A Wastrel’s Guide to Housework

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The dedicated shirker will always find it advantageous to make a clear mental note of where things are placed by their partner.  (The assumption that without a partner no dusting would take place, is implicit.)  Slightly moving or even swapping over a couple of prized ornaments can save many housework hours, providing you remember to remove any dust ring that may have been left behind.  A simple apologetic ‘I’m sorry, I must have moved them while I was dusting’ will remove any suspicion that you were not, in fact, dusting at all, but actually sat with your feet on the coffee table watching Homes Under The Hammer and eating sweetcorn out of the tin.  As well as ridding you of the necessity to dust anywhere else – all scrutiny of your dusting-prowess will have been lost in the scramble to find out where you have misplaced other treasured items – you may well find that you are never tasked with the job again.

In a similar fashion, you will be able to get away with the most rudimentary of Hoovers, providing you remember to misalign a few mats, move a coffee table or two and ensure that, here and there, the vacuum cleaner leaves clearly visible wheel lines that disappear under the furniture and do not stop at the edge.  A skilled skiver will be able to pass off a basic flit around with the Dyson as the most thorough of spring cleans with nothing more than the slight skewing of the settee, the misalignment of dining chair and a clear line disappearing underneath the most easily moved piece of furniture in the room.  Stair carpets can be rendered ‘vacuumed’ by simply roughing up the pile here and there with a rubber soled shoe and picking up any dead woodlice.  Even if you do not plug it in, never leave the Hoover quite where you found it.

If, in your rush to watch a twenty year old repeat of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, you failed to load the dishwasher, do not panic.  Simply turn it on and claim that the other pots would not fit in.  Offer to unload the machine when it finishes and send your partner off for a bath with a chilled glass of wine.  Whilst he/she is there, rattle as much crockery as you can before loading the unwashed pots in.  Accept the Brownie-points on offer for both unloading and reloading with a modest shrug.  He/she may not even notice that you have broken their favourite mug, drunk the rest of the wine and got biscuit crumbs all over the armchair.  (If your partner is a great lover of scatter cushions, simply shake them about a little bit and put them back on the wrong chairs.  All comestible detritus will lay un-noticed as pillows are put back to ‘where they should be’ with an affectionate ‘Tut!’)

As you will almost certainly fall out of bed some considerable time after everybody else, it will be incumbent upon you to ‘make’ it.  If you have a partner this will involve straightening and retucking the sheets, fluffing the duvet and plumping the pillows.  If you do not have a partner, what’s the point?  Pick up pants and socks from the floor and throw them in the wash basket, from which they can be rescued after you discover that you have run out of clean ones.

If you don’t open the curtains, not even the window cleaner can see in.