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To do today - or not

Today in our Home & Style Friday edition, columnist Sally Cunningham writes about all the late-season gardening tasks she and a helper tackled this week. How satisfying it was to accomplish so much in one session, she writes.

This got me thinking about all those nonseasonal tasks that many of us do day after day, week after week. Some we may find enjoyable, or at least no big deal to do. Others we may dread.

But people do not agree on what those are.

Here’s the thing: The task I happily tackle may be one that another person dislikes – or avoids.

What’s your least favorite daily task?, I asked one friend.

Making the bed, she answered, mumbling something about just having to mess it up again that night.

I, on the other hand, have always liked making beds. To me, it signifies the beginning of a new day. Smooth those sheets! Fluff that comforter! Plump those pillows!

An unmade bed at the end of the day makes me sad. Then again, I grew up in a bed-making family. The only day I wasn’t expected to make my bed was my birthday.

Back to my conversation with my friend. So what does she like to do? Dust, she said.

You see the results immediately and it lasts awhile.

OK, we agreed on that one.

We also agreed that the tasks we sometimes procrastinate on actually take little time to do once we decide to do them. Cleaning the fish bowl. Collecting and sorting trash and recyclables. Vacuuming the carpeting on the stairs.

I don’t mind doing laundry – unless it’s 10:30 p.m. and I remember there are clothes in the dryer that should be hung on hangers.

Otherwise, there’s something satisfying about starting up that washing machine early in the morning when the day ahead feels full of promise.

I also find that folding clothes fresh from the dryer can be relaxing – especially bath towels. They fold nicely. They stack nicely. They’re easy to carry upstairs and put away in the linen closet.

Piles of socks and fitted bed sheets? Not so much.

Of course different households can work out ways to get things done. Maybe it’s designating certain days for everyone to chip in to clean bedrooms and baths. Or posting a chore chart on the refrigerator that rotates weekly (handy for families with kids). At our house on busy days, the you-cook, we’ll-clean-up system has worked quite well through the years.

To me, ideally, that means that all dishes, pots and pans are washed and put away before bedtime. On a busy morning, no one wants to empty the dishwasher or scrub a pan that’s been soaking in the sink overnight.

That’s the time to be making beds.

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