Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Cost of Clean

For stay-at-home parents, it is always a challenge to explain to the working-out-of-the-home spouses what gets done during the day.

For myself, I try to use a checklist.  This way, Tammi can easily see what has (and has not) been done while she’s been fixing dog stomachs and killing cats (that’s what I imagine she does).  It’s not really a honey-do-list. In fact, it’s almost the opposite of that because I write the list as the chore is completed. 

As I was vacuuming the floor today, something I do at least three times a week, I started to wonder how much time I will spend vacuuming this year?  As an even scarier thought, how much time will I spend vacuuming this same space during the next ten years?

I reviewed my top four chores, all to-dos that must get done either daily or more than once a week:

  • Flooring — vacuuming and washing carpets and steaming the laminate flooring)
  • Laundry — both actual work time and time it takes to get one load washed, dried and folded
  •  Dishes — never ending
  • And picking up toys — seriously, stop buying the kids toys
 I’m not going to break down the entire calculation, but it is not rocket science.  And I’m certain I have made some errors.  Instead, I’ll just tell you how much time I spend on each of the chores on any given week and then give you the final numbers.

  • Flooring — 30 minutes three times a week vacuuming and about an hour a week steaming all the laminate flooring (we have three very hairy dogs)
  • Dishes — 30 minutes a day every damn day
  • Laundry — roughly 105 minutes of washing and drying time, plus about 45 minutes of loading, transferring, folding and putting away since the family goes through an average of eight loads a week
  • Toys — about 20 minutes three times a week
So, in time, what is the cost per year of a clean house?
Hours per Year
Days per Year
Laundry work time
Laundry actual time

Grand Total

Or to put it another way, if I start cleaning Jan. 1st just after kissing my wife Happy New Year then I could work continuously — without breaks for sleeping, eating or beer drinking — until Feb. 25th at 7 p.m., just after the boys go to bed.  Ahh, I’d have to work through my birthday.

Over the next ten years, while living in this house, I will spend 554.26 days cleaning. And that’s just the top four chores — it doesn't include pool maintenance, lawn care, house repair, dusting, windows, grocery shopping, other errands, etc.

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