Domestic Ingenuity

Apart from writing as much as I can, I’ve also taken primary responsibility for management of the household. But let’s be honest, ‘household management’ is really just a fancy way of saying that I’m doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, looking after the pets, balancing the budget, and taking care of anything else that comes along which smacks vaguely of responsibility (with the exception of ironing … I. don’t. do. ironing). In a household of two humans and three pets, sometimes it feels like a struggle to get anything done and make everything work … I have no idea how people with children cope (you have my complete admiration).

A Dyson would be better ...

I think about one quarter of the things on my ‘to do’ list are pretty straightforward and relatively painless to complete, which leaves the remaining 75% of tasks placed firmly in the not-so-fun category. For a long while there my solution was simply to never do the not-so-fun things … but that’s not really a sustainable long-term option, is it? So after tripping over an unsorted basket of clean clothes for about the thousandth time, noticing the layes of not-so-fine pet hair gathering in piles on the floor, and worrying that my bathroom may begin to revolt even itself … well something had to change.

I’ve now got a schedule of things that need to be done and when they need to be done by … yes really, a dead set ‘tick the box when completed’ schedule. I respond well to lists, so this may be the only way that I will actually start doing all the things that need to be done. It’s still early days, but I’m quietly confident of success. However that’s not to say there haven’t been setbacks on the domestic front. A few days ago I had grand plans to mop the bathroom floor. All I needed to do was buy a replacement mop head and I’d be all set. Easy, right? No. Not easy at all.

Well the buying of the mop head was easy, filling a bucket with hot water and floor cleaner was easy, but do you think I could get the replacement mop head on to the &#%!@#! mop?!?! You’ve probably gathered that no, no I could not.

Try as I might I could not get the clips on the mop head to fit into the allocated slots. I’d like to tell you that I handled the whole situation calmly and maturely, by taking a step back and carefully assessing the situation … and if that’s what you choose to believe happened, well  bless … that’s really lovely of you. But it wouldn’t be quite true.

There was much banging, knocking about, and cursing of that damned mop. After something like five minutes (which on anger time felt more like half an hour) of trying to wrangle that mop head, I accepted that it just wasn’t going to happen. But admit defeat? Never.

My version of a mop head attachment

There was no way some fancy pants replacement mop head was going to beat me. So what was my solution? Well figuring that I just needed to find some other way to attach the mop head, I wound a rubber band around each end of the mop head to hold it firmly in place. Success!

So for those of you keeping score – I ended up with one brief (and intense) episode of rage, one clean floor, a schedule that is still on track, and a win for low-tech solutions. Who says problem solving doesn’t begin at home?


  1. Teresa

    Heehee! You are a domestic goddess Tracey!
    I usually just go with a designated cleaning day a week but I’m absolutely terrible at keeping up with my laundry and ironing… oh how I hate ironing!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Teresa – Haha, I know right? I’m a true domestic success story! 😉
      Good on you for sticking to a designated day of the week … at the moment I’ve got bits and pieces going on each weekday morning, with the hope of clearing my afternoons for fun things.

      PS. Agreed! Ironing is THE WORST!

  2. katiecrackernuts

    Ha! I’ve gone one better. Cloth in each hand. Down on knees and wide sweeping motions and a backward crawl. Honestly, faster and anyone who walks past or over me gets short shrift about even being in the house while I am down on my knees scrubbing floors. Get off the couch, get a hair cut, get a job. You know the drill. 🙂

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Katie – Oh wow … I bow down to your superior cleaning prowess and low-tech solution. I could totally see how that would be quicker … and yes those who get in the way should know better than to ‘help’ you like that. Haha!

    2. tracey (Post author)

      Hey Katie – I just had to tell you that I totally tried your method of floor mopping the other day, and you’ve changed my whole take on things. I’m converted … so thanks for the tip! 🙂

  3. woolf

    gosh, you make me laugh out loud, here at 6 am. great stuff!
    must be just what you need, as a break from writing, yeah? way to go.
    {i’m rather bad at household chores. being in the midst of a renovation is the best excuse. one day though, all of this will dawn back on me.}

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – Well I am indeed glad to hear that I provided you with early morning laughter … that’s a lovely way to start the day. Yes, I think balancing more of the ‘normal’ life stuff into my day actually helps me focus better during my writing time (even though I’ll complain bitterly about always wanting more writing time).

      I can’t wait until your renovation is complete, but you’ll definitely have to come up with another excuse to avoid the dreaded chores when that happens. 🙂

  4. Andrew

    Hi Tracey,

    Wow, my hat off to you for dealing with all that! I’m not sure I could do it all on my own. The only way we cope is by doing little, but often.

    Hooray you had the rubber bands!! 😉

    All the best

    p.s. I’ve moved blogs for a while.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Andrew – Well this is quite a new regime for me … so let’s see how long it lasts shall we? 😉

      I’ve been doing my best to batch up tasks and get them out of the way more efficiently, but I think your approach of doing a little bit and doing it often is definitely a smart way to tackle things!

      YAY for rubber band success!

      PS. I’ll stop by your new blog soon … well done on making a change!

  5. Hila

    haha, I’m so not domestic, so I have fights with appliances and cleaning products on a regular basis – they usually win.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – Oh gosh, I’m shockingly bad when it comes to anything even remotely related to housework … that’s why I’m trusting in the amazing ‘power of the list’ … haha, I’ll try anything! 😉

      PS. I totally understand your fights with appliances and cleaning products. I’m sure my vacuum hates me, and I can never find that magical cleaner that does all the work for me … oh well.

