs that it is attracting bugs, clean it more often. You have common sense, and will know where that happy balance lies for each task in your home.

Further, when you do housework you should focus on doing it as efficiently as possible, to get it done and have more time for fun. On the other hand, don't rush through it to the point where you skip tasks that you know make your house run better.

Finding The Ideal Amount Of Time You Should Spend On Your Housework Schedule

Each person's circumstances are different, so each person's ideal is different. However, no matter what your circumstances are here is a great way for you to figure out the amount of time you should devote to your housework.

First, make a time log for yourself and see how you spend your time for the next week. Then, you'll know exactly how much time you spend doing housework now, along with all the other things you do with your time.

Once you have this data you can assess your housekeeping results compared to the amount of time you are spending.

You can ask yourself some of these questions: Do you think you are using your time wisely and efficiently? Are you devoting too much time to tasks that shouldn't take this long, or are your standards too high?

Conversely, are you unhappy with the state of your house and feel like you should devote more time to these tasks? Could you get more done in the time you devote to housework, if you were more efficient, or do you need to devote a bit more time to this area of your life so everything gets done?

No matter how you decide to tackle this issue after making and assessing your time log, a housework schedule can help you make a happier, cleaner, organized, and enjoyable home for you and your family. It provides a framework for what you've decided are your priorities, and a set amount of time in which to accomplish those priorities.

You can learn more about schedules, routines and habits for your home here to get you started in making your own schedule that works best for you, your priorities, and the amount of time you have available.




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Related Links At Household Management 101

Schedules, Routines And Habits For Your Home

Weekly House Cleaning Schedules For Your Home

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