There are some chores that fill me with dread that I put off as long as possible (usually making the task worse!). As much as I try “clean as you go cooking” and making sure the kitchen is clean and tidy before I go to bed, the stove is one area that I tend to neglect. It’s difficult to clean as you go without setting the cleaning cloth on fire, and just seems to hard to clean at the end of a hard day. I’ve hit the point where I have no idea when I actually cooked most of the food stuck to the stove, and I really have to get the job done!
Here is my approach for tackling difficult chores – the principle is the same for just about any chore, but I’m using the stove as an example:
- Look for the quick win: The goal here is to break the task into smaller steps and give yourself a pyschological boost. Suddenly, the chore doesn’t seem so huge! For the stove, this is the splash-back – there were only a few spots on it, and with a quick spray with cleaner and a wipe, I could start to see progress.
- The 80/20 rule: 80% of the result comes from 20% of the effort. This is the bulk effort – not worrying about the finer details. Wiping down the whole of the stove-top area to remove the really obvious mess – chunks of food, oil spatters etc. Don’t try to remove every last stain and mark. Then, if you only get this far because life (that pesky toddler!) gets in the way, at least the area doesn’t look like a total disaster zone.
- Fine-tune (until you just can’t be bothered anymore!). Scrubbing the burners, removing the black baked-on mess, giving the whole area a polishing shine – keep working while you have the energy until you’ve reached that standard that you are happy with. This will mean different things to different people!
Finally, don’t forget to be happy with what you’ve achieved when you’re done – stop looking for imperfections!
What chores do you put off? What approach do you use to tackle the hard chores? Let me know in the comments.