  6. Selma

    My big houekeeping challenge is emptying the vacuum bag. That thing is going to be the death of me. I try and avoid it until it is close to imploding. I could relate to this post so much. LOL.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Selma – Emptying the vacuum is a shocking task! Mine has a very snazzy looking filter and no bag, but it is the biggest pain to empty because everything gets caught around the central filter … I normally end up covered in dust! (it’s not a pretty sight) 🙂

  7. Lucent Imagery

    Hee hee, this was hilarious! What did the pets think of your tirade at the mop?!! I tend to have a loose routine of household chores too which really helps to keep the momentum going. I’ve also found that having the things I need for cleaning really easily accessible helps for those moments of inspiration to get in there “right now” and do something. Thanks for the amusing read into daily life that we can all relate to!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lucent Imagery – Haha, well as I recall the pets were no where to be found while I was ranting and raving … clever pets! I’m trialling this more disciplined approach to cleaning because I found that if I can avoid something and put it off for ‘one day’, then I probably will … having a somewhat clean house is proving to be rather liberating. 🙂

  8. Michelle

    This made me laugh while sitting at a very boring temp job that is keeping me from keeping my house in domestic order. thanks

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Michelle – Haha, well I’m so very happy to send some cheer your way … oh, don’t you hate those dreaded ‘day jobs’ that turn our attention away from all the other things we have to do? Still I suppose it’s nice to have money from the boring day jobs to do fun and creative things with! 🙂

  9. Camila Faria

    Hahaha…Tracey, you’re my hero! I love how you handled the situation. I also h.a.t.e. ironing! :/

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – Gosh, you’re too kind (but I’ll happily accept your compliment). I’m actually quite surprised that there wasn’t more swearing and less creative problem solving involved.

      PS. Ironing is the worst!! I try to avoid owning clothes that are fussy enough to require it! 😉

  10. krystal/village

    hi!!!!!! how are you?
    this is the best thing i’ve read all day, the rubberbands kill me!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – I’m really well … how about you? Reading your lovely blog is always a bright spark in my day. I do hope that life is treating you fabulously well my dear!! 🙂

      Haha, thank goodness I had some rubberbands in the house … can you imagine me trying to tie the mop head on with string? 😉

  11. Debby

    Love it! Ingenious!

    I have to bribe myself to do the ironing I hate doing it but Ahmad hates doing it even more. So I set myself up in front of the TV and hire a film or dvd. I even quite look forward to doing it now!

    Happy housekeeping.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Debby – You have no idea quite how angry I was at that mop head … thank goodness I found a solution, because otherwise my rage may have become quite explosive! 😉

      Doing the ironing seems to be an unpopular task for many of us … but I do like your approach to it. Actually come to think of it that’s how my husband irons his work shirts … he puts on a favourite dvd or tv show and sets up the ironing board in the lounge room.

      Doing the washing up is a little like that for me … I put on some favourite music and just kind of zone out, and it makes the whole task much less painful.

  12. Linda from Heartfire At Home

    OMG Katie….. finally, someone else who cleans the floor like I do, down on hands and knees and wide sweeps with a damp cloth (and a little detergent). I use the orange cleaning spray I have for the bench tops too….. just spray in front of me, swipe over with the damp cloth, and move on to the next bit. Takes 5 mins tops to do my whole kitchen and dining area. Takes about 2 minutes (if that) to do the bathroom floor. SO much faster and easier for me! I have a thing about mops just pushing the dirt around and putting it back into the dirty water to get it wet again, although Tracey, your sort of mop is way better than the old type with the straggly/stringy bits.

    Yes, I am a slightly nutty cleaner, but WAY better than I used to be. Years ago I used to go around and wipe on top of all doors (including all cupboard door edges), skirting boards and architraves, around door frames, on top of the fridge and all free standing cupboards, etc etc at least once a week. Geez, I have better things to do now. Oh, and I used to do the floors daily – that’s just utterly ridiculous for me now. What was I thinking I ask you!

    Brilliant idea about the rubber bands – you rock!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Linda – You know what? I totally tried out that method of cleaning the floor on hands and knees … that was amazing!! I’ll have to let Katie know that she has changed my whole approach to mopping from now on. Knowing that you also do this, I feel like I’ve been let into some sort of secret mopping society … and now my floors are super clean!! 🙂

      I know what you mean about those mops that just move dirt backwards and forwards across the floor … sort of defeats the purpose and gives me the shudders … yuck!

      Well I think it’s wonderful that you’re such a thorough cleaner, I think I missed out on that gene. It sounds like you’ve relaxed into a better routine now though … because yes, there are definitely more important and interesting things to do than clean and clean some more!

      Haha … glad you like my rubber band solution! 🙂

      1. Linda from Heartfire At Home

        Woohooo, another convert! My mum always did it like that, and I guess I just copied – lol. It does make more sense to me though, and whenever my back is ‘out’, it often puts it back ‘in’ with the way my back has to reach and curve doing the floors (almost as good as my chiropractor). I even do it on purpose to help my back rather than clean the floor if my back is nagging me. Welcome to the club!!!

        1. tracey (Post author)

          Awesome! I like how cleaning also has the benefit of maintaining a healthy back! Thanks again for the endorsement … 🙂

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