Spider web

One day I wanted to go shopping with my daughter Kerry. This was when she was young and not long moved out of home. I told her I couldn't go till I had made the bed, swept the floor, done the dishes... the usual stuff. Kerry was disgusted. "You've got it all wrong," she said. "Listen, I've got a flat of my own... I know how to do housework. Let me tell you how you should really be doing it." I thought it was funny so I wrote it all down.

KERRY'S GUIDE TO HOUSEWORK- (for young flat dwellers)


GENERAL RULE. Housework is only done as a surprise for someone else. If no-one is going to be surprised by what you do then it's not worth doing.


VACUUMING. The best way to tackle this job is not to own a vacuum cleaner at all, and make sure that none of your neighbours have one that you can borrow. To clean the floor just pick up the gross bits every day. When the dirt gets too much go and borrow your parents' vacuum cleaner, clean the life out of your flat then give it back to them unemptied.


DISHES. You do these only when you go into the kitchen for some other reason and mostly only when you need a clean bowl for the cat. Or you may pick up something from the lounge, take it upstairs and discover that all your glasses are up there. So you bring them downstairs and start on the dishes. Because doing the dishes is boring you turn on the tv and watch soapies in between. You only do the dishes in the ad breaks but if you get caught up in the stories... and in the ads... and you let the water go cold, don't worry- there's a good chance that when your partner comes home he or she will get fed up with the look of dishes in cold dishwater and finish them off for you.


CURTAINS. Only wash them when you move from the flat.


WINDOWS. Never clean these, even when you move from the flat because nobody knows who dirtied them.


SPIDERWEBS. Never clean these either, not even when you move out. You can always say the spiders got busy after you left.


STOVE. Plead ignorance of the way to dismantle it and leave this for your partner to clean.


OVEN. Don't use it then you won't have to clean it.


BED. Never make it because you're only going to mess it up again. Just straighten it up a bit before you climb in. Or better still, just before bedtime, pretend to be too sleepy to bother and get your partner to do it for you.


WASHING. Only when you run out of clothes. Because you wash in loads of different colours, white, black and then coloured, you start off the week wearing only white then black and then by the end of the week you might get to wear some colours. Having a dryer helps, then you never have to hang anything on the line.


HANGING OUT THE WASH. If you really must ... if, for instance, the dryer has packed it in. Actually, hanging out the washing is not the worst ... it's having to fold it up after you bring it in. Make sure you have a basket in the bottom of the wardrobe to contain all the ironing you're not going to do.No ironing


HAND WASHING. Put this off for as long as possible. Occasionally you will have to do it because you've run out of clothes


DUST. Dust EVERYTHING. It makes it look as if you've been working really hard but won't wear you out.


FRIDGE. Clean ... when you move out and after you've managed to spill Southern Comfort and Coke in it. Chip ice out of the freezer section when you can't open the door any more, or to make room for more than the two items you have left in there.


TIDYING CUPBOARDS. Only when you're looking for something or after you've packed your bags during an argument and have to sort things away later after you've made up.


FEEDING THE CAT. Ignore till the meows become really persistent. Always have two bowls so that when the feed dish is dirty you can use the kibble dish.


TOILET AND BATHROOM. Sweep the floor and dump the dirt, hair and all into the kitty litter tray. Clean the tops of all the cabinets, toilet cistern and shelves; wiping is not hard work and if the tops are all clean people might overlook the dirt farther down. Put blue stuff in the toilet. That works most of the time but when you start to see the grot through the blue you have to use the toilet brush. Use it on everything- even the lid.


EVERY DAY. Clean the lounge every day because you'll feel more comfortable watching your soapies.


GETTING YOUR PARTNER TO HELP. "I wish you'd do some of this yourself. I clean up after you all the time. Who do you think I am- your mother?"
"No. She didn't do it either."

If you have decided by now that housework sounds like it is something to be avoided altogether... have a look to see what Moira advises for
Better Things to do than Housework