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How to Get Your Chores Done and Still Have a Fun Weekend

Bright white kitchen.

D Burns Interiors

The weekend conundrum is always whether to relax and have fun, or whether to do your errands and chores. Most of us would rather sit poolside or indulge in a lazy brunch with our girlfriends, but then we get to Sunday night and have a hamper full of dirty laundry, dusty floors, and accumulated clutter. This definitely doesn't set the tone for a productive Monday morning. But it's possible to enjoy our free weekend hours without sacrificing our homes' cleanliness, and Sabrina Fierman, vice president of Manhattan’s elite cleaning service, New York’s Little Elves, has a solution.

The trick is knowing exactly which tasks should be performed weekly and spreading them thin over the weekend, so you never have to spend more than an hour at a time on one particular task. “By spreading these chores out over a few days, you’ll have plenty of leisure time left, but you’ll also be set for the week ahead. Better yet, you won’t feel as though you have wasted a day—or even half a day—on cleaning.”

“Since we tend to drop our clothes wherever is convenient at the end of the day—on beds, sofas, or chairs—Friday night is a great time to hang them up in the closet and put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper,” says Fierman. Do the same for all towels and bedding that might need to be changed. While this small task may not take you longer than 10 minutes, it sets the motion for the rest of your cleaning plan.

On Saturday morning, take care of getting the laundry done, advises Fierman. “During the wash cycle, go for a quick run or workout, or relax and regroup from a busy week,” she says. “For best results, remember not to over-pack the washer. Do two loads or more if necessary, and always separate dark clothes from white ones before washing. If you are, like many city dwellers, sharing a laundry facility, remember that Sundays are always busiest.” You’ll want to get in early on Saturday to avoid the crowds or send your laundry and dry cleaning out in time to get it back before the weekend ends.

“Dusting and vacuuming are essential to keeping your home clean—and healthy,” says Fierman. “At different points over the weekend, dust tabletops, bookcases, and other areas where dust naturally gathers.” By tackling tasks separately, you’ll never feel as though you’re spending half a day cleaning. In fact, depending on the size of your home, this task could take you as little as 20 minutes.

Before you vacuum, check the dust bag to make sure it doesn’t need changing. Start with rugs and carpeting, and move furniture as needed to hit all parts of the room. Make sure you pay extra attention to high-traffic areas.

“On Sunday morning, simply put away laundry from the morning before if you have not already done so,” recommends Fierman. Now you have clean clothes for the week ahead and an entire morning to enjoy. The last thing you want is to leave a long list of chores to get done on a lazy Sunday.

By Sunday evening, take time to declutter. “Start with kids’ toys, kitchen items, bath accessories, reading material, unopened mail, and personal items. Sort items for recycling and such, but don’t overdo it,” says Fierman. “Leave time for leisurely Sunday afternoon activities and a relaxing evening. While preparing Sunday’s supper, toss any leftovers that are past their prime.”

Follow all these simple steps, and you’ll have a tidy home to start the week fresh, without taking an entire day to do chores.