9 Chores To Skip If You Hate Wasting Time

household chores

Would you rather run a tight ship, or have even a single moment during the day to just sit and rest? When it comes to housework, it can often feel like it’s an either/or situation, but it doesn’t have to be!

The key to maintaining a clean and comfortable home without devoting all your time to it is directing your efforts strategically. If you focus your attention on chores that have a big impact on the overall appearance and cleanliness of your home (such as these cleaning tasks you should never, ever skip ) while easing up on other chores that aren’t making much of a difference (or that may not even be necessary in the first place!), you can have your clean home and enjoy it too! :-)

To help you make your cleaning efforts more efficient and impactful, today I’ll be sharing 9 household chores you can easily do less frequently, or even eliminate all together. Work smarter, not harder, and cross these chores off your to-do list once and for all!

9 Household Chores That Are Wasting Your Time

household chores

1. Drying Dishes By Hand

Even those of us with dishwashers have to wash dishes by hand from time to time. And while drying those dishes with a dish towel afterward may get them back into the cupboard faster, wiping them down can easily make them dirtier!

Unless they’re freshly laundered, the towels you use in your kitchen can harbor loads of bacteria, including pathogens that can make you sick. Instead, dry your dishes the more sanitary way—load them into a drying rack and walk away!

household chores

2. Ironing

Now that wrinkle-resistant clothing options are widely available and many dryers offer wrinkle release or steam settings, bulky clothing irons may soon become a relic of the past! For the few items you do currently iron, here’s a simple way to save yourself even more effort: remove clothes from the dryer as soon as they’re done drying.

Hang or fold your clothes ASAP so they spend less time sitting in a heap in your dryer or on your couch. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it makes!

household chores

3. Folding Underwear

A lot of underwear doesn’t actually wrinkle, so there’s no need to spend time folding it. Just toss them right into the drawer instead! (If it’s a matter of saving space in your drawer or keeping it organized, stack them flat instead.)

household chores

4. Dusting Bookshelves

Dusting the edges of your bookshelves can be a surprisingly time-consuming part of your cleaning routine, especially if you have a lot of them! Instead, eliminate the problem completely by aligning the spines of your books flush with the edge of the shelves. There won’t be a space in front of the books for dust to accumulate, and dust will accumulate far slower behind the books.

household chores

5. Using A Top Sheet

The debate about whether or not to use a top sheet continues to reignite from time to time amongst members of the One Good Thing team! Regardless of which side you’re on, there’s no doubt that eliminating your top sheet will save you some time when you make your bed.

Of course, you’ll still have to wash your duvet cover (or whatever touches your skin directly) regularly, but you can wash it along with your sheets to keep your routine efficient.

household chores

6. Peeling Vegetables

Peeling vegetables can add considerable time to your dinner prep, and a lot of the time it isn’t even necessary! As long as they’ve been washed thoroughly, you can cook and eat carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, and many other fruits and veggies with the skin on. (Exceptions include winter squash, celery root, and anything else with an exceptionally tough outer skin.)

household chores

7. Filing Your Bills

If you haven’t yet elected to receive all your bills and statements electronically, it can be a huge time-saver! Not only is going paperless more environmentally friendly, but digital files are much faster to file away and keep organized. (Plus you won’t have to spend all that time shredding the ones you don’t need to keep!)

Some companies will even give you a financial perk for switching to e-statements—ask about potential discounts when you make the switch.

household chores

8. Mowing Frequently To Keep Your Grass Short

Did you know that bees feed on the wildflowers that grow in lawns that are manicured less frequently? Not only will switching to a more lax mowing schedule free up some of your time, it’ll be good for your garden and flowerbeds too!

Keep your grass to a height of about three inches to keep your flowers and their pollinators happy. (And for more efficient and effective lawn care tips, check out this post!)

household chores

9. Vacuuming Entire Rooms

Aim to vacuum every room thoroughly about once per week, and then hit the high traffic areas as needed throughout the week. There’s no reason to hit every square inch of the carpet every time you pull out the vacuum, especially areas like under the coffee table where no one is walking! Another big time saver when it comes to cleaning your floors is to leave dirty shoes by the door. It’s a simple tip, but there’s a reason “no shoes in the house” is a rule in so many households: it keeps the whole house cleaner, which means less work for the one cleaning it!

How do you save time when it comes to household chores?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I can totally relate to the foot problems. Luckily my insurance covered some of the cost. When l was working I had to sit down on our couch to put them on. The store that I opted to get my shoes from also carries slippers are orthopedic. They’re also starting to carry the Birkenstock style sandals with the inserts .

