Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Making meatloaf for dinner, but didn't plan far enough ahead? Split the meat into two smaller loaves (or four much smaller loaves) and shave 20 minutes or more off the cooking time!

Don't have four loaf pans? No problem! I never use loaf pans for meatloaf. I just shape my meat into approximately loaf-like shapes and line them up on my broiler pan. The fat drips through the cracks this way, leaving your meatloaf leaner, and there's more crispy outside bits (everyone's favorite part of the meatloaf, anyhow).

What's that? You like baked potatoes with your meatloaf, but now they won't cook in time, because your meatloaf will be done too quickly? Just microwave them for a few minutes (2-3 minutes per potato) before throwing them in the oven to give them a head start.

Look at that, three tips in one post! Guess what we're having for dinner tonight!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Break cleaning tasks down in your head into smaller component tasks. It’s easier to find five minutes (and the accompanying motivation) to clean the toilet, then find five minutes later to clean the sink, then find 10 minutes another time to clean the tub, etc. than it is to find half an hour to clean the bathroom. You can also check more things off your to-do list this way, and feel more productive.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

When company is coming, make hot apple cider. The simmering spices will make your house smell so great that they won’t even notice the stinky trash smell.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crappy Housewife Recipe: Sunday Soup

When you're sick of leftovers, here's a handy way to give them new life:

Sunday Soup

1. On Friday, get a rotisserie chicken (or other cooked meat on the bone) for dinner from your favorite grocery store's deli department. This week, I sent Jeremy, and he came back with BBQ ribs and chicken.

2. After dinner, pick any leftover meat from the carcass and throw all the bones in a pot with just enough water to cover. (It's okay to use the bones that people ate right off of, because they will cook for long enough to kill any germs.)

Bonus Tip: If you used a pot to cook potatoes or vegetables for dinner, don't bother washing it. Just empty it and use it for your broth.

3. Look in the fridge for limp celery, dried out carrots, and any other "not rotten, but not pretty" vegetables you can find. Add them to the pot. You can add seasonings if you want, but I don't bother, since the meat I get from the grocery store is well-seasoned.

4. Bring the whole pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour and a half, or until you are heading to bed and suddenly remember that there is broth on your stove.

5. Strain off the bones and veggies, and return the broth to the pot. Let it cool a bit, then stick the whole pot in your fridge.

6. On Sunday, take the pot out of the fridge. Skim the congealed fat off the top of the broth, then put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.

7. Rummage through your fridge and dig out soupifyable leftovers. This week, it was peas, beans, chicken (picked from the bones on Friday), and pasta with fresh tomatoes and corn. Be creative. You might be surprised how many things can go in the pot. Leftover casseroles make the soup into a cream-style soup, leftover soups make it extra-soupy. Cooked rice works well, too. If you don't have any leftover starches, add some dried noodles first, then when they are almost done, add all the already-cooked foods.

8. Simmer everything until heated through. If any of the leftovers were near their "Hmm, maybe we should toss that" date, cook them for a little longer before eating.

9. Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Find another Crappy Housewife and take turns cleaning each other’s houses. It’s a lot easier to clean someone else’s house than your own, and it’s a lot easier to clean your own house when someone is helping you. Besides, adult conversation is adult conversation, even when it's over dirty dishes.

Added bonus: If you both have kids, they can entertain each other while you clean, rather than interrupting you every five minutes to play with them. So you'll actually get more done together than one of you could ever get done in twice the time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

If you take an article of clothing out of the washer and notice that it has a stain you forgot to pre-treat, don't throw it in the dryer. The dryer will just cook the stain in so it will be impossible to get out. Air dry it, and save it for "around the house" wear this week, and pre-treat the stain next time laundry day rolls around. It's not as effective as pre-treating it before the first washing, but it at least gives it a fighting chance.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

If guests are on their way, and you don’t have time to do the dishes, throw all the dirty dishes in a box and stick it in the backyard or the basement (just don’t forget to bring it back inside after they leave).

Yeah, even I am ashamed of this one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

If you're having people over the day after getting back from vacation, don't unpack the car until after they leave. Your guests won't see the inside of your car, so you're better off focusing your energy on the mess in your house.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

When going on a family vacation, leave home a day or two before your spouse. That way, everything on the "to do before going on vacation" list that doesn't get done is his fault, not yours.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Sometimes, if I'm feeling really nice, I'll give Valerie a REAL sponge and REAL soapy water and let her scrub the outside toys. But only on special occasions, if she's being really good.

