I have a confession to make. I am basically lazy. The 5-minute Housewife terminology wouldn’t have come into play unless I looked at doing my housework in shorter easier more efficient ways. I wanted to do those things that worked for me. I have had an amazing array of circumstances in life which will come up on future posts.
Looking at my Productivity
Let me take you back a bit first. Just over 12 years ago I was working over 70 hours per week with a Company. Part of my main work was getting ready work needed to be completed by two younger staff. One of them did comment they were achieving four times as much work at our branch office as they did when they were under the system of the Head Office. On the work side – my day was full pushing work through to them. I was not lazy. I loved my work and it showed in my productivity and therefore theirs.
Go forward to the last 10 years. I have been able to increase my achievements in organizing both paperwork and people’s “messes”. I have been able to achieve even though in some areas it was a struggle (see highlight in blue in my About) at times in the working environment.
So enough of that. Now about being basically lazy and where the 5-minute housewife comes in. Skip these two paragraphs if you just want tips!
When I was working those 70 hours I had no Housekeeper (I had one previously who came in daily – Fabulous!). I now became it! The housekeeper that is (I was also caring for someone who had extreme diabetes – so healthy meals were on the “menu”). In those 70 hours – sometimes I was on call to see where in Australia Truck drivers were on the GPS set up in the office apartment I was living in. That might mean a phone call at 1.30am early in the morning from a truck driver who had to have freight organized at a certain time, or location of specialist mechanics or the like. I was being put to the stretch. How did I deal with it?
- I loved what I did. Are you doing something in your life that motivates you to get up in the morning or not? Consider looking at a Guest post I did for Esme’s lovely blog on all different recipes – The Recipe Hunter. Check out the pointers to finding out how to “Enjoy what you do”. I have put a few pointers in this post. Contact me if you would like more input. Life has a recipe and it’s not always straightforward. Some life recipes just turn out badly. Our ingredients, our lack of knowledge, our implements, our method, our process. There is a need to re-assess and start from where we are with the resources we have.
- I worked consistently and confidently once I knew my work. (Reasons why that was an issue in “blue” here)
- I made use of my own personal gifts and resources and made myself aware that I was unique and could put my “own” spin on things
- I never gave up Giving up while there was still hope was no longer in my vocabulary. (A few personal experiences years ago that God helped me through was an extreme help).
So how do you work in being a 5-minute housewife? Remember all our circumstances are different. We all have our own abilities, our sources of income, our money education (how we spend or save our money), and our own knowledge and level of wisdom. Work with what you have and strive for gaining more of the good. What I have put here are principles of what works for me. Tailor make what you find to suit you!
- Number 1- Have a timer. I hate the noise of a timer unless it’s set for the 52 minutes of the Pomodoro Technique and 17 minutes break. Well, this time you need it while in your housework mode to make use of timing yourself for 5 minutes. Consider a timer that clips on to you and goes with you. It is a reminder to pull you up. Yes – with a timer – do it! if you want a loud one on your computer I recommend E.ggtimer If you want to ditch the timer – see my music tip below.
- Have a list of 5-minute jobs you love doing outside of housework and on your to-do list. You don’t have a to-do list? Girl, we are going to have some serious talking here! But really I will say – I personally get more done with breaking down my list into small pieces. Not a throw away one either. You can use a written option in a Bullet Journal explained here or you can use Trello which I highly recommend. (A free App online). Both options “keep” your previous lists. Either crossed out or archived online for reference.
- Make your housework your exercise – get into it with a vengeance! You can get a sweat up with doing your housework. Don’t knock that precious vase off the wall unit while dusting will you!?
- Please consider having music. It lightens your mood and helps with the negative aspect of having been brought up to hate housework. I like it – housework that is (notice I didn’t say love) – but it is a challenge to have something cleared, washed down or tidied. We have to get this “it’s a great challenge” thought to you! Okay, there are a number of music playlists you can search out online to get your “style”. This is if you don’t have anything that gets you in the mood for housework. ie Search Fun music for cleaning, Music for housework even gym workout music etc. I took a while to go through playlists but decided to leave it to your personal taste. Often the songs will be approximately 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes on average. This can work into your timing. You don’t always need to work on the 5-minute regime. Aim lower sister!
- Consider setting up a template for your grocery order. I set my grocery order and/or fruit and vegetable order up with the business I was dealing with. Took me 5 minutes at most to make any changes seasonally or weekly. This was delivered from the Supermarket or the Greengrocer. This was worth its weight in gold and saved me approximately 1 1/2 hours. This is for if you are working long hours or your time is at a premium. I no longer work in that situation so I’ve changed that item accordingly. I actually work my shopping to be every 7 or 8 days so I gain a day eventually.
- I’m not like other women. I didn’t do a meal plan. (Still don’t) It was all in my head. My head worked better that way. Helped my memory. Lots of fruits and vegetables and the best quality I could get. I learned to cook steak from a restauranteur and only had to be there 2 minutes. Pork spare ribs – my time was needed 4 to 5 minutes including pulling them out of the oven with 6 ingredients for the marinade. Anything like things in their jackets was not only healthier – but easier and quicker – in goes both sweet potato, potatoes, carrots Cabbage or broccoli and we are “sweet”. My healthy version of noodles (of any kind) were with anything raw – tossed in with a good stock – parsley, cherry tomatoes, red onion, capsicum, cashews, almonds etc and anything reasonably quick to prepare. The secret is – not too many mixtures which are healthier by my book and particularly as you get older or have an illness. So preparing dinner is segmented. While waiting I do other “to do’s”I did have to watch for issues with my Diabetic person. They needed one less shot of insulin once I was doing the cooking.
