Audiobooks to Make Chores More Interesting

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You haven’t done laundry in a few weeks, your sink is overflowing with dirty dishes, and your bathroom could use a scrub-a-dub-dub. It’s daunting as heck, but it doesn’t have to be. Feast your ears on these audiobooks for doing chores, sure to keep you entertained while doing even the most tedious tasks of tidying.

My partner and I just bought our first house, and if it weren’t for audiobooks, I’m not sure how I’d be getting through the process. Is there anything more boring than wrapping each glass individually in newspaper, packing them in a box, taking them to your new home, and unpacking them? No. There’s not. Add on the work of peeling wallpaper, painting, laying contact paper, and wiping down handrails that never turn up a clean rag, and you’ve entered my world.

Here are some audiobooks that have helped me do some major chores over the years, from decluttering to deep-cleaning the fridge.

Audiobooks for Doing Chores

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

In Pip’s town, everyone knows about the murder of popular Andie Bell five years ago. It was her boyfriend, Sal, of course — he even killed himself, clearly wracked with guilt, days after she went missing. But Pip is certain Sal is innocent, and as she starts digging, she falls down a labyrinth of dark secrets that can prove his innocence. The more she finds out, the more threatening messages she gets telling her to stop. And when she thinks she’s finally cracked the case, it just keeps going.

Mediocre cover

Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo’s writing is so potent. Mediocre is a history of white male America and the many ways the country has been hindered by ego. The book is about more than just the shitty fans of the previous administration — it covers entire swaths of American history and all the ways women, people of color, and marginalized groups have been beaten down so white men can reign supreme. It’s a history book unlike any other I’ve read. It’s the perfect audiobook for doing chores — it’ll have you scrubbing hard with rage.

Such a Fun Age cover image

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This book, y’all. Such a Fun Age is a deep exploration of two characters: Alix, a rich white lady with an internet brand, and Emira, her Black twentysomething babysitter. One night, Emira takes Alix’s toddler to the grocery store for an adventure and is accosted by security, who assume Emira has stolen this white baby. It’s riveting and addicting and so very good.

Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give by Ada Calhoun

Ada Calhoun gives us a smart and funny and intimate take on that whole marriage ordeal, covering expectations and reality and everything in between. She draws from her own marriage and also talks with experts and friends to round out the narrative. Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give is a comfort of a book that boils down to one single note: the secret to a long-lasting marriage is simply not getting divorced.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Chloe Brown is chronically ill, and after almost dying she has a list of items to check off on her mission to getting a life. Ride a motorcycle, have meaningless sex, do something bad…These items become much more attainable when she meets her landlord, Redford Morgan, who is the heartthrobbiest of heartthrobs, a handyman and artist who keeps his emotions locked under a rough exterior. Talia Hibbert’s The Brown Sisters series is absolutely wonderful on audio — and very steamy.

Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis

Helen Ellis is delight. And Southern Lady Code? A damn delight — especially on audio. In these essays about manners and dinner parties and marriage, Ellis teaches us the polite ways Southern ladies are impolite. Prepare for gut-busting laughter.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is such an incredible writer. She’s so prolific and each one of her many books manages to punch me right in the gut. Red at the Bone is a beautiful tale of a family, weaving backward and forward in time, showing the overlaps in the decisions we make and how they write our family history — starting with 16-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony. She’s wearing the dress that was custom-made for her mother’s ceremony 16 years earlier that never happened, because, well, Melody happened.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

This is perhaps one of the best audiobooks for doing chores. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is a beautiful guidebook for narrowing down your possessions, to save your loved ones from digging through boxes of cootie catchers and movie ticket stubs after you die. Margareta Magnusson offers humor and wisdom in how to go about minimalism, especially as an on-ramp to more sensitive discussions about death.

For other great ways to listen while you work, try out these uplifting audiobooks. Or you’re more of a crafting person, check out these audiobooks that pair wonderfully with crafting.