Not Your Average House Frau

I’m not your typical house frau.  I learned this after browsing a Canadian census on line.    For one thing … I was actually reading the census.  On a Friday night.  For fun.  Yup.  I feel quite confident at this point that I can advise anyone who is considering this as a form of evening entertainment to eat a wool sweater instead. It would be more fun.  So yeah, I’m not typical.

But I was bored and avoiding housework. That’s something that everyone does at some point, right?  Housework I mean, not avoiding it.

Well, according to the census … not so.  Of the approximately (I’m being approximate … not the number loving , abacus polishing folks in the Census department) 9 million Ontarians that are “eligible” to do housework, almost 1 million of them don’t.  As in, they checked the “I do zero hours of housework in a week” box.

What about Spring Cleaning?  They don’t even Spring Clean?  (THIS is PRIME spring cleaning season by the way and here are 3 Quick Spring Cleaning tasks you can accomplish in UNDER an hour.)

I can understand people are busy with working and kids and Netflix and everything, but not devoting at least 3 minutes a week to cleaning a toilet?  Not that I run around with a feather duster in my holster all day long, but I do find it necessary to do the odd thing around the house to keep my life running smoothly.  Like washing my unmentionables.  Or perhaps throwing out that 7 year old miniature bottle of Heinz ketchup I thought I  might need for a French fry emergency one day but didn’t.

My job as a blogger allows me to work at home.  This accomplishes two things.  I’m always here to make a mess and I’m always here to clean it up.  I prefer the making of messes mind you. On occasion I will do neither and actually venture out of the house, most often to go to the Dollar Store.

I LOVE the Dollar Store.  For one thing every single thing in there is a dollar(ish).  They used to only take cash which made overspending difficult but now that they take debit cards it’s a bit of a free for all. It makes absolutely NO sense to leave The Dollar Store without $50 worth of off brand scented candles.  None.   I’m getting a bit off track.  The discussion of grossly underpriced toilet brushes and stackable boxes does that to me. We were talking about housework.

I figure I do about 7 – 10 hours of housework a week. Which is a total guess based mainly on cleaning the kitchen and scowling at the litter box.  Is that excessive? 7 hours? The census made me think so.  It implied I was freakish even.  A veritable cleaning machine at 7 hours a week.

I called a stay-at-home mom friend to ask her how many hours a week she thinks she spends doing housework.  In between the roar of the vacuum and the screams of her children she said “Oh … I’m not sure …  OH MY GOD THE DOG’S PEEING ON THE COUCH AGAIN!!”.  Then she had to go.  So no help there.

Like everyone, (except those curious one million who don’t do ANY housework) I have my favourite household chores.  Who doesn’t like those vacuum marks on the carpet?  The only thing better than a vacuum mark on a carpet is a vacuum mark on a couch.  I’ve convinced myself as long as I have at least one of those vacuuming marks on the couch in conjunction with a clean kitchen sink, I can actually fool everyone into thinking my whole house is clean.    So my kitchen sink is always clean.  Usually.

I have a relative who actually runs her hand over the couch so it *looks* like a vacuum mark to keep herself happy.

Emptying the dishwasher?  That is a chore I hate.  HATE.  I couldn’t dread it more if the dishwasher were filled with somersaulting centipedes as opposed to clean dishes.  In fact, I’d prefer it because at least that would make a really good Instastory that I could get some mileage out of.

I also really love having freshly washed sheets and freshly washed pajamas.  All white if possible.  I don’t love washing my sheets and duvet cover but the end justifies the means, so that’s a household chore I can get behind.  Ironically I did find a centipede on my bed a while ago and did indeed Instagram it.


It wasn’t as fun as you might believe and I’m actually rethinking that whole dishwasher filled with centipedes scenario.

So, I’m not your average house frau.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met one.  What I am sure of is there are approximately one million of them out there I will consciously be trying to avoid.  Ick.

So lay it on me.  How many hours do you think you spend doing housework?  Is it … zero?  And most importantly … how much do you love vacuum marks.


