I Tried the “Wheel of Chores” to Declutter, and Now I’ll Never Clean Another Way

published Jun 29, 2024
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Cluttered closet before using Wheel of Chores.
Credit: Lizzy Francis

I can maintain a clean home. I have no problem cleaning the kitchen, dusting, and doing laundry. In fact, I enjoy it. But it’s those extra tasks — like cleaning out my overstuffed T-shirt drawers, tackling a months-old mail pile, or decluttering my extra closet — that I can’t get around to that weigh me down.

Cleaning (and doing it well) can take all day. For instance, a trip to the laundromat and back is a few hours down the drain. That’s not to mention working a 9-5, daily walks with my dog, weekly grocery store runs, and writing for my fiction workshop. So, after a few hours of cleaning, getting to the bigger tasks always seems to get pushed back to a mythical “next weekend,” where instead of doing any chores at all, my husband and I take full advantage of our freedom and kick those chores down the road again and again. 

I realized that my inability to do these tasks is about inertia. How could I trick myself into getting started so I could feel the rewards of finally tackling something I’ve been putting off for months? That’s when I saw an Instagram story from my hairdresser, Markee Speyer at Queen of Swords in Brooklyn, using a “wheel of chores” hack she learned from TikTok user Melitsmoi, who has an entire series dedicated to this trick she created.

In Speyer’s stories, she was using one of those digital “Wheels of Names” tools, where you input names (or in her case, chores), “spin the wheel,” and you have a winner. Instead of a sweepstakes prize, she was putting in the tasks she needed to get done. Could this be the tool I needed to get those chores done? I had to try it.

Credit: Lizzy Francis

How I Tried the Wheel of Chores

I decided to set up my “wheel of chores” to eight nagging tasks that had eluded me for, embarrassingly enough, months to years:

  • Declutter mail pile
  • Declutter extra closet 
  • Clean gutters
  • Clean the deck
  • Deep clean the fridge 
  • Declutter T-shirt drawers
  • Hang posters across our apartment 
  • Clean out dining room drawers
Credit: Lizzy Francis

The wheel of chores made the first choice for me: declutter my T-shirt drawers. I bravely marched my way into my room, took all my T-shirts out, and began organizing. I used the opportunity to get rid of old, ill-fitting, bleach-stained, or otherwise ruined T-shirts. I also love crop tops for the weekends and working out, so any shirts that I didn’t wear because I didn’t like how they fit, I cut into a crop. 

Then I organized by size of shirt — big shirts in one area, long-sleeve turtlenecks in another, and cute tops separately. It took me about an hour to get through each drawer and roughly (and I mean that) KonMari folded the clothes. The work was totally worth it — I can now see all of my T-shirts at once, and every time I open my drawers I sigh in relief.

Credit: Lizzy Francis

The next day, I went back to my wheel and hit spin again. I once again bravely marched to my second task of decluttering my extra closet, which serves as overflow space that I share with my husband for longer dresses, fancy clothes, some shoes, and other miscellaneous items. Compared with reorganizing my drawers, this was an even easier task, though no less embarrassing to me to reveal the state of my closet to the internet. First, I had to get the clothes that had fallen off their hangers and onto the floor, and I cleaned out the items that I knew I’d never wear. 

Credit: Lizzy Francis

I had a shocking amount of gift wrap and gift bags on the floor — no doubt from a Christmas of the very far past — that I reorganized into a nice store bag and popped up at the top of the closet. I also took the extra hangers off the closet rack and put them in a bag at the top of the closet, too.

I moved a few fancy, occasion pieces that are being held in garment bags into a separate closet in my husband’s music studio and reorganized the shoes on the floor. All in all, though, it’s clear I’m no professional organizer. My closet is so much more manageable now, and the process only took about 45 minutes. It’s almost frustrating how easy both tasks were to do and how rewarding they felt when I was done because I had put them off for so long. 

Credit: Lizzy Francis

My Final Thoughts

Of course, the wheel of chores requires some level of discipline and buy-in. No one is forcing me to do the tasks on it except me, and yet, it helped me get over that first round of inertia where I kept putting off these tasks for way too long. Plus, the randomness of it makes me shed the habit I have of thinking chronologically about chores.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment after getting these extra things done was a real treat. I’m going to keep adding chores to the wheel of chores (organizing our office space is next!) and can’t wait to see what other spaces I transform.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: I Tried the “Wheel of Chores” to Declutter, and Now I’ll Use it Every Weekend