- Have you been busy in one area or room and it’s a bit of a mess? De-clutter in 5 minutes. I can tell you – that with your mounting expertise you will beat that record! Remember we are also after a work-out here. If you find it’s an “immense” mess you are working with – time yourself for a 5-minute burst or for 1 of your work-out songs. Whenever faced with a “big” project – break it down into bite-size pieces. We can all face overwhelm at times. But let it go. The answer is going through the steps – baby ones – to take to attain your “aim”.
- Do your large items
This means vanity, shower, bathroom (or toilet).Not all at once silly! Get to your vanity – a breeze – and if you can’t do this in 2 minutes I will be surprised! Toilet, as we call it here in Australia or your bathroom as you may call it, are ones to give the extra clean. Put it in your “5 minutes” time block! I even add in doorknobs here. I guess I have the “cleanie” mentality in me. Please don’t worry too much if you don’t get to all in one go. Make it short and sweet. I’m not going to fuss with you over the shower – but I will get you to consider one thing. A shower floor is an immense harbor (harbour!) for bacteria – not just because of humidity and often a dark area. The worst is the drain. Give yourself a good work-out just going over your floor regularly (I’m not bossing and telling you how often!) Cleanliness, in the end, does save time and is healthy.
- Keep one bench or half a bench in your kitchen clear The reason for this is two-fold. When you have groceries coming in. I leave the bags on the floor (I do my own shopping now with different circumstances) for cleanliness sake. and unload things to either my clear space or straight from bags to fridge, freezer or cupboard and pantry. The other reason is when you have an at least part of your bench clear it has an effect on your mind. Our minds work in strange ways and having a bit of “space” seems to work.
- Oh, Dishes! Simple as. Soak straight after you have cooked. I might even grab a couple easy steaming pots and rinse and wipe and put away. I have an advantage over some – in that, I use very little oil – so grease is limited. If I do fancy something that needs a little grease it is cooked in my Stonedine pan which to keep best is not to use detergent on it. I also don’t cook meat in my kitchen so it’s another advantage where cleaning is concerned. Work with what you have and aim to find shorter ways.
- Floors – they call to us. I have had ceramic tiles, lino, and carpet. Lino is easiest since it needs just an easy sweep and is no issue to get the mop – hot water and vinegar out. Keep your vacuum within easy reach and do each section that works for you. If I do a full on corners, architraves – I will actually stop after I’m halfway and come back to it later. It’s my issue with doing things in short bursts. Changing track – whether doing a different job and using different muscles or having a timeout (below).
- Timeout List This one is where I say no to 5 minutes in “1” and prefer that you sit down and have 4 x 5 minutes or a 20-minute break to have a breather. Do not time it and go with the flow. You may work at home like me. You may have children to care for and/or homeschool. The challenge is knowing when to stop and having time out. I use the term 20 minutes rather loosely. If the weather is beautiful and before the heat of the day or towards the end of the afternoon go for it. Soak up some Vitamin D for your health’s sake.
- Deep clean I actually find that even doing this works better in 55-minute blocks. I can wipe down a wall, do the door architraves and door front and back in one 5 minute block easily. Oven? – if you have one you haven’t taken care of try an oven cleaner where you spread on and wait.(with votes going to an eco-friendly one). Shower cubicle glass become a challenge? Spend time on one glass at a time – in between having breaks to do other things. Move furniture in time blocks- pace yourself to clean behind or around – my motto is come back to it and don’t over-do it.
- Bedrooms I work to do our bed and can do it in 2 1/2 mins. Tidying of clothes I do daily and takes less than a minute. Dusting (if needed) is done in about 1 1/2 minutes. The 5-minute bedroom! Ta Da! With children’s bedrooms start them from an early age and you will be rewarded. Start young and don’t seek perfection – look at the good they have done. Let them see how you make yours. Put up with a bit of imperfection in children’s rooms. (This can be a difficult one if you are a Born organizer!) If you re-do or re-make it often says to them what they do isn’t good enough. They will catch up in good time. Lead by example – they copy action more than you realize.
- Laundry – I place my washing in a separate room once line-dried. I go to it regularly to get time away from my computer. Since I can easily have it complete in a short time – I do other jobs/chores with it at the same time.
- Things out of the ordinary Spring cleaning, outside work, other things you normally do that are not covered here. Break tasks down into bite-size pieces and work at them methodically and systematically. Do you know setting yourself to go and pick 3 weeds outside (only) actually finds you can’t help yourself? You will pick more! It’s just setting yourself up for housework to do 5 minutes worth.
We all know that it is difficult to keep up motivation. If we had a Fairy Godmother who within 5 minutes had our Housework all done – we’d be all for it. But we haven’t. So girls let me know if there are things you think you can trim down to 5 minutes. I’d love to hear how you are dealing with it. Remember also my main aim is for you to think of small bites and 5 minutes is an approximate aim.
My appreciation goes to a grandmother who had someone run into her and my grandmother in a car. Grandma’s leg was an issue and she was in a wheelchair. She still did housework inside and even went out in the garden to do weeding. If she couldn’t do pitchforking – she would get a gent over and he would do the pitchforking while she went in and cooked a savoury dish. She then was in her 70s to 80s
My appreciation also goes to a girlfriend who had one leg amputated. She is a “cleanie” by definition. But though in a wheelchair – she keeps her house beyond reproach, holds down a 12-hour job and has studied accountancy and education at University after hours as well. She is in her 50s
If you take the time to comment please let me know which club you are in? The 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond or maybe know someone you are proud of who is an example to you. Do you find yourself feeling lazy and don’t know how to get out of it? Let’s talk!
Till next time.
1 Cor. 14:40