Even if you ignore the pull to reevaluate your past year and make lofty promises (or even the more realistic ones) you probably can’t help but feel a bit of a fresh-slate feeling with the recent turn of the calendar page. You know what stays the same year after year? Household chores, but they don’t have to.
Get that new year pep-in-your-step to the household tasks that could just as easily drag you down this time of year. Here are a few ways to keep things interesting and embrace the never-changing but indispensable art of homekeeping.
1. Change the times you do things
If you typically try to tackle your chores in the morning, try and switch them to the night. Specifically, try to do tomorrow’s chores the night before. This way you won’t start off your new routine feeling behind; instead, you’ll feel ahead and in charge. In addition, changing your chore time to the evening might have some added benefits like giving you some thinking time as you accomplish mindless tasks or making your mornings feel less cramped and rushed. Even if you’re an evening cleaner, switch it to the morning and imagine how good it will feel to come home and not have anything on your plate!
2. Treat yourself to a new cleaning toy
If you’re the type to get excited about a new cleaning tool, solution or gadget—treat yourself to something new to switch up your cleaning routine. From picking a new scent you love (hello, Glacial Falls Laundry Detergent) or a new product (we see you, Sweet Almond Wood Floor Cleaner) adding a new thing to inject life into your cleaning bucket—even if it’s the bucket itself—can help you look forward to the cleaning task at hand.
3. Time yourself
Competitive much? Setting a stopwatch will not only help you do what you have to do fast and with minimal distraction—did someone say, “Can’t talk now, I’m sweeping!”—but it may also motivate you to do it even faster next time. Just this tiny bit of gamification can turn dull tasks a bit more fun.
4. Stop doing it
Hiring someone to do household chores for you isn’t giving up, it’s just another (rather empowering, might we add) solution if you can swing it. When you outsource something that takes your time and energy, you’re buying back some of your personal resources. Going this route will also make smaller, daily tasks seem like a breeze and much more manageable because you’ll be getting relief every few weeks from your backup team.
5. Swap responsibilities
If your housemate or partner always takes out the trash and you’re the one who cleans the bathrooms, try switching for a week or a month or indefinitely. You’ll learn something about each other and something about the tasks you weren’t doing, and you’ll disrupt the status quo (and possibly a few gender stereotypes) just enough to keep chores interesting.
6. Try some hacks
Even if the places you need to clean don’t change a bit, shaking up the way you clean them could teach you something new. For instance, try rubber dish gloves instead of a lint roller, or saturate a cotton ball with essential oils to help with trash smells. There are endless hacks to help you and your home function to the fullest.
7. Break it up differently
We all have our typical cleaning routines—even if you simply use the “clean it when it’s dirty” method. Some of us might focus on a specific room when we clean, while others would rather take on whole-house tasks (dust or vacuum everything) all at once. Scheduling chores (we know, we know—BORING!) may look like doing a bit every day or doing everything in a few blocked off hours. It really depends on how you stay sane and enjoy cleaning. Whatever your method, mix these plans up and try something out of the ordinary for you, not only for the sake of stirring the pot, but to see if you discover something helpful or efficient that you’ve overlooked.