Housework Survey Says
Housework Survey Says doing the dishes most important chore
Photo by keladawy (Getty Images Pro) via Canva

A while back, I mentioned I was inspired to write a book about Housekeeping, and I asked if there was such a thing as minimally viable housework? Well, housework survey says maybe.

As you read the results, you’ll guess that the survey was mostly completed by women, but interestingly, the mix of age groups was more or less even across the pool. And the concerns expressed were more or less the same across the age groups as well. It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Housework Survey Says: It’s Not Enough

Admittedly I didn’t have huge numbers of responses, but I was surprised that 40% of them felt they weren’t spending enough time on home/care cleaning. Mind you; the same proportion said it was just enough. Very few thought they were doing too much.

I found the reasons why we clean particularly interesting.

  • More people were worried about what other people think than were concerned about rodents, bugs and germs!
  • Personal reasons were only slightly more important than bugs – though more in the sense of not feeling bad than for feeling good about it.

There were a couple of lovely outliers though;

  • Feeling lighter when the house is cleaner, and
  • Wanting dignity and beautiful surroundings.

Housework Survey Says: Cleaning is Not Cleaning

Almost all respondents spent most of their time tidying up, washing dishes and clothes, though not all of us think of this as cleaning, and these tasks aren’t delegated to cleaners coming in. Very few of us dust – no real surprise there!

Housework Survey Says: Most Important Chore is Contextual

Doing the dishes was the top most important chore. I was fascinated to learn that for many respondents, the important chore is whatever has backed up the most; kitchen, bathroom or clothes.

One respondent confessed they prioritise the tasks their family are concerned about and lets the others slide. I think that’s a pretty good example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Housework Survey Says: Too Busy Doing

It seems that everyone is busy doing everything – paid work, voluntary work, housework, a job on the side, studying on the side, taking care of children. The only conclusion I can come to is that no one has any time to themselves, and I think that has to stop. We need to make time for ourselves.

Housework Survey Says: Need Help NOW!

Many respondents commented on their desire for others in the household to do more, not wanting to nag, but not sure how else to get anything done. And while some bought in help, they felt in some ways like a failure because they couldn’t manage it on their own.

Others talked about how they routinised their chores, so at the very least the most important stuff gets done. And also the opposite, leaving it until it gets bad enough to be apparent that the cleaning was done.

And after my own heart, some who use smelly products to make it appear as though they’ve done more than they actually have!

The Hotwash

I envy those who get joy and satisfaction from their cleaning – sadly, there’s nothing in my survey to suggest why they’re so different from the rest of us.

Perhaps they live alone, and their homes are more authentic representations of themselves. Or maybe they live in small, streamlined homes that take next to no time to care for. Or don’t have basements, attics or garages stuffed with the detritus of life to hold them back.

Whatever the reason, it’s something I’ll be thinking more about.

Do you have any theories you’d like to contribute?


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