Picture this: you’ve just spent a good portion of the day doing laundry. It’s now folded and put away. As you’re saying good night to your child you notice their laundry basket is once again full. You sigh as you leave the room – more laundry to do. You are filled with resentment for a few seconds, and you shake your head as you wonder; does it ever stop? Is laundry one of the household chores overwhelming you?
The two other chores that create feelings of overwhelm and resentment for many of my clients are taking out the trash and recycling and doing the dishes.
These three household chores are recurring. They are never done because there is always another dish used, something else tossed or recycled, or more clothes that need to be washed.
Why do people resist doing household chores?
There are several reasons many people resist doing household chores.
It will take them more time than they have available, they think.
There is only a little bit to do, so it’s not necessary to do it now.
They don’t want to do it. The parent in their head is telling them what they should do, and they are simply being stubborn, sort of like a belligerent child, and walking away from the chore.
The problem is that the more you delay doing a household chore like dishes, taking out garbage, or laundry the more there is to do and the longer it takes.
It is so much easier and takes less time when you do it right away. Almost everyone knows this when they stop to think about it, but emotions get in the way. Also, there is always something they would rather do than a household chore.
Here are my tips for getting more done with less resistance
Shift your mindset
Instead of telling yourself I have to do the dishes (or take out the trash or do the laundry) say I get to do the dishes. Continue the inner dialogue by telling yourself there’s only a couple of dishes here. If I do them right away the sink will be empty. How great is that?
Have a reward in mind
Remember to reward yourself by doing the thing that you want to do next. I work best when I know there is a reward waiting for me. Don’t you? It doesn’t have to be something you buy. The reward can be something simple like spending 15 minutes by yourself reading a magazine.
Change the time of day
If you start the dishwasher every night after dinner, you can empty it in the morning. Create a new morning routine for yourself. Empty the dishwasher while the coffee is brewing. By the time the coffee is ready, the dishwasher will be empty, and it will be easy to move the dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher a little bit at a time.
Laundry is overwhelming when there is lots and lots of laundry to do. It used to be that we thought we had to wait until we had a full load of laundry before putting a load of clothes in the washing machine to save water. Now, the machines are smart. They have sensors built into them, so they only use the amount of water they need.
Do small loads of laundry. A small load takes less time to wash, less time to dry, and less time to fold and put away.
Don’t wait until you have lots of laundry to do. Tackle the laundry a little bit at a time and it won’t be so overwhelming.
Here’s another post related to household chores.
Doing chores feels better when you are sharing the work with someone else. Often, we resist doing things and are resentful when we think we are the only one contributing effort. If you wait for them to offer to help you, you could be waiting a long time. Instead, give everyone who lives in the home a choice of something to do.
One person can work on laundry, folding and putting it away. Someone else can do the dishes. A third person can take out the trash. If there are more people in the home, I’m sure you can find something for them to do.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when multiple household chores accumulate. Conquer your resistance to tackling them by keeping them small and shifting your mindset. Do something even when it feels like there is very little to do. Then it is over and done with quickly and you can move on to something more fun.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Sign up for Diane’s newsletter to get more great organizing tips.