All homes need some basic rules to make sure that everything runs smoothly and (ideally) so that one person doesn’t end up doing more than their fair share of the work. Not all homes have the rules written down, but judging by the amount of quarrels about who does what (or who hasn’t done what), writing them down wouldn’t hurt. Here’s a sample:
* If you’re not actually watching the TV/listening to the radio, switch it off at the wall. Standby still uses electricity.
* Turn off the light if you’re the last one to leave the room.
* If you spilled it, dropped the crumbs, smeared it, etc., you clean it up, preferably as soon as possible, because things get harder to clean if you leave them for when your regular cleaner comes for the clean.
* If you want it washed, put it in the laundry basket.
* Rinse your plates, knives and cups before putting them in the dishwasher.
* Make your bed as soon as you get out of it – or strip the sheets off ready for washing, if needed. You have the option of getting dressed first.
* Only fill the kettle as much as you need if you’re going to boil it, but make sure that the element is covered (which probably means that you’ll have enough hot water for two people, so why not see who else wants a drink while you’re at it?).
* Turn the element off once you’ve finished cooking. No exceptions – the oven is not a form of home heating.
* Take your shoes off at the door – this avoids tracking mud and extra bits through the house. And put them on the shoe rack, if you have one, rather than leaving them scattered all around the doorstep for the next person to trip over.
* Put things away rather than just down in a corner. Otherwise, you’ll waste quite a few minutes a day looking for things that weren’t put away properly.
* Don’t throw food scraps in the rubbish bin – put them in the compost bin or in the doggy bowl.
* Don’t stand there with the fridge door wide open considering what you might like to eat. Think about what you want before you open the door.
* If you use the last of something, write it down on the list, or at least let the person in charge of doing the groceries know.
* If you used the last bit of toilet paper, put a new roll on.
* Rinse out tins, stick the lid inside them and crush them before putting them into the recycling bin.
* Take jelly beans, bits of paper and coins out of your pockets before putting them into the wash. Removing underpants from inside trousers is also a nice touch.
* Wash your hands before eating, preparing food, after handling animals, after going to the toilet, after handling noxious substances and after doing dirty jobs like gardening and house cleaning.
* If you’re just scribbling down a list or doodling, don’t use the good paper – use the GOOS (good on one side) paper.
* Don’t run the tap while you’re doing your teeth.