It's a brand new year, and I still loathe a messy house as much as I did last year.
One of my friends recently asked me how I keep my home so clean with littles always nearby. It really does seem as if someone is always throwing stuff where it doesn't belong, or leaving their things behind for the maid to clean up. Oh wait, that's because someone is ALWAYS doing that. And oh wait, I am the maid.
My home may seem like it is always clean, but remember those are just squares.
What you don't see outside the squares are piles of laundry waiting to be done, piles of dishes because each time one of my kids wants a sip of water they need a brand new cup, and blankets. Blankets everywhere. We are a blanket hoarding family and there are probably three blankets on every chair, at any given moment.
On that note, I do actually like to clean. I like instant gratification, and being able to see progress right away. I also function very poorly if my house is in disorder. I've noticed that I cannot concentrate well, or get motivated with clutter surrounding me. I need order, clean counters, and baskets. Did I mention baskets?
You may have " clean more ", or "get organized" on your New Year's list of resolutions. If you do, here are few helpful ways to stay accountable with your resolution, so you don't slip through the cracks leaving you on an episode of hoarders.
1. Make your bed.
Don't you roll your eyes at me. Do it 7 days in a row and see how you feel. If you feel no different minus a little shade thrown my way for making you do it, then you can tell me I'm wrong. But, when you make your bed, you just feel good. Like working out, you don't always want to do it, but after you do, you are happy you did. Plus, how good does it feel to crawl into a neatly made bed at night?
2. Do morning rounds.
I love my husband. God loves my husband. But from the moment he wakes up in the morning, it's as if laundry trails him the way Hansel and Grettel left bread crumb trails behind them.
I stay at home, and seven years in you pick your battles. So, I am not lying when I say it doesn't bother me anymore, it's just routine now. I actually might have to thank him because it works out well for me now. Our place is also pretty small, and since our bedroom is toward the back, I start there and work my way to the kitchen. I glance in each bedroom and our bathroom ( we only have one ) and pick up as need be.
Mind you this is not time to deep clean, this is time to snag dirty laundry, pick up shoes that are in the middle of the hall, toss your kids toys into their room if they were in the bathroom, etc. It's almost like dangling a carrot in front of a horse. Except mine is a double shot latte. I know once I've reached the kitchen I get my prize.
Did I mention baskets? This is one of the easiest fail proof ways to keep a clean home. Throughout the day, place loose items ( papers, clothes, toys) into baskets for each room. This can take just minutes. Whenever you see something not in use, that doesn't belong, place it in a basket.
This is also a great way to constantly be weeding out what stays and what goes. Anytime I pick something up I take a quick glance and if it's not useful, I throw it away. This will keep your counters and floors clutter-free. Whenever you get a free moment, ( I know those are sparing) empty the baskets into their rightful homes. The little things add up, if you do this daily, it most definitely give you a neat and tidy living space.
4. Wipe down surfaces daily.
Seems pretty simple, but definitely leaves a big impact. Once you've tossed the counter clutter into the baskets, give them a good wipe down. Doing this daily will ensure that you're not left with a buildup of dust, beverage rings, hair, food crumbs, etc. I also give a quick, (like lightening) wipe down under our table after every meal. Seconds now can save you precious time later.
5. Fluff yo pillows.
That's right. So simple. Something that takes moments gives your room a totally different look. I'm not saying you have to karate chop each one, because you definitely don't. I give mine a fluff each time I leave the house so when I come home, it's the first thing I see.
6. Buy fresh flowers.
There's nothing wrong with fakies, I have some in my home. But dang-a-rang when I bring fresh flowers to my table it immediately puts me in a better mood. It doesn't have to be lavish or costly, it can be a few bucks at your local grocery store. Trader joes has really cute flowers and some for as low as 3$. This is my little weekly treat to myself. It might not be a cleaning tip exactly, but it definitely makes my home feel, well, homey.
7. Keep a clean kitchen.
If for whatever reason all the other rooms in my home are a war zone, and yes that's happened before, I NEVER let my kitchen hop on that band wagon. It's where I live all day and it's the heart of the home. If that is clean, even if it's the only thing clean, I can manage. I wash dishes after every meal, everything gets wiped down, and it only takes about 15 minutes.
My kids are old enough now that they help, and that is a wonderful thing. Some days it's harder than others to do this, but we always sit down and eat together, so it makes clean up time rather quick.
8. Designate laundry days.
Ugh. The L word. One of the most common things that gets shoved to the side. The more people in your family the harder it is. Our washer and dryer are in the middle of our kitchen, so it forces me more or less to stay on top of it. Pick two or three days, and only do laundry on those days. That way everyone knows the schedule.
The other days just make sure the dirty laundry is put into hampers, or directly into the washer. If you stay on it, it may not make you cringe so much. I said MAY not.
I vacuum daily. This only takes about 10 minutes as I focus on common areas : dining area, living room, entrance way, etc. Take those 10 minutes and focus on where you and your guests regularly gather. Vacuuming, even one carpet makes a noticeably drastic change. This may not be top priority, so you can put this on a schedule similar to laundry, a few times a week. Keeping up with it will ensure that you won't have to vacuum your whole house at once.
10. Do nightly rounds.
Very similar to morning time, only this starts at the other end of the house. Things in your baskets get put away, any last dishes get cleaned, counters may get one last wipe, pillows get fluffed, etc. That may sound crazy, but again it only takes 15 minutes. If you do this you will wake up to a clean house, giving you a head start on the day, and maybe even a few more chances to hit that snooze button.
While you may not apply all of these to your cleaning schedule, even one or two will put you on the fast track to a clean home. It is so much easier to clean here and there rather than a big deep clean once a month.
You will know where things are, and know that what you have in your home is serving you a purpose instead of adding to the clutter. Who knows, you may even like making your bed!
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