It is critical for all domestic help to be given paid leave, so that we are all safe. In the meanwhile, here’s how our homes can be kept in order.
As cases of Covid 19 continue to rise across the world, we must take self-quarantine and social distancing very seriously.
Here, it is also necessary to give some (paid) time off to the people who make our lives so much easier—domestic help, housekeeping staff and cooks—as they are just as vulnerable, if not more, to this highly contagious disease.
If you’re someone who is used to doing housework every once in a while, this won’t make much of a difference, but if you are entirely dependent on your house help, it can be quite a trying time.
But, worry, not! Here are 22 easy tips to make sure your home remains sparkly clean even without paid help.
A family that cleans together stays together:
Get everyone in the house to work. Divide the chores according to the strengths of each member and let them do what they do best- the older generation can cut vegetables, children can mop floors and dry clothes and those not familiar with cooking can now learn a new skill!
Get everyone responsible for things they use— that means, everyone washes the dishes they use, the person who bathes last cleans the bathroom, and the one who loves the pet the most cleans their hair.
Common Rooms, common responsibilities:
- The floors need to be cleaned every day but don’t go overboard with it. Sweep them daily but mop them on alternating days.
- Garbage disposal and scrubbing of toilets need to be rotating responsibilities.
- Every day, pick out one or two new cleaning tasks. It can just be cleaning the television screen or making DIY wire organisers or undertaking a Marie-Kondo for closets. A task that doesn’t take more than 30 minutes but leaves you feeling more productive.
- Make sure you have a dedicated place for everything- things like old newspapers, keys, TV remotes have a way of making even a clean house look untidy. Give them a dedicated basket, hook or shelf to keep them when not in use.
- Every time you leave a room, look around and check for things that are not in use and not in place. Just one item every time you clear can keep your home spotless.
Cleaning the kitchen: Where the magic happens
- Ordering in should be your last resort now that most of the cities are under lockdown. Cook at home but reduce the number of dishes you cook every day. Go for two per meal instead of four (you can compensate with pickles, jams and chutneys instead).
- Go for as many one-pot meals and minimalist recipes as you can.
- Be conscious of using fewer dishes than usual. Cover glasses after drinking water and re-use them when you’re thirsty again. Use cook-and-serve kind of vessels to reduce washing.
- Soak dishes with greasy food immediately after use. You can wash them later but the water will pull out stubborn stains and make your job easier.
- If you live with family or friends, divide the dishwashing chore into equal parts. Washing-scrubbing-drying. This will reduce the pile of dishes faster. If you live alone, a one-sponge policy can help you- soak a sponge in liquid dish soap once and do as many dishes as possible with that amount. Take a break. Repeat.
- Put away dry utensils without any delay.
The Better India’s “BETTER TOGETHER” initiative has brought together civil service officers from across the country as they help migrant labourers, daily wage earners, frontline workers, and all those who need our help most in these troubled times. You can join us and support them in this fight against COVID-19.
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Bedroom: Your personal space should always be comforting
- Get into the habit of making your bed as soon as you get up. One small productive thing at the beginning of the day sets the wheel in motion. Decluttering begins here.
- If you have kids getting bored at home, make a game out of safe chores- like mopping dishes or watering plants.
- This is a great time to try out all those DIY hacks to keep your cupboards organised. Turn empty boxes and unused hooks into the perfect assets to organise storage.
- Follow this simple rule—no clothes or accessories should ever be on the bed, chairs, tables or floor. They should either be on you, in the washing machine or the cupboard.
- Pull a Monica and organise your cupboard into frequently worn top wear, frequently worn bottom wear, clothes for special occasions, undergarments, nightwear etc. Everything that is delicate or fancy goes on hangers. All apparel that will be worn only once before washing can be folded and stacked.
Bathroom Cleaning: It need not be the dirtiest of the rooms
- Switch acid for bio-enzymes or bacteria-based toilet cleaners. The latter is more sustainable and keep your toilet bowl cleaner for longer. Acid merely burns the organic waste and its job is done after you flush it. Bacteria based cleaners will keep acting for days together, making toilet cleaning a breeze within a few weeks of usage.
- Keep a bucket in the bathroom to dump used clothes in. Schedule a day for the laundry and follow it.
- Wipe away the moisture and steam as soon as you are done bathing- especially if you use soap or shampoo bars. After use, keep bathrooms ventilated at least till the steam passes.
- Make sure sanitary pads are disposed of regularly. Don’t let them sit inside the toilet dustbin for more than three days.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)