Free the Weekend: 5 Household Chores You Can Totally Skip

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Ah, the weekend. So full of hope and promise! The hours you’ll have just to binge on Netflix, hang out with friends, try that complicated soufflé you saw on “The Great British Baking Show.” It will be glorious.

That is until Friday night, when you inevitably realize that weekends are only 48 hours long and, oh yeah, your house is a complete wreck. You’ll be lucky if that mess is even under control by Sunday night. You can deflate your plans for the soufflé.


Goodbye, afternoon chilling with friends. Goodbye, weekend. But what if you didn’t have to spend all that time cleaning?

It turns out, you don’t. There are some household chores that cleaning experts say you can do less frequently—or even skip altogether. So give yourself a break already and ease up on these five tasks.

  1. Laundry

In a recent Nielsen survey, 67% of respondents said they did laundry at least twice a week, while 31% say they do it every day. Every. Single. Day.

We’re all for clean clothes and fresh smells. But if you find your couch buried under a pile of laundry every weekend, you might be doing it wrong. Although some clothing items—namely undergarments, gym clothes, or anything that sticks close to your skin—probably need to be washed after one use, most don’t.

“Unless your clothes are severely soiled, you do not need to clean them after a single use,” says Anne Bauer, a home organizer with Thumbtack.

More durable fabric like denim can go even longer, especially if you try a cool odor-removing hack.

“Instead of washing and drying denim, which causes shrinkage, fading, and loss of quality, place jeans in a grocery bag and into the freezer,” Bauer says. “This helps with any odors and tightens up the fabric again.”

  1. Hand-drying dishes

If you’re busting out a towel and employing elbow grease to get those dishes dry, you’re wasting your time.

Swap the towel for a drying rack, and let those dishes air-dry, effortlessly. Air-drying might even be more sanitary than using a towel. Unless you’re taking a freshly bleached towel out of the drawer to use on the wet dishes, you could just be spreading germs around.

  1. Dusting

Dust is gross. If you don’t know what it is, we almost don’t want to tell you. (Hint: The words “dead skin cells” are involved.) But even though it’s disgusting and looks unsightly to have a media center caked in an inch of dust, you really don’t need to pull out the Swiffer duster every weekend.

Yep, that’s right. You have our permission to make this a once-a-month chore—as long as you do it correctly. (And if you do, you shouldn’t have that gag-inducing layer of dust.)

First, choose the right tools for the job. If you use a cleaner specifically for wood or multiple surfaces, you can go longer without dusting, Bauer says. Those cleaners create a protective shield on the furniture surface. Plus, a multilayer cloth traps the most dust instead of spreading it around.

Second, when you’re dusting, work from the top down. Be sure to hit places where dust first settles before falling on everything else—namely, the top of your ceiling fan blades.

If you use this two-pronged tactic, you’ll dust less frequently—about once a month, Bauer says.

  1. Cleaning windows

Full disclosure: I’ve been washing my windows about once a weekend for as long as I can remember. And hey, guess what? Totally. Not. Necessary.

Of course, it’s good to clean your windows with some frequency.

“By doing it more than once a year, you’ll end up saving yourself time, as there will be less buildup,” Bauer says.

But you don’t have to do it every weekend. In fact, you don’t have to most weekends.

“You are fine to clean your windows every quarter or season,” she says.

Again, the trick is to do it correctly. Use a cleaner designed for windows (experts agree that natural or organic ones are fine), and scrub inside and out until the towel comes up clean.

  1. Organizing

Thanks to far too many HGTV marathons, many of us have become obsessed with channeling our inner Marie Kondo. We have weekly (if not daily) goals of decluttering and, most important, organizing our lives. Sure, it’s a worthy goal; organizing usually equates to peace of mind.

But if you’re overdoing it, you’re only adding unnecessary stress (and sucking up precious free time).

So how do you know how much is too much? Well, first off, bear in mind that your closet needs a major overhaul only a few times a year.

“Most people find that organizing their clothes right after each season is really effective—you have a good idea of what you did or didn’t wear,” saysLauren Williams, a professional organizer and owner of Casual Uncluttering in Woodinville, WA.

Maybe that just doesn’t feel like enough. Perhaps you end up filling your closet with new things as soon as you say “so long” to the old ones. Or maybe you simply have trouble letting go of your things. If you find yourself with a constantly overstuffed closet, then the solution is to trust your gut and don’t look back.

“Trying to keep from second-guessing yourself is key to looking at clothes,” Williams says. “The minute you say, ‘I don’t like the way it fits, feels, or having to dry-clean,’ out it goes.”

When it comes to organizing the rest of your home, the answer is to tackle it in bite-size pieces. Spend a little time during the week, and you can coast through the weekend feeling organized, totally in control, and ready for that Netflix binge.

“If people can get into the habit of organizing any section of their house for 15 minutes a day, that 15 minutes has an effect on every area of the house,” Williams says. “Rotating the areas is efficient: 15 minutes one time in the dining room, 15 minutes the living room, etc. Start again when you finish the entire house.”

And enjoy your weekends, OK? Life is short.