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  1. Neelam says:

    Reading the comments has made me feel ashamed for slacking off so much. I LOVE the fresh, clean smell of a clean house, but unfortunately, it is rarely found in my own. As I’m a stay at home mom, all household chores are my responsibility, whether I tackle them myself or bribe or guilt the kids into it. But I would say at least 3 hours DAILY is needed just for the kitchen. Just the cooking, cleaning up and the dishes. I am trying to get the kids to participate more ( loooong overdue), and happy to say, they are getting better at doing it with less nagging 😁

  2. Amie says:

    I’m currently on parental leave with two kids at home with me. So I’d say I clean 20 hours a week. There is always laundry, butt wiping, toilet cleaning, dishes and cleaning up after the tornadoes that needs to be done.

  3. Shelley says:

    If you only count cleaning and not cooking…Probably two on average? I pay someone else to do it.

  4. Dana says:

    Actually cleaning? Probably 7-10 hours a week, plus the hours the other 3 put in on bathrooms and dishes. I have 3 indoor pets, so need to vacuum 3-4 times a week, sigh.

    Does everyone vacuum the whole house at once? That’s normal, right? I know people who will vacuum one room and then put the vacuum away until next time, which seems very inefficient.

  5. Niki Dee says:

    I would kill to spend time house keeping. Currently I live in a 30′ trailer with my hubby, our daughter and 4 dogs. Uh huh. We have bought raw land and are in the process of moving on to it but for now we suffer…. errr… live in this box. I’d kill to have a house to clean right now!

  6. Mary says:

    What amazes me about myself is that I can spend 3- 6 hours outside scrubbing garage doors, cleaning windows, pruning, raking, weeding, etc and time flies and I love it! Hand me a squeegee or sponge in the house and I run! It is just not something I am interested in. My house is not totally gross though, I pick up daily, and when forced to I clean it.

  7. Lauren B says:

    So… sorry to be obvious, but how do their houses get clean? I don’t yet qualify as a house frau (someday maybe!), in fact I work a full time job and another ~15 hrs a week at a second job, but I would guess I probably spend 4-5 hours a week cleaning. And I am not a neat freak. But laundry? Dishes? Vacuuming? Cleaning up the mess you made on the kitchen table when you spontaneously decided to re-pot all of your house plants?

  8. WeesieOnPI says:

    Hm… I don’t have carpets or furniture that show vacuum marks. But I’d love to know how you use the GE floor appliance in the second photo (from your IKEA laundry hamper hack post?)? It looks like something my Mum had in the 50s. Are they still sold? I have linoleum floors and would love them “buffed”. My version of vacuum marks, I guess.

    • Karen says:

      Hi! I have no idea if they make these still or not actually. I got this one at The Christie Antique Show and sale. I was *hoping* it would buff the floors, but it doesn’t have a high enough RPM to do that. It does however, do a good job of washing them. Flea markets and antique shows often have them. ~ karen!

      • WEESIEONPI says:

        Thanks, Karen, will keep an eye out for one second-hand. Duh, but how do you wash floors with it??

        • Karen says:

          Hi WeesieonPI. I just spray my floor with a mixture of floor cleaner and hot water from a spray bottle. Then I go over it with the floor washer. It has rotating brushes (or buffing pads depending on what you clip on) and it scrubs the floor. 🙂 It’s kindda fun. ~ karen!

  9. Andrea says:

    Id say about 3 hours a week. If you spend 7-10 hours a week cleaning, that’s over an hour a day! Life is too short.

  10. Steph says:

    My husband is one of the “0 hours” contributors (?). I, on the other hand, do at least 30 min a day just to keep the house looking inhabitable, and that’s just cleaning up after him and not counting big things like laundry, vacuuming, dusting or cleaning the bathroom…

  11. Mia Pratt says:

    Well I’m quite late to this conversation, as I am to most other things planned except for arriving somewhere on time – I am fanatical about arriving on time. Doing on time, on the other hand, not so much. As someone who might beg off of cleaning if given the option, I’ve decided to treat house cleaning as my gym time because some I love and some I hate, and the only way to get through it is to mix them together and find some positive it the whole bit. So, I’ve worked out kind of a routine where I drink an ungodly amount of coffee tempered with some kind of starch like a croissant or blueberry scone – and then I clean for an hour. I do scrubby parts, and then standing parts – and then scrubby parts, and standing parts. Kind of like doing the treadmill on flat, and then on hill. And then as I’m winding down toward the hour mark, I do sitting parts – sort the mail, fold dishtowels, dump cookie crumbs out of my purse. And finally, after that, I do the cooling-down part, which is performed on my day bed, in front of the TV, where I can be found watching those great TV shows like Ozarks, until lunch. After that, the day is open territory<:}

  12. Sherri Crosby says:

    I would guess about 8-10 hours a week. There are nine people who live here. But I would say the 5 dogs, 2 cats and 1 pig created the bigger mess. Looking forward to being in a a no animal house. Not going to happen any time soon. The animals do create a lot of entertainment with the mess. The three kids help when they are on no school days.

