How to make the best of doing the hoovering

I recently set myself a little blogging challenge: take a boring or frustrating situation and come up with ten creative ways to make it seem not so bad. We’ve already covered train delays and early mornings – and last week, I got a request on Twitter from Sarah:

Now, I must be honest. I live in a one-bedroom flat, so my hoovering time is pretty limited, and it’s a long time since I had to contend with stairs. But, never one to turn down a challenge, I gave it some thought, and here are my ten suggestions on how to make hoovering just a little bit more fun…

Set small goals

If hoovering the whole house at once seems like a monster task, allow yourself a small reward when you finish each room. (Personally I find chocolate’s always a good incentive to get things done.) Of course, the downside to this plan is that if you’re stopping after each room, getting the hoovering done will probably take twice as long, but hey. It’s your call.

Sing like nobody’s listening

As you know, I enjoy singing, but hate the thought of anyone listening. That’s why I like to sing in my car and in the shower – but the drone of the hoover also offers pretty good sound proofing. You could even come up with a happy working song, a la Amy Adams in Enchanted, to make the time go faster. Or a sea shanty! (Okay, I may be getting carried away…)

Get your pet involved

Because apparently they love it. Although obviously if you’ve got an automatic hoover like this one, then this whole post is redundant anyway.

Write a joke about it

It could be the start of a whole new career. This joke by Tim Vine was voted the funniest at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival: “I decided to sell my hoover… well, it was just collecting dust.” I’m not sure if he actually won anything, but at least we now know people like hoover jokes. Right?

Have a cleaning party

You might have a tough job convincing them… but misery loves company, so if you can persuade/bribe some friends to come round and help out, doing the hoovering might not seem like such a depressing prospect. And if there’s time, you could always recreate that Queen video and put it on YouTube – because, let’s face it, that’s a viral hit waiting to happen.

Make friends with your hoover

No joy convincing your friends to help out? You don’t need them – do a Miranda and make friends with your hoover. Just maybe don’t tell anyone; they might not understand.

Do it regularly

That might sound counterproductive, if you really hate hoovering, but often if you make something a part of your routine, it stops being something you have to psyche yourself up for, and becomes just a job that needs to be done, like the washing up or doing laundry.

Do it right before something fun

If you’ve got exciting plans for half an hour’s time, and nothing to do in the interim, take the opportunity to do the hoovering then. That way, you know the time you’ll have to spend on it is limited, and you’ve got something fun to look forward to straight after.

Practise for Strictly

If you’re singing (see above) you might as well also have a bit of a boogie. I’m pretty sure there’s been a dance routine on Strictly before involving a feather duster, so why not a hoover? And this girl seems to be enjoying herself…

Think about all the calories you’re burning

If you have to lug a heavy hoover around the house – especially if you have to carry it up the stairs – try and focus on the positives, one of which is the workout you’re getting without even realising it. Apparently 30 minutes of hoovering burns around 90 calories… although if you’re stopping to eat chocolate after every room, you might be consuming more than you’re burning.

And there we go. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a struggle towards the end, but we got there. Happy hoovering, everyone!

PS. I thought I’d include a picture with this post, but it turns out there is no such thing as a good photo of a hoover (oh yes – I tried. I’m that cool).

If you’ve got a suggestion for a future ‘how to make the best of’ post, email me at or tweet @happythingsblog.


How to make the best of an early morning

Nobody likes mornings. Do they?

What, they do? Who are these people?

Let’s start again.

I don’t like mornings. I never have. My bed is my happy place, and I never get up any earlier than I have to. But I also hate the feeling of running late and having to sprint to the station and spend half the journey to work trying to get my breath back (yes, I’m that unfit).

Cat on my bed
My bed. Not my cat.
So, I’ve decided the answer is to make mornings happier. Because if I have to get out of bed – which I do, unfortunately, since they expect me to turn up to work on time – I might as well make the best of it. Right?

(This, by the way, is the start of a new blogging challenge, in which I attempt to make the best of a series of boring, annoying or frustrating stuff. Please feel free to send in your suggestions – more details at the bottom of this post.)

Now, let’s do this.

Don’t be fooled by bonus sleep

I’ve always been a great believer in the wonder that is bonus sleep (when you wake up earlier than you have to just for the luxury of knowing you don’t have to get up yet). But when the alarm gradually starts getting earlier, and eventually you’re losing an hour’s sleep by repeatedly hitting the snooze button, maybe it’s time to try the radical approach of getting up when the alarm goes off. Maybe.

Watch the sunrise

Maybe not at this time of year (because nobody needs to be up that early), but there’s a lot to be said for pausing on the way out the house to admire a beautiful sunrise. I know I bang on about sunsets, but I’m just as obsessed with sunrises – it’s only that I’m rarely about to see them.

Sunrise over Putney Bridge

Have a cup of tea

Because, if you’re anything like me, you don’t function properly till you’ve had a cup of tea (or coffee). With my current routine, the first cuppa I get is when I arrive at work; how I consistently make it there in one piece is a mystery.

Do some exercise

Yes, really. And that doesn’t have to mean going to the gym for an intense workout session. It could just mean a short walk or a light jog (if you’re into that kind of thing). Or removing the laundry hanging from the exercise bike in the living room. Just me? Oh.

Take a long shower (or bath)

I’ve got the five-minute shower down to a fine art these days, and as useful as that is when you’re running late, it’s much nicer to relax and take your time. And the shower’s a great place for singing like nobody’s listening. Which is the best kind of singing, in my opinion.

Read a book

Because reading makes everything better. And even though it doesn’t require a lot of effort, you’ll feel like you did something constructive with your morning, rather than hiding under the duvet, pretending it’s not really time to get up.

Books and chocolate

Check the news

No, not on Facebook; I mean the actual news. Turn on the TV or radio and see what’s been happening in the world since you went to bed. There might be something important – and even if there isn’t, at the very least you’ll know what the weather’s going to do today, which means you can choose appropriate shoes (always important; nobody wants to spend the day with soggy feet).

Talk to someone

If you don’t have a significant other to mumble at first thing in the morning, talk to the cat/dog/goldfish. No pet? Try and strike up conversation with that neighbour who lives upstairs and who you tend to avoid on the way to the train station so as not to have to make small talk (although, in your defence, he avoids you too). Or, if all else fails, an unsuspecting stranger, because it’ll be worth it just to see their shocked expression. And you never know, you might brighten their day too.

Take a different route

It gets pretty boring going the same way every morning. If you have to go to the same place each day, at least make the journey as interesting as you can by mixing it up. You could take a camera along, then start a blog about ‘how I got to work today’. Or something. I’m sure there’s an idea in there somewhere.

Write a ‘good morning’ song

Or just steal this one.

Good morning, everyone! Have a great day 🙂

Got an annoying or dull situation I can attempt to make the best of? Leave it in the comments, tweet me @lizzid82 or email No super heavy stuff though, please!