  • I readily agree with most all of these suggestions; however, when it comes to leaving shoes at the door, we have a dilemma at our house that I don’t know how to solve. Both my husband and I have foot issues that require expensive inserts. We can’t walk on hard surface floors or even carpeted floors without our inserts. Plus how do you manage to go in and out to the garage or patio several times a day when you have to wear shoes with inserts? That’s a lot of taking shoes off and putting them on during waking hours. We’re open to new ideas. Thanks!!

    • I, too, have inserts and a no shoe rule. What I do is leave a pair of slip on shoes or slippers with a hard sole( with a pair of inserts) by whatever door or doors you come in and out of. Then change back into the indoor slippers……….. problem solved….

      • I face a similar situation and am very sensitive to going in to peoples homes where they request no shoes…my solution? I carry shoe covers that realtors use when they have open houses and clients want to keep floors clean. inexpensive and no shoes need tp be removed, just “slip covered”

    • I get cracked heels if I don’t wear shoes, so I have an indoor pair, but others in the family have to have no shoes, or slippers on. Ou carpet is due to be replaced so when guests come shoes are ok, it’s more to stop having so much to vacuum up, as I already have to a lot with four people, two cats and a dog.
      I will leave my shoes on to pop to the garage and then have other shoes for going out.

  • 2020 was such a tough year in so many ways for all of us. As we start 2021, I’m doing everything I can to be more positive and hopeful. I would like this attitude to be reflected both in my personal life and my website. This includes the comments on my daily posts. I always welcome constructive criticism and additional help and tips.

    The comments section is meant to be a way to create a community feeling amongst our readers. I would greatly appreciate if we could keep the comments constructive and positive. :-)

  • Got to have my top sheet on my bed. It makes getting into bed at night very relaxing for me just to snuggle down in the sheets and enjoy the soft feel on my skin. Add a little essential oils in a diffuser and I’m off to dream land. I also let my dishes air dry. I do them at the end of the day and put them away in the morning. My sister told me her cardiologist told her after her open heart surgery to never dry her dishes and as Jillee said it can make you sick. Love these tips Jillee.

    • If you live where it gets cold in the winter and love the feel of soft sheets, get a couple sets (so you can rotate to a second set while washing the first) of microfiber fleece sheets. They will even put flannel sheets to shame with their warmth and softness. Also, they wash very easily and dry very quickly. You can thank me later.

    • Even the “Express Wash” on my dishwasher leaves the dishes so hot that when I open the DW door for two or three minutes the dishes are dry. Then I put them away.

  • Thank you Jillee for writing about lawn maintenance. Honey bees benefit from many of the weeds that pop up. In the Midwest, Dandelions are an excellent source of protein the bees use to feed the larvae. White Dutch Clover is one of our finest producers of nectar. This is one of our area’s main sources the bees use to make honey. Other food sources include Smartweed and Henbit. Should you choose to allow for weeds and mow high, small signs can be made or purchased to inform neighbors of your intentions. I have several, but my favorite lets people know that I didn’t pick up all my leaves in the fall so that butterflies and other insects can safely complete their lifecycle on and under those leaves. (Leaf blowers are a no-no for those insects) Look for non-profit websites that promote native habitat and nature conservation to find a sign that fits your needs.

  • I think I would prefer the extra 30 seconds it takes to make my bed with a top sheet, rather than fight with getting the duvet cover off and on again after washing it.

    • I was just about to say the same thing. Plus, unless you have an extremely large capacity washer (like our LG) , you might end up having to drag it off to the laundramat to wash it. I used to hate having to do that before purchasing the big washer when my wife would change the spreads and shams in the spring and fall.

  • I love these tips, especially the lawn mowing one. I try to be conscientious about my carbon footprint, etc.
    Im a New Zealander who grew up on farms, but now lives on a 1/4 acre in the UK.
    Because we have more compact houses here, it means more space outside, and more lawn to mow.
    A few years ago, I decided to leave the front lawn for the wildlife. I mow two strips all around the outside so people know it’s purposeful – hopefully!
    We have noticed that there are far more crickets now, at twilight you will now nearly always see a bat in warm weather and our boy cat loves it!
    I often do little videos of him out enjoying his ‘meadow’ over Spring and Summer.
    If you walk outside he thinks he is hidden, which is so funny.
    A lot of people walk past our front lawn, so I hope it inspires them that they can do a small area somewhere for wildlife. This year I have grown beautiful native purple flowers which look like a thistle and I will plant this in Spring.
    Its also been great to just leave it alone and see what grows.

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