Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How to Save Time on Chores When You're Single

Yesterday's post highlighted the daily workload that singles must balance on one set of shoulders while their married counterparts divide and conquer, so to speak. As a single person, unless you're David Copperfield, you can't conjure an extra pair of hands. But you can reduce your own workload or at least take shortcuts to be more efficient.


It's been said that humans aren't such great multitaskers. That's what machines are for.

Throw a load of laundry in the washer while you put a pot on the stove to boil for dinner. As your clothes churn and your food cooks, vacuum your room. After dinner, pop your china in the dishwasher, and while the Cascade works its sudsy magic, take this opportunity to do the dusting. Be sure to leave the TV on while you dust so you can listen to the evening news (or, you know, whatever doesn't suck).

These are just a few examples of how you can multitask with the aid of mechanized slave labor. In some ways, this is a better method than relegating tasks to a spouse because the washer won't ask you to commemorate the anniversary of its installation with a shiny new agitator, nor will the oven get steamed and fume for days when you talk about the cookies it baked in that tone of voice. In fact, if your oven is steaming and fuming, the only thing you need to do is turn it off. :)

If you're not used to multitasking, it may take a little practice to figure out which chores you can double up on. But once you get the hang of it, you'll find that most housework can be condensed into one day a week with a little advance planning.

Make One Trip, Not Two

Whenever you leave the house to run errands, that's time and fuel wasted. Try making as many stops as you can in one trip. If possible, do this on the way to or from work since you're already on the road. Once you're ensconced at home in your bathrobe and Cookie Monster slippers, you'll be loathe to traipse out to Staples for that toner that went belly up yesterday.

Patronize stores that are in the same vicinity. If you've pledged allegiance to the Home Depot or Rite Aid on the other side of town, now's the time to try that Lowe's or CVS on your way to the bank. Some consumers cling to a mistaken sense of brand loyalty or want to take advantage of less expensive prices at the retailer across town. But remember that the extra gas and travel time will offset what you save at the cheaper store. And if you never investigate anything new, you might miss out on a bigger selection and better deals than you'd ever get at Same Old Things "R" Us.

Shop From Home

No matter how you streamline your shopping trips, you can still spend a whole afternoon driving, parking, stocking your cart, and standing in the checkout line. Did you know that you could eliminate all this hassle by shopping online?

Most people are familiar with Amazon and other major online retailers, but many aren't aware that household names like Macy's, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Stop & Shop, and a plethora of others also allow you to order online. The delay between purchase and delivery and the cost of shipping may be drawbacks, but they add up to a small price to pay to shop in your pajamas...while multitasking with your dishes and laundry, of course. ;) Especially for products that don't need to be "tested" in person, online shopping is a lifesaver for singles who want to have a life--and not one that's consumed in puttering from one strip mall to the next. Another best kept secret of the web is that retailers will frequently offer discounts exclusively for online purchases. So open your browser and keep your credit card on the ready!

That Extra Pair of Hands

Okay, I was exaggerating when I said that short of renting a robot, you couldn't snap your fingers and have an extra pair of hands. You can rent the hands. But instead of a bot, they'll be attached to a bopper. A teenybopper, that is.

You've probably observed them babysitting for your married friends or walking their dogs. If you have pocket change to spare, hire one of them to be your occasional gofer, especially when you have a busy weekend coming up.

Just make sure your girl friday has references before you send her to Lord & Taylor with your cash in her pocket...And for goodness' sake, don't send him to the supermarket with "Coors Light" anywhere on your shopping list!

Now if you can't afford to put change in anyone's pocket but your own, there's still hope, and it can appear in the shape of a roommate or friend.

What you really want, remember, is what couples have--a shared division of labor. Granted, they have it a little easier than you do because they're probably not as obsessed with the equity of the arrangement as two platonic pals would be. Since couples are in love, a calculated peck on the cheek or bat of an eyelash can have an effect that similar maneuvers on your part will not have on your best bud. Nevertheless, you can still work out a comfortable deal with your BFF, and--just think--the terms will be out on the table from the start, unlike with a lover's peck on the cheek or bat of an eyelash, which promise rewards that one may not wish to dole out later!

The idea is to trade off on responsibilities with a roommate, single neighbor, or close friend nearby. You might agree that if he picks up the groceries for both of you this week, you'll do it next week. Or maybe you'll take her package to UPS with yours while she walks both your dogs. Again, this should be someone you trust since they'll be handling your personal belongings and probably your money. But if you have an amicable relationship like this, it can cut your time on the go in half. As a side benefit, it will probably strengthen your friendship, too. And in an emergency, it's good to know that someone's got your back.

What about you? Do you feel crunched for time due to all the responsibilities you need to shoulder as a single? If so, what shortcuts do you take to minimize the workload?

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