Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘It’s easier to KEEP your house clean then to let it go and then clean it again’? I so believe that. Once my house is really messy, I feel less and less motivated to summon up a ton of energy to get it clean. (Let’s be honest, it does take a lot of energy if it is really messy.) BUT if I do a little each day, it doesn’t feel overwhelming and I can keep it clean. That’s right – I think it takes LESS work to do some cleaning every day and the bonus is it generally stays clean.
Some people instinctually know how to clean and keep things clean. Are you one of those people?
I was not one of those people. Thinking back, I can remember when I was growing up and would be asked to clean my room. I wasn’t sure how to do it or where to start. Fast forward a few years and I also felt like that as a newlywed trying to keep my first home clean. It seemed overwhelming and I didn’t know how to prioritize cleaning, nor did I get how awesome it feels to have your house tidy and where to start to keep it clean.
Do you ever feel like that? Like you want your house to look nice or feel clean but you’re not sure where to start?
As someone who has ‘converted’ to keeping my house tidy much more often, I can tell you there is an easy solution.
When you have simple routines in place, it is much easier to keep your house clean. When your house it clean, your mind feels clearer because it is less weighed down by looking at clutter everywhere. It feels good to walk downstairs on a Monday morning and not have a bunch of dirty dishes in your sink. You also are much more likely to have friends over if your house is generally picked up.
I am going to share some ideas with you for cleaning routines. If you haven’t used these ideas in your home, I would recommend picking one to start with. Once you feel good about the first routine and it has become a habit, add another one. With that, read on for some EASY routines you can implement in your home to have it looking cleaner each day.
- After each meal, have your kids clear the table (or you can if they are too young)
- Wipe down the table
- Sweep under it
- Load the dishes into the dishwasher
- Try to do all of these things right away. If you don’t have time to wash all the dishes, just be sure to do so before bed so that your sink is clean when you wake up in the morning.
- Have a set time each day (or each weekday) that you do a load of laundry.
- Wash and dry it in the same day.
- If your kids are old enough to fold it or put it away – have them do so.
- If your kids aren’t old enough, you can fold it while doing something fun like watching TV or just don’t fold it because kids wrinkle all their clothes anyway. I always say, “Life is too short to fold your underwear,” so at least consider skipping that part!
- You will never have an overwhelming amount of laundry if you do a load each day.
- Keep a rag and cleaning spray under your sink or cleaning wipes. Here are some we’ve liked (Green Works). Also keep a toilet brush in each bathroom.
- Each time you go to the bathroom, do ONE of the following:
- Wipe down the counter and sink with the rag and spray or the cleaning wipe
- Wipe down the back of the toilet where little boys tend to hit when they miss the toilet bowl
- Put away any toiletries that are sitting out
- Use the rag or the wipe to do a quick swipe of the floor with your foot Swiffer sweeper dry work great for picking up hair
- Use the toilet brush to give the toilet bowl a quick clean. Bonus points for squirting some shower gel or shampoo in (whatever you have in reach) to get it even cleaner
- When your kids are done with playtime (before the next activity) have them pick up the toys. Sample script, “Yes, you can go play with the neighbor boy, ONCE you pick up these toys.”
- When there are too many toys out and they’re about to get out more, have them pick up the toys. Sample script, “Before we get out the Thomas puzzle, we’re going to pick up these two puzzles. That way we have more room and don’t mix up any pieces.”
- At the end of quiet time, to be excused, their rooms need to be picked up. (Teach them how to do this the first few times so they know what you expect and how they’re supposed to do it.)
- When you get out of bed, make the bed. If you do nothing else, your room will look so much cleaner when you adopt this routine.
- Bonus points: when you take off your clothes, put them right in the hamper, and not on the floor. Have a designated spot to put the clothes you want to wear again before washing.
- Keep folders handy in your command center or kitchen for the following: one for each family member, one for things to discuss, one for bills to pay and optional one for items you need to reference soon.
- As you bring in the mail, recycle what you can and put the other mail into one of the folders listed above.
- Do the same for school papers.
- Once a week discuss the items from that folder with your spouse
- Once a week go through the other folders and take action as needed
- If you are on one level of your house and leaving a room, try to take a few things with you that need to go back to other rooms.
- If you don’t have time to bring them all the way to where they go, put them on the stairs to be taken up the next time you head up.
Implementing these routines will allow your house to generally stay tidy and picked up with minimal extra effort. The idea with these routines is that they become habit and you can do them without thinking. Pick one to try out for the next two weeks. See how you like the results and if your house feels more orderly. If you like it, come back and try another one until you have all these routines as daily habits. When you house is picked up, your thinking feels clearer and you become a happier person when you look around and things are put away. You deserve for your house to be a place that you feel good. These are a few ways you can make that happen.
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*The bathroom ideas of cleaning your counters and toilet each day originally came from FlyLady, whose site I enjoyed reading in my early twenties.