Like a lot of people we know, the hubster and I work hard in our respective jobs, as well as in our volunteer and church obligations. And we tend to look to our weekends as dedicated time for quiet reflection and reading, rest, fun…as well as completing some of the lackluster errands and chores that we put on the back burner during the week.

This approach to our weekends is all well and good – but early on in our marriage, we found that too much of each weekend was being eaten up by exciting things like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, paying bills, and running errands. And while we haven’t completely eliminated errands and chores from our weekend adventures, we have significantly reclaimed our weekends by implementing some helpful ideas. I know you’ll find the best approach for your household, and perhaps it might include some of the following tips:

Think big, really big.

Identify all of the chores that should be accomplished each week for your household to run smoothly (read: so dust bunnies don’t rule the roost). Some of these weekly chores could include: planning your meals for the week ahead, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, dusting, paying bills, etc.

Next, take a snapshot of the existing chore situation.
What chores do you already accomplish on a weekly basis? Which chores tend to happen once a month, sporadically, or not at all? Be really honest with yourself about how often you clean the bathroom, wash your sheets, and dust that vase on the top shelf in the dining room.

Dream big, really big.

Ask yourself what chores you’d tackle each week if you had unlimited time, or if someone else was gladly doing those tasks for you. This is a great exercise to help you ascertain which chores are among the most important to you.

Set some realistic, logical chore goals.
Create a list of the chores you would like to do on a weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly basis to ensure that your home has a feeling of order. Keep in mind what came to thought when you dreamed big a few moments ago, and make sure those priorities are reflected on your list.

After reviewing your list, identify the chores you can realistically complete in pairs. For example, planning your meals for the week ahead is a logical pre-cursor to your weekly grocery store trip. Vacuuming is a lovely follow-up to dusting your bookshelves. Returning your library books and picking up the dry cleaning are great side trips on your way home from work.

Establish your chore schedule – and stick to it.

Now identify which weekday evenings are conducive for regularly taking care of some of the chore duos that you’ve identified. This will help prevent chore overload on your weekends.

For example, the hubster and I currently have no weekly Monday evening commitments. So Monday is now Laundry and Cooking Night. Unless something extraordinary keeps us away from our detergent, on Monday nights we can be found toting laundry to and from the washer and dryer. We don’t dread Laundry and Cooking Night because we know that due to its existence, we’re freeing up a significant chunk of time on our weekends. It also ensures that we regularly have clean laundry, and it provides us with automatic 30-minute (washer) and 60-minute (dryer) cycles in which to cook meals to be enjoyed later in the week.

Celebrate your chore successes.

Stick to your new schedule for two months, and then take some time to evaluate the process. What chores did you accomplish on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis? Which fell by the wayside? Which ones made a difference in the overall peace and order of your home? Update your chore schedule as needed, and then celebrate your reclaimed weekends and your chore successes.

* Photos by Jonathan Eggers

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