  13. Angela S says:

    On a typical week, it’s 6-8 hours, mostly on Saturday, since the work/school week is jam-packed. That doesn’t include laundry, but the kids help with that since it’s mostly theirs. And three cheers that Dear Husband likes to unload the dishwasher and clean up after the dogs – luckily not at the same time. Ha.

  14. Audra says:

    I LOVE vacuum marks. I do vacuum everyday. My kids are older, and I do work from the only messes are mine and hubby’s. My youngest came home last night and was sitting in the front room. He picked something off his shirt and promptly threw it on the floor. Astounded, I of course said “Don’t throw that on the floor! Pick it up!” He replied, “Why? You’re just going to vacuum it up tomorrow morning.”
    Son- 1 Me-0
    But as for the rest of the chores, I cook, hubby does dishes. (and unloads). Dusting is all me. Laundry is a two person job, as he will wash my dedicates with his work pants. But I will strip the beds and launder them, but here’s the kicker…..wait for it.

    I have him convinced that he makes the bed better than I, so that’s ALL him. Boom!

  15. Beth W says:

    Now, let me preface this by saying that we’re not well-off by any standards, but since we don’t get any satisfaction from doing housework, we’ve hired a cleaning lady. She has her own business, so we feel good knowing that the money goes directly to her… and also feel good about not having to spend hours cleaning when we could be reading, or travelling, or renovating.

    That being said – we do share one car (cuts down on expenses), we don’t have a dishwasher (so have to do dishes by hand) and although she’s offered, we do our own laundry instead of leaving it for our gal, being sure to line-dry our clothes to save on energy bills. We think the cut backs for saving are well worth the spending on our cleaning lady – she’s really the only luxury in our 1300sqft home.

    • Karen says:

      Beth. You do not EVER need to justify how you spend your money. Not to me or anyone. Ever. If you want 12 cleaning ladies, silk sheets or a membership to a clown porn site then that’s your business. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • Beth W says:

        Haha, to each their own, right?

        My family gives us the stink-eye when the subject comes up, so I’m used to having to justify it. Old habits 😉

  16. Diane says:

    Who can count all the hours? It seems like it is constant. If you work outside of the home, it is easier to count, and also because you aren’t around all the time to make a continual mess. In fact, I usually create work when I am cleaning up. I went from a perfectly clean kitchen countertop to some insurmountable mess, simply because I was trying to clean out/organize the kitchen cabinets. Now I am reading emails and writing comments on blogs that I subscribe to because I can’t face the mess on my counter. Well, just not my counter. My floor is a mess too because I brought home groceries and couldn’t find any place to put them on the counter and my cabinets are not clean or organized yet, so I can’t put them away. Meanwhile I am debating whether laundry is more important than cleaning up the kitchen. Which should it be, clean clothes or food to eat?

  17. Rktrixy says:

    Oh, I don’t know. I probably do about 2-3 hours of housework a week, and extra on the days the cleaning helper comes. Mostly laundry, and doing the garbage and recycling take out. I find I hate washing dishes because I’m tall, and the counters are too short. Washing dishes is an exercise in agony. So, we try to eat in a way that we don’t use many dishes. Lots of frozen pot pies and biodegradable plastic forks.

    In the future, when I’m retired, I’m going to live somewhere where I can get the counters to the right height, and become a dish washing and cooking fool. Until then…

  18. Aimee says:

    When I was a housekeeper at a fancy resort we had to “rake” the carpet so you couldn’t see the vacuum marks. Personally, I like them though. I think emptying the vacuum cleaner is one of the most satisfying things. Like how is there so much dust every time? Never ceases to amaze me..

