3 Chores You Should Do Every Night

After writing the 3 Chores You Should Do Every Morning, it occurred to me that a companion post for nocturnal chores should accompany it.

Evening chores are the hardest.  Most of us have put in a long day and our bed beckons.  It’s so easy to think that you can tackle it in the morning refreshed and ready for another day.  But when you put it off, then you put it off again and put it off again until you’ve lost the control of your environment.  If you can accomplish these three chores evening, before retiring for the night, you can keep a handle on your household.  These are the three main areas that typically get out of control and bog down our time when it’s time to clean.  If they’re already done, then we can focus on the actual cleaning rather than catching up.

1.  Do the dishes.  Do the dishes every night.  My mother, who keeps the most beautiful, organized house imaginable, does not do dishes at night.  She would rather take that time and spend it with family.  I’m glad that works for her.  I can’t do it.  I can’t wake up to a sink full of dishes.  For one, I’m the messiest cook on the planet, so it’s more than just a sink full of dishes — I leave the counter top a mess, the stove, the sink, the floor — I’ve been known to have to take a mop to the ceiling.  To walk into the kitchen in the morning to that chaos is just simply daunting.  For another, the sooner you clean the dishes, the easier they are to clean.  If I can get the task done in 20 minutes compared to 30 minutes, it’s worth it to me to do it at the end of a long day rather than wait until the next.  I’d even go beyond just cleaning the dishes — I’d say that every night you should do the dishes, sweep the kitchen floor, and take out the garbage.

2.  Open and sort your mail.  This may seem like a small task, but I cannot tell you how many hours in the past I have spent sorting through giant stacks of mail when it’s time to declutter my desk.  Finding Easter coupons at Christmas time, checks I didn’t cash before they expired, bills, magazine renewals — argh.  Now, on my way back from the mailbox, I stop at my outside trashcan.  If I don’t want it, it never even makes it into my house.  Then before doing anything else, I open mail.  Bills go to the bill place, correspondence goes to its correspondence place, magazines and catalogs go to their places, etc.  No piles happen.  Nothing gets missed.  And when it’s time to clean an area, I don’t have to battle a giant pile of mail on the kitchen counter, or the desk, or my bedroom dresser.  Before you go to bed at night, contend with that stack of mail.

3.  Do a walk-through of the house.  If it’s out of place, put it in place.  Get your kids to straighten their room on their way to their beds.  Straighten those couch pillows, pick the towels up off the floor, take drink glasses to the kitchen.  Hang up phones, put remotes where they are stored.  A quick run-through of your house will keep piles from forming, keep organization flowing.  It makes it easy to clean when you don’t have to declutter and pick up first.  If you stay on top of this on a daily basis, this shouldn’t take 5 minutes of your time.

Between these chores and the 3 Chores You Should Do Every Morning, the housework you can get an easier grip on the handle of the chores you have to face on a daily or weekly basis.


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