These household chores are wasting your time
An endless list of the same old household to-dos costs you time, money and sanity. Here are some you can just skip.
Washing your hair every day
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you shampoo too often, you will actually make your hair oilier. Washing strips hair of natural oils, so your scalp produces more and then you have to wash again. Stick to two or three times a week, says dermatologist Dr Tsippora Shainhouse. Using a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner will keep your scalp and hair from drying out too much.
Using a top sheet on your bed
Save time making your bed every morning by skipping the tangle-prone top sheet. Many Europeans sleep directly under a quilt or a duvet with a cover, as do many of us. Just be sure to make time every week to wash any bedding that touches your body.
Unless you’re waiting days to run the dishwasher, rinsing wastes time and water. Simply scrape off any leftover food and put dishes right into the dishwasher, urge the experts at Consumer Reports.
Searching for lost socks
You may swear that gremlins take your socks from the laundry, but in fact, a single sock can slip into the gap between the washing machine door seal and the drum and get pumped away with the water. Prevent this from happening by washing sock pairs together in a wash bag.
Buying home storage items
You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on special bins, bags, boxes and other storage containers. But some of the best ways to keep your possessions neat and organised come from repurposing simple things you already own. Organising guru Marie Kondo is a fan of using shoeboxes as drawer dividers, for example.
Ironing hanger bumps out of clothes
Those freebie wire hangers from the dry cleaner are notorious for leaving shoulder bumps in tops and creases in pants. Who wants to do all that ironing? Instead, buy better-quality velvet or wooden hangers to save time later on.
Tossing mouldy bread
The best bread is bought fresh at a bakery and eaten on the day you buy it. But if you don’t devour the loaf, you’ll want to store the rest in the freezer. It’ll last longer (two to three months, according to the experts at epicurious.com) and make much better toast, according to the New York Times.
Opening curtains wide every morning
Letting the sunshine in is a lovely way to greet the day, but if you’ll be leaving the house and not returning until after dark, all those rays can fade your furniture and make your air conditioner work harder. North and west-facing rooms are especially sun-prone, so try leaving those curtains drawn. Also, consider running the air conditioner only when you’re home.
Unless you’re preparing pumpkin, celery root or some other food with a tough outer coating, there’s no reason to waste precious before-dinner time peeling vegetables, reports thekitchn.com. That goes for foods you may have been peeling all your life, such as carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and turnips. You’ll save time and gain flavour and healthy fibre.
It’s often cheaper – and faster, of course – to buy an already cooked chicken. Coles sells rotisserie chickens for as little as $4 each, a money loser designed to get people in the door. At other stores, they’re a little more, while an uncooked whole roaster typically starts at $10 in a supermarket. Treat yourself once a week, and you stand to save as much as $182 annually, not to mention more than 150 hours of cooking.
Sweeping up after you track in dirt
In many countries, it’s customary to take off your shoes as soon as you come inside. Adopting a no-shoes policy is an easy way to keep your house cleaner and your family healthier. About 85 percent of all the dirt in our homes is tracked in on shoes, say the experts at Family Handyman. And that’s not the worst of it. According to a study at the University of Houston, more than 26 percent of shoes carry Clostridioides difficile bacteria, responsible for many cases of stomach distress, into the house. Another small study at the University of Arizona showed that 96 percent of shoes track in faecal matter. A simple solution is to keep a mat or shoe rack just inside your front door.
Carrying a heavy key chain
Take any extra keys and doodads off your key chain. The weight can wear on your ignition and cause it to stall.
Filing all your bills…
Sure, you’d like to skip the bills altogether, but getting statements electronically instead of on paper means you’ll have less clutter and therefore will spend less time sorting, filing and shredding. Some companies will even give you a financial bonus or discount for going paperless. Ask your bank, utilities and credit card issuers whether they’ll pay you to sign up for e-statements and automatic payments, which save you even more time.