One of my favorite things to do lately is have a power hour. I know that for some people, power hour is when they accomplish all of the nagging professional tasks that have built up over the course of the past week: answering backlogged emails, listening to voicemail, maybe going to the post office. For me, power hour is when I catch up on the household tasks that I just don’t have time for when I’m at home with one or both kids.
Once or twice a week, I come home either for an hour at lunch time, or an hour early at the end of the day. I choose days when both kids are at daycare, so I’m the only person in the house. Here’s what happens during power hour:
- Dishes. I empty the dishwasher, load the leftover breakfast stuff from the morning, and hand-wash bottles, pump parts, and other baby items that need special care.
- Fridge. I go through the fridge and throw away any older leftovers, then rinse and load the Pyrex containers into the dishwasher. I also throw away any older leftover produce or dairy items, and every week I choose a condiment or two to say goodbye to, since we seem to accumulate them at a crazy rate.
- Laundry. We have laundry going pretty much all of the time, because I prefer to do lots of small loads of laundry rather than a few huge batches. I de-wrinkle whatever is left in the dryer, fold it, put it away, and start drying whatever is left in the washing machine. I start a new load of laundry if any of the baskets are even halfway full (aside from my husband’s–he does his own laundry).
- Pick up. There are always clothes, toys, and other random pieces of crud lying on the floors after even one weekday morning, much less two or three. I go through the whole house and get everything off the floors and put away.
- Beds. I make the beds. I try to do this every day, not just on power hour days, but it’s especially convenient when I’m by myself.
- Floors. This is the most important aspect of power hour, because when you have two little kids and a dog, you can only really get the floors done when no one is home. I vacuum the living room, kitchen, and dining room thoroughly, and sometimes I run the dustbuster on the living room furniture too.
- Mail. Finally, I handle any mail that has built up. I throw away stuff we don’t need, write and stamp any checks that need to be sent, and set aside anything that my husband needs to handle.
- Bath. The best part of power hour! I end it with a soak on the tub, since the house is empty for once.
So far this is the best hack I’ve found for keeping the house livable during a busy week. It just can’t all be done without finding a way to add another hour or two to the week!