  19. Nicole says:

    House cleaning? Well, I live with 4 other people (all adults) and 2 little people (not adults at all) and I’m pleased to say that I don’t usually clean house. I am, however, the chief cook and I sometimes wash dishes so that’s my contribution to household chores. I don’t mind cleaning but my 22yo daughter absolutely rocks it – she not only cleans but she gets 2 of the other adults (both DD) working on housecleaning and puts the little ones to work as well. Everyone does their own laundry (except for me because my partner loves doing laundry – go figure). I MAY have shrunk a brand-new sweater of his at some point which is pretty close to the time I was “gently” informed that it wasn’t necessary for me to do our laundry any longer. I generally do the laundry for the 2 littles, though, so I don’t get out of it completely. They fold and put their clothes away, though, so I just have to run the washer and hang them up to dry. As soon as they’re tall enough to reach the line, though, they’ll be on their own!

    Chores I hate: cleaning the bathroom and washing silverware. As a child, I had to clean the family bathroom (6 people – 1 small bathroom) every single morning of my life. As for silverware, it’s just annoying but I do it anyway.

  20. Mary W says:

    I’d say roughly five hours but that doesn’t include spring/fall cleaning marathons nor the rush job before quests arrive nor the occasional clean out the closet or refrigerator or whatever – I live on ‘my side’ of a house that my daughter and husband owns with 3 grand kids. The kids for whatever reason always are on my side and don’t seem too fond of picking up what they get out. But then I don’t either so they get no good example to follow. I ended up with their dog living on ‘my side’, the bird, and a nasty, mean biting, clawing terror of a horrible tuxedo cat that sneaks over every time the door is opened, while my cat, the sweet one, lives outside. My side is filled with a huge craft room that is now just storage and crafting takes place on a card table in my living room – all spaces, counters, table tops are filled with various projects in limbo. I LOVE looking at your clean polished floors, and the beautiful, neat rooms. But not enough to give up the kids and crafts. Oh well, I personally think your cat drug up that dead centipede on her fur – too many body parts laying around it, so the cat is who dun it.

  21. LibrarianNancy says:

    I used to be a lot more obsessive about cleaning but I’m more relaxed about it as I’ve gotten older. Honestly, I’d rather be reading, sewing, or working on a jigsaw puzzle. I probably put in in 8-10 hours per week, which my friends and family tell me is WAY more than any of them do (except for my sister-in-law who doesn’t work). On a daily basis, the bed gets made; clothes, shoes and jewelry hung up or put away; dishes get put into and/or unloaded from the dishwasher (I really hate a sink full of dirty dishes); and I use the Dyson rechargeable vacuum to clean up the tumble-fur that gathers along the baseboards. I’m down to one dog, but he’s a golden retriever (I used to have three golden retrievers, so vacuuming was an exercise in futility). Cooking is additional time. Weekly chores are laundry, cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom, dusting, food prep for the next week, and keeping the clutter down to a manageable level. Love the picture of the dusty sock!

  22. I used to HATE doing vacuum, to the point i did it only twice in 2017……. yeah twice, and I own two cats, a parrot, and an australian shepherd. That mean feathers and pet hair. I have a central vacuum that don’t work very well, and it was the only reason I did not use it regularly.
    When I came back home on the 26th of december, couldn’t take the mess and vacuumed everything while my SO was shoveling the 40+ cm that had fallen while we were at our relatives, I had enough. I ordered online the last Dyson cordless.
    What can I say? I vacuum a few time a weeks now ! Remember i did it only twice last year !!! And what get me is not the vacuum mark on the couch or the carpet, it’s how much dust&hair i can suck out of this carpet each and every week !!!!!! I love emptying the vacuum, (because it’s super easy with the Dyson…) realizing how filthy this carpet was and how much it is so much cleaner now !!!

  23. Fonda says:

    Things that make me puke:
    Gray water is at the top of the list {thinking about barfing just thinking about it!}
    Litter boxes
    Washing dishes with food floating around in it
    Seeing little spars of people hair or getting it stuck between my toes
    Any part of a toilet
    Any part of a tub/shower

    For these reasons, we have someone come in once a month. She does the bathrooms and vacuums and washes the floors. Sometimes, she does little extra things. One time, she cleaned out the refrigerator. Another time, she cleaned the front of the kitchen cabinets.

