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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: What is your least favorite household chore?

housework why bother

I stole today’s question from Shakesville, where Melissa and her regulars are discussing their “Top Five Least Favorite Household Chores.” I can’t exactly say this is a pet topic for me, because I avoid doing or even thinking about household chores as much as possible. The things that gotta be done, like washing the dishes, I just do on autopilot and let my mind drift to something more pleasant. I avoid ironing, which I detest, by simply not buying clothes that need to be ironed. Which might leave my most hated household chore as defrosting the freezer. This is something that hasn’t been an issue for me for years, but where I’m living now, the freezer is not frost-free. Of course, I’m just a lodger here, so I can probably dodge this forever, since it’s not my responsibility to do anything about it. But unlike the other hated chores that I can just ignore, I am reminded of this every time I get something out of the cold and then have to fight to get the drawer to slide in again.

First-world problems, I know. But still…

What is your least favorite household chore?

Sorry to make you think about this crap.

(Image from The Cartoon Museum, from which you can purchase it on a magnet.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • Probably cleaning the crumbs out of the toaster oven. Or cleaning the bathroom. But I live in a single dorm, so no one else is going to do these things for me.

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    raking leaves. yard maintenance of any kind, anything to do with a freakin’ garden or stuff that grows, really. but yeah, the leaves are probably the worst. fortunately i don’t have a yard so this isn’t a problem these days. all brick and blacktop:)


  • Keaplin

    dusting – hands down.

  • althea

    Raking leaves is very like my most hated chore – floors. Any kind, whether it’s carpeted or uncarpeted, an open floor or with furniture, I hate sweeping, mopping, whatever. The work can be easier than some other chores, but it’s incredibly frustrating because it’s never really finished. Every stroke with the vacuum or broom just leads to another one, and there’s still stuff on the floor when you’re done. I’ve become resigned to bits of things turning up at every turn, and the closer it is to when the cleaner comes the less inclined I am to pick stuff up.

  • althea

    Maryann, I finally developed a procedure for defrosting the freezer after half a lifetime of using knives and screwdrivers and ripping off skin to break off ice. I have a stock of old towels and rags, and after I’ve emptied the freezer as much as I can I pack them – as many as will go back there – at the back of the shelves to soak up the water that drips when I’ve set the dial to Defrost. Usually takes less than a day. I just pull them out as they’re as wet as they can get and replace them as necessary. So now the other stuff doesn’t get yucky from being undercooled and I don’t have water or chunks of ice on the floor. Since the towels aren’t actually dirty they only have to be dried.

    I also used to have a great method of emptying the freezer when I worked at places that had staff refrigerators. I put all my stuff in bags and stuck it in the staff freezer, which was seldom used, and then brought it back later.

  • bronxbee

    my parents were great chore dividers.  i don’t think my mother ever washed a window, waxed a floor or defrosted a refrigerator in her married life.  on the other hand, my dad didn’t make lunch or dinner (though he does make breakfast), or do the food shopping.  until i finally got a frost free refrigerator defrosting was one of the chores i hated most.  but then i hate all housework and all chores associated with it.  fortunately — or, not, as the case may be for general health and cleanliness — i live alone and there is no one to bug me about cleaning or dusting or vacuuming (shudder) … but every now and then it has to be done.  i put the music on loud and just keep working without thinking about it.  but i hate it all.

  • Killara29

    ironing !  hate it!   washing clothes and getting them dry in this climate    cleaning behind the sink in the toilet  is disgusting!!!! 

  • beccity98

    Dishes. They never end. You can sweep or mop and it’s good for at least a few days, but there’s always dishes.

    On a different note, I like when Foster Farms chicken breasts go on sale, but I hate when they go on sale. I can buy 5 breasts for 5 bucks, and each breast is one meal for my husband and me, plus a little extra for recipes requiring chicken bits. But I HATE having to stand there and debone and skin them. I usually buy 2 packages, so have to debone and skin 10 breasts at a time, then put each serving into plastic baggies for the freezer. It’s gross and takes a while. Plus, raw chicken grosses me out a bit. I once had a dream that I was doing all this, then went to put the chicken in a baggie, but needed both hands to open the baggie, so instead of putting the chicken down, I put it in my mouth. I woke up with the taste of raw chicken in my mouth! 

  • beccity98

     I like seeing the wrinkles come out of my clothes. But that’s just me.

  • bronxbee

    especially *silverware*  ack… there’s always one lasts spoon, fork or knife found after everything else is done.  and since most of us in NYC don’t have dishwashers it all has to be done by hand.

  • Isobel_A

    Dusting. I hate the sodding dusting. It starts settling again the millisecond you’ve finished. It’s the definition of tedium.

  •  I’m with Isobel. Dusting is the least rewarding job; you have to do it, but it does little good.

  • Arthur

    The bloodstains. Disposing the bodies isn’t a problem, but I can’t get those spots out.

