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5 Ways to stress less about housework

Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban concrete jungle of NYC. She writes Kids in the City Kids in the City a weekly column and blog for the Staten Island Advance, contributes to SheKnows, Time Out NY Kids Time Out N...

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!

1

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."

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

Have a cleaning quickie

According to Cara Mirabella, owner of TheHouseholdHelper.com, 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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