    In the meantime, my wonderful wife, Katie, does a little maintenance. She washes the dishes and cleans the litter boxes. Sometimes she vacuums the floor, especially where the litter boxes are.

    If I couldn’t clean and pull my weight in that department, we needed to hire someone. And, we did. She even turns into a cat sitter if we need to go out of town. She’s a good one! Oh, and no matter what she does, she knows that she can’t discuss what she does with me. Otherwise, I would barf.

  24. Wendy Spence says:

    I am a weirdo – I love to clean. I only deep clean on the weekend but tidy and keep up with it during the week. Estimated 10 hours a week.

  25. susang says:

    I thought the cat was potty trained. wanted to try that because of the huge amount of cat byproduct. having said that – I hate making the bed. love clean crisp sheets etc but I can never get the sheets and blanket remotely even. would work a second jo to afford someone to help keep the house presentable.

  26. Yabut says:

    Well, I’m out of practice as I had a torn meniscus and just as I was getting mobile from that I had a non-knee related operation that took a while to recover from. So now I can finally move again I’m thrilled to death to be able to actually get busy and clean some stuff. I managed to vacuum all the baseboards and put away a ton of stuff, and later today I will wash down all the kitchen cupboard doors (and I do have a lot of them). I’m definitely into spring cleaning, but the regular housework never seems to get completely done. My best trick is to set a timer for 10 minutes and tackle a room. I have to quit and go onto the next room when time is up, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish when there’s a timer running. Somehow I tend to quit after 3 rooms though, which would be fine if I didn’t insist on starting from the beginning each day. I really need to start in the room I left off at because they are getting messier while the other three are getting neater and cleaner. Yes, I’m enjoying housework, but in small measured doses.

  27. Linda says:

    I’m with Jennifer. It doesn’t rain (nearly ever) in SoCal, which is a great excuse to be outside doing projects instead of inside doing chores. Sort of a Can’t see it, not there, attitude.
    Trade off is the air is full of dust, so when it DOES rain (tomorrow) I’ll be trapped in the house with all that damned dust, which is hard to ignore.
    Also: hate emptying the dishwasher (what is it about dishwashers, we should be grateful they exist) and love those vacuum marks on the carpet.
    Karen, you clearly struck a nerve here, given the number of responses….

  28. SAHM with three kids and a husband. I clean all damn day.

  29. Leslie Barnard says:

    2 dogs and 3 cats, an occasional ferret (grand-ferret, actually. It belongs to my daughter and instead of the daughter who keeps moving back, she just sends her ferret-it’s okay, he’s really cute). Also with chickens, there’s the occasional tracking in of stuff on your feet. Then there’s cooking breakfast and dinner every day…so… probably 10 hours at least per week. And by the way, those other folks who say zero hours/week are either lying, have a live-in maid/slave/robot or are living in the kind of filth that makes street scenes in Slum Dog Millionaire look like a garden party.

  30. Danni McLaughlin says:

    I clean a lot, but it never looks clean except the time after the housekeepers leave and my family gets home. I enjoy those minutes. Sometimes it’s even destroyed before that bc pets. This post is timely, bc I was just booking a vacation on a (vacation rental website that should advertise with you) and thought “These houses all look like a magazine shoot! What if I had to photograph MY house for that site?” When I regained consciousness, I did the first half of spring cleaning which has a KAREN element. Instead of 50-Things, I do 500 things. It isn’t even hard. Which is embarrassing and shocking but true. A whole new category is stuff that I didn’t ask for, that I hate, but that were gifts from, ahem, people who are close to me. A Monkey cookie jar. A glittery birdcage. Art. Away it all went yesterday.

    A number? maybe 25 hours a week, but I only do gig work, and there are four of house currently in the house, plus a dog, two cats, and a hamster. Tbh, the hamster doesn’t contribute much.

  31. Susan Schneider says:

    Um, does that include cooking? If not, I am, indeed, on the “barely ever” end of the spectrum. My husband loves to vacuum. I dust. Very sporadically. We both clean toilets about once a week or when they need it. I do not clean a clean toilet. I’d say, maybe 2-3 hours a week. I am pretty bad about clutter, unfortunately. My poor husband has given up on trying to be organized. I could go on, but you get the picture. I do intensely dislike cleaning and am always happy to postpone it. Like right now.

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