  • There’s a book called The Limits of Vision by Robert Irwin, which, if memory serves, turns this unpleasant reality into a quite imaginative, unsettling narrative.

    Personally, though, I’d rate cleaning the toilet as worse. Not to mention what we had to do recently, which was get rid of 7cm-long caterpillars (is that what they were? They looked like long fat green wiggly fingers) from the privet. Being too squeamish to go hand-to-hand, and not wanting to use chemicals, I ended up burning them off with a blowtorch. As household chores go, I suppose some people might enjoy that, but I certainly didn’t.

  • teenygozer

    I hate vacuuming in the best of times (having to move the furniture around and it’s so noisy it terrifies the cats and that awful smell of slightly burnt dust) but then my husband borrowed the vacuum cleaner to vacuum his store without asking me and since then, it’s been hell to push back and forth.  It used to be one of those finger-touch vacuums that was easy to push, and he broke it.  No idea how he did it, but he did, and I’ve no idea how to fix it.  So I find myself getting angry at the unfairness every time I find myself laboriously and with great difficulty vacuuming the rug–not often, because I avoid doing it at all.  And of course every so often, I notice the vacuum cleaner is gone because he’s borrowed it again.  ::HEAD EXPLODES::

    I think the store needs to buy me a new vacuum cleaner.  It can have the old one.

  • Scooping litterboxes.

    Especially because I have 6 cats.

  • Of the regular chores, dusting. It was invented by the Devil himself as far as I’m concerned, and is the definition of Sisyphean work – on a bright, dry day I merely need to glance back from the shelf I’m dusting and see the dust already starting to collect on the shelf I dusted two minutes ago. Pure evil.Of the less common stuff, I once had to clean and prepare a raw octopus for cooking, and will not be doing it again. It smells, it’s wet and gelatinous but tough and difficult to separate, plus I intensely dislike eating invertebrates anyway, and have a fondness for octopuses which are cute and smart and badass.

  •  No! no no no! You are EVIL. Anything to do with a garden?! What’s WRONG with you, man?! I’m a gardening nut and simply can’t fathom people who detest such things. It’s just so wonderful to be out there digging in the dirt and playing with plants. I can’t imagine living with all brick and blacktop. *shivers*

  • Washing dishes. I do pretty much all the household chores like vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, window washing, etc., but the dish washing drives me nuts. It’s especially harsh because I have back pain issues, and bending over the sink exasperates it.  Plus, they NEVER END. Ugh.

  • bronxbee

    i have found that hydrogen peroxide is great for those stains… 

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    ha. i thought you might have something to say about that one;) i grew up working on farms and helping in gardens and generally fiddling with the annoyances that won’t stop coming out of the ground. i had my fill. i’ll take concrete and a grocery delivery service please.

  •  : – (
    I am so predictable.
    Dude, I’m in Landscape Sales by day, and a gardening nut on nights and weekends, and I STILL don’t ever get enough. We all have to have a passion, right? Mine is plants and yours is…concrete.
    : – (

  • beccity98

    I also have 6 cats. Though I do highly dislike having to dump the entire box of old litter every so often because that means I also have to wash the box, I don’t mind regular scooping.  I must have become immune because I do it so much. I do it every other day, right before I take a shower, so I don’t have the dust/smell/germs on me. Usually I vacuum the house at the same time, so it goes like this:
    3.Go out and dump the litter bag and vacuum canister

    Also, here’s a tip: If you take a freshly washed-out and dried box, and spray it with cooking spray before you put in clean litter, the clumps won’t stick to the bottom!! Though, I did notice that the World’s Best Cat Litter (that’s really it’s name) didn’t stick to the box anyway, so I guess it depends on if your litter does already or not. I can’t use WB anymore, the cats don’t like it.
    I don’t complain because I love my kitties, although I can’t wait to get pregnant, because then I can have my husband do it!! I know someone who had her husband start doing the litter when she was pregnant, and he never said anything about her starting again after the baby was born, and she never reminded him, so he’ still doing it!!! Haha!

  • Cleaning the toilets. Even after working at a theater for three years, where maintaining them was part of my job, it’s still disgusting (not as bad when they’re mostly spotless). A necessary evil, but jesus… sometimes people don’t just know how to use the toilet properly. And no, it’s not just lifting seats either.

    Believe it or not, I’ve noticed most of the nastiest toilets I’ve cleaned have been in the women‘s restrooms… true story.

    And raking leaves would tie with that. For me, I’d just rather grind up the leaves with a mower and let nature decompose the rest. Raking them up and moving them is a pain… especially when more are just going to take its place.

  • LaSargenta

     And cold water.

  • LaSargenta

    Dishes.  I live in a tiny apartment in an old building and I can’t put a dishwasher in. Not annoying enough to make me move, but I really hate doing dishes. So, usually that’s the first thing I do when I start to clean. I just get that out of the way.

    (My favorite chore is polishing shoes. They look so good when done!)

  •  Yes. It seems like you’re doing something useless but you know it isn’t. UGH.

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