So it turns out that a living in the age of convenience has its drawbacks. A big one? We’re losing the ability to do basic household chores, apparently.
A concerning number of 18 to 24-year-olds don’t know how to make their bed properly, sew a button or change a lightbulb, recent data out of the UK (which we feel comfortable extrapolating from, because of our shared first world status and love of fish and chips) shows.
The YouGov Survey also found more than a third wouldn’t know what to do if that rusty old kettle set off the safety switch in their home.
But perhaps the most concerning of all is that with the availability of dishwashers, we’re losing the skills to wash our dishes properly by hand.
So let’s take a look at some simple chores we’ve lost the art of performing, and how to do them properly.
Washing the dishes
Dishwashers make our lives infinitely better, but according to the Good Housekeeping Institute, many of us would be lost if ours ever broke down.
First, wash your glasses, then cups, then plates, then serving dishes and finally pots and pans, using extra hot water (and wearing gloves). You’ll also probably need to change the water halfway through. And please scrape the plates first.
Listen: We talk to the mum who bribes her kids to do chores around the house. (Post continues.)
Changing a lightbulb
YouGov found one in ten young people can’t change a lightbulb (or wash a car, or iron clothes – but these people can’t be saved).
This one’s tricky because light fixtures vary, but simply put it’s a matter of turning the power off (and waiting for the bulb to cool) unscrewing the old bulb and screwing the new one in before turning the power back on.
Resetting the power if the fuse goes out
More than a third of young people would be left in the dark (literally) if the safety switch was ever tripped.
First, it’s a matter of knowing where the fuse box is. (Then finding the key if it’s padlocked.) Once you’ve opened it up, look for the switch that’s in the down position – that’s the one you want to flick up to restore power.
But if it keeps getting tripped, you’ll need to call an electrician.
Sewing a button
A third of young people surveyed don’t know how to sew a button. Good Housekeeping Insitute director told The Guardian there was really no trick to it, though.
“Anchor your thread on the inside of your fabric with a few stitches or a knot, then, on the outside, line up the button with the buttonhole.”
“From the back of the fabric, pull the needle and thread up through one of the holes and then push the needle down through the second hole.”
“Repeat until the button is securely in place. On the last stitch, push the needle through the fabric but not the hole, and wind the thread around the stitching between the button and fabric to strengthen attachment. Push the needle back down through the material. Finish by making a couple of stitches on the underside of the fabric.”
Making the bed
Okay, so thankfully it was only a small proportion (three percent) of people who don’t know how to make their own bed. Given that can be as simple as literally straightening out the doona, this is still worrying. But let’s assume this three percent are referring to a bed with a flat sheet (a teensy bit more complicated, we guess?).