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Designate one sippy cup for each child "for water use only". Then the next time you are scrambling to find a clean cup, but they all seem to be filled with either wine or cheese, you know there is at least one that is always relatively clean.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I am a stay-at-home mother of two and former lawyer who really hates housework. When I first got married, I had a lot of delusions about what kind of housekeeper I would be, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary (such as my college dorm room and my childhood bedroom). But, honestly, I just didn't care enough to make any of it happen. Ten years later, my house is just as messy as it ever was. But I've got a lot more tricks up my sleeve.

"The Crappy Housewife" is not a slam against housewives in general. I don't think that being a housewife is crappy, or that you are crappy because you are a housewife. But when I am faced with images in the media of what a "good" housewife is allegedly supposed to be, I have to laugh at myself. If a "good" housewife keeps an impeccable home and has dinner on the table at the same time every night and sews her own seasonally appropriate living room curtains, then I am definitely a "crappy" housewife. I don't enjoy housework. There are hundreds of things I would rather do than dust the furniture. So I have developed lots of little shortcuts, so that I can get over the housework and on with my life.

For a long time, I never shared my housekeeping tips because I figured that everybody else was either doing it the "right" way, or was already cutting the same corners as me. But every time I shared one of my tips on Facebook, I was surprised to discover that a lot of people actually liked hearing my tips. Apparently, being lousy at housekeeping and coming up with clever shortcuts don't always go hand in hand. It takes a special person to turn a hatred of housework into a challenge. And apparently, I'm special.

Are you special, too? Do you read this blog and find yourself nodding along and saying, "Hey, I already do that!" Congratulations, you might be a Crappy Housewife! It's not an insult, it's a badge of honor. You don't have to be married, or female, or a stay-at-home parent, in order to be a Crappy Housewife. You just have to be a creative problem solver who finds a way out of doing housework whenever possible. And if you are a Crappy Housewife, please feel free to share your tips with me! I'll post them as "submitted by" you, and include a link to your blog, if you want.

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

When you can't seem to muster up the motivation to do the daily minutiae like washing dishes, take on a big project instead, like reorganizing the living room! (Actually, I don't know if this is good advice or not, but it's what I do. At least something is getting done, right?)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

If you have two bathrooms, buy two of every bathroom cleaner. I know how much motivation it takes to clean the toilet, and having to go downstairs to get the toilet brush and bowl cleaner is just that much more effort, and it’s often enough to tip the scales towards, “Don’t bother.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Pack away the toys that are the most annoying to clean up - like the ones with hundreds of little pieces. Only bring them out on special occasions, preferably when children old enough to help clean up are visiting.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Even when you have your own washer and dryer, it's worth it to take your laundry to the laundromat once in a while when you're really behind on laundry. Go late at night and take over all the machines. You can do 12 loads of laundry at the laundromat in the time it takes to do one at home.

It helps to have all your clothes clean at one time, at least once per season, so that you can effectively gauge what new clothes you might need for the next season. Plus, you just might find that red shirt you thought you lost, hiding at the bottom of a laundry pile.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

When you’re tidying up downstairs, pile things that need to go upstairs on the bottom step. (If there are lots of little things, put a tote bag or box on the step to keep them all together.) The next time you go upstairs, grab a load from the step and take it up with you. This saves you a lot of trips up and down the stairs.

(Alternatively, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t do this. Just think of all the extra exercise you’ll get running up and down the stairs!)

A few side notes:
-Make sure to leave enough room beside the pile so that you can walk right past the stuff and forget about it.
-If the bottom step is full, use the next step. If the second step is full, use the third step. If all the steps are full, then you're probably at my house.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Make two meals at once to reduce clean-up.

Some examples: Pack bag lunches while you’re making breakfast, put dinner in the crockpot while you’re making lunch, make twice as much dinner as you need tonight so there will be leftovers for tomorrow's dinner.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Pick a space in your house that you can resign to mess. Preferably one with a door that closes. A walk-in closet, basement, or bedroom works well. Then, when you're cleaning in a hurry, you can shove everything that doesn't have a place (or that would take too long to sort and put away properly) in there, and close the door.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Potty train your kids directly onto the toilet, rather than a little kiddie potty. Otherwise you'll get stuck washing that darned potty 700 times a day, like me.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

What to do with socks that never have mates? Use for dusting. I've also used doubled up socks in a pinch when for some reason I cannot find my hot pot holders.

(Submitted by Scatterbrained Homemaker)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

Pack a lunch and go the park. Or even just the backyard. Picnic lunches require no clean-up!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

When you need to do a rush cleaning job (is there any other kind?), the first thing you should do is go outside. Then come back in and look around objectively, as a guest. What are the first five glaring things that jump out at you? Clean those things first. Then sit down where your guest is most likely to sit and do the same thing. You notice different messes from different points of view, so it's worth trying out a few different vantage points.