Stress Less

As a mom you can often feel like a gerbil scrambling in its wheel. No matter how furiously you wash and fold the laundry, you can never quite conquer the piles that continuously mount in the hamper. While it's important that your kids have clean underwear and socks, check out these five things you can do right now to slash your stress over the burden of dreaded housework and lighten your load. Housework doesn't have to cause anxiety!


Designate a room that's off limits for kids

According to Frank, co-owner of Frankhaus, LLC, Cargot Roll & Go organizer: "While your family room may be filled with beans sprouting in a styrofoam cup, Legos and cracker crumbs, you can designate one room that is dusted and vacuumed once a week that features pictures in frames and end tables with coasters. There is no need to obsess over the whole house — one white-glove showroom is all that's needed."


Just get rid of it

Frank says moms should liberate themselves from extra housework by eliminating extraneous and under-utilized toys and gear that can be put to better use by being donated to Goodwill. There comes a time when a home — no matter the size — cannot accommodate 100 stuffed animals; infant gear becomes obsolete; and clothing, ice skates and Halloween costumes no longer fit. It's not a matter of cleaning — it's a matter of getting rid of useless items.


Have something in it for you

While taking on a task like washing dishes, moms can use the opportunity to soak their hands in warm water, gaze out the window and listen to their latest downloaded podcasts. When housework is done a little at a time, and reconfigured to make it a bit of an indulgence, "there's a transformation from work to maintenance," says Frank.


Lay down the rules

"I asked myself early on, do I spend my life scrubbing ketchup, milk and peanut butter out of my carpets and couches, or do I insist my kids eat in the kitchen," says Frank. When put like that, it's an easy decision. So after machine-washing the spots, and consequently the Scotch Guard, from my couch cushions, I had no choice but to blockade any and all food from leaving the kitchen. In the long run, discipline goes farther than elbow grease. And moms should take additional comfort in knowing that dirt being sucked into a vacuum cleaner is easily one of the most satisfying sounds.


Have a cleaning quickie

According to Cara Mirabella, owner of, moms should set their timer for 15 minutes once or twice a day and tidy up. They can use that time to straighten out the magazines on the coffee table, put away some toys, grab their broom and do a quick sweep. Using a timer lets you know that there is an end in sight and often motivates you to move quickly.

More cleaning tips

10 Ways to clean faster
How to organize your family
Getting your family to help in the kitchen


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Comments on "5 Ways to stress less about housework"

Emily January 02, 2013 | 5:21 PM

I'm huge on not having clutter anywhere. This makes our house always seem generally clean. I also keep up with the dishes and laundry, and wipe down the counters and floors before going to bed. I love waking up knowing that my house is clean!

Tina November 29, 2012 | 9:16 AM

I agree with having something in it for you! I do two things - when I clean, I always listen to music. It makes it fun, if you can believe that! And it makes it go by really fast and makes me want to continue cleaning so I can listen to music! Also, if you work hard one day, reward yourself with a dessert or glass of wine!

Katie October 21, 2012 | 12:20 PM

When I clean, I always turn on my favorite music and blast it through out the house. It makes cleaning way more fun and helps to pass the time!

Erin October 17, 2012 | 1:47 PM

I am ALL ABOUT the last tip of having a cleaning quickie! If I really focus, I can get so much done in like 20 minutes.

Michelle October 16, 2012 | 2:04 PM

I like #2 about getting rid of clutter that your kids have outgrown. I tend to be a packrat and have a habit of keeping everything. This ends up robbing me of precious closet space which could be used for storing things that I actually use. I also like #3 about making cleaning time all about “me” time. Cleaning could be the perfect time to listen to an audio book or a podcast or just listen to music. Great ideas! September 24, 2010 | 6:20 AM

Hang on a second... # 6: Get your kids to do more housework! That's what kids are for.... right? C'mon ladies, this is not that complicated!

Carole Heath June 02, 2010 | 8:35 AM

This is a interesting article about housework and stress, i never really got stressed out about it all when i was younger but since i have retired and become older i seem to get very stressed out about the smallest thing. It could be the menopausal as i have some sleepless night's and feel tired next day and i feel that everything is getting on top of me. This weeek i have spent my time cleaning windows and dusting and other household chores. I sometimes think that my life is all work doing household duties even though i have retired from work. I get very touchy and feel like screaming at times, but i think i have found some help for my problem Yoga once a week at my local sports centre, i only started this class recently but i think this has helped me to cope with things better than i have been doing. I feel very relaxed when i come home after the session so i am going to keep going along to the class and hopefully i will feel less stressed. I think it is impossible to live without stress really but managing your stress levels is important as to much stress is not good for your health.

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