Keeping your home beautiful, organized and running smoothly is a never-ending task. The chores from the kitchen unfold into the dining room, which spills into the living room, the bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room and beyond. Once you've added it all up, the amount of time and energy you spend on housework - day to day and year to year - is staggering.
If you feel like your schedule is overloaded - and who doesn't? - prioritizing time-saving solutions can free up some much-needed time for hobbies, relaxing and spending time with family and friends. "Once you discover new, more efficient ways to accomplish your everyday routine, it'll be hard to imagine how you ever did it before," says Kimberly Nies, home economist for LG Electronics USA.
To get started, Nies offers a few pointers, intended to give you a jump-start on getting your whole house in order, room by room. With some simple ingenuity and quick tips for getting the most out of your minutes, you can cut down the time you spend on everyday tasks.
•In the kitchen: Don't do dishes twice. The kitchen is always a hub of activity, from meal prep to meal clean-up, and the whole process can take hours if you don't take an efficient approach. The first change you can make: Stop washing dishes twice. While it may be an old habit that's hard to break, it's an unnecessary step that can go the way of the washboard. The latest dishwasher innovations, like TrueSteam technology from LG, uses high-pressure steam particles to remove food residue - whether baked, burnt or stuck on - so it virtually eliminates the need for pre-washing, soaking and scrubbing. Its Easy Rack system allows you to custom tailor the interior, to fit in a wide variety of items-like odd-shaped bowls, pans and platters-as well as a height * In living areas: Clear clutter. Whether it's in children's rooms or the family room, clutter accumulates easily and can be hard to get rid of. Make a commitment to cut out clutter-creating habits, such as leaving magazines out, dropping coats on the couch or leaving shoes in the middle of the floor. Make sure that everyone observes - and enforces - the rules. You'll find that cleaning will be easier - and the reward of a tidier-looking home will make the effort well worth it.
•In the laundry room: Lighten your laundry load. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans do 7.5 loads of laundry per week, on average. Now think about the time it takes for a single load to cycle through; once you've done the math alone, you'll be downright exhausted. You can cut down on the time you've been spending in the laundry room, though, by using some new tools. With time savings of 20 minutes per load, even on large loads, washing machines with features like LG's TurboWash, can be a time saver that makes a big difference in your week. The machine's larger capacity lets you reduce the number of loads you do, too, which means more time to yourself - or with your family.
•Whole house: Make it a family affair. Tackling all the household chores on your own is tough, so encourage the whole family to take part. If you have very young children, cleaning can become a fun learning experience, so encourage them to participate. For older kids, it's a great way to develop a sense of responsibility and ownership over important tasks. Whether it's dishes or dusting, consider setting up a system of rewards for jobs done well. Make a family activity calendar and add in household chores, so that everyone knows their responsibilities. Breaking it up over different days of the week can make jobs feel less daunting and ensures that every room, and every task, gets a little bit of attention.
"Finding ways to save time and energy on daily chores will benefit the whole family," Nies says. "New technologies will help a lot. Share the work, and make it fun - once everything's done, your family can trade spending time on chores for spending time together."